I’ve changed the way I charge for my services.
I used to offer a day rate, an hourly rate or the option of a flat project fee and let clients decide which one suited them best.
Secretly, I really, really wanted them to pick a flat project fee and was always disappointed when they didn’t plump for that choice.
It was starting to get me down so I've decided to (mostly) ditch my hourly and day rates and offer flat project fees or what you might call value-based pricing.
Here’s why I think this model represents the best deal for everyone.
What is value-based pricing?
As I’ve said above, value-based pricing is the same as a flat project fee.
You tell me (in detail) what work you’d like me to do and in return, I’ll give you a quote for the entire project from start to finish.
There are no hidden costs and the price covers two rounds of revisions (as long as they're within the scope of the original brief).
I calculate the price primarily based on the value of the service I’m providing and the quality of the end product rather than solely on the time it takes me to produce the work (or the number of words I type - that’s absolutely the worst way to charge for copywriting).
It’s kind of like buying a car.
You don’t pay for it based on the hours it took to manufacture or the number of separate parts it consists of. You pay for the quality of the engineering and design, the great driving experience and the convenience it brings to your everyday life.
That's how I'd like you to think of my work.
Why is value-based pricing good for everyone?
There are a few reasons why I think everyone wins with this pricing model.
I’m a slow copywriter
Probably not something you were expecting me to admit here, but it’s true.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fast writer. I can churn out touch-typed words at an impressive rate of knots. But that’s not copywriting and anyone who thinks it is has missed the point entirely.
I can write any old words down quickly. But writing THE words? The ones that get people hot under the collar. The ones that resonate with people. The ones that sell. That takes time, and research, and effort, and revisions upon revisions until my ugly duckling of a first draft has transformed into a beautiful swan.
That’s where the magic happens.
Charging by the hour or the day incentivises quick and dirty copywriting to keep costs low, and that is most certainly not where the magic happens. So let’s not even bother talking about how long it takes me to do stuff and instead talk about how great the final product will be.
Sometimes, I don’t know exactly how long a project will take
I know roughly how long a project will take, with an error margin of half a day or so, but my shoddy clairvoyancy prevents me from accurately knowing this to the nearest hour.
If you ask me to quote for something based on my hourly rate one of us is going to end up losing out.
Say I charge £50 an hour. If I overestimate by half a day that means I’m over-quoting by £200 (not an inconsiderable amount of money and enough to put my services over someone's budget).
On the flip side, if I underestimate by half a day that leaves me £200 out of pocket. Would I have the balls to add £200 to my original quote? Maybe, but with a flat project rate this is never even an issue.
I realise these last two points make it seem like I'm bad at meeting deadlines but I promise I'm not. I build plenty of slack into my schedule so that I always deliver on time (and often before).
Revisions are included
As I’ve mentioned above, my flat project rate always includes two rounds of revisions within the scope of the original brief. This means no extra charges for you in the unlikely event that I don’t quite hit the mark first time around.
This does, however, come with a caveat.
If you need extensive revisions because you’ve changed your mind about what you want, I’ll charge you extra for this because it’s additional work not covered by my quote based on your original brief (now you know so no excuses).
How do you quantify "value"?
I'm working on a series of case studies with past clients to demonstrate exactly the sort of return on investment that my work delivers.
While these are still under construction, here are some of the general benefits of working with a copywriter like me.
Improved company image
In short - I make you look and sound good. If I need to explain why this is desirable then we're probably not going to enjoy working together 😐.
Also known as selling more stuff. The whole point of copywriting is to convert browsers into buyers and your biggest fans. That's the difference between copywriting and just writing some words to fill gaps in your website.
Increased web traffic
Google likes good quality web copy and that's what a copywriter like me provides for you. I also know a thing or two about SEO to make sure your website appears in more of the right searches and is found by more of the right people.
More online authority
I can write blog posts to help you build authority in your field. Why is this a good thing? Potential customers are more likely to trust you and buy your stuff or services.
Why don't you charge per-word?
Per-word pricing, as I’ve already said, is the absolute worst way to charge for copywriting.
Like charging by the hour places value on speed over quality, per-word pricing values quantity over quality.
The more words I write for you the more you end up paying me, regardless of if they are any good or not. So let’s not even go there.
Are there any exceptions?
There are some exceptions to my only-charge-flat-project-rates rule.
If you're reading this and you're from an agency please don't panic - I'll still work on a day rate for you guys.
I know this is the way things generally work and you're unlikely to change just for little old me. As long as you're happy with my rates then we'll get along just fine.
I charge on a day or half-day basis for my most regular customers. And by that, I mean sends-me-work-every-month kind of regular.
Because the jobs aren’t huge and quoting for each individual one would waste a lot of time. Instead, I just invoice for my time once the work is done.
They know my rates, like my work and never argue the toss when it comes to my invoices. The system works and everyone’s happy.
If you'd like to work with me on this sort of basis let me know and I'd happily consider it.
In all other circumstances, it's value-based pricing or nothing at all. But hopefully this post has convinced you that charging this way is actually in everyone's best interest.