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What to Quote a Translation Company Seeking Copywriting for Its Cargo Client

How to Price Copy When You're a SubContractor


Copywriter for cargo company

An American copywriter seeks help in quoting an English copywriting job for a French cargo transportation company.

Hi Susan,

I am an American copywriter who was recently approached by a translation company in France that is producing a website, brochure and other marketing materials for a client in the cargo transportation and logistics industry. I happen to have copywriting experience in this space and would really like to get this job.

I’ve put together quotes on the various copy items requested but I’m not sure if they’re in line with current market values, especially since the translation company and the cargo company are located abroad. I’d love to get your feedback on them if you wouldn’t mind.

Thank you,

Martin

{Numbers not included here at Martin’s request.}

Hi Martin,

I think your numbers are spot on. I looked at the cargo company’s website, as I’m sure you did. They appear to be a large, well-established company so, in my opinion, they don’t merit the discounted rates you might consider charging a smaller company or startup. 

Having said that, you should know that your prices are not what the cargo company will see. You’re a subcontractor. The translation company will want to mark up your copywriting prices and therefore will be looking for you to “leave room” for their profit. I happen to think you’ve done that. Your copywriting rates are in line with what I would have suggested. 

I have some other advice for you though. When you submit your proposal, try to take the emphasis off pricing. You need to play up your industry experience.

The foreign translation company like doesn’t have the in-house ability to edit English copy so it’s really important to them that the copywriter do a good job. They need someone who knows their stuff. This cargo transportation company is a substantial client. They won’t want to risk losing them. Your industry experience makes you a “safe choice,” and so, even if your prices may be slightly higher than some other freelancer’s, you can still get the job.

One last thing to keep in mind. The translation company appears to be functioning like a marketing agency. By that I mean they are likely producing marketing materials for multiple clients. Establish a relationship with them on this cargo transportation job and you could end up seeing additional work for their other clients seeking an American copywriter for their English copy.

Let’s go one step further. If the relationship with the translation company proves lucrative, consider seeking out other translation agencies hiring native English speakers. You may have tapped into a good niche for growing your copywriting business. In an article titled “Make Money with Your Language,” the author suggests the best place to search for translation agencies is on LinkedIn. Happy hunting!

Susan Greene, Copywriter

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Does your translation agency need a native English-speaking copywriter for your clients? Contact Susan Greene today!

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