Why I Write For $5: An Explanation Of Charging Low Rates

Have you wondered about freelancers who are charging low rates? Here's an interview that explains the decision and business of a freelancer who does.

Charging low rates
Are you wondering why some freelancers are charging low rates?

If you want to get freelancers riled up, spark a debate about charging low rates.

One of the biggest challenges many freelancers face, especially those on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, is competing against people who are willing to work at insanely cheap prices.

You may wonder how it’s even possible to survive if you’re only charging pennies per word or a few dollars per project.

But the first thing freelancers need to understand is “low rates” are relative to who you are and the circumstances you’re in [There’s a great explanation about that here]. And one factor that makes a big difference is location.

Many low-bidding freelancers live in developing nations, and most of us in the US, UK, or Canada cannot afford to compete against them, at least not long-term.

But it may help to understand where they’re coming from and how they operate. So, I connected with Huzaifa Gaba, a freelancer based in Karachi, Pakistan.

Gaba says he working on a master’s in Mass Communication. He has 5 years’ experience in digital and print media. And he has three gigs listed on Fiverr.

  • To proofread and rewrite a 500-word article
  • To write an original, SEO-optimized 500-word article
  • To create a social media post, cover, banner, etc.

For each of these gigs, he charges $5.

And here’s what he has to say…

What can $5 buy where you are?

Actually only a hamburger.

Do you have a house or rent an apartment?

I live in my house.

Please provide an idea of your living expenses?

My monthly expense is around $500. That includes traveling expenses, bills, and study fees.

What made you select a $5 rate price?

I am new to Fiverr, so I am offering my basic gig for $5. However, for bigger projects, I do charge more accordingly.

How long do you normally spend working on a $5 gig?

About 2 hours with a 24-hour turnaround time.

Besides Fiverr, how else do you find freelance clients?

Facebook

Where are your freelance clients generally located?

US, UK, and Pakistan

Have you worked with any major companies or brands?

Not yet.

Is it your goal to intentionally charge lower rates than freelancers in places like the US or UK?

No. Nobody likes to work for cheaper rates.

Do you think your rates are comparable to freelancers in the US or UK? And if you know think they’re making more, why don’t you charge more?

I don’t think people charge more according to their country. Rather, the rates are according to quality of work and experience.

See: Fiverr Could Boost Your Freelance Income

How long have you been freelancing? And what made you start?

About 2 years. I was tired of having a 9-to-5 job.

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9 Comments

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  1. 2
    Jaya Avendel

    I love the idea of freelancing, but have not found the time to get into it. I think charging low is a good way to get some experience and have clips to offer future clients as your rates go up to reflect the learning/quality arc of your work.

    • 3
      Miche

      Even if you aren’t freelancing yet, you should consider signing up for Direct Connect on the right-hand side. That way you can keep up with what’s going on in the freelancing world. Thank you for stopping by!

    • 5
      Miche

      Yes, it’s interesting to hear about other freelancers’ experiences, especially when they’re from other countries.

  2. 6
    Ming Qian

    Hey there, I’m afraid that I would have to disagree with you on charging $5 for your writing. I do not think writing should be a race to the bottom. If you’re good enough, people will want you to write for them. There should not be any reason to devalue your writing to that extent.

    • 7
      Miche

      I’m taking it you mean you disagree with the guy that this article is about. But nonetheless, I completely understand your position.

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