Negotiating the price range for your work as a writer or a translator comes down to several factors. It’s very difficult to determine what the perfectly reasonable price point is for particular projects.
However, holding onto several ground rules of price negotiation will help you determine the perfect middle ground between your expectations and your client’s resources. Without further ado, I’d like to talk about several tips and pointers for project price negotiation and how you can use them to your benefit as a professional writer.
- Set personal expectations
The truth is that no two clients are alike in any regard. Some people have small firms and very limited budgets but high amount of knowledge about the industry. Others might be prepared to pay a fortune for a good copy but don’t have the first clue about what they really need.
This means that you need to manage your expectations per-project basis. Don’t compare clients or projects with what you face today. Create an internal system that works for you personally and stick to it.
Prepare for every client meeting by doing some basic research about them and their recent practices and reviews. This will give you ample ammunition for price negotiation once you sit down and talk.
- Ask casual industry questions
It’s often a good idea to break the proverbial ice by chatting about the industry you both work in. Don’t be too direct or pushy but make sure to get a good pulse on how knowledgeable your client really is.
If they are popular and trustworthy in their niche you should be careful not to overestimate your abilities and charge more than you should. However, if they only have a vague idea of what content writing is, you can present yourself as a fair professional with a price point that suits their needs accordingly. It all depends on the scope and complexity of the task at hand, which in turn depends on the expertise of your client and the scope of their brief.
- Don’t oversell or undersell
Self-reflection and personal development plays a huge role in the success of a writer. Just like any other predominantly freelance profession, writers need to know how to sell their knowledge to the clients.
Your inner salesperson will have a field day with every client that comes your way since the final price will never turn out the way you expect. Some clients will be ready to pay more while others will do whatever they can to lower your price point to absurdity. Set a personal lower barrier which you are uncomfortable with crossing and refuse anything less than that.
It’s sometimes better to lose a client than to bury yourself with unappreciated work with very little payoff. The same rule applies for overselling your abilities and delivering a half-baked final draft that doesn’t reflect your initial promises. Find the golden middle and stick to it as you develop your writing career.
- Talk about the budget – openly
Writers are introverts with polite and calm behavior as a result of their choice of work. However, as difficult as it may seem, your client’s exact budget is an important factor to discuss.
You should talk about the budget your client has allocated for your writing from the get-go before working out the details of your content. There is no point in discussing further cooperation if your client isn’t willing to pay for the work they are asking you to do.
After all, your livelihood and monthly revenue directly relates to how much you make from each writing project. Be polite and professional but ask about the budget before you start putting in the hours.
- Per hour VS per project
The general consensus of whether you should charge per hour or per project often falls on the latter choice. However, it all depends on how much work there really is when it comes to a specific project.
Copywriting projects tend to take less time but make far more money for your clients than article pieces would. In contrast, the very same articles take far more time to write but should be charged for per hour or per word due to their complexity.
If you sense that there are a lot of hours needed to finish a project properly you can charge your client per hour. Otherwise, stick to per project pricing model and set clear budgets from the get go.
Every word matters (Conclusion)
It can be easy to devalue your own work when it comes to writing, design or other creative niches. However, don’t lose sight of your expertise, professional development and personal dedication to the industry. Every project you finish effectively raises your ability to charge more for your work. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.
Kristin Savage has graduated from Columbia University where she was majoring in Germanic Languages. Besides English as her mother tongue she also speaks German and Dutch fluently. Currently Kristin is studying Spanish and planning to obtain her PhD in Applied Linguistics since she is interested in how to use her to some extent practical knowledge of language processes in everyday life. She is known for her thorough approach to all the tasks and aspiration to fulfill assignments with flying colors.