When a new client calls me, one of the first questions asked is almost always, “How much do you charge?” Whether the project is a press release, a brochure, a sales letter or a website landing page, customers want to know that the prices aren’t outrageous before they consider my copywriting services. That’s fine; I can understand that thinking. I like to know costs up front myself.
The problem is that the question isn’t an easy one to answer. Because every job I do is custom, (such is the nature of copywriting), I first need to know what the project is all about before I can put the wheels into motion and come up with a price.
Because every project is different, copywriters often have to put the wheels in motion by first asking questions and doing research. Only when they have a solid understanding of the project at hand can they give an accurate quote.
Some copywriters charge by the hour. I don’t. An hourly rate is only half the equation in trying to budget for a job. I prefer to quote a project price because that’s what clients really want to know – the bottom line.
Also, as I’ve gained experience, I’ve become faster at completing projects. If I quoted hourly, my rates would continually be going down. While that’s great for clients, it means I’ll have to do more work to make the same money. And that’s not so great for me.
To determine that project price, I consider at least seven factors by asking the following questions:
How much copy is required?
Quantity matters. Writing a 4-page brochure is of course less challenging and time consuming than writing a 20-page website.
How complex is the work?
Some projects involve a lot of upfront learning while others can be tackled head-on. It’s a lot more difficult to write copy about a specialized technical product, for example, than a consumer product that I’ve personally used.
How will I obtain background information?
Some subjects can easily be researched online but others involve speaking with experts. If I’ll need to do interviews with people on your staff to gain the necessary knowledge to write your materials, I’ll have to factor that time and effort into the equation.
How much creativity is required?
It’s hard to be clever. Often writing a small ad with just a headline and a couple short paragraphs of copy presents a more difficult challenge than writing a full-length data sheet because every word in the ad must be carefully considered.
What’s the going market rate?
As a professional with more than 20 years in my field, I have no desire to be the lowest priced copywriter in the market, however, I recognize that my prices need to be competitive. Experience counts but affordability will always be critical.
How sophisticated are the client’s other marketing materials?
If the client has already done the hard work to evaluate the competition, position the company and build his brand, then that will make my job easier. I’ll make sure my materials complement his existing marketing strategy.However, if the client is in the product launch phase or is a start-up company, I have to assume I’ll be doing more than just copywriting; I’ll likely be providing guidance on marketing, which takes time. Also, I recognize that the content I produce will probably be repurposed for other marketing materials down the road, so the costs can be spread among multiple projects.
How fast does the client need the work?
Like most copywriters, I charge more for fast turnarounds because they usually involve giving up my evenings or weekends to squeeze in the new project.
Once I have the answers to these questions, I’m able to provide a project quotation. However, I hope the client won’t use price as the only deciding factor in whether to hire me or another copywriter.
It’s important to consider the value an experienced copywriter brings to the table. Sure you can find beginning copywriters and foreign copywriters who are willing to work at bargain rates, but if the copy they produce isn’t effective, then was it really worth the savings?
The true bottom line is, a good copywriter won’t cost you money; she’ll make you money by delivering results.
Want quality copy at an affordable price?
Get a quote on your copywriting project.
Contact Susan Greene today!