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This review of data from websites in early 2017 is new. It is part of an ongoing series. It confirms that grant consultants’ hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), which they charge for services, continue to vary greatly. Other posts in the series for 2017 will explore: retainer rates, prospect research rates, proposal review and editing rates, and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Hourly Rates

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

Hourly rates for writing grant proposals vary greatly. According to PayScale.com, as of early 2017, the hourly pay rates for a self-selected sample of salaried Grant Writers vary by stage of career. For early career, the range is $14.35 to $30.67; for mid-career, the range is $17.12 to $38.59; for experienced, the range is $17.94 to $50.38; and for late career, the range is $19.50 to $70.96.

The range of self-reported bonuses varies, with larger bonuses reported for mid-career salaried Grant Writers than for late career or for early career.

In early 2017, grant writing consultants’ hourly rates tend to be higher than those of many salaried Grant Writers. Based on a review of sampled websites of consultants doing business across the United States, the standard rates billed to clients for grant writing and related consulting services stretch from $35 per hour to $250 per hour. The median for sampled rates is $80 per hour, which is $15 less per hour than in 2016. Most sampled rates fall between $50 and $100 per hour, which is $1,000 to $2,000 for every 20 billable hours.

Some grant writing consultants offer lower rates for non-profit clients versus other types of clients. They also offer lower rates for writing grant proposals versus other kinds of grant-related services (e.g., grants management or project evaluation). In addition, some consultants specify a minimum number of hours (e.g., 20 hours at $100/hour) or a minimum not-to-exceed amount (e.g., $10,000).

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). Grant writing 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 – a letter of inquiry, a letter of intent to apply, and a corporate solicitation letter tend to cost considerably less than a full-length grant proposal to be sent to a government agency.

As the table below indicates, the floor that some grant writing consultants quote for a basic proposal (typically for a private foundation) may be as low as $500 or even less. Other consultants may set the floor at $5,000, $6,000, or $12,500. The ceilings quoted for a more complicated proposal may be $10,000 or $12,000; however, such flat-rate ceilings may reach $15,000, $45,000, or even $60,000. Beyond such wide 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.

Grant Writing Services Minimum Flat Rates Maximum Flat Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $195 $995
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 3 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 4 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 5 $500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 6 $500 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 7 $600 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 8 $950 $2,000
Consultant/Firm 9 $1,000 $3,500
Consultant/Firm 10 $1,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 11 $1,000 $6,000
Consultant/Firm 12 $1,000 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 13 $1,500 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 14 $1,500 $10,000
Consultant/Firm 15 $1,500 $45,000
Consultant/Firm 16 $2,250 $6,000
Consultant/Firm 17 $2,500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 18 $2,500 $12,000
Consultant/Firm 19 $3,500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 20 $5,000 $11,000
Consultant/Firm 21 $5,000 $12,000
Consultant/Firm 22 $5,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 23 $5,500 $7,000
Consultant/Firm 24 $6,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 25 $6,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 26 $6,970 $7,650
Consultant/Firm 27 $12,500 $60,000
Consultant/Firm 28 $1,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 29 $2,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 30 $3,300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 31 $4,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 32 $4,000 Unstated

 

In 2017, grant writing consultants often require advance payment in full if the contracted flat rate falls below a predefined threshold. The most frequently stated threshold – $3,000 plus or minus $500 – is the same as it was in 2016 and in 2015. If the flat rate exceeds a given threshold, consultants generally require 50% of the total contract to be paid in advance. They make the balances due either upon delivery of the completed proposal or within either 15 days or 30 days after delivery.

Many consultants provide hourly rates, typically as an alternative to flat rates and sometimes in addition to flat rates. Such hourly rates may be one definite amount or they may cover a range, where which rate will apply will depend upon the nature of services to be performed. In 2017, most of the hourly rates found in an online search are $50 to $100, with a median of $80.

Grant Writing Services Minimum Hourly Rates Maximum Hourly Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $50 $65
Consultant/Firm 2 $60 $100
Consultant/Firm 3 $100 $130
Consultant/Firm 4 $100 $150
Consultant/Firm 5 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 6 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 7 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 8 $65 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 9 $70 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 $75 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 $75 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 $85 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 $95 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 17 $100 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 18 $100 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 19 $120 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 20 $125 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 21 $125 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 22 $150 Unstated

 

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