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What is a standard rate for freelance copywriting?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by IllMil, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. IllMil

    IllMil Active Member

    So I was offered to do some freelance copywriting stuff for a trucking company. Problem is, I have no idea what to charge. They simply said "name a price."

    It looks to be about 2,500 words, it's essentially a company newsletter with a bunch of different sections, blurbs about happenings in the company. I'm really out of my element here.

    If I said $300 would that be silly? I've been freelancing high school sports for years for about $75 a game for 650 words, I just have no clue if this is the same animal or not. Sorry if this is not the right section.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Is this a big company?

    They would pay a lot more than that. Depending on your sense of shame -- personally I have none, which helps in this regard -- you could go as high as saying your "standard rate" is $1,000. They might say no, which is all they can say really, and then you can settle on a price.

    Or if you want to skip all that, double your initial thought and say $600. I bet they say yes.
  3. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I did some freelance work for this a web company. Basically you edited short items for $5 each.

    When I did $5 worth of editing they got mad (some mistakes got through).

    When I did more than $5 worth of editing they got mad (I added some flavor to the writing)

    So I won't work for $5 anymore.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Charge a quarter a word and see what they say.

    A 2,500 word piece comes out at $625 that way.
  5. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    How long will it take you to produce this work? Decide what you can live with on an hourly basis and pick a figure from there.

    Don't want to do it that way? That's fine. If that's the case, I'll say that $1 a word is not unreasonable to expect from a corporate client, especially if you're a seasoned writer. This is particularly true if you're writing just one document, like a white paper or a press release.

    But if you're producing content for a newsletter, consider it a bigger project and go with the hourly concept. That's what I would do ... and I've been doing that (among other things) for the last 10 years or so.
  6. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Don't be shy about asking $1 a word. Sportswriters are all warped from years of, like you said, $75 for 650 words or whatever. Many corporate clients will unquestionably pay $1 a word, or darned close.
  7. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    How long will it take you to write it?

    Research, phone calls, layout, typing, emailing it off...

    How long?
  8. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Except if you tighten a 2,500-word piece down to 2,250, you've cost yourself $56.25. And a good copy editor often tightens. I guess the way around it is charge per word you received no matter how much you tighten it up.
  9. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Tell them you don't even crack your knuckles for less than a grand. If they object, tell them they can bite your hairy freelance ass.

    Negotiating. It's an art.
  10. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    If you are good, don't be ashamed to charge $50 an hour for your work. Most consultants charge well more than that.

    If it takes you 10 hours to do this, start to finish, charge $500. I would cap it, though, at $750. Look at it through their eyes, they probably have a number in their heads as to how much this will cost, and I'm guessing that number is between $500 and $750.
  11. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    That's not an unreasonable figure if you're dabbling in the consulting game or getting into it for the first time. I charge clients roughly three times that figure -- sometimes more if it's our first time working together, sometimes a little less if it's a longstanding relationship.

    After the cost of taxes, insurance, IRA contributions and a salary -- not to mention covering any down time when I'm not working on something -- that's not an unreasonable figure. I also tell them they can hire me full time at half the rate. Once they do the math, they quickly realize the hourly rate is a bargain.
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    50 bucks an hour is very low.
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