3 min read

How Much To Charge as a Copywriter

How Much To Charge as a Copywriter

What is your time worth as a freelancer? It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your freelance career, or are years down the road, the question of how much you should be charging for your services is one that must be answered.

I have been a full time freelancer for three years, and pricing was the biggest question mark that I had starting out. Even to this day, I find myself wondering if I am charging the going rate, if I am too low, or too high.

The fact is that only you can determine what you charge your customers, because we all have our own unique needs and goals that must be met. What I can help you with is understanding the various models and some industry standards to help you find your way.

Copywriting Pricing Models

When looking at pricing structures, you will inevitably realize that there are four primary ways to bill a customer. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks for both parties. What is good for you, might not be the best option for your potential customer and vice versa.

Throughout your career, all three will be used, because each customer will have their preference. Over time you may find that a mix will be the best way to find a mutually beneficial option. Here are the most common ways to structure pricing.

scope of work template

Project Based

If you have spent anytime on UpWork or any of the other freelance job boards, project based pricing should come as no surprise. This is an agreed upon price that is paid once the project has been completed.

This can be incredibly beneficial for both parties as there are no hidden costs. However, for a freelancer, there is always a risk that the scope of the project is much larger than initially described.

If you are going with project-based pricing, you must do your homework, and ask the right questions to get a clear understanding of how much time and resources will be required to complete the project. 

Agreeing to do a project for $150, that ultimately takes you 50 hours to complete is an all too common pitfall. For larger projects, you may need to setup milestones and be paid when each milestone is completed. This will ensure that are adequately compensated for your time and expertise.

Word Count

Word count is one of the most common forms of pricing, especially if you are writing blogs, case studies, or whitepapers. For those that are starting out, rates will usually fall between 10-12¢ per word depending on the subject matter. Articles that require in depth knowledge of a particular subject can see slightly higher pricing.

If you can hammer out a well-written 1000 word blog in 45 minutes, billing on word count can be a great way to go. If that same article takes you multiple hours to complete, you may find the compensation is inadequate.


Unlike the two previously mentioned billing structures, hourly billing requires diligence on your part. Accurately tracking and reporting the time that it takes to complete your work is essential, and can quickly come under scrutiny if you are not careful.

In all honesty, hourly billing can be a double edged sword. For an experienced writer, it may not take long to produce great content. As a result, your hourly rate may be lower than what you could earn charging in a different format. On the flip side, customers may be wary of this form of pricing because they are worried you will milk the clock.

Be as transparent as you can be, invest in a time tracking tool that can help with reporting to make the process easier for you and more efficient for your customers.


The first three pricing structures on this list are likely the first that came to mind. After all they are the most common in the freelance world. Working on a retainer can be a great option, but it may not be something that is immediately available.

While I primarily work on retainer now, it wasn’t that way when I started out. The reason was simple – I had no idea how long it would take me to accomplish projects. After a year in the business, I found that I could accurately estimate how much of my time was needed each month, and it was an easy sell to customers. 

The drawback to a retainer is that if your estimate is off, you will lose money. That alone will keep many away from it, but once you have a clear understanding of your skill set and become efficient at time management, it can be a great option that will give you predictable income month after month.

Structuring Your Fees As A Freelancer

You will quickly realize that most if not all of the pricing models that were outlined above will come into play eventually. At first you may feel that one is better for you than the others, only to have that perspective shift as you gain experience and sharpen your skills. The key thing to remember is that time is your most valuable commodity as a freelancer.

Along my journey, I have shifted back and forth, and have a mix of all of these in my portfolio today. My best advice is to provide each prospective client with a couple of different options and highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each. Don’t be afraid to be transparent through the pricing discussion and negotiation phase of the sale. Your client will appreciate the attention you give them and the options provided.

For additional tips, or general questions, feel free to connect with me and the other members of the Hire A Writer team. We love what we do, and are always ready to help.

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