An important part of your freelance writing business is to provide potential clients with quotes. But if you have never had to quote, then you may be a little lost as to how to go about it.
I have put together some basic tips to help you create quotes for your potential clients.
What should it include?
Whether you have decided to charge an hourly rate, or a fixed rate per project, you should provide your client with a breakdown of these costs.
It is a good idea to list exactly what your quote covers (i.e research, editing, images etcetera).
Before calculating a quote you need to know a few things from your potential client. If you have already written a creative brief in collaboration with your client then this will help you to determine the quote. However if you haven’t then you need to discover a few different things:
- What is the scope of the project?
- Does your client have a budget?
- What is the time-frame?
- Will you have copyrights to the project?
- Will your author byline be included?
If my author byline is NOT included, then I tend to quote higher. This is because the work will not be attributed to you, therefore wont form part of your portfolio. If you are not going to receive online or print recognition, at least you will have financial compensation for it.
How much is a job worth?
This is something I struggled with for a long time, until I came across a comment by Valerie Khoo (National Director of the Australian Writers’ Centre). She said that you should charge an amount for your freelance services that you think you are worth and that you will not resent. As a newbie freelancer, this can be hard. But as you develop your business and confidence you can change your prices accordingly.
For now, I believe that at the end of the day Valerie Khoos’ advice is the best; that you need to charge a price that is right for you. When considering this, take into account:
- The time-frame you believe you need to complete the project.
- How much time you have to complete the project.
- Whether it will be a repeat client.
- How good the client is (if it is a good client and you enjoy the work versus a difficult client, a slow payer or the work is uninteresting to you).
- Your level of experience.
- If it is an area you are already knowledgeable of.
- The scope of the project.
- The type of writing/project.
Be clear about the terms.
This is where a solid creative brief comes in handy.
You will know the exact scope of the project, and the timeframes you have agreed upon with your client. This will help form part of the quote. As well you need to include when your invoice will need to be paid (upon publication, in 30 days, upon completion of the work) and if there will be penalties for failure to pay on time, whether you require a deposit, and if there is extra work require how much it will cost your client (if they ask you to revise and re-edit a completed piece).
Track your time.
It is a good idea to review your quote once you have completed the job to see if the hours you estimated it would take you to finish it align with how many you actually put in. This will act as a guide in the future to help you quote more accurately.
You can manually track your time, or try a time-tracking app.
I have developed my own set of rates and use this as a guide to quote new clients. It is based upon what I would be happy to receive, but they can change according to the scope of the project, how much work I currently have going on, the client and the timeframe the client wants the project finished in. I suggest you draw yourself up a rough guide of prices, and use this as a starting point when quoting.
It is also suggested that you reevaluate your prices every 6 months or so. You can increase them as you become more experienced and in demand.
What do you use to quote?
You can use a simple word document, and model it after your invoice. That is, if you have created an invoice using word.
There are also online invoicing applications that will model quotes and invoices for you. These are well worth looking into, as they can save time, effort and aid in tracking your clients, income and expenses.
Tips to remember:
- Be clear and concise.
- Be honest and transparent.
- Clarify payment milestones.
- Track your time.
So there you have it! How to quote for your freelance writing clients.
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I would love to hear about your experiences with providing quotes – the good, the bad and the ugly! Feel free to leave a comment below.