ProofreadingPal Blog

Proofreading Services Rates

January 13, 2014 by Brian Kaldenberg in Proofreading and Editing

If you’ve ever looked for a proofreading service, you’ve probably noticed that there are literally thousands of options and hundreds of different rates. I can’t possibly keep track of all of the proofreading rates being offered, but as the president and founder of ProofreadingPal, I’m going to try to offer you some simple advice on the various questions you’ll likely encounter, along with advice on the proofreading rates you should expect to pay.

Should I choose a service that charges by the word, by the page, or by the hour?

Always choose a service that charges by the word because that is the most precise and up-front pricing model. Often pages have hardly any text on them, so why should you pay for the entire page? If you pay hourly, how can you be sure of how long the service will take? Always ask for a quote based on your word count.

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For English proofreading, should I use overseas freelancers and proofreading services?

Never! Although outsourced proofreading and editing services may offer very attractive rates, never—and I mean never—use an online proofreading service that doesn’t guarantee every single one of its proofreaders is a native English speaker.

If you find proofreading rates for less than $0.003 (3/10 of a cent) per word or editing rates for less than $0.007 (7/10 of a cent) per word, there is a good chance that the work is being performed overseas. Avoid these services because there’s a very good chance the proofreaders working overseas will not be well-versed in the fundamentals of the English language.

Should I use an online proofreading service or a freelancer?

Although freelancers typically offer lower rates, I highly recommend that you choose an online proofreading service instead of a freelancer. Online proofreading  and editing services typically offer higher quality because they allow only the very best proofreaders to work for them. They also usually offer better and more responsive customer service. Finally, online proofreading services generally offer much faster turnaround speeds.

Online proofreading services usually employ a combination of employees and freelance proofreaders, so when you hire a proofreading company to edit your documents, freelance proofreaders may well be actually performing the work. The difference is that top online proofreading services allow only very talented freelance proofreaders to work for them, usually requiring that the editors pass a rigorous test to even qualify. Furthermore, online proofreading services require consistency in the quality of their proofreaders’ work, letting go those who fail to perform at the highest standards. So hiring an online proofreading service helps to ensure that you’ve filtered out the many freelance proofreaders who either cannot pass the required tests or fail to maintain top performance. If you hire a service such as ProofreadingPal, you can trust that the proofreaders working on your document are very talented (click HERE to view our two-proofreader model)—some of the most talented proofreaders available.

Another very important issue is customer service; what if you have questions before, during, or after your proofreading has been completed? Online proofreading services usually offer much more responsive customer service than freelancers do, having dedicated staff to answer e-mails, phone calls, and chats. Freelancers are not making money unless they are proofreading, so they inherently focus much less time on customer service–related tasks. Here at ProofreadingPal, we have dedicated, live customer service available every single day from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST. These individuals are paid by the hour to assist our customers, and they spend as much time as necessary to ensure that every customer gets the time he or she deserves.

If you require fast turnaround, an online proofreading service will almost certainly be able to meet your deadline better than a freelancer can. Many freelancers have ongoing projects, and they can’t necessarily drop everything to meet your needs. They often take on too much work—which can lead to poor quality due to rushed or missed deadlines. Here at ProofreadingPal, we have a staff of 7 employees and over 50 professional contract proofreaders. If you have a rush project, we’ll always have talented proofreaders ready to help you out. We offer as fast as 90-minute turnaround from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CST, and we offer 3-hour turnaround 24/7.

Do I need proofreading or editing? What is the difference in rates?

Proofreading rates are almost always 20–40% lower than editing rates, but editing will improve your document much more than proofreading will. Proofreading typically entails looking only for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization errors. Editing involves not only proofreading the document but also making the necessary alterations to improve sentence structure, clarity, organization, style, and formatting consistency.

Most people are looking for both proofreading and basic editing as a combined service. If, after reading this article, you are still unsure whether you need proofreading or editing, I suggest that you err on the side of caution and choose proofreading and editing as a combined service. That is exactly what we offer at ProofreadingPal because we know that the combined service is what most people need.

Of course, if you (or your peers, coworkers, friends, or another editing service) have already edited your document several times and feel that it is in its best possible shape, then proofreading may be what you want. But please remember, proofreading is intended to correct typos and does not entail further improvements in sentence structure, clarity, organization, style, or formatting consistency. Proofreading will catch only the lingering spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization errors.

Again, most people are looking for both proofreading and basic editing as a combined service because they want an error-free document with improved clarity and readability. If you want to not only catch lingering errors but also improve your sentence structure, clarity, organization, style, and formatting consistency, then you need both proofreading and editing. At ProofreadingPal, we even make helpful comments and suggestions as a final element of our combined proofreading and editing service.

Proofreading and editing as a combined service is the most popular service at ProofreadingPal and is a great option for any of the following:

From graduate students to businesses and authors—even with materials written using English as a second language (ESL)—our customers find that ProofreadingPal is well equipped to meet their needs.

For nonrush proofreading and editing as a combined service (48-hour to 7+ day turnaround), you should expect to pay from $0.012 to $0.03 (1.2–3 cents) per word. For rush-turnaround proofreading and editing as a combined service (24-hour or faster), you should expect to pay from $0.03 to $0.10 (3–10 cents) per word.

What additional issues should I consider when deciding on a proofreading service?

The final thing to consider is the trustworthiness of the freelancers or proofreading services that you’re considering and what separates them from the pack. You need to look at things like testimonials, how long they have been in business, whether their website looks professional, whether they are open during nights and weekends, whether they employ only native English speakers, what kind of guarantee they offer, and so forth. You need to consider all of these issues and then determine whether their rates are within your budget.

Here at ProofreadingPal, we separate ourselves from the pack in using two proofreaders on all documents of fewer than 15,000 words (we offer custom quotes for projects of more than 15,000 words). We use two native English–speaking professional proofreaders because we know that two heads are better than one. All of our proofreaders have passed a qualifying test to work for us, and all of our proofreaders are continually monitored for quality control.

You can view our testimonials here: https://proofreadingpal.com/client-testimonials.php. We have more than 5,000 customers, and we’ve proofread and edited over 50,000,000 words. We’re open every single day from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CST, and we back all of our work with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

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