RECOMMENDED RATES FOR AUSTRALIAN COPYWRITERS

The Ultimate Guide to Copywriting Pricing

Last updated: August 2019

When you’re starting out it can be so hard to decide how much you should be charging for your freelance writing.

On this page we’ll help you find out:

Standard copywriting hourly and daily rates

How to use ball parks, deposits and rush rates

How long it takes to write copy

Want the Recommended Rates for Australian Copywriters as a downloadable PDF?

Our mission

As part of The Clever Copywriting School’s mission to help you become a better copywriter, we want to make sure you get paid what you deserve.

We’ve developed these recommended rates in consultation with copywriters all around Australia.

Please note: We will only accept job adverts on this site from clients who follow these rates.

Other things you need to know

What are the different levels of experience?

Experienced copywriters who have worked for a variety of brands and industries may charge more than junior copywriters.

We’ve created three broad bands of experience.

New / junior copywriter

0-2 years experience

Mid-level copywriter

2-4 years experience

Top-level copywriter

4+ years experience

What are standard Australian copywriting rates?

We regularly poll all the members of our community to check their average rates. Here are the current averages.

How much do copywriters around the world charge?

We regularly speak to our friends at MEAAAWAI, and Pro Copywriters UK to check their average rates.

Here are the latest figures we have for day rates:

You can use this conversion tool to see how these rates convert to Australian dollars.

What are average rates per project?

We’ve created these averages after polling our 200+ community members. To see what other copywriters are charging for the following, download our PDF:

  • LinkedIn Profile
  • 3 x email nurture series
  • Sales landing page
  • 2 minute video script
  • 400 word blog
  • 1000 word blog
  • 400 word web page
  • 5 page website

Grab the Recommended Rates for Australian Copywriters as a downloadable PDF.

What factors influence copywriting rates?

The amount copywriters charge varies based on a number of factors.

Demand

In-demand copywriters may charge more than those just starting out.

Specialisation

Copywriters with a high level of skill in a particular area of copywriting may charge more.

Location

Copywriters closer to large cities (Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, etc.) may charge more than writers in rural Australia.

Client type

Copywriters may offer discounts to start-ups or charities and charge more to large corporates.

Turnaround times

Copywriters may charge more for faster turnarounds. A 24hr rush fee of around 25% is common.

Education

Copywriters who have taken numerous courses and have qualifications in a particular field may charge more.

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Content type

A 400 word blog post will cost a lot less than a sales landing page.

Charging by the hour 

In some cases, charging a fixed price might not be appropriate and you may instead choose to charge by the hour.

If you’re working with advertising agencies, they will often ask for your hourly rate.
Charging by the hour is fine if you’re an experienced copywriter with a firm idea of how long it takes you to produce work.

Ensure your Terms and Conditions include clauses that cover you should you go over your estimated hours.

Charging a fixed price

Charging a fixed price for a job means quoting a flat fee to cover all the elements in the job.
This is calculated by a copywriter based on:

  1. How much time the project will take
  2. The value they feel they can offer the project

We recommend charging this way for most small business and corporate clients.


Charging by the word means you quote a price based on each word you write. It’s common for journalists and feature writers but not for copywriters.

MEAA recommend $1 per word for the first 1000 words.

We don’t recommend it.

At The Clever Copywriting School we don’t recommend charging by the word for the following reasons:

  • It turns your writing into a commodity rather than a professional and creative service
  • Per word pricing leads to a focus on quantity over quality and writing more just to earn more money – for example writing 50 words when 10 would suffice
  • With per word pricing writers are incentivised to work quickly, which often leads to poor quality copy
  • Great short copy works and has value (think of Nike’s ‘Just Do it’)

This style of charging is common in America and with many ex-journalists, but it is not common in the Australian copywriting market.

Charging by the day

Agencies often prefer a day rate to a per hour rate.

A standard way to calculate this is to take your hourly rate and times it by 6 hours.

Award rates

There’s no award rate or industry standard for copywriters.

That’s why this page exists to help you.

Ball parks

Ball parks are useful in two ways:

1. They help separate the tyre kickers from the car buyers. So if you feel a lead isn’t 100% then give them a rough ball park and see what they say – this also saves you oodles of time writing proposals.

2. If you don’t have all the information you need to quote the job. If the client isn’t sure what they want, number of pages, elements etc. Then you can head to your rate card and give them a rough cost.

Try saying: “Previous jobs I’ve worked on like this came in at around $XXX. Does that sound about right?”

Discounts

Lots of people will ask for discounts.
Everyone wants something for nothing, or just a feeling that they got a bargain.

But instead of discounting, offer value.
Offer the client something extra, like a free home page review or an extra 30mins of discussion.

And if the client can’t afford your rates, offer to reduce the scope or break the project into phases.  

If you really want to discount, make the discount clear, so give them your full cost then show the discount on your invoice, so they (and you) understand how much money you’ve given away.

Rush rates

If a client needs the work done yesterday (in 24-48 hours) it’s standard to charge an additional 25%.

Danger money / PITA levy

 

If you’re not 100% sold on the job, the industry or the client, my advice is to walk away.
But if you want to you can charge Danger money or a “Pain In The Arse” Levy.
By charging a little extra, you win either way.
The client passes on the job, well, you didn’t really want it anyway.
If they go for it, you are at least being paid a premium.

 

Working for free

When you’re starting out it can be a good idea to do a few free jobs to build confidence and experience.
Perhaps you want to help a friend out with some business copy or offer your services free of charge to a local charity.

Working for free is useful because it:

  • Helps you work out how long it takes to write different types of copy
  • Builds your portfolio
  • Gives you testimonials for your website
  • Adds to your understanding of how to work with clients

 

However, it’s important to have a limit on the number of free jobs you’re going to do.

At some point you have to start charging, or your business is really just a hobby.

Deposits / first payments

  • We recommend charging a 50% upfront first payment, especially when working with a new client.
  • The remaining 50% can be billed at project completion or at some other agreed milestone (say 2 weeks after the first draft is delivered).
  • It is not best practice to hold the client to ransom and not even release the first draft until the full amount is paid.
  • If you’re nervous about charging a first payment, don’t be. It’s standard practice and actually makes you appear more professional.
  • Ensure you have proper Terms and Conditions, which cover the circumstances in which that payment will be returned.
  • If the project is large you might want to split payment into three chunks. E.g. 40%/30%/30%

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Up-front deposit

Upfront payment

It’s good to set a minimum threshold for jobs where you require full payment upfront.

For example, many copywriters have a minimum threshold of $500 or $1000 for which they must be paid upfront.

GST

If you’re unsure if you should be charging GST, then head to the Australian Tax Office website.

Planning your quotes

When you’re thinking about how to plan your quote it’s important to include time for:

  • Briefing and discussion (put a set number of hours in your proposal)
  • Researching and competitor reviews
  • Brainstorming and concepting
  • Writing the copy
  • Revisions (we recommend including at least two rounds of revisions)
  • Proofreading (by you or by an external proofreader)
  • General admin
  • Contingency (it’s often a good idea to include a 5-10% contingency for any unforeseen issues)
How long does writing copy take?

Every copywriter is different.

But here’s a rough example for a five page website copy project:

  • Briefing: 1 hour
  • Discussion time: 1 hour
  • Research and competitor review: 2 hours
  • Copywriting: 2 hours per page (longer for home pages or FAQ pages)
  • Revisions: Approx. 2 hours per round (depending on how bad they are)
  • Proofreading: 2 hours
  • Admin: 1 hour

 

Project hours: 19 hours – contingency approx. 1 hour

Total time: 20 hours.

This is a rough estimate and will depend on:

  • Experience: How long have you been copywriting?
  • Topic: Do you know the topic well or do you need to do a lot of research?
  • The client: Have they provided a clear brief, are their revisions clear, are they talkers?
  • Focus: Are you able to write continuously with focus or is the project broken up over numerous days?

 

It’s a great idea to start tracking your time for copywriting jobs using something like toggl.com or timecamp.com.

This is the only way to get a true picture of how long each job takes you. Everyone is different.

Useful templates

 

Proposals

One of the best ways to increase your rates is to show your value. This starts on your website, but carries through to your proposal.

Rate card

It’s a good idea to lay all your pricing out in a rate card, either for your own personal reference or to send out to clients on request.

Terms and Conditions

To cover your bottom, it’s a great idea to include Terms and Conditions in your proposal. These cover all the things that could go wrong with your project!

Feedback on these recommendations

These recommendations are meant as a guide. They are based on our understanding of the current Australian copywriting market.
If you have any feedback, please  contact us.

Don’t forget to grab your free Recommended Rates for Australian Copywriters as a downloadable PDF.

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