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What Should A Los Angeles Public Relations / Marketing Firm Cost?
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So you are considering hiring a PR firm to promote your business. It is likely that you have come to this realization because you understand that hiring a marketing or public relations consultant is much like hiring a law firm or a CPA firm. Good PR firms have knowledge and expertise that people who are not engaged in the public relations business full-time usually don't have.

Finding the right PR firm is critical. Cost is not an issue if the firm you have selected to promote your business is unqualified to do so. Then, it doesn't matter how little or much they charge. You won't get the results you want.

PR firms charge one of two ways. Hourly or monthly retainer. An hourly arrangement is simple to understand. It like like hiring a lawyer. They charge you per hour for hours they work. PR firms, like law firms, have different hourly rates for different people in the firm. The more senior-level people charge more per hour. But typically, ongoing monthly work is done by mid-level reps who have more reasonable hourly rates.

With hourly rate billing, time can theoretically get out of control. It is impossible for a client to control or manage the number of hours their PR firm works each month. Most times clients will have a cap on the number of hours the firm is allowed to work in a month, and if more hours are required, then the client has to approve the expenditure of more time. The problem with this system, in my view, is that a client wants their PR firm to spend its time getting results not counting hours and then constantly negotiating to spend more time. It can become problematic and I believe a waste of time to always be talking about hours when you want to be talking about strategy.

The more common billing method is a monthly retainer. With a retainer, the PR firm and client agree on a set budget per month. The budget is based on a number of hours the firm projects to work each month. If the firm needs to spend more than the set number of hours in a given month, they could ask for more budget, or not. It depends on the PR firm and your written agreement.

Almost all PR firms also charge for operating expenses. This includes items such as local travel, faxing, phone etc. I say almost all PR firms because at Farr Marketing Group we did away with this practice long ago. We don't charge clients for us operating our office.

The last charge that is universal is to charge clients for expenses that are incurred for the client. For example, if the PR firm has to hire a photographer to shoot an event for the client, that is a billable expense. If a graphic designer is hired, that is billable. This is routine because the client would pay for this service whether it went through their PR firm or they hired the photographer or designer themselves.

How much marketing and public relations firms charge per hour or per month is probably what you want to know. Unfortunately, it is a difficult question because the range is so wide. Depending on the PR firm and the type of work they are doing for you, hourly rates can range from $50 an hour to $800 an hour for senior-level, crisis experts. Monthly retainers can range from perhaps $1,000 a month to $20,000 a month, again depending on how much time your account requires.

However, understand that everything is negotiable. If a marketing / PR firm really wants your business, there is always a way to find a fee structure that works for both of you.


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