New freelance copywriter - how to decide on daily rate?

(9 Posts)
joshandjamie Mon 09-Jun-14 17:33:45

i am a freelance copywriter. I charge £50 per hour except for one client who gives me loads of work and I charge her half that.

Wordsmith Wed 04-Jun-14 16:34:04

I do exactly the same sort of work as the OP. It really depends on what you can get away with, in my experience! Some big agencies (I'm talking out of London, West Mids based) are used to paying top dollar and I can charge them £60/hour, but I often work for £40/hour for a regular, retainer-based client. When working in-house you charge them for the time you spend on their behalf, whether you're at the keyboard or not, so that includes meetings, brainstorming sessions, making coffee or chatting about TV at the water cooler. If they want you in there, they pay for you to be in there. I tend not to charge both mileage AND travel time, unless I'm undertaking travel on their behalf (ie to clients/interviews) which they can then charge on, in which case I charge them @45p a mile.

If you're regularly going in house for a day a week then I'd say it will cost them £x per week for 9-5pm (or whatever hours you have agreed) but make sure you charge them extra for work you take home with you and do out of that time.

Quinteszilla Tue 22-Apr-14 15:41:36

So they have in effect halved the fee by offering you half a day, and you will have a 40 mild round trip anyway?

cressetmama Tue 22-Apr-14 15:35:20

Many many years ago, when I first went freelance, I was asked my day rate and I fumbled the answer. The blessed Wally Lawrence explained to me how to work it out... You take what you earned per day in your last full time job, and double it on the logic that (a) you will work only half the time, and (b) they are not paying sick pay, benefits or holidays! It worked for me for 15 years. And then, when you are established, you price work by the project and according to how much or how little you want the work. So, when I was offered work from insurance companies, I added 25% because they were always a nightmare, and I reckoned extra was need to compensate for the headaches! Hope this helps and all is going well for you.

CashmereMouse Wed 16-Apr-14 20:03:37

I went for £300 as my day rate in my. Email to. Them yesterday. She's come back and said it's at the top of what they normally pay their freelancers but to come in for half a day anyway.

I've replied and said I'm happy to negotiate. But until I know exactly what they need from me it's a bit difficult to judge.

I'd rather have a cheaper rate than not get the work though - a regular client is always worth it.

Fingers crossed!

Thanks for being a sounding board with this - I think setting your rate is the hardest part of being self employed!

OP’s posts: |
WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Apr-14 14:50:57

A feminist would absolutely tell you to approach it like a man! Women often price themselves too low... grin

As you've said, you need them to be able to make a profit, so if you know what they'll charge out at then it should be easy to work back. I always start from a pov that an agency is at least doubling my rates.

So it sounds like you're in the right ball park at £40ph but round up rather than down - 350 pd sounds OK to me (although I'd include travel time and expenses for that)

CashmereMouse Tue 15-Apr-14 09:45:43

I think that sounds realistic. If I worked on the basis of an 8hr day for them, 8 hr @ £40/hr is £320 per day. Perhaps round it down to £300.

Hmm, tricky. I know I'm good at what I do so I really don't want to undercharge myself, plus I need to make a living from this. But equally hate the thought of them saying 'how much???' and saying no.

But it's easier to haggle down rather than up, so perhaps start high and come down.

Maybe I need to approach this like a man (feminism going out the window here) - I am great, I am worth £X per day, come across confident and who knows, they may well say yes and think they have an absolute bargain. And terms can always be revised once we've established what is needed exactly.

OP’s posts: |


LeapingOverTheWall Mon 14-Apr-14 20:03:27

I know of some non-London/SE based tech writers who charge between £40-£45 per hour. They don't work at the client's premises though, so no travel time to factor in, and are presumably making a living.

Using those figures would give your client a 50% profit - does that sound reasonable for your industry? Do you need to be at the clients premises, or could you work remotely? That would give you more available time for paying work.

Or could you negotiate travel expenses into the contract? Another wrote client managed that after I pointed out how much individual projects were costing him.

CashmereMouse Mon 14-Apr-14 19:53:19

I've just set up as a freelance copywriter and things are starting to trickle in.

After a networking meeting I was approached by a PR agency (this is the writing background I come from) to go and do a day/half day's work in their office on a regular basis. They have too much work and need extra writing power, but I haven't a clue how to work out what to charge them.

All my work to date has been working from home and so I am able to fit various things around each client and can dip in and out as required.

Previous work I've always quoted on a 'per job' basis, but I've tended to estimate how long it would take me and then work on the basis of £25/hr (in my head). I only tell the client the total figure though.

When I worked for a PR agency we charged our time at £80/hr and I would imagine that this PR agency will charge my time out to their clients at that price, or more likely, higher. I know I won't be writing full stop the whole time I'm in their office, but whilst I'm there I can't do any work for any other clients, so I need to make sure I'm covering that too. Plus my mileage there and back (40mile round trip)

I don't want to price myself too low, but equally I don't want to price myself too high and I really want this pitch. It would be an excellent long term arrangement. I know that I can say tho them I can negotiate if it's not in line with their previous freelancers, but I'd like to go in with a sensible figure.

For what it's worth I am based in Shropshire, so not in a position to be charging London prices.

I'd be grateful if anyone who has experience of doing something similar could give me an idea of what they charge when they do day/ half day rates.

OP’s posts: |

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