Have you thought about how you should charge for your writing? The average salary for a UK-based copywriter is £34,670 - how does your pay measure up? It’s easy for writers to undervalue themselves when pitching to clients. So, how do you set the proper rates for work that requires multiple revisions?
Striking the balance between your needs and your client’s needs can be tricky to configure. Stick with us as we demystify the process of copywriter pricing models.
How do copywriters set prices?
Most copywriters use a combination of factors to decide how to charge their clients. A base figure might come from the following elements:
Their technical writing skills
Their speciality knowledge
Their work history
A junior copywriter fresh out of completing a university degree in Zoology will have a lower base charge than a writer with ten years of experience writing about animal care and conservation. Equally, a writer with a degree in English Literature or a similar topic may have more formidable technical writing abilities than someone who studied Fine Art.
Beyond a baseline figure, writers might increase their quotes depending on the project itself. Factors that can affect the price increase include:
Estimated length of the project
Difficulty/complexity of the project
Deadline for the project
Suppose a client approaches you with a 2,000-word project with a one-week turnaround that involves lots of research. In that case, it’s a more significant investment for you than writing two 500-word blogs focused directly in your area of expertise in the same time frame.
Therefore, it’s essential to adjust your quotes for clients depending on your qualities and their projects. Finding a balance between value for your time and your client’s money is the key to finding recurring work as a freelance copywriter.
How should you charge clients?
If you’re new to setting your prices as a copywriter, you can use many pricing models as guidance. Here are a few price models you may find helpful.
Hourly rates: Charging per hours worked.
Retainer rates: A repeating set number of services or hours per month.
Project-based rates: Charging for the overall project costs.
Value-based rates: Charging per an agreed-upon value of the work.
Which pricing model you use will largely depend on your relationship with your clients. Some clients prefer rolling contracts with retainer rates, while others may only want to pay per project.
Regardless of your pricing model, it’s best to consider how multiple revisions will play into your quotes.
How to charge for multiple revisions
Clients aren’t always completely satisfied with the first draft and might request one or more revisions of the work. Equally, they could change their minds about the content they envision for the project. These are two very different scenarios that require different levels of work for you.
Let’s create a distinction.
What are revisions?
A revision is a slight change you can make to your current work, such as localising the content to a different country or changing the tense. You will most likely improve your client relationships if you don’t charge for minor changes like this. You can incorporate them into a pre-agreed revision contract.
The standard for most freelance copywriters is to include a single round of revisions into the initial cost you quote. For larger projects, you can also consider a second round of revisions as part of the baseline cost of the work.
However, you should distinguish between a revision and an outright change.
What are significant changes?
Significant changes to the project include:
Changing the format
Drastically increasing the size of the project
Adding new aspects and writing styles to the work
These changes generally take a long time and require much more work than you had initially planned.
For example, a client may hire you to write ten product description pages for their online store. You’re up to the sixth product page when they say, ‘We’re thinking that an email campaign might be better than these product descriptions - can you write that for us instead?’
The format is new, and the time you’ve spent on the five completed product descriptions is gone. While you could still use some of your work, you inevitably waste some. Changes like these should incur additional fees for your clients.
How to charge clients
The key to successfully charging clients in a way that most benefits you and them is to communicate openly and clearly before the work begins. If you’re happy to include two revisions, outline it in your quote so clients know what they’re getting.
You might want your quote to look like this.
I’d be happy to get started on your project. For the completion date of Friday 5th, and a word count of 2,500, I would charge £250. The project works out to be 10p per word and includes two rounds of revisions for the work. If you would still like changes beyond these revisions, I can draft a new quote with the added cost of the revisions included.
Does this work for you? I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best,
It’s clear from the get-go how many revisions you are happy to supply before you would have to increase the cost. Most clients have no problems working with a freelancer with two revisions included - most only need one if they need any.
But how do you address the significant changes that a project might take?
How to charge for significant revisions
Occasionally, you might have a client who decides mid-project to change direction, but they still want you to be their freelance copywriter. These scenarios are among the most challenging times to stand your ground as a writer and freelancer.
Accepting the change is too easy because you don’t want to lose the client, but it doesn’t benefit you. If you don’t speak up, you’re not doing yourself any favours. Most clients know when they’re over budget or asking for time-consuming changes. Here’s one way to address it.
The changes you’ve mentioned will involve a lot of rewriting, new research, and a different format. I would be happy to adjust the project to align with your new goals, but I will have to send a new quote for the work to accommodate my time and resources. I will ensure the new price is reasonable and aligned with the new project.
Is this agreeable to you?
All the best,
Facing the client respectfully and enthusiastically shows them you’re still interested in the work, but it will come at a new cost. Most clients - certainly clients you’d want to work with - understand this and are open to receiving a higher quote from you.
Price models are one of the most challenging parts of freelance work. It’s one thing to have a passion for writing and to want to bring a client’s vision to life with your words, but putting a numbered value to that work is challenging. Getting it right with clear communication is the key to sustaining long-term clients and consistent copywriting jobs advance your career.
Here are some frequently asked questions about pricing models for copywriters.
Do copywriters charge by word or by hour?
Some copywriters charge by word or hour, while others price their work per project. It depends mainly on the project’s scale and each writer’s preferences. If you receive a 10,000 project, you might prefer to charge by the word, while you’re better off charging by the word for smaller projects.
How much should an experienced copywriter charge per word?
Copywriters with years of experience and a good reputation in the industry can charge anywhere from 50p up to £2 per word for their work. It takes several years and a lot of successful contracts to build up to this kind of fee. Before agreeing to these charges, clients will want extensive evidence of your excellent work.
How long should it take a copywriter to write 1,000 words?
The average time for a competent copywriter is up to two hours to write 1,000 words. Writing is subjective; some people are quicker than others and can likely achieve 1,000 in a single hour. However, writing at that speed requires a lot of confidence and knowledge about the topic. Writing that involves research will take longer to reach 1,000 words.
How much do beginner copywriters charge?
People new to copywriting might charge 10p per word on a more extended project. If they want to charge per hour, somewhere close to £15 an hour would be fair, given their experience level. New writers might work slower than experienced writers. Charging per word keeps clients invested and balances the writer and client’s needs well.