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Pricing Pricing

How much will it cost?

Ah, the eternal question!

The system that I've found works best is to charge an hourly rate, based on what you need. Once I've got the basic information about your job (what needs doing, how we need to do it, and when it needs to be done by), I can assess roughly how many hours it will take me, take into account additional factors (such as the purchase cost of stock images) and project management time, and write up my quote for you.

I always keep a time sheet, and if it looks like we're going to significantly run over the estimated time and budget I will let you know, so we can discuss options. This generally only happens if additional and unexpected tasks are added to my work list mid-project, or if unexpected contingencies arise.

I only bill you for the hours I work. However, please be aware that my billed hours include 'not-designing/indexing/editing' time, like project management.

If your budget is limited or fixed, please discuss it with me first up. I can adjust the depth of service to suit — there are all kinds of options. However, there's no getting away from some things like the word or page count: more words or pages always means more time.

Graphic design: $110 per hour ($121 with GST*)

I specialise in print and digital graphics.

The list of things I can design for you includes:

  • Logos
  • Event graphics
  • Layout of magazines and journals
  • Booklets
  • Book design and cover design
  • Brochures and flyers (print & interactive PDF)
  • Business cards, letterhead, style guides, and other corporate identity graphics for your business
  • Posters
  • Merchandise graphics
  • Diagrams and illustrations
  • Infographics

(NB: I can produce web graphics (eg web versions of your logo). However, I do not provide web design or site management services any more. I'm happy to recommend web design agencies to you if you need help finding someone.)

Copyediting: $80 per hour ($88 with GST*)

Copyediting involves checking a document for grammar, repetition, syntax, and choice of words, to ensure the document is as clear and well-written as possible. Fact checking and continuity are other typical copyediting tasks.

For copyediting, budget roughly 1 hour per 1,000 words. So, if your document contains ~10,000 words, expect a quote of around ten hours ($880 with GST). The exact amount will depend on exactly what your document is, though, and the complexity of the manuscript (a blog post will typically be quicker for me to edit than a highly technical computer manual, for instance).

If your budget is limited or fixed, we can adjust the depth of service to suit. However, there's no getting away from the word count: more words always means more time.

Indexing: $70 per hour ($77 with GST*)

Indexing books and other documents is a very time-consuming, complex process.

As a rough guide, writing the index for a 200 pg book for a general readership takes about 35 hours, and indexing a 200 pg academic book for a scholarly readership takes over 50 hours.

There are different 'depths' of indexing, and this affects the cost. A 'light' index might only pick up names of people and places, and have a few index entries per page of text. A scholarly index takes a lot longer because there is a great deal more textual analysis, and more like 6–9 index entries written for each page of the text. An exhaustive index, with 10 to 15 entries per page, is the most expensive, as it takes the longest to write.

It isn't possible to index from 9 to 5, every day — the work is extremely mentally taxing. So if I quote for 40 hours on a job, this does not mean I can do it in a week. Two weeks is more typical. For dense academic texts, I usually need three or four weeks.

To write your indexing quote, I need to know the following:

  • A sample chapter from the middle of the publication (ie not the Introduction)
  • The number of pages in the publication
  • The number of pages reserved for the index
  • The topic of the publication (there are some areas where I don't have enough subject knowledge to do a good job, see below)
  • The audience for the publication (children, general, specialist, academic etc)
  • The required depth (level of detail) of indexing
  • The deadline, and publishing details (publisher etc)

If your budget is limited or fixed, I can adjust the depth of indexing to suit. However, there's no getting away from the page count: more pages always means more time.

NB: I usually do not index books on philosophy, religion or the military, as I don't have expert knowledge in these areas (and it's best if your indexer does know something of the subject they're indexing). I'm happy to review a sample chapter, but be aware that I may reject the project. If I can't do it, I will help you find someone else who can.

Proofreading: $60 per hour ($66 with GST*)

Proofreading involves checking the final proof, just before the document is published, to check spelling, hyphenation, layout issues, awkward page breaks, and the like.

For proofreading, budget roughly 30 minutes per 1,000 words. So, if your document contains ~10,000 words, expect a quote of around five hours ($330 with GST). The exact amount will depend on exactly what your document is, though.

Remember that proofreading means finding the final few mistakes. If I'm doing anything beyond detecting mistakes for you, then I'm copyediting (which is more time-consuming and has a higher hourly rate).

If your budget is limited or fixed, I can adjust the depth of service to suit. However, there's no getting away from the word count: more words always means more time.

(*GST is an Australian tax (10%) that I am required by law to add to all service and product invoices to Australian clients. So if you're in Australia, my editing cost is $88 AUD/hour, but if you're overseas, it's $80 AUD/hour. Sucks, I know.)

Other points to note

I may also quote a higher or lower rate based on your job's size, complexity and deadline, the expertise required, and whether you're from a not-for-profit, academic or corporate organisation.

I usually quote on a range of outcomes, because I can only assess your project so much in a quote. Once I've done a few hours work, I'll have a more accurate picture. So I usually quote a likely project outcome, a fast outcome and a slow outcome. The final result is usually close to the likely outcome. I will discuss options with you if it looks like the time is blowing out, or there are unexpected additional costs.

If your budget requires it, I can provide a fixed price quote. If I get the work done more quickly than expected, I still only charge for the time worked, according to my time sheet. If I go 'overtime' though, I will only charge the fixed amount.

If any project turns out to be substantially different (i.e. some elements are out of scope), we'll mutually revise our expectations, and I'll do what I can in the time quoted.

Why these rates?

Unless you're ready to hire me for every hour in the year, these rates are the baseline I need to stay in business, when you hire me for only some hours. They are based on standard industry rates in Australia.

My rates factor in the overheads you'd otherwise have (such as internet access, software subscriptions, and superannuation), and the convenience of not employing a full-time staff member.

If you think these rates sound high, consider this simple calculation: 1,000 billed hours per year (20 billed hours x 50 weeks) @ $100 per hour = $100,000. Less overheads = $85,000, which is roughly the average full-time wage in Australia. Freelancers are highly skilled, yet are generally either underemployed (i.e. we don't bill 1,000 hours every year — I certainly don't), or undervalued (i.e. we don't make $100 (or whatever) per hour for every hour — I certainly don't). So your project is helping me to stay in business, for which I thank you!


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