Product Descriptions & Pricing

3 replies
Hi folks,

I'm relatively new to the whole copywriting scene, so it's safe to say I'm a beginner, at best. I've landed a small project to write the copy for some products and I was pondering over pricing vs time/word count etc.

If an average description is 150 words, how much would you expect an unknown, inexperienced person to charge per description? Following that, how many descriptions would you expect to write per hour?

I might be underselling myself a bit at this point, but, I'd rather build up a portfolio and gain more experience/knowledge before I go around claiming to be even remotely good at writing.

Any input is appreciated, thanks guys 'n girls.
#copy #copywriting #descriptions #pricing #product
  • Profile picture of the author Danielle Lynn
    Hey there James,

    Wow, well that's a loaded question.

    Here's my loaded answer:

    As a general rule of thumb; the smaller the copy needs to be, the more time it takes to write. I wrote product descriptions for a direct mail catalog a couple months ago...

    ... and I lost count of how many times I whacked my head on the desk because the perfect copy blurb I had just written was still too long by just a few words.

    You have to make the product appealing, get the USP in there, and keep it short n' sweet.

    I don't know how many you can do in an hour. Sometimes I would breeze through 10, then I'd get stuck on one for an hour and a half.

    I suspect a lot of people would hem and haw about how you should "charge what you think you're worth." But I'm guessing that answer wouldn't help you much!

    Ultimately I learned what to charge based on how long it took me to do similar projects in the past, combined with other a lot of other factors - such as the unique project specifics, the resources available to me, the niche, etc.

    One way to measure your speed, and how much to charge in the future, is to create an hourly rate for yourself. Then do the work and bill the company/person for the hours you spend working on the descriptions.

    Now, I don't recommend working on an hourly basis overall - quoting by project is so much better for so many reasons. But since you're starting out, this will ensure you get paid for the work you do while getting a feel on how long it will take you, so next time you can charge on a project-to-project basis with confidence.

    Many 'fresh' freelance copywriters charge anywhere from $40-$100+ per hour - or you could get away with more if you have the huevos for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesCx
    Thanks for the reply Danielle! I realise it was quite a subjective post in regards to the pricing and quantity of work per hour, so I appreciate the response.

    As you said, you learned what to charge after a few projects and I think (and hope) that will be the same for me. Potentially undercharging for my first few initial projects will at least allow me to land some work and from that I'll hopefully be able to gauge how competent I am and at what speed I can work. From that experience I should be able to decide on a decent, competitive price point (and it never hurts to build up some reviews along the way, assuming they're good of course!).
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin

      Both Steve Slaunwhite and Chris Marlowe sell copywriting pricing guides which you would probably find helpful for this situation.

      Marcia Yudkin
      Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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