How to Quote a Miscellaneous Editing Project

What do you do when a client asks you to quote on a mixed bag of project work that includes some editing?

One of my coaching clients recently faced this situation. Her client asked how much she would charge for two blog posts, an email and some editing work every month.

Many writers would itemize this list and quote each piece individually. So they would quote $X per blog post, $X per email, and $X for the editing. Anything on top of that is extra.

But there’s a better way of quoting miscellaneous projects that include editing. A way that will help you feel good about the work—and avoid situations where you end up nickel and diming your clients.

The Problem with Quoting by Itemized List

When you quote with an itemized price list, you increase the odds of not landing the deal.

Why? Because clients can almost always find someone who can do it cheaper.

Unfortunately, many clients don’t “get” the true value of editing. So when you quote for that piece of the work separately, clients are less likely to see the value.

Part One: What Feels Good?

So what should you do instead? Here’s how I advised my coaching client: divide your quoting process into two parts.

In the first part, estimate how long all of this work will take. Add a buffer of about 20%, then multiply by your internal hourly rate.

Next, imagine yourself facing this work when you’re super busy. Or imagine that the client has given you a bit of extra work that’s outside of scope. Or maybe you simply don’t feel like doing the work at that moment.

What number would still feel good under those circumstances? What number would make you feel like they’re not taking advantage of you? What number would persuade you to still take the time to do the work really, really well?

In most cases, this number will be a bit higher than your initial calculation. I suggest that you consider quoting that higher number . . .  and quote the work as a single package, not an itemized list.

The idea is to charge enough so that, when you’re in the thick of things and you no longer have the fresh excitement of landing the deal to motivate you, you still feel good about doing the work.

Part Two: Present the Fee in Context

The second – and equally important – part of this process is to present the fee in context.

Rather than just saying, “I’ll do X, Y and Z for $X,” describe what else you bring to the table.

Explain why you’re different from a regular editor. Describe what makes you a better choice.

It could be your background, experience, or skillset. It may be the way you work with clients. Include whatever you bring to the equation that’s more than “just” writing or editing.

Resist the Pressure to Just Give a Number

When clients ask you for a quote—whether it’s for editing or a combination of deliverables—resist the pressure to just blurt out a number.

Instead, take the time to consider what number will make you feel good in the long run. And then present that number within the context of everything you’ll bring to the project.

When you do these two things, you’ll have a much better chance of landing the work. And you’ll continue to feel good about it, even if you encounter a few bumps in the road.



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