This article is for all copywriters – whether established, starting out, or just thinking about it.
Running a freelance business sounds ideal, but it’s not always ‘the greener side’ as discussed in my recent post “Running a Freelance Business – The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know.”
Possibly the most contentious issue facing any freelance copywriter is pricing.
How should you charge?
As far as I can see, there are three methods of charging that have been adopted by freelance writers.
I’ll talk about each in turn, but to be honest with you, one I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.
What are they?
- By the word
- By the hour or day
- By the project
By the word
I’ve never been able to understand why someone would adopt this form of charging.
For starters, how can you possibly know how many words you’re going to use?
It’s like asking a builder to build you a house and paying per brick. You could end up with a massive house with nine-foot thick brick walls.
Plus, your client could say they only have a budget for a thousand words, and then you’ve got to try and cram everything in within that limit. Immediately, this leads to crap copy because the writer isn’t focusing on the audience they are addressing. Instead, they are obsessed by word count.
This is not an option for a professional copywriter.
By the hour or day
There are a few problems with this.
For starters, it’s impossible to know how long something is going to take so the client never really knows how much they’ve got to fork out until the job is done.
There is also the issue of a non-copywriter not understanding how long it takes to create content. To them ‘it’s just writing’ so should only take an hour or so. In reality, it takes a hell of a lot longer than that if it’s done right.
Plus, there are only a certain number of working hours available to you, so as a copywriter you’ll be severely limiting your income potential.
This is only a good option if your client is looking to retain your services for a certain number of days or hours per month. As the writer, you get a regular income; as the client, you get someone on hand you can trust whenever you need them without the need to ask for quotes for each project.
By the project
This is by far the best option.
Every fee is worked out on a per-project basis taking into account the complexity and nature of the work to be
The more experienced the copywriter, the higher the cost because they bring a tremendous amount of value to the project.
Every fee will include:
- Research time
- Creation of the initial draft (please note, although this is the first draft the client sees, it’s probably the tenth produced by the copywriter)
- A specified number of reworking
- Final draft
As a client, this is the best option because it gives you a pre-determined cost at the outset, so there won’t be any nasty surprises (so long as you don’t suddenly change the initial brief).
The cost of professional copywriting
As with most of the creative services, there isn’t a specific rate card followed by every copywriter.
Costs can vary significantly depending on industry, location, and experience.
If, as a potential client, you’re shopping around for the best deal, don’t be swayed by price alone.
It’s important to look at the writer, gauge their experience, ability to adapt to different styles and audiences, and the type of writing they have done in the past.
It doesn’t matter whether they’ve written for your industry before. It’s more important to look at their approach and past results (i.e., check out their testimonials), and have a chat with them to make sure you can work together.
Don’t forget you’re looking for the real-deal and an experienced professional copywriter will charge professional fees.
If you’re looking for a professional copywriter who delivers A1 copy every time, call Sally Ormond of Briar Copywriting. With clients including BT, Cisco, Willis Towers Watson, iwoca, Finastra and the University of Westminster, her experience knows no bounds. Get in touch for a chat on +44(0) 1449 779605.