Popular Reviews


Learn the profitable craft of direct response copywriting...with Michael Masterson's Accelerated program for Six-Figure Copywriting


Know how much to charge for every type of copywriting job...The 2005 Freelance Copywriter Fee & Compensation Survey


Make money writing about health and fitness...with Secrets of Writing for the Health Market


Travel the world and make money...with The Ultimate Travel Writer's Course


Make money writing resumes...with Start your own Resume Writing Business




How to Set and Get The Fees You Deserve

by Robert W. Bly


One of the toughest questions beginning and experienced writers wrestle with is: "How much should I charge?"


So, how much should I charge? The amount of money you charge and how you present this fee to your potential client plays a big role in determining whether you make the sale and get the project.


Charge too little, and you diminish your prestige and importance in the eyes of your client. You also diminish the perceived value of your services and dramatically reduce your own earnings.


On the other hand, charge too much and you may price yourself out of the market, losing out on jobs to other writers who charge less.


Here are four factors to consider when determining what to charge the client:


Determining your status


Are you a beginner or an old pro? Are you well known in your field and highly recommended ... or are you still waiting to be discovered by the masses? Are you a novice, learning your craft as you go, or are you truly a master at what you do?


And do you just think you're good ... or do you have the client list, testimonials, referrals, and track record to back up the big fees you want to charge?


Because of their status, experienced writers generally can command higher fees than beginners. But ability is even more important, so a highly talented novice is worth more to clients than a hack, no matter how long the hack has been working.


Still, as a rule, those who are less experienced set their fees at the lower end of the scale; old pros, at the higher end.


But be careful about underpricing yourself. Beginners have a tendency to set their fees at the absolute bottom of the scale, reasoning that they do not have the experience or credentials to justify higher rates. I used this strategy myself when starting out because I felt most comfortable with it.


However, clients will probably take you more seriously if you put your fees in the range of medium to medium-high. I have found that the less a client pays for a job, the less he or she respects the work and the person who produced it.


The going rates for your type of writing


Unless you are the #1 authority in your writing specialty, or the most in-demand freelancer in town, your rates will have to be somewhat reflective of what the standard rates are for the types of assignments you handle. And even if you are the leading authority, there's still an upper limit to what most clients can afford or are willing to pay you.


In some areas of writing, such as magazine writing, pricing is fairly standard. Magazine editors typically set standard article fees based on what they pay their other writers.


On the other hand, many writing assignments have no such standards, and their fees, as one professional put it, are all over the lot."


For example, in direct mail copywriting, fees for writing a mailing can range from $300 to $20,000 and sometimes higher!


The variation in fees in many writing specialties is tremendous. However, by talking with a few prospects, you quickly get a sense of the upper and lower limits you can charge.


The competition


Call some of your competitors and ask them what they are charging. Many will gladly tell you. If not, you still need to get this information, so it's acceptable to do so undercover. Call or have a friend call a few of your competitors. Describe a typical project, and get a cost estimate. See if they have a published fee schedule or price list, and ask them to send a copy.


Finding out the competition's fees is a real help in closing sales. You learn just where to price yourself in relation to other writers handling similar projects.


You'll also benefit by asking your competitors to send you their brochures and other sales materials. By reviewing these materials, you can learn much about their sales and marketing approach.


Your current need for work


How much do you need the work and the income? In some situations, when cash flow is slow, you may feel financial pressure to get the work. At other times, you may not need the money but, psychologically, you need to close the deal to feel successful and good about yourself.

Your need to get the work should not really be a consideration in setting your fees. But, practically speaking, it is for most of us.


Ideally, you should negotiate each project as if you don't really need or want the assignment. But when you're hungry, or just starting out, this isn't always possible or even wise.


Sometimes, you need the ego boost that comes with landing a project or being busy with work. For the writer, "psychic" wages can sometimes be as important as the green, folding kind.

Related learning materials:


Nick Usborne's Million Dollar Secrets to Online Copywriting

The demand for print and direct mail copywriters is static, to say the least. The real demand right now is for copywriters who have the skills to write effective copy for the web. This is a professional-grade course that will make you a specialist in online copywriting. This is where the future for copywriters lies! More about this online copywriting course...


Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

Improve your copywriting skills and enter the very lucrative market for direct marketing copywriters. This is a comprehensive course and my #1 recommendation for anyone who wants to learn how to write copy that drives results. Read my in-depth review



Writing for the Web

Get this 35-page Guide FREE when you sign up for the Excess Voice Newsletter.


Get your copy of Writing For the Web #1 - 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.


PLEASE NOTE: This is my new newsletter, for my site at nickusborne.com, and replaces the old Freelance Writing Success Newsletter. However, the focus is still on writing for the web and freelancing. So don’t be confused when you find links to my nickusborne.com site in each issue! : )


Sign up NOW and I'll send you the link where you can download this 35-page guide...


Sign Up for my Excess Voice Newsletter...

(Your email address will be used only for the purpose of sending you this newsletter, and you'll be free to unsubscribe at any time.)



Copyright FreelanceWritingSuccess.com. All Rights Reserved.