How to decide whether a freelance writing client is worth it

One of the questions we get all the time is this: How do I know if a client is worth it?

There are different ways to evaluate whether a client continues to serve you and your freelance writing career goals. Some of the different measures can include:

Rate of pay

One of the easiest measures is the rate of pay. How much are you getting paid for your work? Rarely does it makes sense to accept an hourly rate for freelance writing, but it can be one way to measure whether a client is worth your time. 

 

  • Per-word rate: Some writers like to gauge how well a client pays by their per-word rate. After all, if you can get between $0.35 and $0.65 per word, that’s not too bad. And for some work you can get $0.75 to $1.50 per word — or more. When you have enough other clients paying higher rates, it can make sense to drop the client with the lower rate.
  • Per-article rate: Similarly, you might decide to base your assessment on the rate you get paid for each article. You can also break this down as a per-word rate for comparison. For example, one client might pay you $400 for an article, and another might pay $250. However, if the $400 articles are longer, you might end up with a lower per-word rate than you’d receive with the lower-priced article! This can lead you to drop the client whose articles are longer, but pay less per word.
  • Per-hour rate: Miranda likes to use a per-hour rate. She has a floor for her hourly rate. If the time it takes to produce an article for a client routinely falls below her desired hourly floor, she will fire the client. It doesn’t matter how much she gets paid per article or word if it takes too long to write something.

 

Ben has put together a tracking sheet you can use to measure your stats and compare your clients. It’s available exclusively to Freelance Writer Academy members, in the Resources section.

How much you like the subject

If you really enjoy the subject or the articles you write for a client, it might be worth it to stick with them, just for the enjoyment. Even if you make a little bit less, it might be worth it to do something you like. Carefully consider the trade-off between subject matter and pay. You might decide to keep some high-paying clients with boring subjects, using them to supplement the lower-income from the clients you enjoy working with.

Annoyance with the client

At some point, though, no matter how much a client pays, there can be a point at which you no longer wish to work with them. Some clients can be difficult to work with, asking for unreasonable alterations, or they might have onerous fact-checking requirements or keyword criteria. If a client is causing problems for your peace of mind, consider ditching them, and replacing them with a more pleasant client.

Bottom line

In the end, whether a client is worth it depends on your own parameters and tolerance for BS. One of the great things about freelance writing is that you can look for clients that better fit your lifestyle and needs and eventually fire the clients that no longer serve you.