Many of us copywriters, even the Filthy Rich ones, have a hard time figuring out how to charge for our services.
When you’re working with a client who has an office that’s far away from you—and they expect you to occasionally come in for meetings—do you charge them? Do you charge for meetings in general? Do you line-item revisions?
As a sought-after professional (even if you’re just becoming a sought-after professional), your time is valuable and shouldn’t be given away for free.
At the same time, though, clients don’t like to feel like they’re being nickeled and dimed for charges like travel time, meetings, phone calls, etc. Are we at an impasse? No way!
Charge Clients by the Project
When you create your cost estimates for the projects you work on for clients, build the time it takes for these meetings into the cost. For example, if you do a project and you’re figuring it will take you 10 hours to write it, two hours to edit it, and six hours of travel and meeting time at $50/hour, tell them that the project will cost them $900. (But there are other factors to consider that may account for your time, which we address below. That $900 figure doesn’t account for other tasks you need to include...so keep reading!)
Quoting clients a project price instead of an hourly rate also helps to make clients’ lives easier. They know they’ll just need to give you one check instead of looking at an itemized list of how you’ve spent your time for the various parts of the project. (Plus, it’s a real pain in the rear for you to keep that itemized list!)
What to Leave Off Your Project Quote
When you’re quoting a price to a client, you want to make sure clients know what they’re getting for the price. So, you do need to include exactly what you’re going to deliver to them. For example, if you’re writing a five-page website, you may say:
Five-page website to include:
- About Page
- Contact Page
- Two Product Pages
(Plus, if you’re writing this out and they agree, it can serve as a legally binding agreement in the U.S.)
But you don’t need to list out every meeting or the number of emails you plan to respond to. Of course, you want to keep in mind the steps of the project that will all account for your time. Those include the discovery call, the kickoff and creative review calls, and any final review. You want to get as clear as possible if your client anticipates wanting you on calls beyond what is considered the norm. You may want to address expectations during your discovery call.
And don’t forget the admin duties that come with every project. There are the invoices, project management, and research that goes into the behind-the-scenes of every job. We don’t line-item all these things, of course, but you need to keep them in mind to include with your project cost. Remember: Your time is valuable and you shouldn’t be giving any of it away for free!
Beware of Scope Creep
Scope creep, aka project creep, refers to how a project’s requirements tend to increase over time. If your client is asking for more and more, which increase your hours, you will need to readjust your quote.
The one thing you may want to spell out is the number of revisions that are included in your rate. Our answer is always, “as many as it takes to get it right.” Your client is hiring you to deliver. As part of that, you want to make sure they’re thrilled with your work.
If they change the scope of the work after already agreeing to the project, then you need to send them a new scope of work—and project price.
Find Solutions That Work for Both You & Your Client
If you find yourself having to spend a lot of time driving to their office, you’re well within your rights to propose making some of the meetings conference calls instead of in-person. You’re providing them a service and want to make their lives easier, but it can’t hurt to ask if there are small changes that can also make your life a little easier, too.
Watch More: Discovery Call Discussion Tips
In this episode of the Build Your Copywriting Business podcast, three CCA students each sit down with Nicki and Kate to ask their most pressing questions. One of these students asks about the best way to approach a discovery call, which could certainly help you set expectations regarding timing and deliverables with your client!
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to pricing your services? Let us know in the comments!
Last Updated on October 27, 2023