How Much Can a Freelance Proofreader Earn?

How Much Can a Freelance Proofreader Earn?

  • Aug 25, 2023
  • 6 min read

A career as a freelance proofreader has many benefits. You get to be your own boss, which means you’re in complete control of how, when, and where you work. But with this freedom comes a big responsibility – deciding how much to charge clients for your work.

So how much can a freelance proofreader earn?

We know that lots of people worry about whether they’ll make enough money. As a new proofreader, it’s important to understand how to set your freelance proofreading rates and make sure you aren’t undercharging (or overcharging!) for your services.

In this post, we’ll explain: 

  • How to set your freelance proofreading rates
  • The rates recommended by proofreading organizations
  • How Knowadays can set you up to earn as a freelancer with our partner company Proofed

How Do You Set Freelance Proofreading Rates?

There are three important steps you should take when setting your freelance proofreading rates:

  1. Decide whether to charge per hour, per word, or per page.
  2. Research the recommended rates in your country.
  3. Adapt your rates according to the nature of the project and your level of experience.

Charging Per Hour, Per Word, or Per Page

Let’s have a look at the three main ways to charge for freelance proofreading services:

  • Per hour – Charging per hour is a simple way of working out your rates. However, it does mean you need to give clients an accurate estimate of how long each job will take. If you misjudge this, you will need to either renegotiate part way through a job (which your client may not appreciate) or undercharge for the extra hours you work.
  • Per word – Charging per word means you can give a reliable estimate of how much you’ll charge a client for a job. Most freelancers either quote per word or per 1,000 words. The downside of this is that the word count is only one factor in how long a job may take, therefore you may need to adjust your rate depending on the complexity of the job.
  • Per page – Although this may seem a simple method, charging per page can be difficult; the pages of a document can vary widely depending on font size and type, spacing, and margin size. To avoid confusion, many proofreaders steer clear of charging per page.

Average Freelance Proofreading Rates

In this post, we’re going to focus on hourly rates, as there is more information available on those. However, if you prefer to charge per word or per page, we’d recommend looking at what other proofreaders are charging for similar work, then setting a rate that reflects your own level of experience.

Here are the hourly rates recommended by various proofreading organizations:

Organization  Location Minimum Per Hour
CIEP  United Kingdom £28.65
AFEPI Ireland €32
EFA United States $31-45
IPEd Australia $60–120

Estimates for annual proofreading salary vary depending on where you look. No one website has all the data. Here are some current proofreading salary estimates for the United States:

Source Per Year
Indeed $47,400
Salary  $56,437 
Salary Expert $45,354
Zippia $49,392
U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics  $43,940


Factors that Affect Proofreading Rates

The rates you charge can vary significantly based on factors such as:

  • How experienced you are as a proofreader
  • How complex the job is (e.g., you may charge more for EAL work)
  • Whether you are working in a specialist subject area (e.g., technical writing)
  • The type of client (e.g., corporate clients may pay more than individuals)
  • The client’s desired turnaround time (some freelancers will charge a rush fee for work with a short deadline)

As a new proofreader, you may initially charge lower rates than those listed above.

Over time, as you gain experience, you’ll be able to provide a higher quality service to your clients – and can raise your rates to reflect that.

How to Explain Your Rates

Once you’ve set your rates, stick to them! It can be hard to stand firm in the face of opposition, but you deserve to be paid fairly for your work. If a potential client questions your rates, don’t be tempted to apologize or over explain. Briefly summarize the factors you took into consideration when setting your rates and highlight the value you will add to their project for that amount.

Once you’ve secured a client, always make sure to agree on a contract. This will set out the scope of the work you’re agreeing to deliver, how much you will be paid, when you will be paid, and how. This can help to avoid any disputes further down the line.

How Much Can You Earn with Proofed?

If you pass both our Becoming A Proofreader and Becoming An Editor courses with distinction scores (80% or higher), you’ll qualify for a trial period with our partner company, Proofed.

To start with, you’ll be paid to proofread up to 10 documents, with a maximum of 1,000–2,000 words apiece. If you successfully complete the trial, you’ll be invited to work for Proofed as a full-fledged freelance proofreader. You’ll get to work on all sorts of different documents of varying lengths and on a fantastic variety of subjects! As you continue to gain experience – and positive feedback – you’ll be able to tackle an increasing volume of work and more challenging assignments.

But how much will you earn?

  • Proofed pays $9 per 1,000 words, so it’s tricky to establish an hourly rate. This will vary depending on the ease or difficulty of the document, as well as the editor’s level of experience.
  • On average, freelancers earn around $12–16 per hour with Proofed once they have proofread enough documents to be able to work with confidence.
  • This can rise to as much as $18–24 per hour as they gain more experience, take on add-on services, and work on a wider range of documents and projects.

As you can see, by working with Proofed, you can take on your first documents as a professional proofreader and start paying off the cost of training with Knowadays not long after you complete your courses. This offers a great way to start your new career as a freelance proofreader!

A freelance career with Proofed has many other advantages, too, such as:

  • Being able to take on as much or as little work as you want
  • Being able to work where you want and when you want
  • Not having to worry about finding clients or doing your own admin
  • Having the flexibility to pursue other interests alongside your paid work
  • Developing skills that you can use with other clients

While freelance proofreading may not make you a fortune in the short term, it can offer a brilliant balance between a reliable income and personal freedom. And there’s no better way to take your first steps in this career than with Knowadays!

Updated on 25/08/2023

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Join the Conversation

Esther Loretta Donkor says:
October 6, 2020 at 3:19PM
I want to be a Proofreader.
    Sharon Dancu says:
    November 11, 2020 at 9:26PM
    So do I!
Angelina T.Lumiqued says:
November 13, 2020 at 12:54PM
I want to become a proofreader
    Proofreading Academy says:
    November 13, 2020 at 1:01PM
    You can sign up for a free trial here, Angelina:
    Rana Faizan says:
    February 7, 2021 at 5:02PM
    I am ready for proofreading
Hannah Unger says:
June 21, 2021 at 5:18AM
I’m going to Finish My current course then im signing up!!
John wereschuk says:
March 7, 2023 at 5:38PM
Taking free courses through Alison looking to start a career from home being 62 years old and changing careers as I am unable to do heavy work anymore

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