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This free tool lets you compare and establish your freelance rates

It can be difficult to figure out your freelance rates, especially starting out. But this free tool uses its database to remove guesswork.

A man and a woman sit in a coworking space working at their computers, establishing their freelance rates.

Knowing what your freelance rates should be is a struggle in and of itself, but confidently determining what to charge clients based on circumstance is even more of a struggle–to say nothing of doing so now, amidst inflation and other economic strife. Fortunately, Contract Rates FYI can help freelancers establish themselves.

Contract Rates FYI is a free tool to help freelancers analyze industry rates for comparable skills in order to determine a baseline fee for both hourly work and entire projects. 

A big “selling” point for this company is that their tool itself is free, allegedly forever. They get away with this by charging employers to post job listings on a separate board, which means you don’t have to worry about the data that informs your rate magically disappearing one day.

Upon searching for a rate on the website, you’ll notice that you’re asked to input your own current data. Contract Rates FYI does this for two reasons: to be transparent with where they get their data, and to make a sample pool that is as accurate as possible.

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If you input the necessary information–your job, location, years of experience, what you charge now, and so on–you’ll be greeted with a scatterplot of seemingly irrelevant data from freelancers all over the world. Scrolling down, though, you’ll find a section where you can search for your own industry and filter by things like skills used and location.

Contract Rates FYI will return a list of relevant responses similar to the one you just added so that you can compare your responses to others, but it will also list topical data for a quick look at things like the world-wide average hourly rate for your profession, the best-paid salaries, what your yearly take-home would be if you billed 35 hours a week for 11 months, and so on. 

Naturally, you’ll see some pretty inconsistent data. I searched for copywriting rates and found that the hourly varied wildly from $25 an hour (albeit in Serbia) to over $100 per hour on average in some places; however, the location and the type of copywriting impact these figures, and while I had the location in each case, the style of writing was not clarified in all but one.

So, while it isn’t going to give you one definitive answer to solve your contract woes, Contract Rates FYI is an approximation tool that allows you to reference other freelance rates in your area when asking a client to match them (or agree to a slightly lower rate if you’re trying to be sneaky).

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

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Business Entrepreneur

(ENTREPRENEUR) Setting freelancer rates can be quite the tricky business. This tool arms you with the data you need to grow your business.

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