What do freelance copywriters charge in 2020?

What are freelance copywriters charging per day, right now?


That’s the short answer.

But it’s a little misleading, because £379 is not an industry-agreed figure or any kind of official standard.

It’s just the average day rate from our 2020 survey of copywriters.

640 copywriters completed the survey in January.

And while that’s a reasonably-large sample size for a self-funded survey, it clearly has limitations as the basis for decision making.


What do copywriters charge per day in the UK?

Having sat steady at around £340 per day for the last few years, in 2020, the average day rate for copywriters has increased dramatically to £379.

When we carried out our first survey in 2016, the average day rate was £337 and has gradually increased, but this year is an 8.6% increase on 2019’s average.


Day rates vs project rates

69% of our survey respondents said they charge using a day rate, and 35% said it’s their preferred way to charge.

Because copywriters can have multiple charging methods, we can’t read too much into it. However, only 3% of copywriters said they prefer to charge by the word.

Project-based fees are growing in popularity. There’s been a 4% rise in copywriters choosing to charge this way, and a significant 62% of copywriters said it was their preferred method in 2020.



What’s the average day rate per region?

The highest daily rate of £447 was in Wales and the lowest of £278 was recorded in Yorkshire and Humber.

We had far fewer Welsh respondents than Londoners though – so the high average rate for Wales must be taken with a pinch of salt.

Wales and London saw the biggest increases in day rates this year, and East Anglia and the North East reported the lowest increases.


How much do copywriters earn per year?

The average annual salary in 2020 has rocketed too.

One plucky respondent told us their annual salary was a tidy £250,000.

This was the highest number we received, so don’t be concerned if your own bank balance doesn’t look quite the same.


Full-time vs part-time

For full-time copywriters in all employment types – including freelance, in-house and agency employees – the annual reported income was a hefty £48,043 in 2020.

That’s up from £43,092 in 2019: an increase of almost 11.5%.

Part-time freelancers reported an average of £31,851, which is a more-than comfortable 18% increase on 2019.

But what about full-time freelancers? That figure was reported as £42,792.

There are 254 working days in the UK in 2020, according to A full-time freelancer reporting an annual salary of £42,792) only needs to work about 112 of those days on the average day rate of £379.


What’s next?

It’s hard to predict what will happen in our 2021 survey.

That’s a post-lockdown, maybe post-pandemic world that no one can guess yet.

But hopefully the increases this year are a positive sign that things are moving in a good direction for copywriters in the UK.


The value of copywriters

Any discussion of pricing and copywriting must mention value.

When you buy a house, you are likely to commission a surveyor to inspect the building.

Now, you don’t ordinarily care about surveyors, or know much about what they do.

And you don’t really want a report about your house-to-be.

All you want is to reduce the risk of buying a turkey, losing money and living in a health hazard.

The surveyor provides a professional service which is a means to an end (reduction of risk, protection of assets etc).

Copywriters have some similarities.

You don’t engage a copywriter because you like words, or because you don’t have the time to write your website.

You hire a copywriter because you want a trained professional to help present, market, communicate, and advertise your business effectively.

You hire a copywriter because you know that every small increase in conversions translates into profit.

You hire a copywriter because you want to be recognised by search engines, found by customers and picked by prospects.

You hire a copywriter because you haven’t studied marketing, advertising, SEO, content strategy, content marketing, email marketing or persuasion.

When you consider paying a copywriter a few hundred or a few thousand pounds, you understand that the value of their work is direct, tangible and meaningful.

Through this lens, copywriters are an effective investment that can deliver long-lasting results.


How to increase your rates

Are you a copywriter with below-average rates?

Before you leap into action, it’s important to remember that £379 is an average day rate from 640 copywriters.

Within that group we have copywriters with heaps of experience, an enviable contact list, niche skills and an ungodly level of chutzpah.

So don’t just look at the headline figure and feel that you’re under or over-charging.

Maybe you are. But keep in mind that the rate doesn’t tell you the whole story.

The average day rate of 640 copywriters who happened to complete our survey in January 2020 is not a universal standard that can be applied to all copywriters in all settings.

Having offered that extended caveat, we can offer you this article:

How to increase your day rates as a freelance copywriter []

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