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Based on a fresh review of grant writing consultants’ websites, hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates) vary widely in 2013. Later posts will discuss: retainer rates, prospect research rates, proposal review and editing rates, and other related topics.


Note: This post has been revised for late 2017 here.


Hourly Rates 2017 Graphic


Proposals submitted to corporations or foundations tend to be significantly less complex (and thus generally less costly for clients) than those submitted to units of local, state, or federal government. Consequently, some consultants vary their rates based on the type of grant maker. Other consultants do not differentiate among types of grant makers.


Hourly Rates


Hourly rates for writing grant proposals vary greatly. According to, as of early 2013, the hourly pay rates for a self-selected sample of salaried Grant Writers vary by years of experience. For less than 1 year, the range is $9.79 to $39.15; for 1-4 years, the range is $11.77 to $31.37; for 5-9 years, the range is $16.48 to $59.80; for 10-19 years, the range is $15.26 to $52.40; and for 20+ years, the range is $14.54 to $77.28. Interestingly, this site reports zero bonuses regardless of years of experience.


Consultants’ hourly rates tend to be higher than those of salaried Grant Writers. In early 2013, based on a review of websites of consultants doing business across the United States, the standard rates billed to clients for grant writing and related consulting services range from a low of $50 per hour to a high of $200 per hour. Most rates range between $65 and $80 per hour. The midrange of hourly rates equates to $1,300 to $1,600 per 20 billable hours.


Some consultants state lower rates for non-profit clients versus other types of clients, and for grant writing versus other kinds of grant-related services. In addition, some consultants specify a minimum number of hours (e.g., 10 hours at $150/hour) or a minimum not-to-exceed amount (e.g., $9,000).


Flat Rates


An alternative to charging by the hour is to charge a flat rate (also called a per proposal rate or a per project rate). The consultants often indicate that they will need to do a thorough analysis of the details of a grant opportunity before quoting a flat rate.


Consultants’ actual flat rates vary by such factors as the lead-time to prepare and turn around the proposal, the complexity of the project, the proposal’s length, the amount of the grant request, and the time needed to complete the assignment. Most consultants vary their rates by the type of grant source: foundation, corporation, state, federal. Some consultants also vary their rates by the nature of the proposal document, with a letter of inquiry, a letter of intent to apply, and a corporate solicitation letter costing considerably less than a grant proposal.


Grant Writing Services



Consultant/Firm A



Consultant/Firm B



Consultant/Firm C



Consultant/Firm D



Consultant/Firm E



Consultant/Firm F



Consultant/Firm G



Consultant/Firm H



Consultant/Firm I



Consultant/Firm J



Consultant/Firm K



Consultant/Firm L



Consultant/Firm M



Consultant/Firm N

Varies ($80/hour)

Varies ($80/hour)


As the table indicates, the floor quoted for a basic proposal may be as low as $400 or $500. Some consultants set the floor as high as $3,500 or $5,000. The ceiling quoted for a more complicated proposal may be as high as $8,000; however, such flat fees may surpass $12,000 or even $15,000. Beyond such variations in quoted flat rates, consultants may charge a premium for preparing a proposal with a very short lead-time before it is due, regardless of its source.


In 2013, grant writing consultants often required advance payment in full if the contracted flat rate fell below a predefined threshold. The most frequently specified threshold was $3,000 plus or minus $500. If the flat rate exceeded a given threshold, consultants generally required 50% of the total contract to be paid in advance. They made the balances due either upon delivery of the completed proposal or within either 15 days or 30 days afterwards.




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  3. I’ve read several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make such a magnificent informative web site.

  4. Do you intend to solicit feedback so that you will publish these data into a grant related book? Although some of the data are changing, readers will benefit if you were to write a book. Thank you.

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