Find out how much it costs to hire a Copywriter [+Standard Copywriting Rates]

Written by Kerry Campion de Santiago

Looking to hire a word-guru but no idea how much it costs to hire a copywriter? Get a feel for standard copywriting rates here.

So, you’re thinking about outsourcing your copywriting. 

Congratulations! 

It’s one of the steps to saying, “Yup, I’ve made it. I’m so pro I don’t even write my own words anymore.” 

A bit like the Prime Minister who has people writing all her speeches and press releases. 

Hiring a copywriter can have a major impact on your messaging and marketing, but before jumping on discovery calls you might like to have an idea of how much it costs to hire a copywriter. 

It’s so embarrassing when someone asks “what’s your budget?” and you’re like, “Umm…anywhere between $50 and $5,000. Is that OK? Too low? Errr…”

via GIPHY

So, are there any standard copywriting rates that can help you get a feel for how much of an investment you’ll make? How do you pay a copywriter who is overseas? Is a retainer agreement worth it?

I’m going to cover all of that and more in this article for you. 

The only thing I ask in return is that you tap one of those little social icons above and share this article if it’s useful or even mildly entertaining. 

Deal? 

How do Copywriters charge?

Before we can really get into how much a copywriter will charge you, it’s important to know how they can charge (because it might affect the quality of the work and how much you pay).  

Here are the three ways a copywriter may charge you. 

Charging Per Word

Let me just state that you should never hire a copywriter who charges per word

First of all, it totally devalues our work to a few pennies per word and doesn’t take into account all the research that we do to write great copy. 

Copywriters do A LOT of research which ensures that they’re writing copy that will actually resonate with your audience and drive conversions. 

#copywriting rates for #digitalmarketing –  If you want high quality copy for your business don’t pay copywriters per word. @KCdeSantiago

Another important reason for avoiding “charge-per-word” copywriters is the quality of their work usually suffers because of this practice. 

Why?

Well, sometimes less is more, and if someone charges per word they may pad out their copy with a lot of unnecessary text to bump up their quote. 

This means you’ll wind up with bloated copy that’s full of fluff and doesn’t add to your bottom line. 

So, charging per word basically doesn’t help anyone.

Charing per Hour

Most copywriters have a standard hourly rate (more on the standard copywriting rates below) and will charge you based on how long it takes them to complete your copy. 

The main downside of this is that you can end up paying more than you expected because of any unforeables that have slowed down the copywriter. 

Personally, I find this to be a race to the bottom. It usually results in spats between clients and copywriters and lots of “did it really take you THAT long to do X?” 

So, I’d avoid this also.

Charging Per Project

This tends to be the most common way to quote these days. The copywriter will write up a proposal for you with the price of the project. 

This price is usually based on how long it takes them to complete a project like yours, but even if they spend longer on it than they thought, you don’t pay more. 

The norm is that you’ll pay a 50% commencement invoice and then once version 1 or 2 of the copy is delivered, you’ll pay the rest.

This is how I quote (actually these days I don’t write many proposals because I have my copywriting packages already on my website).

This also seems to be becoming more normal in the copywriting world.

“There’s a slight upward trend in freelancers charging by the project versus by the hour”

Copyhackers

Standard Copywriting Rates

Now you know how you might be charged, it’s time to find out how much it might actually cost to hire a copywriter. 

This is a tough one because a copywriter’s rates will depend on their country, experience, how in demand they are, their niche and a few other factors.


The closest thing to a proper standard rate I could give you would be based on the standard hourly rates of copywriters provided by the lovely Kate Toon.

Standard Copywriting rates Guide

  • Around $45-$80 per hour for a junior copywriter
  • Around $80-$120 per hour for a mid-level copywriter
  • Around $120-200 per hour for a top-level copywriter

And according to a Copyhackers survey “73% of 2017 respondents charged between $50 and $149 per hour.”

If you’d like a rough estimate for how much a project might cost, you can use a tool that’ll help you work out the quote a copywriter might give you. 

Over at the very same Copyhackers (those guys have some seriously useful stuff), you can put in the type of copy you need, experience level you want the copywriter to have, what will be involved in writing the copy (customer interviews etc) and it’ll spit out an estimate. 

Admittedly, it’s geared towards copywriters, but it might still help you work out how much it costs to hire a copywriter for the project you have in mind.

Get a rough estimate for how much it might cost to hire a copywriter by using this free resource. Yes it’s for copywriters but it’ll help you out too.

Retainers vs One-Off Project

If you need regular copy, it might be worth your while to get a copywriter on retainer, which is just a regular contract. 

This is usually quite a nice set-up for a few different reasons:

Why a retainer agreement is a sweet deal

  • The copywriter gets to really know you and your business: working with someone on a long-term basis can help us refine our copy and really understand your business and audience.
  • It might come with a discount: for example, it’s cheaper to hire me for SEO blogs on retainer because I cut some things from my regular quote.
  • Performance measurement: I love being able to track what’s working and what might need tweaked over the long term. It’s great being able to adapt my copy to meet new needs in my client’s business and audience.

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 How to pay your Copywriter

You might be working with a copywriter on the other side of the country, (or world!) so how do you pay them? 

Personally, I use Stripe for international payments but others use PayPal or WeTransfer. When I’m dealing with clients who are also in the European Union, we just do a bog-standard bank transfer (apparently this type of online transfer is really hard in the US?). 

Remember that most invoices have to be paid within 30 days of receiving them (to be frank, I think it’s mad to wait a full month to be paid, my limit is 14 working days). 

If you fail to pay on time you’ll probably incur a late fee – so pay your copywriter on time please.

Get more info about how to hire a copywriter here.

via GIPHY

What might increase your copy Quote

So, we’ve seen what some of the standard copywriting rates are and I’ve even given you a handy free tool to work out a rough estimate. 

But there are certain things that can bump up the price of your quote like… 

  • Rush fees
    • If you need copy FAST you’ll probably be charged at extra 25% on top of your bill. This is known as a “rush fee” and copywriters use it to compensate for the inconvenience of having to push their schedule around. 
    • Personally I don’t have rush fees because I think it’s unfair to possibly push back a project for someone who respected my turnaround time in the first place. Plus I need to let my copy marinate a bit so I can do my best editing. 
  • Very niche market 
    • Do you need really specific copy for a particular niche? If your copy requires very specialist knowledge then you can expect to pay more. 
  • Change of Scope 
    • If you want to add anything on to your copy that wasn’t agreed to in the original contract, then you’ll have to pay extra.
#Copywriting rates – Can you afford to hire a copywriter? Find out here 👇

Do Copywriters Publish their Rates?

Most of the time…no. 

For a lot of copywriters, their projects are all so custom that it would be really hard for them to publish a set price because their clients have such particular needs. 

You might find some that say “starting from….$2,000” or something like that, but most copywriters will just work out your proposal and give you a custom quote for your needs. 
I do publish my prices because I mostly offer packages – so if you’re curious about how much it costs to hire an SEO copywriter you can check out my packages.

Now that you know how much it costs to hire a copywriter I have favour to ask…

You remember our deal? 

I said that if you found this article useful all you had to do was share it on your social channels. 

Well, I’ve even left the buttons right here for you so you don’t even need to scroll back up 😉

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