Proofreading Rates – How Much Money Can You Ask For?

13.05.23 Tips Time to read: 4min

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Proofreading ensures that the final text is free from grammatical, typographical, syntactical, and punctuation errors, thereby enhancing its readability and credibility. It’s one of the most popular freelancing jobs. However, it has its challenges since the rates can vary widely. Many struggle to figure out the right amount to ask for from clients. This article will provide some tips and insight into proofreading rates and help you decide the appropriate amount to charge.

In a nutshell: Proofreading rates

  • Proofreading rates are the sums you ask for from clients for providing them with proofreading services.
  • The rates differ significantly depending on various factors, like experience, difficulty, the quantity of work, and the subject.
  • These rates also differ depending on whether you are working with a platform or as an independent freelancer.
  • Independent freelancers charge more for proofreading services than those working with a platform.

Definition: Proofreading rates

Proofreading rates are the prices that proofreaders charge for their services. They may differ based on factors like experience, subject, difficulty of the work, and style of work.

Style of work Hourly proofreading rate
Working with a platform $20 to $28
Independent freelancing $36 to $40

Independent freelancers earn more by directly handling clients. As a dependent freelancer, you must provide additional services, such as marketing and client acquisition, which are not included in your invoice.

Proofreading rates per word

Most proofreaders prefer charging their clients per word. Proofreading rates per word usually reflect precisely the amount of work involved. It also encourages service providers to naturally improve their speed because their earnings depend on their speed. The median proofreading rates per hour are $0.015 to $0.10.

Proofreaders can work independently or with a platform. The table below explains the difference between working for a platform or as an independent freelancer in the proofreading business.

Working with a platform Working as an independent freelancer
Allows you to connect with clients without handling the outreach directly Finding clients independently
Lower rates Better rates
The platform helps clients find and contact them Communicating and establishing a connection with clients autonomously
The platform handles all administrative tasks Additional administrative work that you do not get paid for
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Proofreading rates: Independent vs. platform

Rates also differ depending on whether you work independently or with a platform. Let us dive into the elements of each style of work.

Independent freelancing means that you can set the rates as you wish. However, it also means that you must find clients independently and handle all the communications with them. It also means that you must handle all administrative tasks.

While you are free to decide your proofreading rates, the first thing you must consider is the rating style. You can formulate the proofreading rates per word, page, or hour.

Rating style Advantages Disadvantages
Per word It effectively reflects the amount of work involved.
Earnings improve with speed.
Not easy for clients to understand unless you quote the price per a specific number of words (like $10 per 1000 words).
Per hour Easy for clients to understand and for you to explain. Speed does not improve your earnings unless you update as you gain speed.
Clients cannot predict how much they must pay until the work is done.
Per page Easy for clients to understand.
Earnings improve with speed.
You must format the document consistently.
Word count varies per page.

Other than the rating style, some other factors that may influence the proofreading rates for an independent freelancer are:

  • Deadline length
  • Text type and quality
  • Client expectations

There are many proofreading platforms that you can consider. The platforms find the clients, handle all administrative duties, and create a community of clients. So, you have the privilege of connecting with clients without handling the heavy load.

Proofreading platforms also provide stability in your work approach. The platforms offer standard editing guidelines and payment terms.

However, working with a platform means that you may earn lower rates as the company must take a cut.1 However, the company with handles:

  • Finding clients
  • Communications with clients
  • Invoicing
  • Administrative tasks

Factors influencing the proofreading rates

Numerous factors can influence proofreading rates. These factors are:

Text type and quality

The content of the proofreading task will affect the amount and difficulty of the work involved. Some things that determine the text type and quality are:

  • Academic level: The writing standards differ depending on the academic level. The higher the level, the higher the standards.
  • Document type: Its purpose usually determines the type. For instance, the document types for academic journals follow specific rules that differ from university course papers.
  • Subject: The subject impacts the editing and writing requirements. For instance, science papers are more complex than humanities papers.

Length of the deadline

The amount of time you have to deliver the job will also influence the proofreading rates. A shorter deadline means more work, so the rates are typically higher. However, some proofreaders set fixed deadlines to avoid too much pressure.

Client expectations

What the clients expect from the work will also affect the proofreading rates. Clients with higher expectations naturally pay more. However, managing clients’ expectations would be wise.

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The hourly proofreading rates range from $30 to $45. However, these can differ.

Proofreading 100 words may cost between $10 to $15. However, this depends on the service provider and the rating system.

Proofreading rates are influenced by the style of work, the length of the deadline, the complexity of the work, and the client’s expectations.

Proofreading rates are calculated per hour, word, or page.