The Ins and Outs of Copywriting Rates

If you’re thinking of hiring a freelance copywriter to do some writing for you, whether it be help with your Web content, brochure text, a ghostwritten article, or whatever you need a professional hand with, you might find yourself confused by the sheer range of fees charged by copywriters. You can find hourly rates anywhere from $25 to $200, page rates anywhere from $50 per page to $250 per page, and project rates anywhere from $30 to review a single page of text to $30,000 to write your book for you.

Why such a wide range?

The short answer is that writing is a service, not a tangible good. Products like televisions, kitchen tables, and tires, for example, are all basically commodity items with consistent and predictable manufacturing and distributing costs that help determine price, along with supply and demand forces from a large, relatively efficient marketplace. Writing works a little differently. Each project has its own specific requirements that make it unique. A project to write a Web page, for example, might include time spent researching. Or it might involve a lot of time spent interviewing the client for information. Or maybe the client has already written the page and is only looking for editing help. In other words, it could take an hour, or it could take several days depending on the specific circumstances.

On top of that, writers have their own unique talents and skill-sets. A writer who has a lot of experience at writing for the Web might be able to charge less than a writer less-skilled because he or she will be more efficient at it. It might take the experienced writer half an hour to do something the other writer might labor over for two hours. On the other hand, the more experienced Web writer might be able to justify a higher rate because of that very experience. In the end, it’s up to each writer to decide what he or she is worth for any particular project.

Sometimes a writer will also factor in whatever else they have going at the time. Hey, if you’re sitting around with nothing going on, and in desperate need of the work, you’ll have a tendency to work a little cheaper than if you’ve got more work than you can handle.

So what does all this mean for the person seeking a freelance writer? It means shop around diligently and don’t be afraid to ask your potential writer a lot of questions. In general terms, you can normally be assured that, like most other services, you get what you pay for. If somebody’s willing to work a lot cheaper than others, there’s normally a good reason for that. Conversely, a more expensive writer is typically worth the extra dollars. But find out why. Is the writer especially experienced in the kind of writing you’re seeking? Ask to see some samples of their work. And don’t be afraid to ask for references. A decent writer who has been at his or her trade for any length of time, ought to have several clients you can call and talk to.

As for rates themselves, most decent writers will find out beforehand exactly what’s involved in your project and quote a flat rate. Be wary of those who work strictly on an hourly basis. Hours can rack up, and this kind of an open-ended arrangement means you’re never really sure (until the final invoice) just what your costs are.

And, as with any business arrangement, make sure to get it all in writing. A contract with a freelance writer ought to cover costs, terms of payment, and time-frames. It should be rather specific in detailing exactly what is expected of both parties. It should be clear as to how revisions are handled. Are they included, or are they extra? (A decent freelance writer will factor in the cost of revisions in his or her original quote.)  And there should also be a clause explaining what happens in the event the project’s scope increases in size from the original agreement.

Finally, regardless of rate, make sure the writer is somebody you can work with. You have to feel comfortable with the writer, and know that he or she has listened to you, will be attentive to you, and knows exactly what is expected


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