Freelance press professionals are self-employed people who cover all the costs and deductions related to their work, including pension and social security cover. You should take this into account when you agree on your pay.
Below we explain how much freelancers should charge for their work to achieve the average monthly income of their colleagues in employment relationships.
According to the latest labour market survey of the Union of Journalists in Finland (4/2014), the average taxable monthly wage of journalists in employment relationships is €3 724. Since then, wages increased by 0,4% as of 1.1.2015 meaning that the average monthly income was €3 739. According to the collective agreement for the press, working hours are 7,5 hours a day, 1 640 hours a year. Subsequent adjustments under the collective agreement for the press took effect in 2016.
As self-employed people, freelancers handle their own social security cover, occupational health care, insurance and pension cover. These costs have to be calculated together with your payments. Apart from the statutory self-employed pension, your invoicing should factor in such things as workplace rent, electricity costs, internet costs, bookkeeping, stationary, equipment and software, and phone bills.
The reach the level of the average pay of a journalist in an employment relationship, freelancers have to invoice for their work the same as other self-employed people. On average 50% of your invoicing is to cover secondary expenses
To reach the statistical average monthly income of a journalist in an employment relationship, your hourly freelance rate, factoring in secondary costs, should be €58.
According to the UJF’s labour market survey, average monthly incomes for press work vary slightly with different types of publications.
Examples of hourly freelance rates for different categories of newspapers and magazines:
• Customer magazines – €59
• Tabloids – €63
• Organization or trade magazine – €61
• Provincial newspaper – €58
• Local paper – €50
• National daily – €63
• Online publication – €54
• General interest magazine – €58
According to the agreement on freelance work of the Federation of the Finnish Media Industry and the UJF, direct operating expenses and costs associated with carrying out work are also included in payments. Ordinary expenses that exceed expense items (e.g. travel expenses, daily allowances) should be agreed when you agree on an assignment, and should be shown separately on your invoices. With large assignments you can agree separately on logging work and expenses for specific tasks.
Extensive copyright increases your fee
The recommended pay level covers the one-time publishing right to articles, images and artwork.
As a freelancer you sell your copyright. The more extensive the rights the buyer wants over your work, the higher the price that has to be paid.
If the buyer wants to have extensive rights over articles, images or artwork, they can be invoiced as follows:
When one-time publishing rights are sold for a story, image or illustration to be used on another publishing platform under the paper’s brand, the price increases by 15%. Examples:
• Publication of a story/image in the paper/magazine’s online version in addition to in the print version: original price plus 15%
• Publication of a story/image in the paper/magazine’s online version and in one or more e-readers raises the price 2 x 15%: original price plus 30%
• Re-publication in a paper of a story, image or illustration is billed at half the original price.
This is when a paper or press agency has the right to use texts and images continually in new contexts in their own output.
• Continual permission to use such material in all publication channels under a paper’s brand doubles the price, raising it by 100%
• Continual permission to use such material in all publications of a concern or newspaper firm/press agency in different publication channels raises the price threefold, by 200%
• If the buyer wants to sell or assign a story, image or illustration to other publishers or for new publications arising in cooperation with a newspaper firm/press agency, there must always be a prior agreement. This will also agree on how the copyright holder is to be remunerated for the additional use or onward sale of material (e.g. on a 50 % onward sale price).
• 1 hour’s work: €59
• Half a day €222
• 1 day €442
• 2 days €886
• 1 week €2 212
• 4 weeks €8 847
Articles do not incur VAT, but is 24% for assistant editorial and editorial fees.
Photographers and videographers
Photographers’ pricing is based either on the time you spend working, or according to the photographs published. The cost structure for photographers, according to information gathered by the UJF from its members, is greater than for journalists doing written work, due to the equipment required for professional use. This difference is reflected in the pricing given here.
Billing by the hour
Video or still shots, starting rate €204 (Includes an hour for photographing and an hour for processing).
• Additional hours €110 / hour
• Image processing or video editing €110 / hour
Apart from photographing/videoing itself, billing also covers processing, photo set-up, and travel time. If you do stills and videoing on the same gig, the photo billing increases by 50%.
The price includes the usual costs. Travel expenses and 24% VAT is also billed.
Invoicing per photo
You can sell photos priced per item. This system is often used when selling archive photos. The UJF’s labour market surveys found that that the prices of photos vary according to how they are used and for what media. The Finnish photo agencies use the same approach.
The price of the first photo is usually set at between €145 – €265.
When you sell photos of the same subject, the additional photos are cheaper.
The use of photos as cover photos generally increases the price by at least 50%.
Graphic designers, art directors, layout artists and illustrators
For graphic designers and illustrators, pricing covers different stages of their work, expenses and costs. Different stages of work in the case of graphic designers includes discussions with the client, travel expenses, consultation, obtaining and arranging materials, digital materials (such as image files), transfer and processing, page design, corrections, and prints, and sending of material ready for printing.
The expenses of graphic designers are between those of journalists producing written work and photographers. They need to have good IT skills and a range of up to date software. Updating them and getting trained in their use requires constant attention. The calculations below are based on the expenses of graphic designers according to the UJF’s labour market survey and the average income level of journalists explained earlier.
Work on newspapers and magazines
• General hourly rate – €81
• 1 day – €620
• Page correction and redesign of a ready-made page – €81 / hour (routine work)
• Graphic design of web pages – €81 / hour
The rate is per hour, page or item.
With large pieces of work you can make a quotation for the whole job.
The hourly rates for the work of an art director – involving planning or layout design, as well as design of page templates and master pages – is higher than those given above, as the work is more complex.
Layout design and production carries 24% VAT. Logos, vignettes and illustrations have copyright waived and do not include VAT, though VAT is included if they are to be used in advertising.
The graphic design of books has an hourly rate of €81.
• Book cover design – €81 / hour
• Page template (master page) design – €81 / hour
• Graphic design of pages – €81 / hour.
Reprinting is charged at 50% of the original price.
The book publisher agrees a publishing contract with the graphic designer.
The hourly rate for designing and producing illustrations and the right to use them is €81 / hour.
You can also sell your illustrations individually, in which case you should take into account the complexity of the work, the media an illustration will be used for, the scope of user rights, and how long the buyer will use the illustration. The rates per illustration vary widely depending on these considerations.
The original work is always the property of the artist. The sales price includes 10% VAT. The pricing of illustrations and graphic design for advertising includes 24% VAT.
Illustrations for newspapers / magazines do not incur VAT.
In order to reach the average monthly earnings of publishing editors in employment relationships, freelance publishing editors can use the following rates:
Per hour: €46
Half day: €168
1 day: €351
Two days €702
1 week €1 755
4 weeks €7 022
The work of publishing editors includes 24% VAT.
The rates are based on the average monthly taxable earnings (€ 3 060) of publishing editors from the UJF’s labour market survey (04/2015).
The rates given here are average estimates.
Templates of contractual agreements for publishing editing are available on the website of the Finish Writers’ Union kirjailijat.fi and the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers
Finnish Freelance Journalists established the branch for translators (Kaos) in spring 2014. The branch’s own estimation of reasonable rates for translating fiction and non-fiction books is, depending on the complexity of the original, from €16 – €22 per 1 000 characters (including spacing).
These guidelines are updated according to changing circumstances.