25 July 2006


I just heard back from the Lithuanian travel company - they gave the job to someone else because they were cheaper. I shouldn't be astounded and I'm not. At least, I'm not astounded that they awarded the job to someone who offered to do it for less.

What does astound me are the people out there who ruthlessly undercut the market going rate for copywriting. I'd already pitched the job at less than half my usual hourly rate - this was partly because I knew the company wouldn't be able to afford to typical UK rates (and it would have been an interesting job) and partly because it only involved rewriting existing copy rather than creating copy from scratch.

The amount I would have earned, had the job been mine, was lower than even the lowest proofreading rates. Someone out there has offered to do the job for probably as little as £10 an hour - I'm hazarding a guess here, of course, but £10 an hour is way below what I was pitching at and it's less than a third of the going rate.

Tellingly, my contact told me his boss had decided to go for the cheapest option (which I suspected would be the case), and added that "we will see if it pays off", strongly suggesting that he thinks that quality counts for more than cheap rates.

You generally get what you pay for, and this is as true for copywriting as other things. Anyone offering to do that job for peanuts is going to race through it as fast as possible in order to maximise their already paltry return. I can't see that a good job will be delivered. Perhaps the Lithuanians will come back to me after all, they already hinted as much...

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