What to Charge to Design a Newsletter

Confident designer meets with client.
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As a freelancer starting out, some of the first questions you'll ask yourself are "What should I charge for writing, designing, or publishing a newsletter? How do I set a price? And is there a way to come up with a single price when there are so many variables in newsletter formats?"

Charging for newsletter design is much like setting your rates for any other type of desktop publishing or graphic design project. You need to know what tasks are involved and how long they will take in order to give an estimate or set up fixed rates.

Here are a few ways to come up with a rate that's fair for you and your client.

Break Newsletter Design Into Components

A client might want a per-page or per-newsletter figure, but before you can give them that you'll need to determine what the job involves.

Estimate time for the various components such as initial design (and all that involves such as creating a nameplate, selecting fonts, setting up a grid, drafts, experimenting, and more), writing (short articles, long articles, headlines, fillers), editing/copyediting, proofreading, typing (if they don't give you text on disk), selecting graphics, scanning photos, photo touch-up, actual page layout, printing (yourself or preparing for an outside printer), whatever you and the client determine is needed for that job.

From there, you could multiply your time estimate by your hourly rate to get a full package price, divide it by the number of pages to give an average per-page price, or provide a breakdown by task ($X for writing X articles, $X for design/layout of X pages), etc.

Target Clients With Sample Newsletters

Create several sample or dummy newsletters for fictional businesses similar to your target clients. These examples can serve multiple purposes: hone your skills (and build your confidence), help you in estimating the amount of time required for various newsletter writing/design tasks so you can determine to price better, provide examples for your graphic design portfolio, allow you to create a variety of different styles of newsletters to show clients to help them see, and decide what kind of newsletter they want or need.

Offer Newsletter Packages

Resume consultants often offer different packages to clients such as "30-minute consultation, 10 originals, a cover letter, and choice of white or beige paper for $XX.XX" or "1-hour consultation, 15 originals, 5 cover letters, free envelopes for $XX.XX". Based in part on your experiments with creating sample newsletters and other research you might create 2 or 3 specific newsletter packages that you specialize in, such as "1 four-page, b&w monthly newsletter, using X-amount client-supplied copy and X-amount copyright-free filler for $XXX.XX" or "single page quarterly, 2 colors, for $XXX.XX."

One way this can help you and the client: it simplifies decision-making and pricing for both of you, and your client can pick a plan that fits his budget and needs. If you have done your research, use a pre-designed template, and you have effective time-management skills, you can do the job quickly and efficiently and not lose money in the process.

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