Freelance Copywriter Rates: How to Price Your Service

Freelance Copywriter Rates

So, you’ve decided to dip your toes into the intriguing world of freelance copywriting, huh?

Congrats, you brave soul!

You’re about to embark on a journey where your words become the currency of choice.

But wait, there’s a catch.

How do you even begin to figure out what to charge for your linguistic genius?

Fear not, fellow scribe, for we’re diving headfirst into the mesmerizing realm of freelance copywriter rates.

By the time we’re done, you’ll know what is a reasonable rate, and you’ll be wielding your word-wand with confidence and, dare I say it, a touch of swagger. Let’s get started!

How Much Should You Charge?

You’re sitting in your cozy home office, sipping on a latte, and your laptop screen is illuminated by the warm glow of creativity.

You’re crafting words that will mesmerize, persuade, and make your client’s product or service shine like a diamond in a sea of cubic zirconia.

But there’s a question that lurks in the shadows: “How much should I charge for this magic?”

Hourly Rates: A Solid Starting Point

Ah, the hourly rate—a classic choice for freelancers of all stripes. It’s like the vanilla ice cream of pricing strategies—reliable, timeless, and suits just about everyone’s taste.

When it comes to freelance copywriting, hourly rates can vary significantly. But let’s break it down for you:

  • Beginner Copywriters: If you’re just starting out, you might find yourself charging around $20 to $40 per hour. Think of this as the “apprentice mage” stage. You’re honing your skills, learning the ropes, and building your portfolio. It’s a fair rate to get you started.

  • Intermediate Copywriters: As you gain experience and start landing more gigs, you can bump up your rate to the $50 to $80 range per hour. You’re leveling up, and your work is showing it. Clients are willing to pay a bit more for your expertise.

  • Experienced Copywriters: Now we’re talking! If you’ve got a substantial portfolio, a list of happy clients, and a reputation for crafting copy that converts like crazy, you can command anywhere from $100 to $200 per hour or more. This is the level where the real sorcery happens.

But remember, these are just ballpark figures. Rates can vary depending on factors like your location, niche expertise, and specific project requirements.

Don’t be afraid to tweak your rates to suit your unique situation.

Pros and Cons of the Fixed Price Model

So, what about charging per project rather than per hour?

This can be a wise choice when you have a good handle on the time it takes to complete different types of projects.

It also gives clients a clear idea of what they’ll be paying upfront, which can be reassuring. However, tread carefully, my copywriting comrades, for this path is not without its challenges.

Pros of Fixed Pricing

  1. Clarity: Clients know exactly what they’re paying from the get-go.

  2. Incentive: You can motivate yourself to work more efficiently since your income is tied to the project’s scope, not hours worked.

  3. No Surprises: You won’t end up with projects that take longer than expected but are capped at a certain price.

Cons of Fixed Pricing

  1. Underestimating Time: There’s a risk of underestimating the time a project will take, which can eat into your hourly earnings.

  2. Scope Creep: Sometimes clients ask for changes or additions that were not initially agreed upon, and these can be difficult to charge for in a fixed-price model.

  3. Research Time: If a project requires extensive research, it can be challenging to account for that when setting a fixed price.

To make fixed pricing work for you, start with hourly rates and then provide clients with a clear project estimate based on your hourly rate and the expected time it will take to complete the work.

What Are Other Copywriters Charging?

Now that you have a rough idea of how to set your rates, it’s time to peek behind the curtain and see what your fellow copywriters are charging.

Knowing what others are charging in your niche and location can help you position yourself competitively.

Research, My Dear Watson

Let’s conduct a little sleuthing, shall we?

Start by exploring freelance job platforms, such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. These platforms usually display what other copywriters are charging for similar services.

Another valuable resource is industry-specific forums, social media groups, and websites where copywriters hang out.

These spaces are treasure troves of information, where copywriters often share their experiences and rates.

But here’s the thing: Rates can vary wildly even within the same niche.

Someone with a killer portfolio and a proven track record might charge double what a newbie does.

So, while research is invaluable, remember that your rates should reflect your unique skills and experience.

Location, Location, Location

Location plays a significant role in determining freelance copywriter rates.

In the grand scheme of things, living in a bustling metropolis like New York or London might mean you can charge higher rates due to the higher cost of living.

Conversely, if you’re nestled in a small town, you might need to adjust your rates to attract clients.

However, thanks to the magic of remote work, your location isn’t as limiting as it once was.

You can compete on a global scale, so don’t let geography hold you back. If you’re offering top-notch copywriting, clients may be willing to pay your rates, no matter where you’re based.

How to Calculate Your Freelance Copywriter Rates

Okay, we’ve talked about hourly rates, fixed pricing, and market research.

But how do you actually calculate your rates in real-world scenarios? Fear not, dear copy-crafter, for we’ve got you covered.

The Formula: Your Copywriting Rates

Let’s break it down step by step:

Step 1: Know Your Ideal Annual Income

Start by setting a goal for your annual income. Be realistic, but also ambitious. This number will serve as the foundation for your rates.

Step 2: Account for Business Expenses

Running a freelance copywriting business comes with expenses. These can include software subscriptions, marketing costs, and taxes. Don’t forget to factor these into your annual income goal.

Step 3: Estimate Your Billable Hours

Not all hours in your workday will be billable. There’s admin work, marketing, and other non-client-related tasks. Estimate how many hours per week you can realistically bill to clients.

Step 4: Calculate Your Hourly Rate

Divide your annual income goal plus business expenses by your estimated billable hours. This gives you your target hourly rate.

Step 5: Adjust for Market and Experience

Now, take a look at what others in your market are charging and consider your level of experience. Are you on par with the industry standard? Adjust your rate accordingly.

Step 6: Review and Iterate

Your rates aren’t set in stone. As you gain experience, you can and should adjust them. Don’t be afraid to revisit this formula regularly to ensure you’re meeting your financial goals.

An Example, Shall We?

Let’s say your annual income goal is $60,000, and you estimate that you can bill 20 hours per week to clients. You have $10,000 in annual business expenses.

$60,000 (income goal) + $10,000 (business expenses) = $70,000

$70,000 (total) / 52 (weeks in a year) = $1,346.15 per week

$1,346.15 (weekly income goal) / 20 (billable hours per week) = $67.31 per hour

Now, let’s say you’re an intermediate copywriter in a moderately competitive market.

You might decide to round up to $75 per hour to give yourself some breathing room and account for potential tax expenses. Voila! You have your hourly rate.

Project-Specific Pricing

Hourly rates are a great starting point, but what about those projects that don’t neatly fit into an hourly billing model? How do you price those? Fear not, we have a few tricks up our sleeves.

A Treasure Trove of Project Types

As a freelance copywriter, you’ll come across a vast array of project types. Some common ones include:

  • Blog Posts: These can range from short 500-word articles to epic 3,000-word guides. Consider factors like research, topic complexity, and your level of expertise when pricing.

  • Website Copy: Crafting compelling website copy involves understanding the client’s brand, target audience, and SEO. Prices can vary significantly based on the number of pages and the level of detail required.

  • Product Descriptions: Writing enticing product descriptions can be both fun and challenging. Your rates might depend on the number of products and the research involved.

  • Email Campaigns: Creating email sequences that convert is an art. Consider the number of emails, complexity, and the client’s expectations when setting your rate.

  • Sales Pages: The crown jewel of copywriting. Crafting a high-converting sales page can command a premium rate due to its critical role in generating revenue.

  • Social Media Posts: Short and sweet, but often numerous. Consider whether you’re creating individual posts or managing an entire social media strategy when pricing.

Unraveling the Project Pricing Puzzle

So, how do you price these various projects without pulling your hair out? Here’s a handy strategy:

  1. Break It Down: Start by dissecting the project. What are the components involved, and how much time will each take? For example, a blog post might include research, outlining, writing, and revisions.

  2. Consult Your Hourly Rate: Use your hourly rate as a baseline. Estimate how many hours each component will take and calculate the cost.

  3. Add a Buffer: Projects have a sneaky way of taking longer than expected. Add a buffer to your estimate to account for unforeseen hiccups or client revisions.

  4. Consider Value: If the project has the potential to bring significant value to the client (e.g., a sales page that boosts conversions), you can justify charging a premium.

  5. Package Deals: Consider offering package deals for bundled services. For example, you might offer a discounted rate for a client who needs both blog posts and social media content.

Communication is Key

Remember, communication with your client is crucial. Be transparent about your pricing structure and how you arrived at it. It’s also essential to clarify what’s included in the price and whether revisions are covered.

The Value Proposition: Why Clients Will Pay Your Rates

As a freelance copywriter, it’s not just about what you charge—it’s about what clients get in return. Your rates should reflect the value you provide.

Let’s dive into why clients will be happy to pay your well-deserved fees.

1. Expertise and Experience

You’re not just stringing words together; you’re crafting a message that can make or break a business. Clients value your experience and expertise, knowing that your words have the power to boost their bottom line.

2. Time Savings

Clients are busy people. They’d rather hand off the writing tasks to a professional like you so they can focus on what they do best—running their business.

3. ROI (Return on Investment)

Good copywriting can be an investment with a high return. Clients understand that your work can drive more traffic, conversions, and sales, ultimately boosting their revenue.

4. Brand Consistency

Maintaining a consistent brand voice across all platforms is essential for businesses. Your ability to capture and embody their brand voice is a valuable skill.

5. Stress Reduction

The copywriting process can be stressful for clients who are unsure how to convey their message effectively. Your expertise provides peace of mind.

6. Professionalism

Your professionalism and commitment to delivering quality work set you apart from amateur writers. Clients appreciate reliability and consistency.

7. SEO Know-How

In the digital age, SEO is king. Clients understand that your knowledge of SEO best practices can help their content rank higher in search engines.

Remember, when discussing rates with potential clients, focus on the value you bring to the table. Show them that your rates are not just a cost but an investment in their success.

Negotiating Like a Pro

Ah, negotiation—the art of securing the best deal while keeping both parties happy. It’s a delicate dance, but with a bit of finesse, you can come out on top.

The Price Isn’t Always Right

Clients may initially balk at your rates, and that’s perfectly normal. It’s part of the negotiation process. Here are some negotiation tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Worth: Confidence is key. Be prepared to explain why your rates are justified based on your skills and experience.

  2. Flexible Packages: Offer options that accommodate different budgets. You might provide a basic package and an advanced package with additional services.

  3. Payment Terms: Consider offering payment plans or discounts for larger projects paid upfront.

  4. Show Your Results: Highlight past successes and case studies to demonstrate the ROI your copywriting can bring.

  5. Be Prepared to Walk Away: If a client insists on rates significantly lower than what you’re comfortable with, it might be best to politely decline the project. Not every client is the right fit.

The Golden Rule of Negotiation

The golden rule of negotiation is to find a win-win solution. Both you and your client should feel satisfied with the arrangement. A successful negotiation isn’t about one party winning and the other losing—it’s about finding common ground.

The Art and Science of the Freelance Copywriter Rates

As you embark on your freelance copywriting journey, remember that setting your rates is an art and a science. It involves a deep understanding of your skills, your market, and your client’s needs. But don’t forget the secret sauce—the value you bring to the table.

So, when you’re asked, “What’s a reasonable rate for a freelance copywriter?“—your answer should be confident, well-researched, and reflective of the spellbinding magic you bring to every project.

The Complete Copywriting Course

Maku Seun is a freelance copywriter and direct response marketer. He helps digital marketers, coaches, and course creators boost sales by writing compelling sales copy which includes long-form sales letters, email copy, and website copy for their products and services. If you want him to write compelling sales copy for your business, click here.