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Freelance journalists association’s 2019 guidelines for freelance pricing

The Association of Freelance Journalists in Finland, a member association of the UJF, has produced new guidelines on how much freelancers should charge for their work to achieve the average monthly income of their colleagues in employment relationships.

Journalists’ rates

  • 1 hour €67
  • Half day €251
  • 1 day €502
  • 2 days €1 004
  • 1 week €2 512
  • 4 weeks €10 050

Articles do not incur VAT, but is 24% for assistant editors’ and editing fees.

Photographers and videographers

  • 1 hour €97
  • Half day €365
  • 1 day €727
  • 2 days €1 454
  • 1 week €3 635
  • 4 weeks €14 540

This work carries a VAT rate of 24%

Stock photos and cover photos

When you sell stock photos, the price for the first image is usually higher, and accompanying shots have a quantity discount. The use of an image as a cover photos will generally increase its price by at least 50%.

Graphic designers, art directors, layout artists, and illustrators

  • 1 hour €88
  • Half day €330
  • 1 day €660
  • 2 days €1 320
  • 1 week 3 303 €
  • 4 weeks 13 211 €

When you sell illustrations with permission for continual use, the fee is increased by at least 15%.

Newspaper and magazine photos do not incur VAT. 24% VAT is charged on illustrations for use in advertising and for graphic design.

Literary editors

For example, a freelance publisher can invoice for the monthly earnings of an employee with an employment contract, such as:

In order to obtain the average monthly income of a literary editor in regular employment, a freelance literary editor can charge as follows:

  • 1 hour €51
  • Half day €191
  • 1 day €383
  • 2 days €766
  • 1 week €1 915
  • 4 weeks €7 658

The work of literary editors incurs VSAT of 24%.

Book translators

There are no figures available on the work income of book (fiction, non-fiction) translators and other translators. A reasonable rate, according to your level of proficiency, for fiction and non-fiction and depending on how difficult the source text is, ranged between €16 – €22 / 1000 characters (incl. spaces).

How are fees calculated?

Freelancers working for the press, communications media, and publishing houses are entrepreneurs, who have to cover all ancillary costs (50% or more of billing), which (equipment, workspace rentals, phone costs etc), plus statutory pension insurance, and social security cover themselves.

This has to be taken into account when agreeing on your terms of payment.

The recommended payment rates show how much to charge for your work so that you obtain the average monthly income of your colleagues. The fees are not the maximum rates. You would charge more for work requiring special expertise or done at very short notice.

The average monthly taxable income of journalists working for the press according the Union of Journalists in Finland’s last labour market survey (April 2018) was €3 774. The monthly earnings of photographers was €3 660, people doing graphics of various kinds €3 810, and literary editors €3 290. The pay of journalists and literary editors in regular employment was increased from the beginning of 2019 by 1,1% and 1,8% respectively. These increases have been taken into account in the examples given above. The collective agreement for the press sets the working day at 7,5 hours.

Remuneration is not pay – only part of it is taxable income

Freelancers also have to take into account of ‘hidden’ work, in the form of time taken up billing, working out ideas, tending to equipment and devices. Bill separately for expenses (travel, daily allowance etc).

If freelancers aim to take the same amount of holiday (6 weeks) as their peers in regular employment, then have to count the portion of the year in which they earn pay as 10,5 months.

Bear in mind too that pay in different sections of the media and communications (e.g. in-house publications, press, local or national media) varies.

The more extensive the copyright the more your remuneration

As a freelancer you sell your copyrights. The more extensive the copyright, the higher the fee to be paid for your work. The recommended fees take account of the fact that you sell your copyrights on a permanent basis. Of course if you have, say, an exclusive story or photos, you can negotiate their sale on a one-off use basis. If the buyer wants to have wider rights of use of your material within a media group or for resale this can increase the fee by 100% and 50% respectively.