What You Need To Know Before Becoming A Freelance Chat Agent

Do you want to become a freelance chat agent (also known as your first job in customer service or customer support)? With all the different companies trying to attract new customers using live chat through websites, it is not difficult to find work.

If you are looking for work online and don’t wish to pick up a phone or answer emails, freelancing might be a good fit for you. This is because you’ll be in control of your working hours and will have limited calls during the day. 

On top of that, it is more likely that the sorts of questions that require researching the internet will come your way.

In this article, we’ll give an overview of the topics that you need to think about before starting as a freelance chat agent. These are:

This is how to become a freelancer | Upwork – YouTube
1. Understanding Freelancing: Learn about the intricacies of the freelance chat agent role and how it fits into the broader freelancing landscape.
2. Essential Skills: Discover the key skills required, such as effective written communication, multitasking, problem-solving, and customer service.
3. Remote Work Dynamics: Understand the dynamics of remote work, including self-discipline, time management, and creating a productive home office setup.
4. Choosing Platforms: Gain insights into different freelancing platforms and determine which ones align with your skills, preferences, and earning goals.
5. Client Expectations: Learn about managing client expectations, setting boundaries, and maintaining professionalism in virtual interactions.

How Much Will I Earn?

The first and most important thing you need to know is how much money you can earn as a freelance chat agent. The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors, including your experience and the type of work you choose to do. 

However, according to PayScale’s data, the average hourly rate for remote customer service agents is around $13 per hour. This means that if you work 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year, that would add up to $26,000 annually. 

Of course, this number will vary depending on how many hours you put in each week and what type of work you do (answering questions vs troubleshooting technical issues).

Building a successful freelance career requires careful consideration. If you’re wondering whether freelance email marketing is the right path for you, our article on Freelance Email Marketing: Is It Right for You? provides valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Do Your Homework

Before you can apply for a position, you must be knowledgeable about the company.

You need to research your potential employer in order to write an effective cover letter and resume.

When you are hired as a chat agent, it will be expected that you know all about the product or service being sold by the client. This means that an important part of your homework is to learn as much as you can about the client and their business. 

You will be expected to answer customer questions about the company, so you need to not only be familiar with the company but also with the product or service. The best way for you to learn everything there is to know is by reading all of their online documentation and visiting their retail stores if they have any in your area.

Make Sure You Are Adept With Computers And The Internet

Successful chat agents are highly familiar with computers and the internet. They should have basic knowledge of computer functions like how to open a document or send an email, and be comfortable using the internet to look up information or complete tasks. They should also be able to download and install software, troubleshoot tech issues, and use a variety of hardware like tablets, laptops, PCs, and phones.

Chat agents will work with many different programs and apps on a daily basis it’s important that you’re able to learn how to use these tools quickly.

Chat agents may receive new instructions daily on how to assist their clients better; they may even need to set up new accounts for clients as well.

Are you a fast, accurate typist?

If you’re not a fast and accurate typist, this probably won’t be the right type of work for you. How fast is fast? Generally, companies will require an average of 50 wpm (words per minute), but some may require higher speeds.

So, how can you check to see if your speed and accuracy are up to snuff? TypingTest.com is a great resource where you can take typing tests and compare your results with others. You’ll also find lots of practice material to help you improve your typing speed and accuracy if needed.

Is good grammar and spelling in your bloodline?

Grammar and spelling can make or break your efforts in chat agentry. You’ll be expected to communicate clearly, so you should have a good grasp of both. In some cases, you might even need to get creative with punctuation if you want to convey your meaning in a short space. 

There’s no room for ambiguity in a chat conversation, and agents have only seconds to figure out what customers are asking before the customer gets impatient and leaves (or at least starts getting snappy).

Misspelled words are the enemy. If you don’t feel confident in your spelling abilities, an online spellchecker will be your best friend. So get ready to fall into an unhealthy relationship with autocorrect as it tries its best and sometimes fails hilariously to correct your mistakes. 

Also consider practicing typing on sites like TypingClub or Keybr; being a fast typist will go far toward being seen as an efficient agent when chat conversations can often involve sending back-and-forth messages with customers about their problems within seconds of each other.

Venturing into the world of freelancing can be exciting, and freelance lead generation is a promising avenue. Learn about what it is, how to do it, and how to get paid through our comprehensive guide on freelance lead generation.

Are You Comfortable Using Chat Platforms?

One key question you should consider when deciding whether to become a chat agent is, “Am I comfortable using chat platforms?” If the answer is yes, then you can start researching and applying for chat agent jobs. 

If the answer is no, then you may want to reconsider chat agents typically need to use live-chat software on an ongoing basis to do their job well.

Chat platforms are available in a variety of ways: through a website, in an app, or on social media. Similarly, they can be accessed from different devices: using your browser or downloading an app. Some are very intuitive and easy to navigate; others can be more complicated and require some getting used to.

For example, if one of your friends sends you a message on WhatsApp (a very common messaging platform), this message comes as part of a conversation that contains all previous messages between the two of you. 

This means that if another friend has sent you a separate message on WhatsApp but not in the same conversation as your first friend’s message, then that second friend’s message will show up separately, even though both messages were sent via WhatsApp.

Many aspects of messaging systems like WhatsApp can seem quite confusing at first glance but make perfect sense once you learn how they work. This is why it’s important for chat agents to become familiar with any chat platform before trying to engage with visitors or customers.

Do You Have A Quiet Place To Work?

It should go without saying that you will need a quiet place free of distractions where you can work. As a live chat agent, you could be having up to five active conversations at the same time. This is not the sort of job that you can do while chatting on a conference call with your friends or while watching television. 

The problem is not even limited to noise; people speaking in another room or music playing in the background can make it difficult for those on the other end of your conversation to hear what you say, and vice versa.

Are You Prepared To Keep Normal Working Hours?

If you are working for a company that is in the same time zone, chances are your work hours will be normal business hours. If you are working for a company that is overseas, you may need to work evenings and weekends to meet their expectations. 

You also need to be flexible with your schedule as companies often have times of high volume and you will be expected to work extra hours during these times.

You must also be prepared for the fact that most companies will not give scheduling information more than a week in advance. Some companies may not even give scheduling information until a few days before the shift. 

Most chat agent jobs require candidates to commit to at least 20 hours per week on a regular basis and some require candidates commit to more than 40 hours per week. Being able to adjust your schedule with short notice is important if you want to keep freelance chat agent jobs.

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Can You Take Constructive Criticism?

A lot of the feedback you’ll receive will be in the form of “Whoopsies!” and “Good job!” But every so often, you might get one that says your response is incorrect, or less than stellar. This can happen even with a perfect score in fact, it’s bound to happen. The important thing is how you handle it.

The best way to react? Ask questions when necessary and keep an open mind.  If something is unclear, don’t be shy about asking for more specifics or examples about what can be improved. No matter what kind of feedback you get (good or bad), always thank your reviewer for their time and input it helps to build rapport and demonstrates professionalism. 

And remember: at the end of the day, we are all people just trying to do our jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Are You Familiar With The Client’s Website?

Do you have any experience with their product or service?

If you answered “No” to the first two questions, don’t worry. You still have time to prepare!

Take a look at the company’s website and see what their product or service is about. If can, research other companies that offer a similar product or service. This will help you get up to speed quickly in case there are any new terms you’re not familiar with when researching products and services in your free time (outside of your chat shift).

Familiarize yourself with the company’s FAQ page so that if customers ask questions that are already listed there, you will be able to answer them right away.

Practice working with a sample client or family member so that you can get an idea of how it will go when the real work begins.

For practice, talk to a family member or friend. If you have a phone, ask the person to call you.

When possible, practice with a sample client. This could be an actual client who is offering free help for you to get started or someone who is willing to help out as you are getting started.

Ask for feedback from friends and family members about your work. Ask them what they think and if there is anything that needs more work before you begin working with clients on a larger scale.

If possible, try to do at least three practice sessions before you start working with real clients so that you feel more comfortable when the time comes.

Keep Writing Samples On Hand

As your career as a freelance chat agent progresses, you’ll want to maintain a portfolio of your work particularly if you end up working for more than one company at the same time. Keep track of each project and its outcome, so that you can show it to potential clients in case they want proof of your ability to succeed.

If something comes up that you’re not sure how to answer, don’t be afraid to admit it; there are many tech support groups online where people are happy to help. 

In most cases there will be someone with the same problem as yours who has already asked the question, and gotten an answer, on forums such as Reddit or Quora. Take advantage of these resources, and you’ll always look like an expert!

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How Will You Be Paid For Your Work? Is It By Commission, By The Hour, Or Per Chat?

One of the first things you should discuss with your client is how you’ll be paid for your work. Many clients will pay per chat, meaning a freelancer gets a set amount of money for each chat response given. 

Some clients may instead pay by commission, meaning the more chats you respond to, the more money you make. By contrast, some may pay by the hour.

Whatever payment terms you have decided on with your client, it’s important to address this issue prior to signing any contracts or getting started on any work. It is common for companies to take advantage of freelance chat agents and not pay them after their work is completed it has happened several times in our industry!

Negotiate with your clients beforehand so that there is no confusion about payment terms. Be aware that some clients have been known to not pay freelancers on time, if at all.

Negotiate with your clients beforehand so that there is no confusion about payment terms. Be aware that some clients have been known to not pay freelancers on time, if at all.

If you do run into a situation where the client is late paying you or you are owed money for work completed, contact them immediately and ask them what the reason for the delay is. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions like “what’s going on?” or “when will I get paid?” or even “why haven’t I gotten paid yet?”

If they do not respond back in a timely manner and continue to leave you hanging, document everything and reach out to them again via email or CC someone else on their team who may be more responsive in helping resolve the issue. If that doesn’t help escalate things further by opening up a dispute through PayPal (or whatever payment gateway they use).

To protect yourself against these situations try to avoid working with high-risk clients that have a history of treating freelancers poorly, charge upfront fees (i.e., Western Union), ask new freelancers only accept wire transfers, make big promises but don’t deliver much value, want to sign long service contracts without clear terms of service defined upfront.

As a freelance chat agent, effective communication is key. Enhance your writing skills with our article on 11 Email Marketing Tips for Freelance Writers to learn techniques that can significantly improve your ability to connect with clients and customers.


So there you have it: everything from better understanding what a chat agent does and what the requirements are to how to be successful at chatting.

Chat agents are there to help customers, but the job is not for everyone. Some people will excel as chat agents, while others may struggle. If you do decide that working as a chat agent is for you, remember these tips:

  • Be a good listener.
  • Be patient with customers and coworkers.
  • Sort out your emotions before entering any conversation.
  • Remember that you don’t need to be perfect all the time.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources you might find helpful:

Work-from-Home Chat Agent Jobs: A Comprehensive Guide Short Description: Explore a comprehensive guide that delves into the world of work-from-home chat agent jobs, providing insights into the roles, responsibilities, and benefits.

Live Chat Agent Jobs: How to Get Started Short Description: Discover the basics of live chat agent jobs, including tips on how to start your journey in this customer-oriented remote position.

Become a Virtual Assistant: Your Path to Remote Work Short Description: Learn about the role of a virtual assistant and how to pursue a career in this versatile remote profession.


Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received from people who are looking to make a career out of chat agent work:

How Much Can I Make As A Freelance Chat Agent?

As an independent contractor, your earning potential is largely determined by you it’s up to you how many clients you take on, and it’s up to you what rates you charge. That being said, the average hourly rate for this kind of work is around $12 per hour. 

Since freelancers pay their own taxes and have no paid time off, however, most would advise that aspiring chat agents aim for closer to $15 per hour depending on the state they live in.

How Many Hours A Week Does A Chat Agent Work?

The amount of hours each person works as a freelance chat agent is different based on their circumstances; some do it as part-time work while keeping another job or studying full-time at university, while others build it into a full-time career. 

It all depends on what situation makes sense for you and how much money you want to earn. If your goal is working more than 20 hours per week, we recommend finding two or more clients so that if one client doesn’t need your services during any given day or week (because they’re closed over the weekend or because sales are slow), then hopefully one of your other clients will have shifts available for you during that time.

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