Lots of potential clients ask me what my rates are for specific jobs.
It seems like a simple question, and it is. But there are tons of different answers out there. Some writers charge by the word. Others by the hour.
I charge by the project.
Well, let's look at the other two options and you'll see for yourself.
Charging by the word
What's wrong with charging per word? Lots of magazines and high-end publications pay writers by the word.
The first answer is that copywriting is quite different from magazine writing. Rarely are magazine writers called on to convince their audience of something. Granted, copywriters often write articles, blog posts, and other content to establish their clients as authorities. But for the most part, copywriting and magazine writing are altogether different animals.
A rule of copywriting is to only use as many words as you need to get the job done. Not always so with magazine writing.
You don't want your business writing padded with filler words just to hit a benchmark, and you don't want a writer stretching something from 1,400 words to 1,500 because, well, $100 is $100.
I don't work like that.
Charging by the hour
Charging per hour has three problems.
First, it adds an element of uncertainty:
"How much do you charge to write a landing page?"
"$100 an hour."
"Okay… how long will it take?"
At that point the writer will either estimate a time and give a rough project quote ("Around 15-20 hours, so you're looking at $1,500-2,000") or he'll say something brilliant like, "gee, I'm not sure."
Not what a marketing manager's looking for.
Second, charging by the hour rewards slacking off. Why write a project in 5 hours if I can stretch it to ten and make twice as much money?
Third, and this is important from a writer's perspective, it actually penalizes getting better at what I do. If it takes me 10 hours to write a case study, and I charge $100 an hour, I make $1000.
But the more case studies I do, the better I'll get at them and the less time they'll take.
So instead of making $1000 off a case study I find myself making $800 or $500. Not exactly a motivation to perfect my craft.
I don't work like that either.
Charging by the project
This is what I do, along with nearly all professional copywriters.
It's easier for me – I know exactly what I'm getting and what I'm doing. I have motivation to get the work done in a timely manner and I have reason to work and study to perfect my writing and get it done in less time.
It's easier for marketing managers – my clients – too. It's easy to plan and budget for a per-project fee. Also, you know that I'll be doing my best and getting the work done quickly.
I use per-project rates because they're easier, more fair, and all-around better for both me and my clients.
If you need assistance with any of your marketing materials, or if you'd just like me to look at them and provide a free analysis, contact me today.