These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for PR writing. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

  • The rates suggested for copyright work are for limited licences: each extra use licensed attracts an extra fee;
  • The rates are suggested as minima from which freelances will negotiate upward according to their experience and specialist knowledge and the value of the work; and
  • Being clear about what uses are licensed is about more than immediate financial return. A specialist freelance may, for example, be prepared to see their name attached to a "white paper" style project for, say, a technology company, but must not allow it to be used in advertising - see NUJ Code of Conduct.
  • In negotiating fees for PR work, probably more than any other kind, it is important for the freelance to follow Rule One of negotiations: get the client to name a figure first. See Negotiating fees.
  • It is essential to be aware of, and agree clearly, what is expected. A writer used to contributing to newspapers, for example, will be much in demand by PR companies, especially for work where it is ethical for their known name to be used, and they decide to allow this. But those used to firing off copy and, if they're very lucky, seeing what the subs have done to it ten minutes before it goes to press, will be in for a shock. There will very likely be meetings: meetings to discuss the broad goals and parameters of the project, meetings to discuss the exact commission, meetings to discuss progress, meetings to discuss revisions...
  • The rates for shifts do not include paid time off.
  • Freelances who are registered for VAT will add it to every invoice.

We particularly welcome feedback from members on these notes.

More advice and links...
[www.londonfreelance.org]
* Rates for the Job good, bad and ugly
* Join the NUJ to get individual advice & representation

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. Comments to ffg@londonfreelance.org please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.