How copywriters are paid by customers

For 16 years of work as an editor, I was paid, it seems, in all possible ways: hired in the state, gave a share in the company for my work, paid for hours worked and completed projects, issued royalties. I was even paid for coffee and women’s dresses!

I’ll tell you about what to prepare for a novice copywriter and which payment method to choose.


A popular payment format for every hour worked. Especially common in large companies that hire temporary freelancers (assessors).

Pros :

  • You do not have any special obligations to the customer. Nobody demands from you vows of eternal fidelity and is not waiting for you in the office from 9 to 17. You can work hourly for several customers, even for direct competitors.
  • I did a good job – I earned a lot. With experience and a pool of customers, you can earn 150 thousand rubles per month or more on an hourly wage. That being said, it’s always easy to take a break if you feel like it.

Cons :

  • “Hourly” for the customer is a way to save money and cover up in case of emergency work. Therefore, today you can be loaded, but tomorrow there will be no tasks at all.
  • It is very difficult to correctly calculate the cost of a working hour. For example, you want to earn 80 thousand rubles a month and are ready to work 40 hours a week. As a result, your hour costs 500 rubles. But in fact, the customer receives tasks not for 40 hours a week, but for 10-15 hours. At the same time, no one wants to pay 3 thousand rubles per hour.
  • Often it takes 10-12 hours for one large and complex article: phone calls to sources of information, creation and editing of text, corrections, approvals … But the customer does not see all this, he sees three pages of text and the number in the plate: 8000 rubles. And he is indignant: “What are you doing at all? Yes, I will write these three pages in half an hour ”. Many “hourly” editors underestimate the complexity of large tasks in order to avoid such conversations with the customer.


All aspiring editors dream of getting a job in a good company. However, I advise you not to rush into this.

Pros :

  • Stable work with a guaranteed salary helps you to relax, not to run around customers and negotiations, but just to work for your own pleasure.
  • The editor in the staff can grow up. In my experience, as soon as an editor starts to work well, new tasks and directions of work “crystallize” around him. This is noticeable to everyone, and the editor first has assistants, and then subordinates. And I also personally saw many times how editors became leaders and managers even in related areas.
  • If you carefully fight off overwork, you can finally calmly go about your business in the evenings and on weekends. For example, study.

Cons :

  • As you work in the state, prepare for constant overwork. Of all the companies I have worked in the state, 80% of the editor has had about 30% more tasks than he can do in an eight-hour day. In such a situation, everyone does their best: someone works in the evenings and on weekends, someone speeds up to the detriment of quality. With experience, you learn to defend your rights and prove to the management the importance of assistants, but it is difficult for a beginner to do this – everyone is working, and you are working.
  • It is difficult to combine such work with travel. Here is your vacation – travel. However, even the largest companies have gone into a pandemic for remote work or hybrid work, so this minus is gradually eroding.
  • With large tasks, one often encounters a problem – a closed cycle of endless finishing touches. This is treated by negotiation skills and the ability to talk with the customer, finding out the true reasons for his desires to complete and redo the seemingly finished work.
  • The state is not easy to combine with freelancing. Large companies often prescribe such a prohibition in the contract. And no matter what you do your projects in the evening or on weekends, they find out – they will be fired.

I think that the editor definitely needs to have several additional projects while working on the staff! The question is not about money, but about the development of a professional outlook, important acquaintances. Working for only one customer is like communicating with only one person all your life.

On the project

The most popular payment method. You take a task – you evaluate it – you do it and you get money. This is how 90% of freelance editors work.

Pros :

  • In project work, it is most convenient to make a mark-up for knowledge and experience. You can create a promo website in 2-3 hours, but you can take 20 thousand rubles instead of 3 thousand for this work.
  • From design work – a direct road to “doing” tasks entirely. Instead of the text of the promo site for 20 thousand rubles, you learn to sell the whole site, with design and publishing on the network, but for 50 thousand rubles. At the same time, the expenses for the designer and administration are only 10-15 thousand. Most successful large editors tend to work on a project-by-project basis (or a mix of staff and projects).
  • You can only take on interesting tasks or tasks of your profile, and not grind everything that managers slip in a row. Specialization in a narrow niche allows you to earn up to 50-100% more from the top.

Cons :

  • It is difficult for a beginner to evaluate a task. How much to charge for an article? And for the promo site? It is quite easy to make a mistake and make a project for 10 thousand rubles for three weeks.
  • Sometimes there are problems with timely payment. One large and well-known company once did not pay me for eight months, another, no less famous, for six months. However, such situations are solved by 100% prepayment.

Often, customers do not really want to make an advance payment, especially when it comes to large amounts – who wants to give out 300 thousand rubles to some guy from the Internet, even with a contract? In this case, I try to make it profitable to make an advance payment. I say:

“Look, my work costs 100 thousand rubles. You can pay 50 thousand right away and another 50 thousand later. Or just 90 thousand, if 100% prepaid. ” Agree 90% of the time.

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