One of our proofreading course students asked us recently: “Can you please tell me the current pricing on word count for a proofreader who has just entered the job market? I am finding it difficult to work out pricing.”

The answer isn’t straightforward. Payment depends on how good you are, and how much experience you have had.

Some clients will pay a standard proofreading fee and will not change it. And some more experienced and well-respected proofreaders are confident enough to use set rates, too. Others are prepared to negotiate on a client-by-client basis.

In reality, there are no ‘standard’ proofreading and editing rates these days. Also, globalisation has pushed prices down. There are good proofreaders on sites like Fiverr who charge far less than their UK counterparts.

The Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders (CIEP) suggests the following minimum hourly rates (2021):

Proofreading – £25.70

Copy editing – £29.90

Substantial editing, rewriting, development editing – £34.40

Indexing – £26.15

Proofreaders work at different speeds

Of course, the question here is how long does it take to proofread 1000 words?

According to Proofed Beyond Doubt, this varies depending on the number and severity of the errors in the text: http://www.proofedbeyonddoubt.co.uk/fees/

It will also depend on the proofreader’s capability and experience, and their familiarity with a certain client’s work. Always log how long it takes you to proofread anything.

However, anything goes in the world of online business, and proofreading rates are only governed by a) what you are prepared to work for and b) what the client is prepared to pay.

In reality, you should be prepared to work for nothing or for very low fees in the early days, in order to gain credibility and experience. So, you may need to negotiate the fee according to the client.

It’s a good idea to get any work at any rate when you start so that you can get some testimonials to put on your website and, of course, experience.

Once you are confident about your abilities, you can then begin to negotiate according to industry standards.

See our proofreading course