One question I see over and over again on author blogs and writer discussion boards is this: what am I supposed to pay?
Authors looking to hire editors, publicists, ghostwriters, web designers, and everything else in between are looking for guidance on reasonable rates. Information can be hard to find - you won't find preset rates on most independent editor sites, and the ones you do find on large corporate sites vary widely (for good reason - I'll discuss that in a later post).
The short answer, of course, is that you get what you pay for. If a site is charging you $1 per page - for anything - the quality of work will likely be as bargain basement as the price.
I can't speak for all editors; I can only speak for myself and the freelance editors in my network. My rates are based on a number of factors - length of the manuscript, how quickly you need your edit completed, the level of editing required, and complexity of the text. A manuscript written by a professional journalist is going to take me less time to copyedit than a manuscript written by someone who has no writing experience.
Lynn Wasnak has written an excellent guide geared toward freelancers for setting rates - but as an author, you can use it to estimate, compare, and understand the rates charged by freelancers you might want to hire on your way to publication.
A few examples from her guide (find the full article here):
Content editing (trade) $75 high/hour, $20 low/hour, $46 average/hour.
Copyediting $75 high/hour, $17 low/hour, $38 average/hour; $3,000 high/project, $1,000 low/project, $1,875 average/project.
Manuscript evaluation and critique $65 high/hour, $45 low/hour, $55 average/hour; $1,500 high/project, $350 low/project, $950 average/project.
Book query critique $55 high/hour, $45 low/hour, $51 average/hour; $30/page.
Book query writing $500 high/project, $120 low/project, $200 average/project.