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Should You Accept Freelance Pay Based Only on Results?

Posted on July 12th, 2017

One of the top concerns of new freelancers is how to decide what to charge. Should you charge by the hour? Or, should you instead charge by the word or project?

There seems to be many proponents for both types of charging methods. And they all have very good points when arguing their cases.

But what about charging based on the results? In other words, should you accept freelance pay based only on results your clients achieve from the work you did?

Some clients pay by the hour, page, or project. Plus, they may also pay their freelancers a bonus for the number of views or shares the site gets. Of course, this implies that the better the results, the larger the bonus will be. But, is receiving payment based only on the results really a fair way to get paid for the work you did?

Here are some things to consider before you agree to accept pay based only on results.

Why You Shouldn’t Accept Pay Based Only on Results

Results Based Pay Can De-emphasize the Writing

When a freelance writer is paid based on the number of views a site gets, it can detract from the real work that was actually done.

The reason for this may not immediately be clear until you examine what happens under this type of pay for results system.

If you as the freelancer get paid for site views, you may shift your focus from a well-written article to an article that is merely aesthetically pleasing. Thus, it may draw more people to the site. In worse cases, it may lead writers to produce factually inaccurate content or click bait in an effort to increase their earnings.

You Might Not Get Paid At All

Pay based on results may mean the freelancer doesn’t get paid for the work that was done.

Let’s say the client is going to pay you, the writer, ½ cent for each view the article receives. But, they won’t make payment until the accumulated number of hits gets to a $25.00 or more payout. This type of system means the number of views has to hit 5,000 before you will get paid a single cent. If you are doing the work for someone whose site will not hit that mark, you may never get paid at all.

Then there’s the idea of being paid when someone shares the website or comments on the article. But, what if nobody takes the time to leave a comment or share the article you worked so hard on? Based on this type of payment system, you may also never receive a payment.

You Don’t Have Control Over Other Factors

As a freelance writers, you have no say in anything other than the article and its content. If the website owner has a poorly designed and maintained website, it really may not be fair to be paid based on the number of hits on the article. In this case, you could write the best article in the world. But if nobody sees it, you will not get paid for the work that was done. Since you have nothing to do with these types of decisions, it’s safe to say that this method of payment isn’t fair to you.

Why You Should Accept Pay Based Only on Results

The Site Has a Large Audience

Some websites already have a regular audience built up of loyal readers. If this is the case and they are a well trafficked site, it could be worth your while to get payed based on results. Take the time to check these facts before making your decision. There are times that pay based on results could work in your favor.

You Write About Trending Topics

When the topic of the article you are asked to write is something that is currently buzzed about on the internet, you may be able to make a bundle by accepting pay based on the number of views or comments. Keep tabs on topics that could be time sensitive so you can cash in on them.

Other Ways to Decide If You Should Accept Pay Based Only on Results

Ask Other Freelancers

When you are trying to decide whether or not results based pay is the right choice, asking other freelancers how they charge could help. If you have befriended other freelancers, ask them how they decide what to charge their clients. You don’t have to get their actual figures. Just get a ballpark amount or ask how they calculate what they charge.

Do Your Homework

Another way to decide whether you should or shouldn’t accept pay based on results is to do a little research. You can find a lot of information about how you should charge your clients on the internet.

Do you know someone who is a Marketing Consultant or works in Human Resources? If so, they could also be a wealth of knowledge about how you should charge for what you do for your clients.

Be Willing to Haggle

To receive pay by a method other than the number of views, shares or comments to the website of the client you may need to be willing to haggle. Ask for what you feel you deserve and stand on your bottom price. Although you might be uncomfortable negotiating a price with your client, once you have done it a few times it will get easier to do.

Invoice Your Clients

What method should you use to receive payment from your client? You could use any of a number of different ways to get paid. One of the choices that allows you to save time and receive payment easily is to choose an online invoicing and payment system. Choosing a system that allows both you and your client’s easy access is beneficial to both of you and can make for happy clients and higher pay.

Suggest Bonuses

As an alternative to being paid based only on results, you could suggest these be a bonus to good work performed. This ensures you will get paid for the work you do as a freelancer. Bonuses also motivate you to provide quality work for your client. Don’t be afraid to point out this as a winning solution to pay based on results for both of you.

But, be wary of counting on bonuses for your regular income each month as a freelancer. Instead, calculate your income without the bonuses. Then, if you are able to get a bonus from a client based on the number of views or other criteria, it will truly be a bonus instead of part of your regular income. Additionally, if the bonus doesn’t come, you will still be able to pay your own bills.


In the end the question of whether or not you should accept freelance pay based only on results. For every small business owner this is a tough one to answer. Many things affect this decision. So, think it over carefully before accepting or declining any jobs based on this method of pay.

Have you ever accepted pay based on results? Why or why not?

Kayla Sloan

Kayla Sloan

Kayla is passionate about helping people get their finances in order so they can pursue a life of freedom. She quit her job to work for herself with over $148,000 of debt and swears it was the best decision she's ever made!

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