Freelance copywriter, industrial and technical marketing: Frequently Asked Questions

Full rate schedule and project availability information are available upon request. If you have any questions not answered by this FAQ, please don't hesitate to drop me a line and ask.

I don't have any questions; I just want to get started. What is the process?

First I'd recommend reading my terms sheet for my business policies. If you'd like to see some examples of past projects, download a copy of my samples portfolio. Finally, contact me and we'll then discuss your marketing needs and how I can best help meet them.

If you already have a specific project in mind, I can deliver a cost estimate typically within one business day of receiving all relevant project background.

Once we have agreed upon a course of action, you will receive a contract from me via email (PDF) to sign. Sign the contract, fax it back, and put the deposit check in the mail. I will accept the signed contract to represent an executed agreement and will begin work, watching for the deposit to arrive in a few days.

I generally do not wait on the deposit arrival before beginning work, but instead immediately schedule a "launch call" - a more formal version of our initial conversation, this time in more detail and digitally recorded for future reference. In this call, we will make concrete plans for project development, establish a firm timeframe, discuss your background materials and marketing dynamics, and send me off to start writing work on first draft copy.

Depending on the size and scope of the project, you will receive a first draft of your project copy within 7 to 15 business days. If revisions or edits are required, we will schedule a new call to discuss it and to plan the next draft round.

What services do you provide to your clients?

I am a professional business and marketing writer, specializing in providing a wide range of promotional and communications support services for businesses. In cooperation with a closeknit team of other marketing specialists, I provide to my clients services including:

  • Writing and Editing
  • Advertising
  • Website Content
  • Flash Scripts
  • Newsletter Copywriting
  • Article Ghostwriting
  • Editorial Consulting
  • Branding and Identity Consulting
  • Print Collateral Copywriting (Brochures, etc.)
  • Strategy Communications
  • Press Kits and Media Relations
.. all with the singular focus of promoting business images and professional careers in the public eye.

I need more than copy. Do you offer design, web development or other marketing collateral services?

In early 2010, I transitioned from my freelance copywriting practice into becoming a full service marketing studio called Load Bearing Creative. In addition to quality industrial copywriting, we now provide graphic design, web development and a full range of other marketing-related production support services. If your needs extend beyond quality copy, give us a visit at or call us at 209-232-4219 for more information.

Do you focus on a particular industry or type of copywriting?

As you will be able to see from my background and client list, I have worked in a wide variety of industries and written on many diverse topics. I've written copy for a major brand of premium vodka, a Canadian phone company, a Christian book publisher and the largest accounting firm in the world, among many other clients.

While I do consider work in virtually any topic and field, my practice tends to focus heavily on industrial and technical copywriting - writing for clients in highly specialized niche industries that require extra attention to detail and research, with a special lean towards manufacturers. Such work is most often B2B (Business To Business) marketing and educational copy.

I like topics that have meat on their bones, so that's where I tend to gravitate most.

Are your services right for me?

Note: If you're currently shopping around for a good writer, please read my article, "How To Hire The Best Freelance Copywriter - For You", for a few tips on making a wise business investment.

Only you can answer that, because businesses seek out marketing services for a variety of reasons, and with a variety of needs. Working with a freelance professional is not for everyone. Most of my clients, however, find that our relationship has several advantages:

Personal attention and professionalism. Unlike with most ad agencies and large marketing firms, my clients work directly with the people creating their marketing materials. No secretaries, no middle managers, no salespeople - just the people getting the job done. That personal attention means that no client is ever simply an account number or budget figure, and that the creative vision of every project stems directly from the experience and needs of the client.

High quality. To succeed in the freelance world, every new project has to be our finest to date, which requires an endless commitment to education - new design skills, new advertising strategies, new marketing techniques - and a solid dedication to high integrity and professional standards. Within budget and time constraints for your project, you will receive the highest quality service and products possible.

Flexibility and cost effectiveness. Every business interest is unique, while "packages" provided by larger marketing firms may not be. Your practice may require an ongoing marketing campaign, a monthly newsletter to your clients, or nothing more than a new brochure once a year. Working on a project-by-project basis ensures that you never buy what you didn't ask for, while providing you with professional quality on even the smallest of projects.

Up-to-date industry experience. As an experienced B2B writer currently serving clients in a wide range of technical and professional fields, I am in a unique position to deliver the most current industry marketing experience to your project. From finance and high tech to energy and healthcare, I can bring valuable insight to your project that other marketing alternatives can't match.

Low risk. I don't require my clients to have a certain minimum annual marketing budget, or to sign themselves into obligation for future projects. I keep my professional terms simple and up front - clear and straight answers, no fine print. Low risk keeps everyone happy.

Relying on freelance marketing often provides just the right mix of integrity, professionalism, quality and control required by the successful independent professional.

Do your contracts include confidentiality agreements?

I take the privacy of my clients as seriously as I take my own. In the course of my work, I routinely handle a considerable amount of valuable proprietary information; very often, important business interests would become compromised if the details of specific client work were publicly released. Confidentiality from your writer is as important to the success of your business as is confidentiality from your attorney.

Every one of my contracts contains a confidentiality clause, and I also regularly sign NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements) with clients.

I found the perfect copy for my project on someone else's website. Can we use it for our project, maybe just changing a few words around? Would that be legal?

Absolutely not.

Unfortunately, many people today don't realize that copying written content without permission, particularly for business purposes, is illegal. It's called plagiarism, can expose us both to very expensive lawsuits, and I will not be a party to it under any circumstances.

If I discover that you are plagiarizing someone else's written copy, I will terminate our working relationship immediately. As a professional writer with a reputation to maintain, I can't afford to be even associated with plagiarizing activity.

With the availability of free online services such as Copyscape, detection of copyright violation is a fairly simple task. I routinely perform such searches at the start of my client relationships, and strongly encourage anyone knowingly engaged in plagiarism to find themselves another copywriter.

How soon can you start on my project?

My project availability fluctuates based on the time of year, my current workload, and a number of other factors. Rarely these days do I run a backlog longer than a week, and usually I can start a project within a few days of receiving all relevant project background.

For my current project availability, please ask.

Do you have a minimum project charge?

Yes. I charge a minimum of three hours for a new project assignment, regardless of how long it takes to actually complete the job. I apply this rule most often to new clients, and for such minimum projects early in a relationship, I require full payment in advance.

For regular clients with whom I have a good working relationship, I tend to be pretty flexible with this rule.

Do you outsource your services to subcontractors?

It's a dirty little secret in this business that few of the big names in copywriting actually do much writing. Their names bring in the work, but they then charge a premium and outsource the jobs to lower paid freelancers.

I do not outsource any writing work of any kind, mainly because I don't trust anyone else with my clients' copy. I do not intend to start outsourcing writing work. The writing you receive from me was written by me.

I do commonly outsource nonwriting project tasks (graphic design, website programming, etc.) to other professionals I know and trust. In those situations, I will make a full disclosure to the client of who exactly I'm working with to complete your project, and the extent of their participation. Subcontractors are held to the same confidentiality terms that I agree to.

I have my own web designer/graphic artist, and I'm not sure how you would coordinate with them. How does that work?

Specialists in graphic design, web design and copywriting work with each other all the time. While I do have my own contacts that I am comfortable with, I have no problem working with your people.

Early in the negotiation for any multivendor project, we will sort out the players involved and who handles final project management. In the end, your team is entirely your choice.

I would like to hire you to write copy for my client, but I'd rather the client not know that I'm outsourcing the copywriting. Can we work out something?

If you prefer to project a united front to your clients by not divulging the freelance nature of our relationship, that is entirely your privilege and I will respect it.

How much is my project going to cost?

Final costs to the client depend entirely on the complexity and sophistication of the project.

I work on an hourly basis; however, for small and medium projects I can often estimate total time required and deliver an accurate estimate. This estimate will be based on a standard hourly rate multiplied by estimated time to completion, factoring in other project complications such as premium services, research and meeting time. If I'm also managing other creative team members (graphic design, SEO, etc.), I bill an additional charge.

I no longer post my rate schedule online. To receive a quote on your project needs, please use my quote request form.

How will I be invoiced for my project?

Except under particular circumstances (or on client request), I mail invoices at the end of the month in which services were rendered. Payment is due within 30 days of invoice date, unless agreed upon otherwise. Late payments are subject to a monthly penalty fee of 10% or $50.00 USD, whichever is greater.

Why do you require a deposit/retainer up front?

My policy is to require a deposit (usually 1/2 project estimate, nonrefundable) for all projects; for certain services and small projects, I require full payment in advance. Part of this policy is about cash flow and part is about insurance, but in either case the issue is the extending of credit to my clients. If I have a solid professional relationship with a client, marked by nothing but good experiences, I have no problem waiving my deposit requirement unless the project scope (and thus the fee) grows into a cash flow issue.

I require a retainer for consultation sessions to limit the time I spend fruitlessly on people seeking free marketing advice.

What forms of payment do you accept?

For clients residing within the United States, I accept payments via check, money order, and bank wire. For domestic accounts, my preference is payment by check.

For clients outside of the United States, I only accept bank wire at this time.

Note: Payment by bank wire may involve an additional convenience fee. Contact my office for details.

When is the best time of day to reach you in your office?

I am typically available in my office during normal business hours, 10am to 5pm Pacific Time, Monday to Friday. If I am on a deadline, I will only pick up the phone if I recognize the Caller ID and have the time to talk. Otherwise, leave a message and I'll call you back as soon as I can. I don't respond to client calls or emails outside of normal business hours (i.e., evenings or weekends).

I've downloaded your samples portfolio but can't find the exact industry/project type that fits my needs. Can you send me more specific writing samples?

My downloadable samples portfolio is designed to communicate two things: my writing style in a variety of industrial contexts, and the process I generally follow when working with clients. There should be more than enough information in my portfolio to provide an idea of what you can expect when we work together.

In the vast majority of cases, when prospects ask me for additional samples - particularly, specific types of writing in specific industries - it's only because they are looking for writing examples to emulate themselves and so it never turns into an actual sale for me. For this reason, I don't hand out additional or specific writing samples unless I have thoroughly researched the requesting party and have determined that they are established and serious enough not to simply fish the Internet for free work.

Our project is large, complicated, and involves a number of in-house participants. Can you come to my place of business and work on site?

Unfortunately not. At any given time I may be working on between two and six projects, all requiring my availability. Because of this, I don't work on site with my clients on a dedicated basis. I am open to in-person meetings, however, perhaps on a regular basis. I bill my standard hourly rate for such meetings, including travel time and expenses (if any).

It's inconvenient for me to meet with you. Can we conduct our business over the phone, fax or email?

These days, rarely are in-person meetings necessary to develop effective marketing copy. I prefer conducting consultation meetings over the phone or Skype; background materials can be sent to my office via email or overnight. Followup contact can be conducted by phone, email, or Skype.

I'd like to get started as soon as possible, but I realize that it will take time to mail you a contract with a deposit. What are my options?

You have several. First, however, please remember that I reserve the right to bill a rush fee for very short deadlines; if I choose to exercise that right, however, I will inform you up front and you may then reschedule, if you wish.

With technology today, it's often possible to get started on a same-day basis. I will email my contract to you in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) document format; you can then print, sign and fax it back to me, along with a copy of the deposit check that you're mailing or overnighting to me. I now use an Internet-based fax service that immediately returns your fax to me via email. Once I have contract and at least a copy of the deposit check in hand, I am prepared to begin work on good faith.

If you have a digital scanner available, you may also email your contract rather than faxing it.

I currently use bank wires to receive deposits/retainers for clients outside of the United States. If you wish to use bank wire to send me your deposit, let me know and I'll supply payment information.

Are you hiring?

In early 2010, we expanded to become a full service marketing firm - Load Bearing Creative. While we currently may not be hiring, that could and probably will change. We also are interested in developing relationships with freelance creative professionals, and are open to respectful solicitation via web contact form, either on this website or on Load Bearing's main site. Please feel free to drop us a line and say hello.

FAQ last updated March 2012. If you have any questions not covered by this Services FAQ, please give my office a call or contact me with this handy form.


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(c) Robert Warren, Writer and Editor - Freelance Technical Copywriter, California and Florida - T/ 209.232.4219
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