Word Count is not the Only Project Pricing Factor

Pam at DeskWhen you are a business owner in a specific industry, you can increase your knowledge by reading and studying others in your chosen field. Laura Spencer is a freelance writer I follow regularly. Sometimes other writers say exactly what I have been saying.




August 27, 2012 | Laura Spencer | Comments 0

FAQ: 8 Factors that Cause Writing Projects to Cost More

Often writing clients want to know my rate–what do I charge for a specific type of project?

My usual answer is that I don’t have a rate, but that I would be happy to provide a customized proposal. I’ve learned over the years that the amount of effort that goes into writing projects varies greatly.

Many clients don’t understand the factors that cause a writing project to cost more money, so I’ve listed eight of those factors in this post.


Every project really is different. Even if two writing projects seem similar, they usually require a different amount of effort (and therefore have a different price).

8 Reasons Your Writing Project Costs More Money

In most cases, the longer it takes to work on a project, the more expensive the project is.

Here are eight factors that will cause a writer to spend more time on your project. If you include these factors in your writing project, it will cost you more money.

  1. Meetings. While I include an initial meeting in my project estimates, additional meetings generally add to the project cost. I do understand that sometimes it’s desirable to have a regular meeting on long-term projects, but project meetings can also take a lot of time. To save money, make sure that the information presented in the meeting is really relevant to the writing task. A meeting where lots of contractors give their status on unrelated projects can be a waste of time.
  2. Extensive Research. If the topic of the writing project is common knowledge, then the piece can be produced much more quickly. However, if the topic requires research then the writing piece will take more time. In general the more obscure the topic is and the harder it is to find information about it, the more time the project will take to complete and the more money it will cost.
  3. Revisions. Like any writer, I’m happy to correct mistakes if they occur. However, I limit the number of revisions that are included with each project. Of course, additional revisions are available at an extra charge. To keep revision costs under control, be as specific as you can about what you want up front. Too many clients take a trial and error approach to writing–they don’t know what they want, but they’ll know it when they see it. This approach can be very costly to the client.
  4. Levels of Approval. In general, the more levels of approval a project requires, the more the project costs. For example, a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip of my choice would be less expensive than a project that requires me to write a weekly column on a money-saving tip when the topic must first be approved by the client and an outline must be submitted in advance.
  5. Interviews. Interviews can be a great way to spice up an article or blog post. But getting an interview takes additional time, even if the project only needs a few quotes. Not only does the writer need to schedule a time to get with the interview subject, they also need to learn about the interview subject so that they can ask relevant questions. Then, after all of that is completed, they can write the piece.
  6. Images. I highly recommend that all writing that will be published online include an image. However, finding an appropriate image takes time or costs money (or both). As a writer, I either need to purchase an appropriate image from a stock photo site or I need to find an image with a license (such as Creative Commons) that allows it to be shared. If you publish a lot of pieces online, you may be able purchase stock images for less than an individual writer could.
  7. Non-writing Tasks. In most cases, I am happy to include non-writing services along with my writing services. Such services typically include managing other writers, managing a writing project, checking the work of other writers, or promoting the publication online. However, such tasks take time and typically involve an additional charge.
  8. Rush Work. Work that requires an extremely fast turnaround typically costs more. Not only does doing such work mean that I will be working on the project during what would normally be my leisure time, rush projects typically require extra care to avoid miscommunication. My preference is to avoid rush work whenever possible, but I do understand that sometimes it is necessary.

Naturally, I’m happy to provide any or all of these factors when a client needs them. However, many clients don’t realize that these factors add to the cost of a writing project.

Of course these are just eight factors that can cause a writing project to cost more. Can you think of others?

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About the Author: I am a successful freelance writer with 20 years of copy writing experience. I am available for consulting, business writing, copy writing, editing, technical writing, and web content writing. In addition, I have written an ebook, How To Start A Freelance Writing Business, to help new writers. Find me on Google+.

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Ask Questions, Get Answers

QuestioningAre you thinking about hiring a freelance writer or editor to help you to complete a project? Are you a freelance writer or editor negotiating with a potential client? Over the years, I have found that the best way to develop a successful relationship with my clients is to ensure that everyone is “on the same page” from the beginning. When you ask a lot of questions, you’ll receive a lot of answers; eventually, each of you will have a strong foundation for managing your project.

As my friend and fellow writer, Sharon Hurley Hall (@shurleyhall) writes on her blog, a client questionnaire will help to clarify for both the freelance writer/editor and the client the terms, conditions, and “fine print” of each project. So, whether you are the freelance writer/editor or the client, what should you look for in a client questionnaire? There are many different formats that you as a freelance writer/editor can customize; as a potential client, there are informational sections to look for:

1) Complete contact information. With today’s global business environment, many people work non-standard hours and are location-independent. It is important to for the contractor and the client to be able to communicate across time zones and during non-business hours.

2) Complete background information. As the potential client, what is it exactly you are looking for? The more information you can give about you, your company, your goals and objectives, and your competitors, the more your writer can successfully meet your needs.

3) Project details. This is the place to be very, very specific. This section should include the deadline, the milestones, the update schedule, the number of revisions, the contact person, and the exact details of the project.

4) The budget and payment details. This is the section where the freelancer and the client discuss the project budget and finalize the payment arrangements. Each project has a budget, and each freelancer should be paid for his or her services. This section outlines the specifics.

A well-written client questionnaire will benefit the freelance writer/editor and the client. The writers at Writing It Right For You have a questionnaire and a project plan template ready to work with you. You can contact us here.

If you are a freelance writer or editor, do you use a client questionnaire? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Are you a client who has worked with a freelance writer or editor? Did you complete a client questionnaire? What other information would you like to see included in a client questionnaire? Let us know in the comments section.


Independent Contractors

Everyone here at Writing It Right For You is an independent contractor. Our job is to work with you for the greatest success for your project; but we don’t work for you. IRS guidelines are very specific; we are independent contractors who work for ourselves under contract to our clients.

There are many benefits to you in working with independent contractors such as those at Writing It Right For You.

1) You work with full-time, experienced and mature professionals who understand your area of study or your business and will give your project their best efforts.

2)  You pay for only the amount of time you need; no worries about paying benefits, insurance, taxes, etc. The per-project fees for Writing It Right For You professionals usually work out to be much less than paying for a full-time employee.

3) We have all of our own software, hardware, internet access and other equipment. We manage our own projects, do our own invoicing and pay our own taxes and expenses. (Some expenses will be re-invoiced to your project.)

4) You will have your own company/project page on our 37Signals Backpack business organization application,  and your own account with our Freshbooks project-tracking and invoicing program. You will always know what’s going on with your project.

To find out how the professionals at Writing It Right For You can assist you in reaching your writing and editing goals, schedule your free 30-minute consultation by phone, email, or Skype using the Contact Form.

We look forward to working with you!