What would you charge for public relations services?

istock_000000752057xsmallI received an email  through the CCPRF Website from a new public relations practitioner asking how he should charge for his services. I’d like to share his email and my response.

The question:

I’m an up and coming media/PR consultant.  I was in the media industry for 13 years and now I’m looking to develop my own consulting business.  …

Recently, I acquired my first client.  I’ll be paid on a per project basis. The client wants me to work on a social networking website campaign I suggested.  Basically, I’ll be putting together this small business’ Facebook and Twitter pages.  I’m trying to figure out how much I can charge this business.  Should I go with a per hour rate?  If so, how much?  Or a flat rate? If so, how much?  I’m also trying to determine how long it will take to build traffic and interest to these social networking pages.  I’m guessing it’ll take 4 to 5 months for any substantial growth.  This company is looking at this campaign as a new way to attract interest to its website/store.
I’d appreciate any thoughts as to how much I can charge.

My answer:

What you charge depends on the overhead you must carry (your needs), the value to the client (what you should charge), the budget of the client (what you may only be able to charge.) Bottom line, I’d start by asking for a fee equal to what I think the project will be worth the the client based on anticipated results. Then, if they cannot afford this, you can decide whether to negotiate an acceptable fee.

Your thoughts:

How would you answer this question? What’s the right way to charge for public relations services?

Cross-posted from the CCPRF:

This is cross-posted from the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms‘ Weblog. I’m this year’s Chair of the CCPRF. And while the posts there are not as frequent as I would like, I think it’s worthwhile subscribing to it’s feed. When posts do appear, they’re usually authored by a CEO of a Canadian PR firm. It’s a unique aggregation of content.

  • Thirteen years and you don’t know what to charge? Really? Unless you are prepared to demonstrate your positive results for the client “by the hour,” you are best advised to work; “by the job.” This is particularly true for both, short gigs requiring say, a day or two, or long range and tiered goal oriented projects. To your specific project, if you cannot build pages and generate substantial growth within the first five days, seriously, you are in the wrong business.

  • In my experience, if you’re selling services that you have experience providing, then you should have an idea of much of your time it’ll take to set-up, launch, and then, if necessary, maintain. Given that estimate of man hours it’ll take, I’d charge based on what I think an hour of my work is worth. I wouldn’t, however, necessarily bill the client on a per hour basis, but rather use that hourly rate estimate to come up with a project rate.

    Of course, I’d also plug in the costs of any other expenses incurred — such as web hosting, outsourcing, etc…

    But basically, I have a general idea of what my time is worth because I have a general idea of the results my time can produce. This is why I’m not too keen on “selling” something I don’t know really well: because an hour of my time doing that isn’t worth enough to make it, well, “worth my time.”

    If the client asks me, however, to do something I’m not too savvy in, I might negotiate something special, making sure to manage their expectations vis a vis results.

  • I recently began doing consulting work. When I came to the same questions as you are currently having, I began to ask myself:

    1.) How many hours will this project take?
    2.) What is the potential gain for the company?
    3.) How detailed is the work?

    I decided that charging an hourly fee for you particular project “Setting up social networking sites” was most beneficial for myself and my clients. Since I’m a start-up firm, I charge lower than most firms by the hour. Many charge a minimum of $60-$75 per hour. I charge $35. This has worked very well for me. Good luck to you.

  • Martha

    When someone asks a question/advice, they don’t need people to respond sarcastically or in a condescending manner. Ex: “Thirteen years and you don’t know what to charge? Really?” Was it necessary to respond like this? How is she supposed to know if she was in another career first? There are so many factors that go in to determining how much to charge. Seriously, if you can’t be helpful, don’t respond at all.