Working With Me FAQs
You can always find a cheaper writer. They are abundant on sites like Upwork and Writer Access, but most of them are what I call “mommy bloggers.” They can work for 6 cents a word ($48 for an 800-word article) because writing is not their sole source of income. It is sugar bowl money.
At 6 cents a word, a mommy blogger must produce close to 8 pages a day, seven days a week, including holidays, to make $50,000 a year. That may sound reasonable, but a page of thought-out copy should take at least one hour of research and one hour of writing time. So, hitting that monetary goal would require almost 16 hours a day of focused effort, 365 days a year. Obviously, this is not a realistic scenario. More likely, a cheap writer will dash through assignments, which may be fine for some blogs, but certainly is not how you want to treat brand.
I don’t work by the hour. I price projects based on the kind of business problem I must solve.
When people ask, “What’s your hourly rate?” they are really trying to gauge how much I cost compared to other writers. The short answer is, “I’m more expensive than most of them.” But what does that mean?
Ryan McCready wrote an article on the subject. He noted that most writers make less than 17¢ a word. In fact, 80% of writers earn less than $500 per year, and only 10% earn enough to make writing their sole source of income. Although he is looking at editorial writers, not copywriters like myself, his article paints a realistic picture of writing as a commoditized product.
I do not produce a commoditized product. I create bespoke solutions.
For example, a client was in an industry that had become subject to wage-and-hour class-action lawsuits. They had already paid out $5.5 million in one case and faced more down the line. For $7000, I repositioned their marketing focus and language to eliminate the concepts that made them vulnerable. So, their ROI on my $7000 fee was in the neighborhood of 1000%. Do you see why hourly rate doesn’t matter?
I always provide clients with a flat fee estimate that spells out the scope of work and a “set-in-stone” price. Estimates vary depending on the complexity of the subject matter, the requirements of the project, and the time frame for delivery. Even so, I have worked as a freelance copywriter long enough to have a good idea of how long specific types of projects take. So I can give you the following as a ballpark idea of my fees:
- Blog posts: $500 – $1500 (depending on length and subject matter)
- Emails for onboarding, abandoned carts, etc. – $350 ea.
- Email optimization (improving your existing email) – $250 ea.
- Long product descriptions (stories for your products) – $250 ea. x minimum of 10 products
- Website landing conversion pages – $2500+
In line with this, see what I am worth per hour.
Projects are paid in advance. Projects over $5,000 may be broken up into separate milestone payments.
The reason for this is simple: I am unable to collect unpaid invoices outside my local area, yet I work with clients who are hundreds and even thousands of miles away. While most people are honorable, I cannot know in advance who is and isn’t. Advance payment safeguards my work and relieves me of the odious job of being a bill collector.
This also means I do not have to bloat my fees to cover the administrative cost of bill collecting and bad debts.
I will send you an invoice that can be paid online by credit card or bank transfer. Most international clients opt to make a bank transfer. If you want to pay by check, that’s fine… I just have to wait for it to clear before I begin work.
I base my estimates on my past experience with projects of a similar nature.
For example, I know in general terms how long it will take me to write copy for a scrolling landing page copy. I then look at how complex the subject matter is, whether the brand voice is on target, and factor in creating a sales funnel for the site.
I provide flat fee estimates, unless otherwise agreed upon. I will not bill more than I quoted even if I have underestimated the hours required. If you change the project scope, I will provide a revised estimate for your approval. My proposals are very detailed about the scope of work, project requirements, timeframe, and client goals… transparency and clarity help us on the same page from the outset.
I work remotely using Zoom or Skype. If you use another technology, like GoToMeeting, no problem. I also use email and even phone ;).
I have found that face-to-face meetings are incredible time hogs. Yes, they are better at building trust. And yes, face-to-face meetings allow one to pick up on hidden cues, like body language. But, according to an article in the Harvard Business Review, 71% of managers feel meetings are unproductive and inefficient. I agree. The thing I hate most about meetings is they come at the expense of focused, productive thought on client problems.
Generally, a remote introductory session lasts a half hour to an hour, versus four hours including drive time for a face-to-face meeting.
I provide a 15% discount to ad agencies, design firms, and non-profits.
Yes, of course. But the truth is, I understand that all clients deserve confidentiality of information. Even if we do not work under an NDA, I will maintain the confidentiality of your trade secrets, internal business operations, and other sensitive information.
If I sign an NDA, I reserve the right to list you as a client… although I will not discuss what I did for you.
I do not sign non-compete agreements (these prevent me from taking on clients in the same industry).
Typically, an article or other small project is delivered within 3 days. Timeframes for larger projects are outlined in the proposal.
My minimum project is $500, unless you are an established client.
I work a little differently from most writers. Instead of trying to “fix” copy after it has been written, I do prep work up front to make sure the first draft hits the nail on the head. Writing goes much deeper than style, so trying to salvage it during a revision process is generally futile. I include one round of revisions for minor tweaks, but usually this is not needed. While a lot more work goes into the upfront stage of the project, avoiding revisions keeps overall client costs lower. If you want revisions, these are most likely going to be changes to the scope of the project. I would estimate the cost ahead of time.
Pricing is always a sticky wicket. Understandably, potential clients don’t want to spend more than they have to. On the other hand, as a writer, I am creating a custom product. Each hour I spend on one project is time I cannot devote to another. I don’t have to be greedy, but I do have to make a living.
It pays to educate yourself on the going rates charged by experienced copywriters. For your convenience, I’ve compiled a list of what other writers charge.
Yes and no.
Prospective clients often ask for samples of work I’ve done in their industry. This is problematic for several reasons.
- Writers (unlike designers) do their work at the beginning of a project. I am not around at the end to obtain a sample.
- Some work, like website content, just isn’t conducive to having samples. Although I can take screenshots, screenshots are better at showing design than copy.
- Samples represent work after it has undergone mutation in a process of committee and legal department review. I may have written something wonderful (or terrible) but very little may be left after the process is completed.
- Writers don’t control the design of a piece. If it looks hideous, it makes a hideous impression, no matter how great the writing is. I do not want opinions of me to be based on the work of someone else. Only fair, right?
- I do most of my work under NDAs. I cannot disclose my involvement in my most prestigious and impressive projects.
- Finally, samples are pretty much irrelevant. Every business, even in the same industry, is unique. Your challenges are similar but not the same as those of your competitors. Certainly, you do not want your brand to mimic your competition.
Yes and no.
No, because I have worked throughout my 20-year career in a broad range of styles (brand voices). Being flexible in terms of style is a prerequisite for being a copywriter.
That being said, all writers have a natural voice of their own and lean toward analogous brand styles. I excel at emotional, experience, and luxury brand voices – styles that are human and relatable. I also enjoy writing corporate copy that is direct and clear (and shudder as it makes its way through committees).
In fact, because writers have their own strengths, I enjoy reading and giving a shout out to writers who are very different from me: Recommended Writers