The BLACK paPR Report


PR from an African American Perspective

Colleague to Colleague: Setting Fees

I’m cheating today – kind of. The information I’ve posted is my edited response to a member of Young PR Pros about setting fees. If I sound like an expert on the subject it’s because as we say in the black community “a hard head makes for a soft behind.” I’ve learned these lessons the hard way and from talking to other professionals. 

This is a hard line of work, so I believe we sometimes need to take a hardline approach to getting paid. Hope this information helps. 


Setting fees is relative to your specialty, your location of service, experience and the clientele you will service. I’ve bullet-pointed the things I’ve learned since striking out on my own and maybe that will give you food for thought and I’ve pasted a couple of links below. Writer’s Market has a great rate sheet (take advantage of 30-day trial for sheet) and I’ve listed a couple of links below that should give you an idea about services.

  • Try not to ever negotiate your fees. The first compromise can lead to many others in the client/practitioner relationship with you coming out on the short end. If it’s absolutely necessary to negotiate and lower fees, make sure you’re getting the best possible deal too.
  • Charge like a lawyer: hourly consultant’s fee, monthly retainer or flat fee paid up front. If I have someone who wants to pay monthly, that person pays more b/c they could try to over work me the first month to avoid paying the rest of the contract and that leads me to this …
  • In your contract add attachments for (1) client’s stated goals (2) your deliverables (3) the timeline and (4) fees not covered in contract; this will protect you. A clear timeline of deliverables can help in avoiding dealing with a client situation as described above.
  • Time is money. Always consider that if you don’t charge adequately you can’t serve others and you can’t pay your bills. I spoke with a business ethicist one time who told me that it was irresponsible to do things for free and that the only time you do work for free is when (1) the benefits are astounding and (2) someone (generally a poor person or charity) has no demonstratable means of repayment.

As a contractor, do not be swayed into believing that you have the lesser role. You will probably be working like crazy and investing your intellectual capital, so sit down with the person and do a painstakingly detailed list of duties and weigh your time and talent appropriately. Recently, I had a client like that and stated a flat fee only rate knowing that whatever I did would be more than what he did and lend more value to his project. And I was right and earned every bit of my money. In the end, he was pleasantly surprised, respected my value as a professional and apologized for trying to force me into performing work not stated in my deliverables because my deliverables delivered more than his.

Best, Robin


Filed under: African Americans, Colleague to Colleague, fees, Help for the Practitioner, PR Standards & Practices, Public Relations, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

One Response

  1. Pam Purifoy says:

    This has got to be the touchiest subject. Yet, it’s so important that we hold fast to what we know we’re worth.

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