Negotiating Copywriting Rates: Guide for Freelancers
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Evaluate your skills and experience
  2. Research the market rates
  3. Decide on your rate structure
  4. How to communicate your rates
  5. Negotiation techniques
  6. How to handle client objections
  7. What to do if negotiations fail
  8. How to raise your rates with existing clients

Whether you're new to the world of freelance copywriting or a seasoned professional, one question that often pops up is "how to negotiate copywriter rates?" This can be quite a tricky subject, but fear not! We've put together this guide to help you navigate your way through it. From evaluating your skills and experience, to handling client objections, and even what to do if negotiations fail—we've got you covered. So, let's dive in and demystify the art of negotiating copywriter rates.

Evaluate your skills and experience

First things first, you need to understand your own value as a copywriter. This isn't about comparing yourself to others or underestimating your worth—it's about being honest with yourself about your skills and experience. So, how do you go about this?

  • Assess your skills: Start by making a list of all the copywriting skills you possess. This could include things like SEO copywriting, technical writing, or creative writing. The more specific you are, the better—you want to know exactly what you bring to the table!
  • Reflect on your experience: Next, think about your past projects. What kinds of clients have you worked with? What type of content have you created? How complex were these projects? Your experience matters, and it can add significant value to your rates.
  • Consider your specialties: Do you specialize in a certain industry or type of content? Specialists often command higher rates because of their in-depth knowledge and expertise.
  • Think about your education: While it's not always a deal-breaker, having relevant education—such as a degree in English, journalism, or marketing—can sometimes justify higher rates.

By the end of this exercise, you should have a clearer understanding of your skills, experience, and value as a copywriter. And remember: it's not about being the best—it's about knowing your worth and being able to communicate that effectively when negotiating copywriter rates.

Research the market rates

Now that you've got a handle on your value, it's time to get a sense of where you fit in the market. Researching market rates isn't about setting your prices based on what others are charging—it's about understanding the landscape and knowing where you stand. How to negotiate copywriter rates starts with knowing what the market is willing to pay.

  • Look at job postings: Job postings can give you an idea of what companies are willing to pay for copywriting services. Look for jobs that match your skill set and see what the offered rates are.
  • Check out freelance platforms: Websites like Upwork and Fiverr can give you insights into what other freelancers are charging. Keep in mind, however, that these rates can vary widely and may not reflect your specific market.
  • Join industry forums and groups: Online forums and groups are a goldmine of information. You can find discussions about rates, get advice from experienced freelancers, and even ask your own questions.
  • Consider regional differences: Where you live can have a significant impact on your rates. For example, a copywriter in New York City may be able to charge more than a copywriter in a smaller, rural area.

Remember, the goal isn't to match or undercut these rates—it's to understand what's out there so you can make an informed decision when setting your own rates. And most importantly—don't undervalue your work. The research phase is about gathering data, not about setting your rates in stone.

Decide on your rate structure

Once you've done your market research, the next step on your journey of learning how to negotiate copywriter rates is setting up your own rate structure. Now, this isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of deal—you have a few options to choose from, and what works best for you may depend on your own work style and the type of projects you take on.

  • Project-based rates: With this structure, you charge a flat fee for the entire project. This can be great for larger, one-off projects where the scope is clearly defined. But be careful—if the project takes longer than expected, you may find yourself earning less than you'd like.
  • Hourly rates: Charging by the hour can be a good option for ongoing work or projects with a less defined scope. It ensures you're compensated for all the time you put in. However, it can also limit your earning potential—there's only so many hours in a day, after all.
  • Retainer fees: A retainer is a fee paid in advance for work that will be done over a specific period of time. This can provide a steady income and build long-term relationships with clients. It can be a win-win, but make sure the retainer fee covers your time and effort.

Remember, your rate structure isn't set in stone. You can adjust it as needed based on the project, the client, and your own experience. The key is to be flexible and open to change. After all, learning how to negotiate copywriter rates is an ongoing process—not a one-time event.

How to communicate your rates

So, you've evaluated your skills, researched the market, and decided on your rate structure. What's next in the quest of learning how to negotiate copywriter rates? It's time to communicate your rates to your clients. And the way you do this can make all the difference.

First up, being transparent and upfront about your rates is essential. You don't want to surprise your client with unexpected costs. So, when discussing a new project, make sure to outline what your rate includes. Is it just the writing, or does it also cover research, revisions, and meetings? Be clear and specific to avoid misunderstandings down the line.

Next, consider how to present your rates. Instead of just stating a number, try to explain the value you're offering. For example, rather than saying "I charge $50 per hour", you could say "For $50 per hour, you're getting a thoroughly researched, well-crafted piece that will engage your audience and boost your SEO rankings". By doing this, you're not just selling your time—you're selling the results your work can bring.

Finally, be prepared to justify your rates if needed. Clients might ask why you're charging what you are. This is where your skills, experience, and market research come in. Don't be shy about sharing these details—after all, you've earned your rates!

Remember, communication is key when learning how to negotiate copywriter rates. So, be clear, be confident, and be ready to discuss your rates in a way that shows your value.

Negotiation techniques

Now that we've nailed down how to communicate your rates, let's dive into the art of negotiation. This step is all about reaching an agreement that both you and your client are happy with. But how do you negotiate copywriter rates effectively? Here are some techniques.

The first technique is to always be willing to walk away. Sounds harsh? Not really. Knowing your worth and being prepared to say no to low offers is essential. It sets a tone of respect and shows that you value your work. Plus, it makes room for clients who are willing to pay what you deserve.

Another technique is to offer package deals. Instead of negotiating each assignment individually, suggest a package rate. For instance, you could offer a set rate for ten blog posts instead of discussing the price of each one. This can be more appealing to clients as it offers them better value for money.

A crucial technique is to listen and understand your client's needs. Are they on a tight budget? Are they looking for high-quality, in-depth articles or quick, brief posts? By understanding their needs, you can adjust your rates and services to match.

Finally, don't forget to be flexible. Negotiation is a two-way street, and being rigid about your rates can turn off potential clients. So, be open to discussions and ready to make adjustments where needed.

In summary, negotiation is all about balance. You want to earn what you're worth, but you also want to build strong, lasting relationships with your clients. So, negotiate with confidence, but also with understanding and flexibility.

How to handle client objections

No matter how well you negotiate, there will always be clients who object to your rates. But don't worry, it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Handling objections is just another part of the process of figuring out how to negotiate copywriter rates.

First off, don't take objections personally. It's business, not a personal attack on your skills or talent. The key is to remain calm, composed, and professional.

When a client objects to your rate, ask them to clarify their concerns. Is it the overall cost? The cost per word? The scope of the project? By understanding their objections, you can address them more effectively.

For example, if a client thinks the overall cost is too high, you could suggest breaking the project down into smaller tasks. This way, the client can pay for each task separately, making the cost more manageable.

If a client questions your rate compared to other copywriters, it's an opportunity to highlight your unique skills and experiences. Explain why you're worth the investment. Do you have a proven track record? Do you specialize in a certain niche? Do you always meet your deadlines? These are all valuable traits that can justify a higher rate.

Remember, not all objections are a signal to lower your rates. Sometimes, it's just a matter of better communication and understanding. So, keep your cool, listen carefully, and respond thoughtfully.

What to do if negotiations fail

So, what happens when despite your best efforts, you can't agree on a rate? Does it mean you've failed at figuring out how to negotiate copywriter rates? Not at all. It simply means this particular negotiation didn't work out, and that's okay. Here's what you can do next.

First, thank the client for their time. Remember, every conversation, even the ones that don't lead to a project, is an opportunity to build your professional network. Keep the relationship intact. You never know when they might need your services in the future or refer you to someone else.

Second, take a step back and review the negotiation. Were there any red flags you missed? Perhaps the client wasn't clear about their budget, or they didn't value your expertise as much as they should have. Use this experience as a learning opportunity to improve your negotiation skills.

Third, don't let one unsuccessful negotiation discourage you. Keep looking for other clients and opportunities. The world of freelance copywriting is vast, and there's a multitude of clients out there who are willing to pay for quality work.

Finally, remember that your rates are a reflection of your skills, experience, and the value you bring to a project. Don't undersell yourself just to get a job. It's better to wait for a client who appreciates your worth than to settle for less than you deserve.

How to raise your rates with existing clients

Once you've gained more experience, developed new skills, or simply realized that you've been undercharging for your services, you may decide it's time to raise your rates. But how do you communicate this to your existing clients without scaring them away?

Firstly, give them plenty of notice. Nobody likes sudden surprises when it comes to costs. A good rule of thumb is to inform them at least one month in advance. This gives them time to adjust their budget or find another service provider if they choose to.

Next, explain the reason for the rate increase. Maybe you've taken a course to improve your copywriting skills, or perhaps the cost of living in your area has gone up. Whatever the reason, make sure it's valid and communicated clearly.

Thirdly, remind them of the value you've provided so far and assure them that the higher rate will result in even better service. It could be through faster turn-around times, better research, or a deeper understanding of their brand. Validate the price hike with an enhancement in your service quality.

Lastly, be flexible and open to discussion. Your clients might want to negotiate the new rate, so be prepared for that conversation. Stand your ground but remain professional and respectful. Remember, it's not just about making more money—it's about getting compensated fairly for the quality of work you provide.

In the end, raising your rates isn't just about earning more—it's about acknowledging your growth as a professional and ensuring your clients are invested in your success. Remember, the goal is to figure out how to negotiate copywriter rates that reflect your true worth.

If you found this guide on negotiating copywriting rates helpful and want to learn more about pricing yourself as a freelancer, don't miss Olivia Ghalioungui's workshop, 'How to Price Yourself as a Creative.' This workshop will provide you with the knowledge and tools to establish a reliable pricing structure for your freelance business and ensure you're charging what you're worth.