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How to Give a Copywriting Estimate That’s Fair to All Parties

So you’ve been asked to provide a written estimate for a project, and you’re wondering how to go about it without hurting anyone’s feelings.

You’re in good company. We’ve all been there. Sometimes agencies ask you to provide a quote for a piece of content—a sales letter, for example, or a web page. But instead of just providing your usual rate, you wonder how much you should charge since the person you’re writing it for will almost certainly have a different opinion.

The answer is, it depends. What you need to do is ask yourself a series of questions to get the most out of the situation. These include:

What Is My Estimated Time for This Project?

You need to take into consideration how much time you actually have to devote to the project. It’s a good idea to break down the project into components and estimate how much time you’ll need to complete each one. For example, you might have five hours to draft the content, another five hours to edit it, and then a further five hours to proofread and format it. Your total time for the project, then, is fifteen hours. You will work faster than you think, so don’t rush it.

On the other hand, if the project takes longer than you think – like twenty hours – then you need to adjust your quote downward. Agencies usually don’t mind paying for what they need, but they don’t like to spend more than they have to, either.

How Much Does My Client Actually Need?

Consider the size of your client’s budget, and how much they can actually afford to pay. Your client might need something simple and quickly delivered, or they might need a more complex plan with lots of moving parts. It’s up to you to find out what they need.

For example, if they have a limited budget and just need something simple and straight-forward, like a sales letter, then your quote might be fair since you’re not overburdening them with a plan they can’t afford. Or, if they have a larger budget and can afford something more complex, like a multi-page marketing plan, then your quote might be a little higher since you’re taking on more work than they’d actually paid for.

How Much Time Do I Have To Complete This Project?

This is closely related to the previous question. How much time do you actually have to devote to this project?

If you have a lot of time, like a lot of free hours in a week or more, then your quote might be quite high. But if you’re only looking at your own schedule, then consider how much available time you have. It might not be much. In that case, your quote might have to be lower. You can ask colleagues, friends, or family to help out with the project. If you’re doing this remotely, then you might need to pay for some of their time, as well.

What Type of Writer Are They Looking For?

You need to consider what kind of writer your client is looking for. Some clients want something specific, like a news article or a novel. So, if you’re not familiar with those forms of writing, then your quote might go down. But if you are, then your quote might go up, because other writers might be interested in the project as well.

There’s also the question of whether your client wants a complete stranger to write their content, or whether they want someone familiar with the industry. If it’s the former, then your quote might be higher, since you’ll need to establish yourself as an expert in the field. But if it’s the latter, then your quote might be lower, since your client already knows what they want and you don’t need to explain much.

The more you know about your client and what they want, the better. This will help you determine an appropriate quote that satisfies both parties. From there, it’s just a matter of negotiation, something that comes with experience.