Are you doing research for your freelance gig? Here are some considerations as you set your rates.
Among the jobs you can do as a freelance professional is research. Freelance research involves finding information about a particular topic and then organizing it in a way that's useful for clients. Often, freelance research goes hand in hand with writing. There are times that I need to do research in order to complete a project.
Charging for freelance research can be a little difficult for some — especially since many of us are writers that charge on a per-project basis.
Build Your Freelance Researcher Rate into Your Price Quote
Because I'm primarily a writer, and not a researcher, I usually build the research rate into my price quote. The quote I offer for a blog post, or for web content, usually includes the amount of time I expect to spend researching the topic, as well as writing it.
That makes things a little easier for everyone involved. However, if I miscalculate how much time it will take to complete the research, then I end up working more than expected. As you gain experience, though, it becomes easier to accurately gauge how much time you are likely to spend researching a topic.
If all you're doing is offering research, you might consider a per-project rate. Some researchers charge a flat rate in tiers. So, you might charge $500 for research projects that take up to 20 hours, and then tier up from there. Another option is to charge a monthly retainer for clients who want you to do regular research. That retainer would cover your total work for the month, based on research. I know freelance researchers that charge $1,500 per month and do a variety of research tasks for their clients.
Charge Hourly for Your Research
In some cases, it makes sense to charge hourly for research. When I ghostwrite a book, I break out the research aspect. This is easier since you never know how much time you will spend researching, including interviewing sources for the book.
Even if you aren't writing, though, you can still charge hourly for your research. Freelance researchers do the legwork so that others are freed up to do other things. If you are strictly a freelance researcher, it can make sense to charge by the hour, rather than for the project. Download a timekeeping app that can help you monitor how much time you spend on a project, and use that information to help you figure out clients owe you for your time.
Deciding how much to charge for freelance research can be a little difficult at first. You need to figure out what rate makes sense for you. When you are first starting out as a freelance researcher, you can expect to make between $15 and $25 per hour, depending on the work involved. Often, interviewing a primary source means a higher rate, closer to $25 or $30 per hour.
However, if you are experienced at research, and as you show good results finding exactly what the client is looking for, you can begin charging more. Some freelance researchers earn as much as $50 an hour or more. Indeed, my rate for doing extra research on a book or some other project is right around $75 an hour. There are times when I have to spend hours on the phone with a client who wants me to ghostwrite his or her book. That time should be paid for since I could be using it to do something else.
Should You Become a Freelance Researcher?
Freelance research can be a rewarding job. It's not too difficult, and almost anyone with decent research skills (and a good knowledge of the Internet) can engage in freelance research. You can boost your credentials with a four-year degree, and you should have an idea of what constitutes a “viable” source. Once you know those things, you can get started offering your services, whether you research exclusively, or use research to boost your writing.