How Much Should Be My Rates?

by Mische
17 replies
Hi, I'm new here, and it's nice to meet all of you.

I have one question I'd like to ask everyone: How much should a beginning copywriter charge for their services?

I am an experienced content/article writer (around 4 years writing), but this is the first time I'm venturing out into the marketing communications field. I really have no idea what the rate I should charge my prospective clients, and I'm scared I might under---or even over charge them.

I would appreciate your two-cents worth.
#rates
  • Profile picture of the author Cam Connor
    Originally Posted by Mische View Post

    I am an experienced content/article writer (around 4 years writing),
    $40 a page or so.
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      Sorry...would love to reply, but my experience is worth far more than two cents.

      Seriously.

      If you are serious about your question, and interested in serious replies, you may want to consider removing the line about wanting our two cents worth.
      Signature
      > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
      Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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      • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
        Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

        Sorry...would love to reply, but my experience is worth far more than two cents.

        Seriously.

        If you are serious about your question, and interested in serious replies, you may want to consider removing the line about wanting our two cents worth.
        You're kidding, right? It's just an expression after all.

        I want to think you're messing around, but this came across pretty straight-faced to me.

        -Daniel
        Signature

        Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author Don Schenk
    Mische,

    "How much should a beginning copywriter charge for their services?"

    That is not even written with proper grammar. You have mixed singular and plural. Is English your second language?


    :-Don
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    • Profile picture of the author kenboss
      It's true, my friend: I'm afraid your own lack of writing skills have caught you out. Unless and until you can improve those, Copywriting is probably not an area in which you would find much demand for your services.

      But for anyone who is reading this thread & identifies with the OP's question, and would still like an answer in a more general way, I would say this:

      If you are a "beginning" copywriter, ie no actual experience in the field, Charge Nothing at first!

      No experience as a copywriter means you can't even be sure whether you actually have the skill or not. Writing content/ articles etc. is not in the same category so it doesn't count. That doesn't necessarily mean that you won't make a good copywriter, but you shouldn't charge for it while you are finding out.

      Getting some training in copywriting before doing anything else is a very good idea, plenty on offer here at the WF, but let's assume you've done that and feel ready to roll out your shingle.

      Ideal scenario is to offer to write copy for someone who has already tried to sell their product and see if your copy significantly raises conversions. If it does, you will some have statistical proof, and a testimonial to place in your portfolio to act as social proof of your skill. Repeat this until you have at least five to ten separate examples of significant improvement in sales, all supported by honest testimonials.

      Then and only then can you consider charging a fee. If you struggle to come up with five, then you know you're not very good at it yet, and you need to either improve or give it up.

      How much would YOU pay a window washer who is still learning how to do it, and leaves you trying to peer through a streaky mess? :rolleyes:

      cheers, Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Your question is a good one.

    The question I have for you is this:

    How are you positioning yourself?

    --------------

    If you are positioning yourself as beginning your copywriting career, you won't get paid much in terms of money, but you'll be paid a fortune in terms of experience and knowledge.

    If you are just beginning, you may want to just take project for a very modest amount of money. Ask them to include a testimonial if your copy converts.

    Or take the project on spec, and again, ask for a testimonial if the copy converts.

    ---------------

    If you present yourself as someone with more experience, you may get more money upfront, BUT if the Client is dissatified, you risk a disgruntled Client and a damaged reputation.

    ---------------

    To answer your question more specifically, if you're venturing into direct response copywriting, most experienced copywriters want their compensation tied to the the results they produce.

    So the next question is: "What results have you produced?"

    ---------------

    But it seems like you want to go into "marketing communications" field, which could mean almost anything. In other words, you're not necessarily "selling."

    That means you could be working on PowerPoint presentations, white papers, special reports, etc. It's communcation that's more structured to educate than sell the Client.

    In that case, those kinds of full-time jobs pay anywhere from $25 to $50K a year, depending on your experience.

    So basically $12.50 to $25/hour. You may be able to get 10% to 15% more, because you're freelance.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: Copywriters get paid in three currencies: Money, knowledge and experience.

    My recommendation is, if you're beginning your copywriting career to focus on the knowledge and experience, rather than the money. You'll intuitively know when it's appropriate to raise your rates.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ansar Pasha
    Banned
    Mische, I'd recommend studying and writing out some copy for yourself before you go ahead and start charging clients...

    Of course, you can also bootstrap your fees up (which I might do myself later), except I'd offer my services at a paltry fee for people who have skin in the game.

    If you charge lower prices on WF, chances are you'll get people who won't even put it to use, let alone give you conversion stats (hence the recommendation above for serious marketers to test you out).

    This is, obviously if you have experience. You'll just make a fool of yourself trying to get recommendations if your copy sucks... so study up

    Ansar
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  • Profile picture of the author AmandaT
    This thread has actually been very helpful. I'm an article writer but I have been reading a lot about copywriting so that I may write my own copy. While trying to work on my own I got to thinking about offering copywriting, though I will need a lot more practice before I am willing to charge for it.

    I appreciate the great tips for aspiring copywriters! I guess once I try out the piece of copy I just wrote and spend some time tweaking it and monitoring changes, I'll have to look for some people willing to let me write for them to see if I actually have a knack for it!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by slicx View Post

    $40 for a article is okay but if it is a repeat client it should be a bit less...
    Nobody's talking about articles. This is the copywriting forum: we're talking about sales copy. (Articles are "content-writing", rather than copywriting ).
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  • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
    Originally Posted by Alexcosta View Post

    How much attention should I pay to my heart rate while exercising?

    And this has a huge impact on rates does it?

    What on earth is wrong with everyone? Last few days I've seen more people come onto the forum posting absolute rubbish, adding no value and adding irritating comments just to get their post count up.

    If you're looking for fitness advice, you're on the wrong forum.

    Arrrrgggghhh!



    To the OP - my advice to you would be to start building up a portfolio of pieces you can use to show prospective clients - and do so for free while you get the experience. You can always write some copy and post up here for comments and suggestions - everyone here is very helpful.

    As for rates, ask yourself how good you really think you are. As some of my fellow Warriors have noted, it looks like your English is either in need of improvement or it's not your first language. It doesn't matter either way - if you need to improve, take a course - it's not hard and will benefit you greatly in the long run.

    It may benefit you to do a copywriting course to help you get the skills you need to become a proficient copywriter. And as Rick has already pointed out, it's how you position yourself that will help determine your rates.

    A good starting rate is around $30-$50 an hour. More experienced writers can charge double and even triple (as I have) this, as long as you are offering your client exceptional quality, or they won't hire you again and will feel ripped off.

    You may want to consider charging flat fees for projects - so for example, you might charge $400 for writing a brochure including time taken to edit and revise drafts. This can work better for the client as they know upfront how much they have to pay.

    In any case, estimate how long you think your project will take and multiply by your hourly rate. Now add 25% for editing and revision and this will give you a good idea of how much to charge.

    Best of Luck.

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  • Profile picture of the author DennisM
    Here's a few suggestions for new copywriters....

    First, the quickest way to get started is create YOUR OWN PRODUCT and write copy for that. Put together a good value WSO (try a "How To" such as article writing). I know the topic has been beaten to death as a WSO but you just want to demonstrate you can pull together a product and WRITE COPY that can be seen publicly right here on the forum. You'll also come away with conversion numbers to show clients.

    Another option is to look for a decent WSO (you can tell by the views and units sold) that does NOT have a sales letter. Seems like the norm now is to put up a WSO for a product without it's own domain. Just a straight sales message with testimonials is almost enough to push WSO sales. I would offer these sellers a FREE sales letter for their product. Now, you have an opportunity to write for a real product.

    Finally, just offer to PARTNER with someone who does product development. Pay for a classified ad right here on the WF that you will partner for their product.

    Good luck!

    Dennis
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    • Profile picture of the author PMinc
      Originally Posted by DennisM View Post

      Here's a few suggestions for new copywriters....

      First, the quickest way to get started is create YOUR OWN PRODUCT and write copy for that. Put together a good value WSO (try a "How To" such as article writing). I know the topic has been beaten to death as a WSO but you just want to demonstrate you can pull together a product and WRITE COPY that can be seen publicly right here on the forum. You'll also come away with conversion numbers to show clients.

      Another option is to look for a decent WSO (you can tell by the views and units sold) that does NOT have a sales letter. Seems like the norm now is to put up a WSO for a product without it's own domain. Just a straight sales message with testimonials is almost enough to push WSO sales. I would offer these sellers a FREE sales letter for their product. Now, you have an opportunity to write for a real product.

      Finally, just offer to PARTNER with someone who does product development. Pay for a classified ad right here on the WF that you will partner for their product.

      Good luck!

      Dennis
      Go with Clickbank.

      There are plenty of quality products there that lack a decent sales letter.

      Buy your own domain, have the Buy Now buttons go directly to the pay-out page and you'll have a portfolio as fast as you can crank out the letters.
      Signature


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  • Profile picture of the author RefundHost
    On rates:

    Experience means nothing. RESULTS mean everything.

    I'll give a kid in 6th grade LOTS of money if he or she has had past success.
    I won't give a dime to someone with 20 years "experience" if they have not
    had proof of sales results, because replacing my existing copy may actually
    COST me money.

    Of course - not every client is smart.
    Look at all the hotel and restaurant websites that put their
    phone number in little tiny font at the bottom of the page
    because the clueless designer followed the standard format
    based on the first sites ever on the net - the big electronics
    manufacturers such as SONY who wanted to DETER phone
    calls about pricing questions and warranty complains that
    could only be dealt with at the retail level.
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  • Profile picture of the author om4457
    Originally Posted by Mische View Post

    Hi, I'm new here, and it's nice to meet all of you.

    I have one question I'd like to ask everyone: How much should a beginning copywriter charge for their services?

    I am an experienced content/article writer (around 4 years writing), but this is the first time I'm venturing out into the marketing communications field. I really have no idea what the rate I should charge my prospective clients, and I'm scared I might under---or even over charge them.

    I would appreciate your two-cents worth.
    It's really hard to say how much you should charge. If you could show some of your work, then it would be easier...

    Some people brag and have a perception that they are awesome copywriters, and charge way too much for low quality work.

    Some talented people really produce amazing copies but underestimate themselves.

    I personally charge by my mood. Yes, that's right... Sometimes I just want to create a copy for someone and do it for free, especially if I see a bright person with great product that can greatly benefit society and I understand that budget may be a problem.

    Sometimes I charge a lot because someone wants me to write about something that I am not interested in and I refer them to others, but they still want me to do it.

    Sometimes, if I like the community, I will do it for nearly free, especially if I pick up a lot from the community. One of the examples is Warrior Forum. Most people are amazing here and it's like having close friends. How can I NOT give back?

    On the other hand, I was a member of a paid forum where it seemed like if you are not from South - you are an enemy. Later I found out that owner of that forum had a problem with people who aren't from USA. By the way, I am from Michigan. So, when someone asked me "you have a nice sales letter on your website, can you write one for me?" - I said "I am not interested to write anything for you".

    But the thing is I am not a proclaimed professional copywriter. I am still working on my website even though I wrote copies for nearly ten years.

    It turned out by several accidents when people started telling me that my writing sells and when I noticed very high conversions from my website.

    I didn't even think in the past that copy writing is a big deal. To me, it was "easy and anyone can do it". I didn't see any value in it. I thought that if you can write, then you can write a copy. And getting high conversion is "given".

    So, this really affects the rates. Because it isn't a chore for me, I can charge by my mood. And it's not even about the price. It's more about ether I have time and what to write for.

    Why am I telling you all of that? Because I think that your charges should depend on several factors:

    1. How good you are
    2. If it's something you love doing or it's a torture and you want to make money because you heard that you can make decent money writing copies.
    3. Your personal beliefs (like gratitude, giving back to community).
    4. What you are writing about (are you familiar with the subject?)
    5. How much value do you create for a customer
    ... and many more factors.

    I hope this helps.
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    Machines can replace human labor, but they can't replace creativity.

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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Originally Posted by Mische View Post

    Hi, I'm new here, and it's nice to meet all of you.

    I have one question I'd like to ask everyone: How much should a beginning copywriter charge for their services?

    I am an experienced content/article writer (around 4 years writing), but this is the first time I'm venturing out into the marketing communications field. I really have no idea what the rate I should charge my prospective clients, and I'm scared I might under---or even over charge them.

    I would appreciate your two-cents worth.
    The warrior forum is definitely the place to ask relevant questions.

    But many people ask questions that clearly show they haven't done their homework.

    In your case, start researching online about rates for copywriters at different levels. Some copywriters post their rates on their websites. This gives you, at least, some ideas about rates.

    The bottom line is do some more homework.
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  • Profile picture of the author nick1980
    Figuring our your rates can be a little tricky when first starting out, because you don't know how much your time is worth, and what people will pay for a piece of it. I think this might have been mentioned before, but the best course of action would be to offer to rewrite somebody else's copy free of charge, and see how it converts. That way you'll at least get a good idea as to whether you're any good or not!
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