Rates seminar live-tweet recap

Thanks to our fantastic panellists!

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for our PWAC Toronto panel on rates! Thanks especially to our great panellists @DianeEPeters, Alan Britnell and Carol J. Anderson for their great advice. And to Toronto Board member Leslie Wu for live tweeting the event! Here are the tweets:

Kicking off some excellent discussion on rates with the @PWACToronto February seminar with @codeword @DianeEPeters Alan Britnell and Carol J. Anderson! #pwacpanel

To me, rates are part of what you look for in work, not all you look for in work, says @DianeEPeters, who has been freelancing for 15 years. #pwacpanel

It’s not about being frugal, but about being a little bit hungry and pushing yourself to make a higher rate, says @DianeEPeters, who makes in the high five figures per year. #pwacpanel

Hourly rates vs. per word rates need to have consideration of time spent pitching, etc. #pwacpanel

The secret to my success has been both writing and editing, says Allan Britnell, former president of the @csme, who also makes in the high five figures. A quick show of hands shows attendees also do a combination of writing and editing. #pwacpanel

You need to figure out how much you want to make yearly and break that down by day. If you want to make $100k a year, then you need to make $400/day, which also gives you two weeks vacation, estimates Allan Britnell.. #pwacpanel

Look for opportunities when you travel, says Allan Britnell, who is also focusing on work-life balance. #pwacpanel

It’s important to consider whether you want to be a generalist or specialist editor, says Carol J. Anderson, who edits a wide variety of subjects and materials. #pwacpanel

Government contracts can be very lucrative, says Carol J. Anderson, who responds to RFPs. She also looks at association job boards. #pwacpanel

Hourly rates vs. project rates? Project rates aren’t as open ended, but there are arguments for hourly, depending on the client. Also consider day rates, half day rates, etc. #pwacpanel

When it comes to hourly rates, minimum rate should be $30 - and that’s if you are just starting out, says Carol J. Anderson. #pwacpanel

Question for the panel: how to account for extra time/work with project rates? Put parameters such as number of edits. Also, sit with the content for a bit in order to accurately estimate time needed. #pwacpanel

Q for the panel: who starts the conversation about rates? It depends on the client…and even if they

start with a number, there is often room for negotiation. #pwacpanel

Rates at publications are often set, but with corporate clients, there can be some room for negotiation. #pwacpanel

Q for the panel: What language do you use in negotiating rates? Start with “my usual rate is” and if their budget won’t accommodate, move to “let’s split the difference”.  #pwacpanel

You have to recognize that you may lose the job if you bid too high, but you can lock yourself into a rate that is too low and have to turn down other, higher projects that come in. #pwacpanel

If you’re unsure of how long a project will take or what rate you should quote, check with other people who do the same work and see what they say. You can’t be embarrassed to talk about your rates amongst friends. #pwacpanel

Q for the panel: what is your process for reviewing a document and estimating a rate? Edit a page and add 20% for administrative tasks, such as back and forth emails, late submissions and other unknowns. #pwacpanel

Q for the panel: how do you tackle government request for proposals? Find a supplier and see if you can join their team and partner with them. #pwacpanel

Q for panel: how to break into corporate work? Everyone you meet is a contact, and work often creates more work through referrals. #pwacpanel

Have friends that aren’t writers, who can be great for contacts, work and sources. And sometimes they push you to consider your rates through different lenses. #pwacpanel

Creating these connections (and maintaining them) means never missing a deadline, being easy to work with and not burning bridges. #pwacpanel

Q for the panel: how do you raise your rates? Ask for raises with your fixed rate and hourly rate clients if you have a long working relationship, and use that to consider your rates moving forward. And don’t be afraid to ask for more. #pwacpanel

Before you have the phone call to discuss rates, know what the minimum you will take and what you want to make. #pwacpanel

Q from @jaclynlaw for the panel: how many hours do you work per week and do you want to be working more or less than that? The panel ranges between 35 to 45 hours per week, but with holidays and work-life balance with family. #pwacpanel

Follow PWAC Toronto on Twitter at @pwactoronto. And please mark your calendars for our next seminar on March 25! Register here.