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How Much Can a Freelance Proofreader Earn?

A career as a freelance proofreader has many benefits. But one thing we know people worry about is whether they’ll make enough money. So, how much can a proofreader earn? In this post, we look at some recommended rates for proofreading, plus how Proofreading Academy can set you up to earn as a freelancer with our partner company Proofed.

Should I Charge Per Word or Per Hour?

Before we get on to how much you can earn, we should look at how you work this out. The two main options in the world of freelance proofreading are per hour and per word:

  • 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. However, you may need to adjust the rate depending on the complexity of the job at hand.

We’re going to stick to hourly rates, as there is more information on these available. However, if you prefer to charge per word, you can always look at what other proofreaders are charging for similar work, then set a rate that reflects your own level of experience.

Average Hourly Rates

We won’t worry about salaried positions (although they are an option if freelance life doesn’t work for you). And we’ll leave aside rates for substantive or developmental editing for now. Here, we’re focusing on hourly rates for freelance proofreading (i.e., checking the final draft of a text for errors) and copy editing (i.e. tweaking a text for extra readability).

In this respect, rates recommended by proofreading organizations include:

  • EFA (US) – $30-40 per hour
  • SfEP (UK) – £25-30 per hour (approx. $32-38 per hour)
  • AFEPI (IRE) – €25-€35 per hour (approx. $27-38 per hour)

However, the rates proofreaders charge can vary significantly based on factors such as:

  • How experienced you are as a proofreader and copy editor.
  • How complex the job is (e.g., you may charge more for ESL 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).

As such, most new proofreaders charge lower rates than those listed above. This can be under $12 per hour on some freelance sites, where you compete to be the lowest bidder.

This makes breaking into freelance proofreading – and establishing yourself enough to earn the rates above – difficult. Luckily, we have our own case study of how new proofreaders can make more while developing their skills. And it comes from our partner company, Proofed.

How Much Can You Earn with Proofed?

We have a work guarantee with Proofed, where anyone passing the final PA assessment with a mark over 80% will qualify. And this means we know how much new proofreaders earn:

  • On average, freelancers earn around $15-20 per hour with Proofed once they have proofread their 10 trial documents and gotten into their stride.
  • This can rise to $25-50 per hour as they gain more experience and become more efficient at proofreading a wider range of documents.

In addition, you can pay off the cost of training with Proofreading Academy by proofreading as little as 30,000 words. So PA offers a great way to start earning 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.
  • Flexibility to volunteer pursue other interests alongside your paid work.
  • Developing skills that you can use with other clients.

So, while freelance proofreading may not be what makes your fortune in the short term, it offers 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 Proofreading Academy.

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16 Comments

      1. I am from India. I can take up proof reading job as free lancer online. Vpl guide me. Thanks Rajasekaran S

  1. I’ve been looking at a number of trainers, but I like your association with Proofed., as it gives people an entry point into actual work, which might be difficult to achieve otherwise. I am in New Zealand, but that doesn’t matter these days, does it? 🙂

  2. Hi I currently live in Ireland and hopefully in a couple of years.
    I shall be moving to Portugal… could I still work for Proofed?

  3. Hello, Does Proofed charge a fee for each assignment/job completed, or does the proofreader retain the full payment? Thank you, Robyn

    1. Hi, Robyn. Proofed pays freelancers on the basis of the word count of the documents they take on via the Proofed platform (plus other factors such as the type of editing service selected, the turnaround time involved, etc.). You can find out more on the Proofed website (or by contacting Proofed directly): https://getproofed.com/careers/

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