Why don’t you give a cost for proofreading on your website?

Have you ever found a garment which claims ‘one size fits all’ that actually fits you? I thought not!

That is exactly the same for editing and proofreading. One size does not fit all so, instead of giving you a price which includes extras you don’t need, I will always tailor your quote to fit you.

The definition of editing or proofreading differs from person to person. I will look at various levels of editing in more detail in a future post, but for the purpose of this article I am assuming you are not a publisher, and you are looking for a single comprehensive edit.

Let’s look at what affects how much you will pay for proofreading:

If you’re in a rush and want a free, no-obligation quote, please send me a small sample of your work, let me know your deadline, and give me an estimate of how many words need proofreading. Otherwise, please read on.

What have you written?

There are certain checks that need to be carried out no matter what you’ve written, but the type of document will dictate what additional work is needed. Here are some examples of what checks might be necessary for each type of writing.

Weekly blogs in a conversational tone

You probably won’t need more than checks for consistency, typos and other errors. You may need a style sheet drawn up or applied to help your regular blogs to look professional.

Marketing material for print or online

Your English usage will probably be more formal, and the cost of errors may be higher as there may be production costs involved. As well as checking for consistency, typos and other errors, you may want the layout checked, including positioning of any artwork.

A board report

As well as the previous checks, headings and subheadings will need to be formatted consistently. There will possibly be a table of contents that needs checking. You may have tables, charts and calculations. If so, their titles and any references to them will need to be checked for accuracy and consistency. You may also want calculations checked.

A multi-author training manual or proposal

With multiple authors, the likelihood of inconsistent spelling, formatting and use of abbreviations is much higher. You’ll need a style sheet (if you don’t already have one), and much more focus on consistency is also necessary. You might need help combining multiple documents into a single coherent whole, or want help sorting out layout inconsistencies created by combining multiple documents.

A business journal submission or PhD thesis

All the earlier mentioned checks will still be needed, but you will have citations and may have cross-references. These need to be verified, and formatted to obey a recognised style. There are, however, some limits to the amount of intervention allowed in student submissions.

How long is your document?

Are you writing a single short document, a single long document or multiple separate articles?

As I charge per word, the overall price will obviously be dictated by the document length, but the rate per word might be higher for a one-off document than if you book in a number of separate articles over a period of time.

For instance, there are a number of checks that I carry out on each new job, no matter how long it is. As these will take a greater proportion of the time spent proofreading a short document, you will find the rate per word is higher for 500 words than for 5,000 words. However, if you book in regular short blogs in advance, the cost per word will also be lower than for a single piece. This is because I get to know you, your style and your quirks, which makes it much easier to work on subsequent documents (for instance, I have a client who often types ‘form’ instead of ‘from’ so I now check this before I start proofreading their work). 

What is your writing style?

  • Do you use common words, or their more complex synonyms?
  • Do you use short sentences or do you average 3 sentences per page?
  • Is your writing full of jargon? If so, have you properly defined each of the terms at first use?

Using complex words, long sentences and a lot of jargon is not necessarily wrong, so long as your writing is appropriate to your audience, and your meaning is clear. However, the more complex your writing style, the more likely you are to make mistakes. It may also make it more difficult for your editor to understand your work, so you will pay more.

Do remember that one great advantage of using a proofreader is that they will make sure your writing makes sense to an impartial outsider!

What format is your document?

Is your writing in a Word document or a PDF, on PowerPoint slides or on your WordPress site? Do you want to send your editor a hard copy, or is there some other format you are using? There are pros and cons to each, but the most important consideration for you is what format suits your end use. Do, however, let your editor know what format you’ll be sending over. As a bit of an IT geek, I work most efficiently on screen (particularly on Word files, PDFs or WordPress sites), but each editor will have a preferred format, and this may impact your final price.

When is your deadline?

Your editing deadline and document length are closely connected. The tighter your deadline, the more you will pay, however, if you can help your proofreader to plan their schedule in advance, rather than expecting them to drop everything to fit your work in, then you will probably pay less.

Please also remember to allow enough time for your document to be proofread and for you to work through the resulting comments and amendments. As a rough guide I always advise clients to allow around 1 working day per 7,000 words for the proofreading itself. Longer documents, booked in advance, can often be completed more quickly, but proofreading 80,000 words for tomorrow is simply not possible.

Remember, your proofreader can’t work through your document at the same speed at which you might be able to read a novel.

This doesn’t mean that short deadlines can never be catered for – please do ask as it may be possible to fit you in – but expect to pay a premium for the service.


As you can see, proofreading and editing really is better customised to your exact needs. This is why you won’t find a price published on my website. If you would like to find out more, or want to know how much it would cost to proofread or edit your work (whether a one-off piece or a series of blogs and articles) I’d love to hear from you, so get in touch.

In my next post I will give you a few simple checks you can carry out yourself to improve your writing and reduce the cost of proofreading.

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