Why do costs for writing and editing services vary so much?
Prospective clients interview me and ask, “Why do costs for writing and editing services vary so much?”
Many variables go into answering this question and in the cost for services, too. Some considerations for overall cost of services:
- Experience of service provider
- Depth of services required
- Length of project (number of pages)
- Project quality
- Project deadline
For instance, writing coaches, ghostwriters, and editors are going to charge more based on work experience and work load. A professional with 20-plus years of experience will charge more than a professional with two or three years of experience. And they should. The more experienced professional can do a better job in less time, in most cases, there are exceptions to every rule. A more experienced professional is also going to be very busy because they have built a reputation and a referral base.
How much work time the writing or editing project will consume is another factor in price. If an editor gets a manuscript, for example, and is only doing line editing (grammar, spelling and punctuation) versus content and continuity editing, it will take less time and will therefore cost less. A writing coach who helps the client set goals and achieve said goals as the client writes the book, charges less than a ghostwriter who writes the entire book.
For editors, quality of the project is also a consideration of costs as it relates to the time the professional needs to works on it. Let’s say the manuscript an editor receives is well written and formatted versus a manuscript that is not. The better-quality manuscript will cost less money for the writer because the editor will have to spend less time on it overall.
Another factor is turnaround time, or deadline, for the finished project to get returned to the client. The faster a client needs or wants the work completed and returned, the more the professional will charge to allow a client to jump to the head of the line.
Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for.” There is also a business philosophy which speaks to the fact that a client can expect to get two of the following three key elements: price, turnaround time, and quality. At any given time only two of these business goals can get achieved at the highest possible desire. Each one of these elements has a high side and a low side to it. We would all love to get a quick turnaround time of a top-quality project or service for very little cost, but in the business world that’s not possible.
What this means is the client will make decisions on which element is sacrificed based on project need and outcome.
If a fast turnaround is required, then quality or price will be sacrificed. If the choice is to go to the lowest bidder, the result will be a lower quality result.
If a lower cost for services is necessary, the client will be faced with the decision to sacrifice turnaround time or overall quality. If this client is willing to allow more turnaround time, they will get a better quality result for less money. If the turnaround time is faster, the quality will suffer.
It all comes down to choices and understanding how the variables directly impact costs when hiring any professional service.