Freelance work UK: Salary guide

Hannah Conway
01.10.19
4 minute read

Going freelance has never been more popular. According to recent figures, there’s now a whopping 4.8 million self-employed workers in the UK, and a 31% rise in the number of people seriously considering working for themselves.¹

In this article, we’ll take a look at some prospective salaries for freelance jobs, including handy tips for getting paid quickly and easily with freelancer-friendly services, like TransferWise.


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What can you expect to earn?

So, does working for yourself really pay the bills? Well, yes. Provided you’ve got the skills that people are looking for.

The average hourly wage for a freelancer in the UK is approximately £13.77. However, rates and salaries can differ depending on the freelance role you choose, and the country in which your client is based. Below is a summary of some of the jobs for UK freelancers and the average salaries for each, according to research conducted by Glassdoor.com.

If you’re planing to go self-employed in the UK, use the self-employed income tax calculator to work out your profit after tax, and what you need to pay in Income Tax and National Insurance. Get the calculator here.

Career Average freelance hourly rate* Average annual pay (base pay)
Copywriter £13.39p/h £26,111²
Web Copywriter £9.88p/h £19,265³
Graphic Designer £14.12p/h £27,542⁴
Designer £13.74p/h £26,784⁵
Tax Consultant £19.23p/h £37,501⁶
Software Developer £17.98p/h £35,065⁷
Web Developer £16.22p/h £31,644⁸

Remember though - freelancers come in all shapes and forms, so this is just a small sample of the many creative and technical freelance gigs out there.

*Hourly rates are calculated on gross income (before tax) based on working 7.5 hours a day, 5 days a week for 52 working weeks of the year.

Getting paid as a freelancer

Whether you work as a self-employed graphic designer or take on one of the many freelance marketing jobs being advertised, your time is precious. So naturally, you’ll need to make sure you get paid on time and in full. Remember, any time spent chasing unpaid invoices is time you’re not earning.

And why limit your client base to just the UK? With freelancer marketplaces like Fiverr, Upwork and People-Per-Hour there’s no reason at all that you can’t find lucrative freelancing opportunities all over the world. Freelancing is borderless and with useful services like TransferWise, your money can be borderless too.

So why not expand your reach and easily receive payments from international clients?

Receive payments for free with an international business account from TransferWise

Becoming a global freelancer is much easier than you think. Your secret weapon to getting paid: a free Transferwise for freelancers account.

Open your account for free and you’ll soon be able to:

  • Invoice global clients in your own currency
  • Receive payments for your work in multiple currencies, with no fees
  • Get your own US, Eurozone, Australian, New Zealand, and UK account details for free, in minutes
  • Always get the mid-market exchange rate

Now, back to what you came to read.

Freelance jobs: Which one to choose?

The biggest factor when choosing a freelance career will always be your skill set. But if you’re lucky enough to be multi-talented, or you want to get started in a brand new career, you can work across multiple fields. Freelancers can build expertise in any number of industries from accountancy through to dog walking (or both at the same time). Once you’re established as a professional, you can start to land jobs that pay £20 an hour in the UK, or even internationally (depending on the role).

To give yourself a financial edge, seek out the roles that are most in demand - and given how rapidly the jobs market is evolving, that’s always going to change, so it pays to keep an eye on what your potential clients need.


Succeeding as a freelancer is all about finding the right fit for you and factoring ‘non-billable’ stuff like holidays, sick pay and admin. The research and tips in this article will guide you towards freelance careers that pay the bills.

So with a little luck, hard work and helpful supporting services like TransferWise, your freelance career will flourish. You’ll soon be pursuing your passion, enjoying a better work/life balance and making money at the same time.

Sources used:

  1. Surge in UK Freelancers
  2. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Copywriter
  3. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Web Copywriter
  4. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Graphic Designer
  5. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Tax Consultant
  6. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Software Developer
  7. Glassdoor Salary Guide: Web Developer

Sources checked on 01-October 2019.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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