How to Work as a Freelance Proofreader

One of the best things about working from home is that in the vast majority of cases you can set your own hours and you can take on as much or as little work as your circumstances allow. Some jobs will still require you to work within certain time parameters (such as making marketing calls, for example) but others can be done at literally any time that suits you.


Working from home as a proofreader is one such form of employment and the great thing about it is that you probably already possess a number of skills required and the chances are you have the necessary equipment as well.

What is proofreading?

Proofreading describes the process of reading through documents and checking them for any spelling errors, grammatical errors and just to generally ensure they make sense. Depending on who has written the documents and the audience for whom they are intended, you may also be required to adhere to certain protocols in terms as well, such as certain words always having a capital letter, or certain word combinations always being hyphenated.

There are certain accepted standards for proofreading which explain how you should annotate the documents you are sent, be they hard copies or electronic copies. If you are working on a computer it is much easier to use settings within word processing programs that track the changes which are made. This is useful for situations where the original author may have an issue with a change you have made or where the meaning of a sentence or phrase has been ‘lost in translation’ and the original text needs to be traced in order to make sense of it all.

Do you need any qualifications to be a proofreader?

For any proofreading work you will need to be able to read and write to a high standard and to communicate clearly in English. You will need to be comfortable working on a computer and using word processing programs such as Microsoft Word.

You will need to be able to read documents carefully and comprehensively and you will need a keen eye for detail. Most texts that you read will have already have been read through by at least one person before they are sent to you, so your job will be to spot the more well hidden errors rather than the glaringly obvious ones (though obviously you shouldn’t ignore these if you come across them).

You will then be required to annotate the documents to show the changes and adjustments that you have made during your work, before passing it back to your employer.

There are official proofreading qualifications that you could perhaps seek to gain if you are serious about making proofreading your profession. More details on these can be found through a simple internet search, but the following link will give you a good place to start:

ChapterHouse Publishing

How could I work as a proofreader from home?

The internet has changed the lives of so many people all around the world and one of the benefits as far as you are concerned is that it will enable you to work as a proofreader based in your own home.

You will be sent documents for proofreading via email (or another form of online document transfer) and will be required to work on them on your own computer before sending them back to your employer(s) upon completion. At first this each document may take a while to get through, but as you get into the swing of it you will work much more quickly and therefore be able to make more money from what you are doing.

You may find yourself working with one employer on a long-term basis or you may find that you are taking on ad hoc projects from a variety of different employers, or indeed a combination of the two.

How should I go about finding work proofreading from home?

Once you’ve established that you would like to work as a proofreader and that you’ve got the necessary skills, you will need to find yourself some employment. It’s always worth approaching recruitment agencies as they are not only able to offer you potential job opportunities but can often give you good general advice as well.

Another route that’s well worth exploring is that of websites offering proofreading work. Here are a couple to point you in the right direction:

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, the following links are a good starting point:

It’s also worth advertising locally and scouring local newspapers for job advertisements as smaller employers will often take advantage of their cheaper rates when posting upcoming roles.

You must remember that as a freelancer you are responsible for your organising your own income tax and National Insurance contributions - you can check HMRC website for more details.

For more information about proofreading in general, please visit the website of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders: