The hourly pay rates represent the rates a professional self-employed editor in Australia needs to charge to ensure a sustainable, long-term business.
Editors’ pay rates
Hourly pay rates: self-employed editors
IPEd has developed the hourly pay rates below to provide guidance to self-employed editors and their clients.
The hourly pay rates represent the rates a professional self-employed editor in Australia needs to charge to ensure a sustainable, long-term business. Similar information for New Zealand editors is currently being researched.
|Level of experience||Hourly pay rate|
|Less than 2 years’ editing experience||$60–$80/h|
|Professional member, established editor||$80–$120/h|
|Editor with extensive or specialised experience||From $120/h|
Notes: These rates exclude goods and services tax (GST). Australian editors registered for GST are required to charge 10% GST. Rates are calculated as at 1 January 2020 and are regularly reviewed (at least annually). Last reviewed 2022.
What these pay rates represent
These rates are based on the following principles:
- The hourly pay rates support a self-employed editor to have a sustainable, long-term business, recognising the cost of professional development, and attained skill levels, and other business expenses.
- The hourly pay rates are comparable to total employee salaries of editing and related positions that require similar skills and experience, and provide similar benefits, such as superannuation, sick leave and annual leave.
- The hourly pay rates recognise work time, non-billable business time and the expenses of running a small business.
- The hourly pay rates are reviewed regularly (at least annually) and updated if required, aiming to round to whole dollars, and preferably to the nearest $5.
Using the hourly pay rates
- An hourly pay rate on its own is not a guide to the total cost of an editing job. Editors have different experience and work at different speeds, and have complete independence to charge higher or lower hourly rates.
- Price is a business negotiation between the client and editor. Each job is different and the price is influenced by various factors, such as the editing work required, the urgency, the subject, the format, the publishing sector and the experience of the editor.
- The price of a job reflects both pay rates and work rates (the speed of editing work).
- The pay rates are based on principles such as operating a self-employed business for the long term, recognising the skills and experience of editors, and recognising the economic value added by editors.
- The pay rates are for self-employed editors running a business with many clients. They may not be appropriate for editors employed casually or on regular contract arrangements, where rates may include superannuation or loadings for some types of leave, or for regular editing work.
Fair pay rates, not recommended pay rates
Due to the diversity of editors, clients and editing work, these rates are not recommended rates but reflect a range of fair rates of pay based on the principles and assumptions presented.
Members: For more detailed information, log in to the member portal and go to Resources for editors > Pay rates, self employed editors. Some editors may charge more and some less. Price is a business negotiation between the client and editor based on a range of factors. Editors may charge higher or lower hourly rates.
For members who are employee editors, more information is also included in the member portal.
Reasons these pay rates vary
The three ranges of hourly pay rates recognise the diversity of editors, clients and editing work across Australia.
Different hourly pay rates are not given for different types of editing. Some editors may charge different amounts for different types of work, but overall these rates reflect fair rates of pay for the skills and experience of different types of self-employed editors running a professional business. The work rate, or how much editing can be achieved in a specific time, varies by the type of editing and the experience of the editor.
Editors and clients can present prices in different ways
- Editors may prefer not to state the hourly rates they charge, but provide an estimate or quote for the total job or for each stage of a job based on the agreed requirements. Editors may have different ways of presenting prices, such as a price per word or 1000 words, per page or per job.
- Some clients may offer a total price for an editing job. Editors may consider, based on the work required, whether the client’s budget is appropriate, and accept it, or negotiate the scope of work and/or budget.
How to get a fair price for a job
- IPEd provides information on how to brief an editor here.
- IPEd has developed a great resource for editors to provide to clients – Working with self-employed editors: A guide for clients. The guide sets out some basic principles, both professional and ethical, so you can approach the project with a clear understanding of what is required and build a strong working relationship from the start.
- A fair price reflects many factors, including the level of editing required, the skills and experience of the editor, the audience and the editing brief. Clients are encouraged to be realistic in their expectations of what an editor can achieve in the time allowed and budgeted for. Not every editorial issue can be resolved in a single review of a document.
- The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires businesses to register for the goods and services tax (GST) when their annual turnover (income before expenses are deducted) is expected to exceed $75,000 a year. Business owners with turnover below $75,000 can still register for GST.
- A GST-registered business is not required to charge GST if the recipient of the services is located outside of Australia.
- A business must be registered for GST to charge GST. Clients can check if a business with an Australian Business Number (ABN) is registered to charge GST at ABN Look up, the public view of the Australian Business Register: www.abr.business.gov.au.
Providing an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- The ATO requires self-employed contractors to have an ABN in order to invoice for services without requiring tax to be deducted. If an editor does not have an ABN the client may be required to deduct tax at the highest rate and pay that tax to the ATO.
IPEd’s Standing Committee on Academic Editing has developed indicative costs for editing common types of academic work.