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  1. Rashida Tayabali wrote on

    I learnt early on that fixed price works for me so that’s what I charge. I’m not a fan of contra unless it’s for very small jobs.

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Hi Rashida. Thanks for your comment. Yeah, fixed price ties everything up nicely. It’s a nice, safe feeling for everyone, copywriter included. :-)

  2. Amy wrote on

    No one size fits all in my experience and have learned that offering a choice is best for most clients (mix of fixed, capped or hourly rates). Also learned the hard way that it can be smart to get even a token deposit paid upfront from some of the more flaky potential clients…

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Definitely. And yeah I require a 50% first instalment from new clients too. All of them. It’s not just about minimising risk, it’s about streamlining cash flow. I do that on hourly rate jobs too.

  3. Angela wrote on

    GREAT blog. Thanks for starting a discussion around this. I’ve often wondered about royalties/equity/bartering… probably not for me at this stage, but I might consider them one day for the right client(s).

    I’ve recently started testing out the day rate offer and I’m really liking it (although it’s not perfect). If a client can’t seem to tell me exactly what they want/need, I’ll either promote the day rate (because that way, we can go with the flow and I’ll still get paid) or I’ll quote a higher than usual project fee but have a day-rate option (which will work out cheaper for the client in most cases).

    Some stuff I really like about it:
    – Clients know when they can call/contact me about the job, so the project is neatly contained within set days
    – I’m still learning how to price projects so that I don’t underquote, but figuring out how to price myself for a day of work is easy
    – Quoting is quick and easy
    – Clients “get” it – they don’t question what they’re paying for as much
    – It’s habit-building for some clients… they enjoy the experience, can easily book another, and a few weeks later it’s starting to look like a retainer might make sense (I’ve only been doing this for less than a month, but it’s already happened once)

    The other thing about day rates is I can automate the booking process a little. If I block out one day per week for potential day-rate work, I can often fit in fairly last minute bookings for those clients, and they can book it all straight through my Calendly page.

    It’s really just an experiment at this stage, but I’m enjoying the results so far :-)

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Interesting. I’ve only ever done day rates on contracts, so it’s never been a scheduled day each week. I like that approach!

      I definitely agree that day and hourly rate generally work out cheaper for the client. No need for us to factor in risk.

  4. Dean Mackenzie wrote on

    I went looking for productivity blogs and ended up here! Thanks for posting this Glenn, some nice angles (barter and equity are both ones I don’t think I’d be “brave” enough to take).

    The big take-away for me is to revisit hourly rates. Fixed price was/is a way for me to take on “pricing risk” if a project ends up being more complex than first thought, but I try to take a longer-term view and put the relationship first (sounds similar to your thinking… though this can depend on the client not being an ass-hat on the first few meetings).

    But it also came down to confidence (or lack of). Taking on that risk was a way for me to spend time on something without charging for it, because I wasn’t confident about the “yeah, it took 5 hours to write those 400 words because I had to spend the first 2 researching and working out what the heck you meant in the brief”. I think I’ve moved past that problem, but have just stuck with fixed price as a result, so maybe it’s time to take another look at the ole’ hourly rate.

    1. Glenn Murray wrote on

      Yeah, confidence is a huge part of quoting, isn’t it? In lots of subtle ways.

  5. Cortex Copywriter wrote on

    Thanks for this treasure trove of information! It helped me give a quote to a client yesterday.

    Thinking of doing a coaching session with you…

    Congrats on the Awwwards Honorable Mention! My site is up for voting on Awwwards now – would appreciate if you voted or gave feedback on the site’s innovative conversational interface.

    Looking forward to more great blogs :-)

  6. Dane Alexander wrote on

    Thanks for the tips, Glenn. I really like the idea of retainers, too. It helps combat the loneliness of freelancing.

    I also don’t mind a good barter. I just wrote some copy in exchange for a Gibson guitar. Was only a small job, so it worked out really well.

    Cheers.

      1. Dane Alexander wrote on

        That’s awesome! Next barter: at home barista training. haha

        1. Glenn Murray wrote on

          lol. Yeah, probably a good idea.

  7. Storm wrote on

    An oldie, but a goodie blog post – thanks for being transparent in your approach to charging. I think it helps other freelancers immensely who are just starting out. I personally love retainers for the same reasons you outlined. Other than that it’s fixed rates fwt.

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