By Alan Graner
So there you are, sloughing through assignments at $25 or $50 dollars an hour while other copywriters are making five or ten times that amount for the same work.
How do they do it? They charge by the project, not the hour.
How to charge by the project
With project pricing you don’t reveal how much per hour you’re earning. If the $1,000 project takes four hours, you make $250 an hour and the client doesn’t bat an eye. On the other hand, if the project takes 10 hours, your rate falls to $100 an hour—still not bad.
The secret, of course, is knowing how to price each project. After 30 years of copywriting I know how to price a project depending on how much time I calculate it will take me. On occasion I offer two prices: A lower price if they provide all the information and a higher price if research is involved (including interviewing key people).
The only reason your rates should change is if the scope of work changes, e.g., adding or subtracting pages from the project.
What criteria should you use in determining a project rate? A good guide can be found at The Professional Copywriters’ Network https://www.procopywriters.co.uk/get-help/freelancing/suggested-rates-for-hiring-copywriters/.
Clients like project payments because there aren’t any surprises. If you charge $1,000, that’s what they pay. Three’s no “I had to work three hours longer than I anticipated, so that’ll be another $150.” Clients hate that. They feel like they’ve been ambushed.
What are typical copywriting project rates?
Understand that your rates will depend in part on your experience, your expertise, the types of clients you have (large, small, enterprise) and especially your location. A copywriter in Chicago can usually charge considerably more than one in rural Alabama.
Chris Marlow is also a copywriting coach http://thecopywriterscoach.com/ and the author dozens of books on copywriting including Pricing Basics for Copywriters & Consultants: Meet Your Income Goals—Guaranteed, which is available at Amazon and other booksellers. (Disclaimer: I have no professional relationship with Chris, but I’ve read her books.)
There are several websites that suggest copywriting rates. Among them are:
NJ Creatives Network http://www.njcreatives.org/how_much_should_i_charge/
What other resources would you recommend?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.