Anything involving the creative process is never just the physical ACT of creating. Usually that’s the LAST step in the creative process. Some times people on the business end (clients, account managers etc) don’t always understand how this process functions. I always try to make potential clients aware of what is entailed with completing a project.
Besides writing creating a finished product involves:
- Creating a concept
- Carrying out Research
- Initial Consulting with the client about the project
- Proofreading and editing
- Making Revisions to drafts
- Communicating with you (phone, conference, fax, email, etc)
It’s important to remember that all of those steps are BILLABLE steps. Now you know honesty is the best policy. You shouldn’t spend two hours concepting and an extra hour Facebooking and call it three hours. That being said if you’re struggling to come up with a concept and it requires a lot of research it’s not unheard of to take two hours to research a new topic, fact check, and then if it’s a toughy concepting an approach could take another hour or two…and you haven’t even picked up a pen to start drafting yet.
When giving clients estimates factoring in these extra steps will make sure that you’re being accurately compensated for your time and prevent overages that’ll cause frustration on both ends. Plus it’s also important to keep in mind a few other things:
- Building content “from scratch” takes longer (and therefore costs more) than just editing existing copy.
- Writing content that is search engine optimized is more difficult and time consuming than web content writing that is not concerned with search results.
- Complex projects, products, and services require more time to research and write.
- Large sites with many pages, tabs, and nice little nooks and crannies that need to be filled with content will take longer and therefore cost more than simple websites.
- Sites that are consistently changing may requires on-going web content writing to keep content up to date.
I actually include some of this important information on my business website to make sure that my clients are informed about what my rates include and to create an understanding of what they are asking me to accomplish. I think being upfront is the best way to do business because it builds mutual trust, and mutual trust leads to…repeat clients (and more profit! Yay!)
Did I miss anything? What about non-writing freelancers? What else is involved in your process besides the obvious?