9 replies
Hi Fellow Warrior Copywriters,

I have been asked for a pricing proposal (or at least a price range) and don't know where to start...

This is for a multi-page website, selling a variety of services, plus autoresponder series, plus other stuff, and ongoing work for them.

Never mind the specific amount, but how would you price something like that in relation to your sales letter prices?

I like the idea of a retainer that would include a certain amount of work, plus option for additional work based on, hm, what? Time spent? Pages produced? Something else that I'm missing?

What do you think?

Thanks a whole bunch.

Elisabeth
#copywriting #copywriting pricing #pricin estimate #pricing #question #retainer pricing
  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Hi Elisabeth

    I always find the best way to price up (at least for yourself) is first of all to figure out how much your time is worth per hour.

    For example, let's say you value your time at $50 an hour.

    Now, figure out how long it will take you to research their product / the market / the typical customer, and to write a sales letter.

    Let's say it's 40 hours. It may be more. May be less. Depends on the product.

    So far that's 40 hours x $50 = $2,000.

    Now, how long will it take to write an autoresponder sequence? If you've already done the product research, you don't have to do it again, so you may find you can write 1 persuasive pre-selling autoresponder message in 2 hours or less.

    1 autoresponder message = 2 hours = $100.

    So how many of those are you writing? 8? That's $100 x 8 = $800.

    Any other services that are "outside the box"? $50 an hour.

    Of course, vary these figures based on how you initially placed value on your hour of time. So if you value your time at $100 an hour, double the above prices.

    I find that's the easiest way of pricing your service. You don't have to present THEM with a "per hour" service... you can have a fixed price, just so long as you know roughly how long each part of the service will take you. If not, or for unusual items, charge per hour.

    Ultimately, everything is measured on the most scarce resource of all... time. You only have 24 hours in your day.... and you're probably sleeping for a small proportion of them!
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    • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
      Hi Paul,

      thanks so much for your advice. That's a great way to figure out how much to charge.
      I'll have to go back and figure out how long it will take me to write what they're asking for and then propose accordingly.

      Unfortunately, I'm not in the $2K range yet, so I'll have to be a bit more creative in my estimates... but still, it's a good price to aim towards. (I think I'll pm you about your course).

      And yes, I definitely agree that time is really our most precious commodity since there's only so much of it.

      Elisabeth
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Hi Elisabeth

    Thanks for the PM, will reply to you shortly.

    As for the specific price, I was only using that as an example based on the "per hour" figure of $50. I wasn't trying to set $2,000 as any kind of benchmark - some copywriters charge much less, and some much more - although if you charge less then it's always good to aim your sights higher, which applies regardless of what you currently charge (after all, it's better than the alternative direction, yes? )

    The price you can actually charge always depends upon factors other than just "how much you want"... otherwise every copywriter would charge a couple of million for a single sales letter, then retire to Malibu for 10 years

    Factors such as, the client's budget plays an important part. I think Mike Humphreys pointed out in another post, during times of economic recession, a lot of businesses "hide in a cave" in marketing terms, and only start marketing again once they feel it's safe to come out of the cave... which is kind of backwards thinking for them - so in a way we also have to help these clients to realize that marketing is the KEY to keeping afloat and even getting more business, even in times of economic belt-tightening.

    Also, for our part, we as copywriters need to demonstrate value in what we offer. For instance, we must be careful to avoid assuming they even KNOW what a copywriter IS! I guess if we interviewed 100 local business people, maybe 20 or 30 would know. (That's just a guess, maybe it's more... I may well do this experiment one day soon, just to satisfy my curiosity.)

    So many businesses aren't looking for "copywriters". But they ARE looking for someone, like yourself, to come along and help them win more clients, generate more business, and keep themselves afloat.

    You'll get far more business when you pitch yourself as THAT kind of person... rather than "a copywriter"... even though it's the same thing

    Anyway, now I'm in "rambling mode"... [ somebody unplug this keyboard! ]

    I hope you found some value somewhere in the above ramble
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    • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
      Hi Paul,

      thanks so much for your follow-up reply. Sorry I've been so slow to respond.

      I just found your post since i've been side-tracked by keeping up with all my other stuff.

      Your advice is great!

      So instead of setting up a copywriting website, maybe I ought to set up a client getting website and market my general marketing services which happen to include copywriting...

      I'm off to making that happen ;-)

      Thanks again,

      Elisabeth
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      • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
        Unfortunately when you get in the real selling conversation
        cajones play a big roll in what you get... and an understanding
        of economic realities in small business.

        For most clients your services will be viewed partially (positively)
        as an investment and partially (negatively) as an expense.

        Clients will want to quantify your value - to see you as an
        employee, and they'll be a little freaked out by the idea
        they might be paying you 500% or more per hour what they pay
        any of their employees.

        After all, lots of smart people write well. Compared to, say,
        painting the inside of a house - lots of people think "I can
        paint" and so they don't want to pay a painter to do a professional
        job. It's really a discernment call, because a good painter
        does a really nice job, but lots of people either cannot tell
        the difference or they'd rather do it themselves and keep their
        money in their pockets.

        Fortunately, talent and artistry not quantifiable, which drives
        clients crazy. Your talent is the pistol you're packing under
        your coat... it's something of a mystery until you take it
        out - but you don't take it out for free (I mean your writing
        skills).

        The cajones have to do with being willing to walk if you cannot make
        some money for the effort to understand and create viable solutions
        to your client's problems.

        I don't recommend trying to bleed every lead for every cent they've
        got. You need to balance what you need to get (moneywise), what
        you think you can learn from the job, and the amount (and relative
        pleasantness or unpleasantness) of work involved in learning about
        the client's business.

        In my opinion the idea that you should bid a job to get it because
        it will lead to "future work" is usually bull**** and should have
        little to zero bearing on how you price the job.

        You need to implement realistic bidding practice early in your career.
        You need to learn how to ask for what you need to get, and
        also understand the client's position... and that he'll be looking
        at your price and his perception of your competence and wondering
        if he should get somebody cheaper or read a book and try to do
        it himself.

        I'm talking about bidding to get the jobs and run a profitable
        practice without being whoring yourself for petty money. It's
        not so fine a line, because the difference in what you get by
        the hour is $50 or more, but it's a line you have to get on
        the right side of if you want to have a viable career.
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        • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
          Originally Posted by Loren Woirhaye View Post

          Unfortunately when you get in the real selling conversation
          cajones play a big roll in what you get... and an understanding
          of economic realities in small business.

          For most clients your services will be viewed partially (positively)
          as an investment and partially (negatively) as an expense.

          Clients will want to quantify your value - to see you as an
          employee, and they'll be a little freaked out by the idea
          they might be paying you 500% or more per hour what they pay
          any of their employees.

          After all, lots of smart people write well. Compared to, say,
          painting the inside of a house - lots of people think "I can
          paint" and so they don't want to pay a painter to do a professional
          job. It's really a discernment call, because a good painter
          does a really nice job, but lots of people either cannot tell
          the difference or they'd rather do it themselves and keep their
          money in their pockets.

          Fortunately, talent and artistry not quantifiable, which drives
          clients crazy. Your talent is the pistol you're packing under
          your coat... it's something of a mystery until you take it
          out - but you don't take it out for free (I mean your writing
          skills).

          The cajones have to do with being willing to walk if you cannot make
          some money for the effort to understand and create viable solutions
          to your client's problems.

          I don't recommend trying to bleed every lead for every cent they've
          got. You need to balance what you need to get (moneywise), what
          you think you can learn from the job, and the amount (and relative
          pleasantness or unpleasantness) of work involved in learning about
          the client's business.

          In my opinion the idea that you should bid a job to get it because
          it will lead to "future work" is usually bull**** and should have
          little to zero bearing on how you price the job.

          You need to implement realistic bidding practice early in your career.
          You need to learn how to ask for what you need to get, and
          also understand the client's position... and that he'll be looking
          at your price and his perception of your competence and wondering
          if he should get somebody cheaper or read a book and try to do
          it himself.

          I'm talking about bidding to get the jobs and run a profitable
          practice without being whoring yourself for petty money. It's
          not so fine a line, because the difference in what you get by
          the hour is $50 or more, but it's a line you have to get on
          the right side of if you want to have a viable career.

          Thanks Loren. that's great advice!

          Of course the tricky part is learning how to bid properly.

          At least, I've moved way beyond doing writing on spec, so
          there's no real danger here. But I do tend to price myself
          lower than I should, so that's where I need to beef up on the
          cajones, which I had to look up, but now I know ;-)

          Elisabeth
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          • Profile picture of the author methomas
            I think you have the spelling wrong.

            Cajones is Spanish for "drawers" the kind in a dresser or desk.

            Cojones (note the different vowel sound), and is Spanish slang for b****

            They are two very different words with different meanings.

            Perdóneme El amigo,

            M E
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            • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
              Originally Posted by methomas View Post

              I think you have the spelling wrong.

              Cajones is Spanish for "drawers" the kind in a dresser or desk.

              Cojones (note the different vowel sound), and is Spanish slang for b****

              They are two very different words with different meanings.

              Perdóneme El amigo,

              M E
              Thanks for the explanation.

              Good thing I'm not marketing my Spanish services. My Spanish is really quite spotty as you could tell...
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  • Profile picture of the author dete49
    A friend of mine builds web sites for a company,She gets paid $100.00 per page.Then after the pages and or site is online she gets paid $25.00 an hour to maintain the site or make changes.
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