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Old 12-22-2006, 09:40 PM   #1
willwrite4food
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Need help determining hourly rate

Hi everyone! I have an opportunity to do some freelance PR and copywriting work for an agency in Winston-Salem, NC. I want to charge them on an hourly basis, rather than per project, but am not sure what rate to quote them. The 2005 copy of the Writer's Market that I have lists the following:

Press Releases:
high - $125/hr
low - $40
avg -$74

Advertising copywriting:
high - $150
low - $43
avg - $83

I have at least five years experience in the industry. I'm thinking about quoting them the average rates and see what they say, even though they seem kind of high to me. I just don't want to seem like an amateur though and quote too low! Any thoughts?
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Old 12-23-2006, 04:25 AM   #2
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If it's an agency, they expect rates to reflect a certain level of stature and professionalism. Otherwise, why would they hire you? If you have what they need, they'll pay your rate. Don't sell yourself short. If it would put them over budget with the client, they'll tell you and suggest another figure. Don't anticipate resistance. They're not going to think badly of you or walk away without a word.

Good luck!
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Old 12-24-2006, 12:59 AM   #3
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Is your experience as an employee? If so, that could be why the "average" rates seem high to you.

Could you guesstimate an hourly rate by using an example project (for instance, writing a press release for $250, and divide by the time it would take you to write one? For example, $250 divided by 3 hours = 83.33 per hour.)

There's a longer way of calculating freelance rates, and I don't remember the whole thing, but the gist of it is to calculate how much you'll pay in taxes, and for private health insurance, office supplies, long distance, internet access, etc. etc. - basically the cost of doing business - and subtract that from what you expect to earn, based on the hourly rate. That will give you a truer idea of what you'll actually be getting.

But I don't do that. I like charging by the project whenever possible.

ltd.
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:55 AM   #4
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Post

Quote:
There's a longer way of calculating freelance rates, and I don't remember the whole thing, but the gist of it is to calculate how much you'll pay in taxes, and for private health insurance, office supplies, long distance, internet access, etc. etc. - basically the cost of doing business - and subtract that from what you expect to earn, based on the hourly rate. That will give you a truer idea of what you'll actually be getting.

ltd.
An easy way to estimate it is that you take what you'd be making per hour if you were at a full-time, salaried job with benefits and multiply it by 2 and a half for a guideline of independent contractor rates. So, for example, if you were an employee at a company and you earned $30/hour, the equivalent you would charge on an independent contractor basis would be $75/hour.

VAs (virtual assistants) use this formula all the time to justify why they may charge $25/hour when an employer says he could get an admin assistant for $10/hour in-house.

Good luck!
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:55 AM   #5
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You might do a quick check on Monster.com to see what the rates seem to be for your area for copywriters. If you can't get that information from Monster, try calling Kelly or Manpower to see if they can give you a range for their temps. You don't want to undersell yourself but you don't want to price yourself out of your market either. There is a wide range depending on location. For example, the "National average" for technical writers is considerably higher than the actual rate you can get in Indianapolis.
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:05 PM   #6
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I agree with the previous poster, see what the going rates are in your area if you can, but don't sell yourself short. If they plan to hire you, they plan to pay a good rate for a good writer. I never go with the low end rates from the Writer's guide, though I guess you may if you are new to the business, but this reflects your "newness". Go with something in-between, mid to high. What hourly rate do you feel comfortable with and how much do you value your time at? Good luck!
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Old 01-15-2007, 04:31 AM   #7
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Dear WillWrite,

I think you are fine quoting the average rates. Keep in mind that copywriters need to charge a minimum of $50 per hour to take into account your overhead, health insurance, telephone, taxes, etc. etc. It is very common for writers to charge in the $60 - $75 range. And remember, you're a professional and worth every penny. If you lowball, clients won't value you. I understand the temptation, but it's best to stick to your guns. Good luck!
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DDoyle
Dear WillWrite,

I think you are fine quoting the average rates. Keep in mind that copywriters need to charge a minimum of $50 per hour to take into account your overhead, health insurance, telephone, taxes, etc. etc. It is very common for writers to charge in the $60 - $75 range. And remember, you're a professional and worth every penny. If you lowball, clients won't value you. I understand the temptation, but it's best to stick to your guns. Good luck!

Everyone's circumstances are different with regard to overhead are different. For example, I am insured under my husband's work plan, thus don't have that as overhead. I think you should take into consideration your own situation, the local market rates, how much you want the job, and whether it will lead to repeat business or better contacts before you set a rate. Flatly stating there is a certain minimum per hour rate can be misleading.
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