Recently I bought a new stove. Just a plain, white, electric stove. The price was cheap enough, but when we finally completed the purchase, it was at least a couple hundred more. Why? Upcharges.

What Are Upcharges and How Can Writers Use Them?

Upcharges are the little add ons that companies tack on to your purchase. Here were some of our add ons:

  • Delivery charge
  • Charge for a plug (yes, that didn’t even come with the stove)
  • Delivery charge for a specific time (instead of an eight hour window you could pay more and narrow it down to two hours)
  • Weekend delivery (an additional charge if you wanted it on a weekend, which is when most people are home)

Now, while it was annoying to pay these charges, we still did. We wanted a stove. It got me thinking about the charges we writers include for free that perhaps should be an upcharge.

Extra Work You’re Doing for Free

When I first started freelancing, I’d do the writing alone. No social media, no promotion, no looking for pictures…

This was back in the old days, before the Internet exploded.

Now, however, I’m often expected to do social media, lots of promotion, getting images, interacting with readers, and more for my writing gigs. That’s not bad, of course, but do I charge more for that work? Do you?

Think about the things you’re “throwing in” as part of your fee. Do you really need to include them? Could they be an additional charge? Perhaps the photos you search for or some of the extra touches should be provided as an upcharge. While this wouldn’t work for every client, there are plenty of them that would agree you should be compensated for the extra work you do.

Upcharges for Excessive Revisions

I’m not a fan of charging for revisions, mostly because I think clients sometimes struggle with getting their point across in what they want, and as a result you’ll have to revise. I think it’s part of business. But there has been a time or two when I’ve approached a client who was very unorganized and talked to them about charges for excessive revisions. The client agreed. They knew they had changed the scope of the project several times and cost me time.

Should this be an upcharge? I think it depends on the work and your client relationship.


The other problem that’s happened in the last couple years is that the more odds and ends writers throw into their work, the more its expected. But should it be?

I thought of this as we were charged for the plug for the stove. The plug? I asked. Seriously?

But without even a second thought, the sales guy said, Of course. You’re buying the stove. Everything else is extra.

Think about this the next time you price out a job. They’re buying your writing ability, not everything else.

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