Why Your Low-ball Budget Hurts You More Than the Writer


If your company policy is to squeeze your freelance talent for rates not paid since the slaves built the pyramids, cut it out.


Cut it out now.


You’re making more work for yourself and setting your business up for average (or downright awful) copy that has no ROI whatsoever.




1. A low-ball budget attracts the desperate.


Yes, there are some writers who will work for $15 a blog post. (They should all be strung up in the Town Square and flogged with a limp page of their lackluster copy.) But do the math. Just exactly how much quality writing time goes into that $15?


You can bet not a lot.


You can bet the time-to-pay-ratio is going to show in the final dismal product they drop in your Inbox. Right after they run away, never to be heard of again.


Most writers like to have some self-respect. Not a lot. Just enough to set rates they feel reflect market value, the experience they bring to the job and a fair price for the hours involved.


You want to work with that writer. They will commit to your project. They’ll make the project come to life. They’ll care that it comes out well...because you’re paying them to care!


If a writer agrees to work for pennies on a project, they’re desperate for a paycheck or totally inexperienced.  Either way, you’re wasting your money.

1. A low-ball budget means headaches for you. Lots of them.


Get the Tylenol out because you’ll need it. The writer you just hired for half the price of the one with credentials (and self respect, see above) is going to whip off your assignment as fast as possible.


You're going to be babysitting this writer every step of the way. Annoying emails will be asking you to source materials for them. You’ll find yourself answering endless questions you feel like you already answered. Details will fall through the cracks.


And revisions….how many times is this dreck going to be sent back as you desperately try to get it written the way it should be written? All the while the deadline is looming and you don’t have anything but ulcers to show for your investment.


A professional writer should get it right, or mostly right, the first time. They should have the initiative to go hunting for content that will improve the piece. They should offer ideas that make the copy better.


In short, they should make your life easier.

3. A low-ball budget isn’t necessary in the first place.


Creative work like copywriting or design is sometimes hard to value for its true ROI. It’s not like at the end of your $3,000, you've paid for a new bathroom. Or beach vacation. Writing is far more intangible, but no less contributory.


And no matter how tempting is it to think it: just because your nephew says he can write or design for $10/hr, doesn’t mean that’s any criteria for setting a budget.


Most writers have an hourly rate for their work. On average, rates can vary from $50/hr-$150/hr depending on the writer and the project. The range often depends on the writer's experience, how busy they are, the deadline, even the industry they're writing for and the type of writing needed. So shopping around is important to know what's fair for the work.


In the end, if your organization has to be tough on the rate, try negotiation.


Most writers are usually flexible and open to some negotiation. If the project has follow on possibilities or builds on a relationship, you can usually get a rate reduction.


Bottom line on the bottom line: one way or another you're going to end up paying. Would you rather spend a reasonable amount to hire a pro or pay next to nothing and spend the entire day pulling your hair out?