I read a really informative post recently by a copywriter called Megan Rose, all about how to price your services as a freelance copywriter. It’s well worth a read, and has a long list of useful links at the end.
It’s a tricky subject, and I think many of us writers are a little embarrassed to bring it up with clients, but getting your price right is essential.
Going back to marketing theory, you can price your work based on its perceived value to the client, or based on your ‘costs’ (which means time for freelance writers), or you can benchmark against others (comparison pricing). There’s also pricing by the word.
The consensus of other contributors to Megan’s blog seems to be: don’t under-value yourself, be flexible, and do your research to find out what the going rates are, when possible. Then get the price (and any other conditions) in writing, either a signed contract or failing that at least an email.
For me, I find quoting a fixed price for each job gives the best results both for the client and for myself – they can see what they’re going to have to pay up-front, and I can quote a fair price (which is usually based on my estimate of how long the job will take – or might be on a per-word basis). If we can’t agree on a price, we know before any work is done or time wasted.