Pricing your services is one of the most difficult aspects of being a freelance copywriter. You don’t want to quote too high and potentially lose out on a job. But you also don’t want to leave money on the table.
I am frequently contacted by freelance copywriters regarding how to price their services. Below is an email I received on the topic of pricing copywriting services for a relatively large project. I hope my responses prove helpful to other freelance copywriters.
I was wondering if you could offer some advice to a fellow copywriter. I’m fairly new to the field, and I’ve always charged by the hour ($50).
I’ve been contacted about a sizable copywriting job for which the client wants me to quote a project price. I’m really at a loss. Could you look at the details and let me know approximately what you think I should charge? I really want the job, so I’m hesitant to quote too high a price.
“We are redoing our law firm’s website. We’d like to refine/rewrite the content for most of the pages. The goal is to take what exists on the current site, streamline and reflow some of the pages. We also want to scale back the copy.
We’re thinking ideally 2-3 paragraphs of copy for each page (knowing there will be some exceptions.) There are 10-17 pages of new copy that will have to be drafted, and we would provide the resources. There may be some pages where we will need to draft copy from scratch.
I’m hoping you can provide me with an estimate for all the copywriting and copy editing along with your availability.”
I really appreciate any advice you can give!
You can handle this copywriting quote request in a number of ways. Because the project is fairly large and not clearly defined, your best bet is to come up with a per page price.
If you’re writing a page from scratch, assuming about 3-4 paragraphs and approximately 4 lines per paragraph, the price is $150 per page, for example. If you’re editing existing copy, the price is $100. These aren’t actual numbers, just examples to use as starting points.
Then add up the number of pages. In this way, the client understands that if they add pages or want new content instead of editing, they must pay additional fees.
If the client insists on a project price, then they need to quantify the work. There’s a big difference between editing say 10 pages and copywriting 17 pages from scratch. They’re being lazy by not thinking through the parameters of the project now so you can provide an accurate quote.
The fact is, if the client is imprecise, then your quote must be imprecise too. So, an option along these lines is to quote a not-to-exceed number. It should represent the worst case scenario, i.e. copywriting 17 pages from scratch.
The thing to watch out for, Patty, is scope creep. Part of the reason clients like to ask for a project price versus an hourly rate is they’re hoping they’ll get more for their money that way.
For that reason, you need to quantify what your quote covers rather than just giving a project price. If you don’t, you could find yourself writing 15 pages when your estimate was only for 10. The client will of course expect you to bill the project rate you originally quoted.
Finally, one last suggestion for you to consider. Try breaking the copywriting project into sections or phases. Find some logical break points and quote/bill each section separately. This could help you prevent scope creep. It could also help you to get paid as you progress through the project rather than having to wait until it’s completely done to invoice the client.
Hope that helps.
Thanks so much. Your reply was incredibly helpful. I really appreciate you taking the time!
One other question, how do you professionally present a copywriting quote? I suppose I could say something like, “I’ll do this project for $1,500,” but that doesn’t sound very professional.
Write up your quote almost like you would an invoice except title it “Project Proposal.” Include the following items:
If the client signs your proposal, it serves as your contract. You might also include a disclaimer to the effect that the price you are quoting is based on the project parameters as described above.
If the client chooses to make changes to the copywriting project (i.e. add more pages, increase the project scope, etc.), your price will be adjusted accordingly. That will help protect you from having to do more work than your quote covers.