You might find a beginner copywriter who charges just $5 for a 300 word blog. Or you might hire a highly experienced copywriter with proven results who charges $50,000+ to write a high-converting landing page. Hourly rates range from $7-$1,000.
There are loads of factors that go into determining a copywriter’s rates. These include:
The more experienced, skilled, and educated a copywriter is, the more they can charge. And of course, if they have specialised knowledge, are more in-demand, and can promise a faster turnaround, they can usually command higher fees too. Usually the top copywriters have proof of past results, amazing testimonials, or an impressive client list, all of which can help them charge top prices and attract the kinds of clients who can afford them.
But a lot of the time, copywriters will also adjust their quotes based on the type of client and project. Because this can really affect how much time, effort, and brain-power is needed to get the job done. Factors that might affect your copywriter’s quote include:
You won’t hear this on many copywriter rates pages, but… some copywriters will also include a PITA (pain in the ass) fee on some projects. If a potential client looks like they’ll be more demanding, need more hand-holding, or just be less pleasant to deal with, your copywriter might build a little extra into their quote. If they lose the job, at least they’ll have more time in their schedule for other clients. If they win the job, at least they’ll have some extra funds to buy the chocolate/wine to get through it. Of course, I’d never do such a thing. 😉
Another factor is how busy or booked up your copywriter is right now. If they’re busy, they might quote higher because they can afford to lose the job. And also, the higher quote covers them in case they need to work weekends/nights to get the job done.
I suppose when you consider all these factors, it’s not surprising that copywriting costs vary so much!
You can help your copywriter give you an accurate quote by giving them a good brief. This means being super clear about exactly what you want them to deliver, how soon you need it, examples of what you want, and how you want to work together. Don’t worry if you’ve never done it before – your copywriter will help you submit a brief (if they’ve got more than a few years’ experience, they probably have a questionnaire ready to go).
Here are some details you might include in your brief:
My briefing process:
I usually request an initial brief with just enough information for me to understand the scope of the project and give an accurate quote with all the right inclusions. Depending on the project, I might get this from an initial enquiry email, a phone conversation, or an online form. After my client accepts the quote, I may send through a second, more detailed brief to help me fill in any details and start writing the copy. But this will depend on the project and client. For smallish projects, I might only do a short, initial brief. And if they’re a regular client and I’m pretty confident that I understand their needs, I might skip a proper brief altogether. And sometimes while I’m writing something, I’ll come back with a few more questions to fill in the gaps.
While I have my standard briefing processes, it’s important to remember that every client and project is different, so I adapt my processes to suit.
One of my goals as a copywriter and content writer is to save my clients time. A brief should support this goal by being comprehensive enough to help me get the project mostly right in the first draft, without taking hours and hours to fill out (especially since many of my clients hire me so they don’t have to write!).
Tip: If you don’t give your copywriter an accurate brief, or they find it difficult to get the information they need out of you, they’ll need to build extra time and budget into their quote to cover themselves. So… take the time to do a proper brief! It could save you some money – and help you get your project completed faster. 🙂
The Clever Copywriting School has a great pricing guide that recommends the following hourly rates and day rates for copywriters:
|Experience level||Hourly rate ($AUD)||Day rate ($AUD)|
|Junior (0-2 years)||$70-$100||$300-$400|
|Mid (2-4 years)||$100-$130||$400-$700|
|Senior (4+ years)||$130-$240||$700-$1200|
Good question. After all, we’re in a global economy now, aren’t we? I’ve had a look at a few other sources to see what their recommended/average rates are. For comparison, I’ve converted the local currencies into $AUD.
|Publication||Hourly rate||Hourly rate ($AUD)||Day rate||Day rate ($AUD)|
|Pro Copywriters UK||-||-||£342||$673|
*I had some trouble finding an official day rate for American copywriters, so I’ve taken the lowest hourly rate from AWAI ($150) and multiplied it by 8 hours, then added a generous discount. It’s not an exact science, but it gives us something to work with!
You could hire a copywriter through an agency. Some of the bigger agencies have in-house copywriters, but many work with freelance copywriters – like me.
There are certainly advantages in going through an agency, especially if you have a big campaign and you need to coordinate multiple channels and skillsets. If the stakes/risks are high and it’s a complicated situation, an agency will likely have all the skills you need in one place and the experience to do it all smoothly.
However, if you mostly just need a copywriter or content writer (with a few handy dandy skills on the side), you’ll get better value for money and more control over the process if you go direct to a freelancer or consultant. Plus, I have it on good authority that agencies markup freelance copywriting rates by around double (which is fair enough – they have to cover extra project management and overheads).
A lot of copywriters will charge a fixed quote for working on your project, for example, writing a blog post or rewriting your website copy. It’s tricky to talk about standard pricing for projects, because it’ll depend on the factors I listed previously, and what your copywriter has included. Usually, copywriters will calculate the price based on how much time they estimate for your project, how much value the project is worth to you (if it’s done right), or a mixture of the two.
Tip: If you’re comparing quotes between copywriters, make sure you know exactly what’s included so you can compare “apples with apples”.
Charging by the word (for example, $1 per word) is not a good idea for either of us. If you pay me by the word, you’re incentivising me to pump out volume instead of quality. If writing “blah blah blah” earns me an extra $3, I might as well do it.
(Slight exaggeration – and I have WAY more integrity than that, but hopefully you get the point.)
Plus, it’s often MORE time consuming to write less. For example, it’s often faster to write a 1,000 word blog post than it is to write a snappy tagline.
That’s why I prefer to be paid for my time (via full-day bookings) or I quote a flat fee for your project (based on how much time it should take me). It’s fair for everyone, and it means I can focus on producing quality copywriting, not writing as many words as I can as many words as I can. 😉
As you can see, I’m a big fan of transparent pricing. It helps you compare and shop around (if you want to) and know if I fit your budget. I probably get fewer enquiries by publishing my rates, but it means the people who DO enquire are much more likely to end up working with me.
In the end? It avoids wasting your time and mine.
Ts & Cs will vary between copywriters and content writers. It’ll depend a lot on what kind of services you’re ordering. But it’s normal to include things like:
I include my terms and conditions in a link with my invoice, in my website footer, and in all my proposals – although I don’t do proposals for some of my smaller or one-off jobs.
Being clear about terms and conditions is important for both copywriters and their clients… it sets out what’s expected, what’s included, and how the relationship will work. I very rarely need to refer clients to my terms and conditions (after all, they’re pretty standard), but it’s nice to know they’re there to cover me in case a project starts to go off track.
Got any questions that aren’t covered here? Or received a quote from a copywriter or content writer and you’re not sure if it’s fair?
I’m happy to chat or give your quote a quick look over.
(Don’t worry, I won’t try to undercut their price – if you’ve been chatting to other copywriters, it’s unlikely I’m the right copywriter for you anyway.)
But from what I’ve seen, most copywriters are extremely fair in their pricing. We’re generally a good bunch, worth what we charge (usually more), and are unlikely to pull anything dodgy on you. They probably have a good reason for their price, and I might be able to help you see it. Whether it looks like it’s a fair price, a bargain, or on the off-chance it’s a total rip off, I’ll let you know (in my expert opinion).
So whether you’ve got questions about pricing, or want me to double-check your quote, please do reach out. I’m happy to chat. 🙂