Why I charge hourly for copywriting services

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Why I charge hourly for copywriting services

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Copywriting rates can be a bit of a mystery, so I’ve decided to explain how I charge.

If you have a look around my website you will see that I talk about copywriting as an investment. This is because it is. Great copy works hard to create interest, leads, and ultimately sales. Copywriting services are just like any other aspect of marketing – graphic design, PPC, web design, brochures, flyers, et cetera – you put some money in, and you get more money out. When it comes to copywriting, you shouldn’t be thinking about the cost. The results are what matter.

But copywriting rates can confuse people. I thought it would be a good idea to take the time to explain exactly why I charge a copywriting hourly rate, for a service whose worth is measured in ways other than time.

If you click on my fees page, you’ll find it gives you the price very clearly. I’ll admit that when I first started, I bought into the whole idea that I should be vague to encourage inquiries:

“As each project is different it is not possible to give you an idea of price upfront.”

But let’s be honest, it’s annoying isn’t it? Being able to shop around is important. You might just want to know how much copywriting services cost because you have no idea. You want to be able to make a decision, but how easy is it to weigh up the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer when you don’t know how much it will cost you or what you will get?

Copywriting rates for UK businesses

There are three main ways writers can charge for copywriting services; per word, per hour, or per project. There could be some other systems involving runes, or perhaps offers of cake, but the chances are if you choose to hire a copywriter you will end up following one of these payment structures.

Per-project copywriting rates for UK customers reflect the fact that you are paying for a return on investment. Say a website written by copywriter doubles your conversion rate and sees a 50% rise in profits. That’s clearly worth paying quite a bit for. Copywriting which generates tens of thousands of pounds in extra revenue is clearly worth paying several thousand pounds for. If you look at the actual cost, that could seem expensive, but you look at the result, and you realise it’s an offer so good you should bite the freelancer’s hand off.

The problem with charging fees like this is that unless your client is a massive business, this kind of money can still be a lot to cough up. The reality is that while all businesses could benefit from making more money, they simply don’t have the budget to make that kind of investment upfront.

Per-word copywriting rates

On the other end of the scale you have the per-word fee. Straightforward as possible, but is a terrible idea. The problem with paying per-word is you treat copywriting services like a product; as though it is potatoes, or catnip, or barbecue tongs. We’ve already seen above that copy writing has value and cannot be assessed on whether it’s 40 words or 400. And are all words really equal? Should you be paying the same for ‘it’ as for ‘strategic’? Paying per word also completely undermines the fact that the final product you get does not represent the work that has gone into it.

Say you ordered a 500 word blog post. My initial draft might have been 750 words, or even 1,000. So not only is that 500 words that I will not get paid for writing, there is also a huge amount of editing required to meet the word limit that is also not taken into account. Paying per word for copy is like valuing icebergs based on what you can see poking out of the water.

£40 copywriting hourly rate

Which just leaves us with an hourly rate. I find it a very simple and efficient method to work to. Buying into results is great, but it makes that initial investment a little easier if you feel you’re getting something tangible to begin with. For smaller companies and medium-sized businesses it makes sense to be paying for somebody’s time. My copywriting hourly rate of £40 reflects the fact that the copy I create is of a very high quality, whilst also acknowledging that you have budget restraints.

And that’s all there is to it. I chose my pricing model based upon a number of factors, balancing the value of my services with convenience and affordability for my clients. What I ended up with is a highly competitive rate for my copywriting services.

Do let me know how you prefer to pay your freelancers: hourly or per-project? Comment your thoughts.

About Author

Rewan Tremethick

Rewan is a freelance copywriter and author living in Cornwall. On the rare occasions when he isn't writing fact or fiction, he can be found reading, listening to music, and dreaming about Winklepickers.

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