Proofreaders take raw documents, often created by professionals in other lines of work and intended for their customers, and carefully review them for errors. Unlike editors or writers, proofreaders typically leave the original text intact, marking the errors and allowing the original document creator to make the changes or choose to leave the work in its current form. Freelance proofreaders do not work for a single client, but may hire out their services to clients in multiple fields. Courts, government offices, providers of newsletters and many other professions regularly rely on freelance proofreaders.
Learn proofreading marks. These marks indicate what changes would improve the document and clearly indicate change placement. These marks typically appear in editorial style publications.
Determine the base cost of offered services. The easiest formula for this multiplies the hourly wage desired for proofreading by the number of hours each assignment requires. A May 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics report lists the median wage for editors at $24.75 per hour, with outliers ranging from half to twice this figure. This figure makes no distinction between proofreading and other editing duties.
Apply for court or other public service positions as a proofreader. Include any literary or educational background along with the styles known.
Provide business cards that list proofreading services. Supply these to local newsletter producers or small print media outlets. Bookstores with writer groups and local colleges may also offer to exchange professional cards or services.
Look for opportunities online. Opportunities may exist with familiar online resources and in venues where the proofreader already has a solid background. These entities often rely heavily on freelance proofreaders to diminish the costs associated with full-time employees. Each site should offer an About Us or Contact Us page for information on how to apply. Many freelance job aggregators, such as Online-Writing-Jobs.com, maintain lists of available positions.