Proofreading Rates: A Guide for Freelance Editors – Everything You Need to Know

Proofreading Rates: A Guide for Freelance Editors - Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to freelancing as an editor, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is how much to charge for your services. Understanding proofreading rates is essential for setting yourself up for success in the industry. Whether you’re an experienced editor or just starting out, knowing how to determine your rates will help you attract clients and earn the income you deserve.

Proofreading rates can vary widely, depending on factors such as the type of documents you proofread, the genre or industry you specialize in, your level of experience and skills, and the deadline expectations of your clients. In the academic industry, for example, proofreading a 1000-word academic paper may cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per hour, with an average rate of around $30 per hour.

There are different ways to charge for proofreading services, and it’s important to choose a pricing model that works best for you. Some proofreaders charge per hour, while others charge per word or per page. It’s also suggested to consider offering different price packages based on the level of editing required, such as basic proofreading, extensive editing, or formatting. Having clear pricing options will make it easier for your clients to understand what they can expect from your services and choose the option that fits their needs and budget the best.

Keep in mind that setting your rates too high might discourage potential clients, while setting them too low may undermine the quality of your work or lead to feelings of undervaluation. It’s important to strike a balance that reflects both your skills and expertise as an editor and the industry standards. One hint for determining your rates is to test them out. You can start by offering your services at a lower rate to gain experience and build your portfolio, and as you gain more clients and positive feedback, you can gradually increase your rates.

Another factor to consider when determining your proofreading rates is the average amount of time it takes you to proofread a certain type of document. For example, if you can proofread an academic paper within two hours, and you want to earn $30 per hour, you may charge $60 for an average 1000-word academic paper. It’s also suggested to consider the deadline provided by the client, as rush orders or tight deadlines often come with higher rates to compensate for the additional pressure and quick turnaround.

While proofreading rates may vary from freelancer to freelancer, it’s essential to do your research and understand the industry’s standards and expectations. By providing high-quality, timely, and accurate proofreading services, you’ll not only meet your clients’ needs but also establish yourself as a reliable and professional editor. Remember, proofreading is a valuable service that helps prevent errors and enhance the clarity and cohesiveness of written documents, so it’s important to charge accordingly for the expertise and effort you provide.

Proofreading Rates: A Guide for Freelance Editors

When it comes to proofreading rates, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you need to determine whether you will charge an hourly rate or a per-word rate. Many editors prefer to charge an hourly rate as it allows them to more accurately estimate how long a particular project will take. However, per-word rates are also common, especially for larger projects.

If you decide to charge an hourly rate, it is suggested that you consider a range of rates depending on the type of editing involved. For example, proofreading may have a lower rate than substantive editing due to the amount of work required. It’s important to keep in mind the time it takes to complete each task and adjust your rates accordingly.

Another factor to consider is the average speed at which you can edit a document. While it’s difficult to determine an exact number, there are guidelines that can help. For example, a proofreader can typically edit around 1000 words per hour, while a substantive editor may edit around 500 words per hour. Understanding your editing speed will help you determine an appropriate rate.

It’s also worth considering whether you offer rush services, such as 24-hour turnaround. Some clients may require their documents to be edited within a specific timeframe, and offering this service can command a higher rate. However, it’s important to balance the urgency with the quality of the work to prevent errors or plagiarism.

How to Determine Your Rates

There are several methods you can use to determine your proofreading rates as a freelance editor. One common approach is to research the rates of other freelance editors in your genre or field. Websites like Scribbr and the Editorial Freelancers Association often provide suggested rates for different types of editing.

Another approach is to consider your own experience and the value you provide to clients. If you have years of experience and expertise in a specific field, you can charge a higher rate. On the other hand, if you are just starting out or focusing on a niche market, you may choose to offer lower rates to attract clients.

A trial and error approach can also be helpful. Start by charging a certain rate and monitor how clients respond. If you receive a steady stream of orders and positive feedback, your rate may be appropriate. If not, you may need to adjust your prices accordingly.

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What to Include in Your Rates

When determining your proofreading rates, it’s important to include any additional services you provide. For example, if you offer plagiarism checks, formatting assistance, or a final check of references, these should be factored into your rates. Some clients may be willing to pay more for these additional services.

It’s also worth considering the purpose of the document you are editing. Scientific or academic editing may require a higher rate due to the technical nature of the content. On the other hand, editing for personal or creative writing may have a lower rate. Consider the genre and type of document when setting your rates.

Defend Your Rates

When clients ask about your rates, be prepared to defend them. Explain the value you provide as an experienced freelance editor and the comprehensive editing process you follow. Share examples of documents you have edited and highlight any positive feedback or testimonials you have received.

By understanding your own worth and the value you bring to clients, you can confidently set your proofreading rates as a freelance editor. It may take some trial and error to find the right rate, but with persistence and a strong portfolio, you can attract clients and build a successful freelance editing business.

Note: The rates mentioned in this article are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the current market rates. Freelance editors should research and determine rates based on their own experience, skills, and client expectations.

Understanding Proofreading Rates

The rates for proofreading can vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of document, the length of the document, the turnaround time, and the level of difficulty. Some freelance editors charge an hourly rate, while others set a per-word rate. There are even some who offer a fixed rate for a specific service, such as proofreading a thesis or editing a website.

If you’re unsure about how much to charge or what rates to expect, it may be helpful to consider some industry averages. For example, the Suggested Minimum Rates Per Hour (2007-2023) from the Editorial Freelancers Association can give you a hint of the range you can expect. However, keep in mind that these rates can vary depending on factors such as experience and the level of support provided.

Some editors also choose to offer their services through companies or platforms that take a commission or charge a fee in exchange for support and access to clients. One example of such a platform is Scribbr, an editing and proofreading service that connects freelance editors with clients. In this case, the platform may set the rates and the editor receives a portion of the fee.

When determining your proofreading rates, it’s important to consider the amount of time and effort it takes to edit a document. Although it may seem like a simple task, proofreading requires attention to detail and a thorough understanding of grammar and style rules. It’s not just about fixing typos and punctuation errors, but also ensuring that the text flows well and is free from inconsistencies.

Another factor to consider is the turnaround time. Some clients may need a quick turnaround, such as within 24 hours, while others may be more lenient with their deadlines. The speed at which you can edit a document can affect your rates, as it may require you to work outside of regular business hours or prioritize certain orders over others.

Ultimately, the rates you charge for proofreading should reflect the value you provide as an editor. It’s important to consider your level of experience, the quality of your work, and the level of service you provide. While it can be tempting to charge a lower rate in order to attract more clients, it’s also important to ensure that your rates are sustainable and that you are being compensated fairly for your time and expertise.

Factors Influencing Proofreading Rates

When it comes to determining proofreading rates, there are several factors that freelance editors and proofreaders take into account. Understanding these factors can help you better understand how the pricing process works and what to expect when hiring a proofreader or editor for your documents.

1. Specialization: Freelance proofreaders who specialize in a specific genre or type of document often charge higher rates. This is because they have developed expertise and knowledge in that particular area, which allows them to provide a higher quality of editing.

2. Experience: The experience of the proofreader or editor also plays a role in determining rates. Those with more years of experience and a proven track record may charge higher rates due to their expertise and reputation.

3. Deadline: The turnaround time for editing or proofreading also affects the rates. If you have a tight deadline, expect to pay higher rates for a quick turnaround, such as within 24 hours. Proofreaders may charge a higher rate for rush jobs to compensate for the additional time and effort required.

4. Word count: The length of the document is a common factor in determining proofreading rates. Many proofreaders charge on a per-word basis, so the more words in the document, the higher the rate will be.

5. Quality expectations: If you have high-quality expectations for your document, you may need to pay a higher rate to ensure that your proofreader meets those expectations. Proofreaders who provide additional services, such as plagiarism checks or sample edits, may charge higher rates as well.

6. Freelancer rates: Rates can vary significantly depending on the specific freelancer you choose to work with. Each freelance editor sets their rates independently, so it’s a good idea to compare rates from multiple proofreaders to find the most competitive pricing.

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7. Test run: Some proofreaders offer a test run or sample edit as a way for clients to evaluate their skills and decide whether they are a good fit for their project. This can be a valuable process in determining whether the proofreader’s rate is worth it for the level of quality they provide.

8. Platform or service: The platform or service you use to find and hire a proofreader can also influence the rates. Some platforms may charge additional fees or take a percentage of the proofreader’s rates, which can impact the final price you pay.

9. Contents of the document: The contents of the document can also impact rates. Certain types of documents, such as academic theses or technical reports, may require specialized knowledge or additional time for editing, resulting in higher rates.

10. Rates averages: It is important to note that proofreading rates can vary significantly. The average rate per hour can range from $20 to $50 or more, depending on the factors listed above. Some proofreaders may also offer flat rates per page or per document.

By considering these factors when hiring a proofreader or editor, you can ensure that you find the right professional who meets your needs and delivers the level of quality you expect. Remember to ask questions, provide a clear deadline, and, if possible, send a sample of your text to prevent any misunderstandings and ensure a smooth working process.

Tips for Setting Freelance Proofreading Rates

When it comes to setting freelance proofreading rates, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you determine the best rates for your services:

1. Know your worth Before you decide on your rates, it’s important to evaluate your skills, experience, and the value you provide to clients. Consider the specialized knowledge and editing expertise you bring to the table.
2. Determine the scope of the project The length, genre, and complexity of the document will often influence the amount of time and effort it takes to proofread. Consider the word count, deadlines, and any specific client expectations.
3. Consider hourly vs. per-word rates Some freelancers prefer to charge an hourly rate, while others charge per word. Consider which approach works best for you and your clients, based on the type of documents you frequently proofread.
4. Research industry standards Look into what other freelance editors are charging for similar services. Websites and platforms like Scribbr can provide a guide for industry rates. Take note of any specialized fields that may command higher rates, such as academic editing or historical documents.
5. Factor in your expenses and desired income Consider the costs of running your freelance business, such as software and equipment, as well as your desired income. Be sure to account for any taxes or fees associated with freelancing when determining your rates.
6. Be prepared to defend your rates If a client questions your rates, be ready to explain the value and expertise you bring to the proofreading process. Highlight your skills, experience, and any additional services you provide, such as citation formatting or style guide adherence.
7. Provide clear pricing information Clearly communicate your rates and pricing structure to clients. Consider offering different package options, such as rush delivery for a higher fee or discounted rates for larger orders. Be transparent about what is included in your proofreading service.
8. Set realistic deadlines Ensure that you can deliver high-quality proofreading within the agreed-upon timeframe. Consider setting 24-hour or 48-hour deadlines depending on the length and complexity of the document, but be flexible enough to accommodate urgent requests.
9. Frequently update your rates As you gain experience and expand your skill set, it’s important to periodically review and adjust your rates. Stay up-to-date with industry trends and consider your increasing expertise when determining new rates.

Remember, setting freelance proofreading rates is a process that will likely evolve over time. Experiment with different pricing strategies and find the approach that works best for you and your clients.


What are proofreading rates?

Proofreading rates refer to the amount of money that freelance editors charge for their proofreading services. These rates can vary depending on various factors such as the editor’s experience, the type of document being proofread, and the turnaround time required.

How much does proofreading cost?

The cost of proofreading can vary depending on several factors. On average, freelance editors charge between $15 and $50 per hour for proofreading services. However, some editors may charge a flat fee per word or per page. It is important to clarify the rates with the editor before hiring their services.

What factors affect proofreading rates?

Several factors can affect proofreading rates. These include the editor’s level of experience and expertise, the type and complexity of the document being proofread, the desired turnaround time, and any additional services required, such as formatting or reference checks. All these factors can contribute to variations in the rates charged by freelance editors.

Can I get my document proofread within 24 hours?

Yes, it is often possible to get a document proofread within 24 hours. Many freelance editors offer a 24-hour proofreading service for urgent projects. However, it is important to note that such expedited services may come at a higher rate. It is advisable to check with the editor beforehand to ensure their availability and the feasibility of a 24-hour turnaround.

Is it worth paying for proofreading services?

Yes, paying for professional proofreading services can be worth it, especially when it comes to important documents or projects. A skilled proofreader can catch and correct errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure, ensuring that the final document is clear, professional, and error-free. This can help enhance the overall quality and credibility of the work.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading is the process of carefully reviewing a document for errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.

What is the difference between proofreading and editing?

The main difference between proofreading and editing is the level of detail and scope of the changes made. Proofreading focuses on correcting errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, while editing involves improving the overall clarity and structure of the text.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.