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DirectOrders: Setting Your Rates

 Attracting DirectOrders is great, but in order to keep them rolling in you have to make good on your promises. Pricing definitely plays a huge part in that, and setting your DirectOrder rate is key. Below, I'll share a few tips and tricks about setting DirectOrder rates.

In my last blog entry, I highlighted a handful of key tips for attracting DirectOrders on Textbroker. That advice was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, however. Attracting DirectOrders is great, but in order to keep them rolling in you have to make good on your promises. Pricing definitely plays a huge part in that, and setting your DirectOrder rate is key. Below, I'll share a few tips and tricks about setting DirectOrder rates.

Setting Your DirectOrder Rate

One of the beauties of receiving DirectOrders is that, unlike OpenOrders, you get to negotiate and set your own rate. This can be done in two different ways: by changing your DirectOrder rate for all clients under Account/Public Profile, or by changing your DirectOrder rate on a client-by-client basis.

Changing Your Advertised DirectOrder Rate

When you change your DirectOrder rate under Account/Profile, that is the rate that is shown to any client who is considering sending you work directly. If you've been fulfilling level 4 orders for a client, then, and he decides that your work is solid and he'd like you to complete an entire batch for him, the rate he'll see will be the one you've set under Account/Profile. By default, the rate for DirectOrders is 0.015/word; it cannot be set lower than that. In other words, the base rate for DirectOrders is a tiny bit lower than the 4-star rate.

Look at this realistically, then: you probably don't want to set your DirectOrder rate too high, especially when you're “new to the game.” Bumping it up a bit is fine, but expecting someone who's only seen a tiny bit of your work to pay you five cents per word is foolhardy. Even if you've done a great job for a client, he's probably going to pass you over for someone offering a lower rate – especially if your rate is exorbitantly high. 

I do believe that once you've “earned your stripes” and have become a level 5 writer, for instance, bumping your rate up a bit more is appropriate, and clients will more readily agree to pay it. Four-star writers who have been at it for a long time and who have a lot of satisfactorily completed orders can probably pull it off, too. Otherwise, keep your DirectOrder rate reasonable, or you'll scare clients away.

Changing Your DirectOrder Rate On A Client-By-Client Basis

As you complete more and more orders for a client, a relationship should start to develop. You can use that relationship to your advantage. Assuming the client has been continually impressed and satisfied with your work – and that a steady stream of orders has been coming in – you might want to consider bumping up his DirectOrder rate. He's comfortable with you, after all, and the idea of having to find a new, reliable writer is bound to be daunting. Don't be afraid to broach the subject with your client; if he is amenable to a slightly higher rate, you'll be able to rake in a bit more per order – a definite bonus!

Sometimes, an existing client may approach you with an exceptionally complex or involved order. This is another time when you should definitely think about upping his DirectOrder rate. You can always put it back down after the more involved project is complete – and always clear it with him, first, so as not to cause any unpleasant surprises – but if the order is going to involve a lot more time than usual, you'll find that most clients are open to a slightly higher rate.

On the flip side, if your DirectOrder rate is set significantly above default and a client is going to be sending you a steady stream of work, you should consider offering him a lower rate. After all, every order that goes into your DirectOrder queue is one that you don't have to compete with other writers to get. Think of it as a “volume discount,” and be willing to offer it up when you get the idea that a client has a lot of work. Tell him that in exchange for the large batch of orders, you'll charge less – and be sure to ask for a flexible deadline, too.

There's no set, foolproof strategy for setting your DirectOrder rate. It's going to involve a bit of trial and error, and you have to being willing to make exceptions or special accommodations for certain clients if you want their business. What works for one writer may not work for another, and if a client feels he can get similar quality work on the OpenOrder board, then he'll do that. Give him a reason not to go elsewhere by providing stellar work with flexible rates.


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