Pricing mobile app content

Hello to everyone,

I've recently been contacted by a healthcare start-up company that wants me to write mobile app copy for their business. Without disclosing too many details of the project, he wants what appears to be a large number of screens initially - up to 15 detailed condition/treatment screens and things like a symptom checker, small summaries of what the condition could be, etc. I've never taken on a project like this and have no idea how to price it. Any help is greatly appreciated!

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6 thoughts on “Pricing mobile app content”

  1. Hmm. That sounds like an interesting project for sure! I’ve never priced app content, but I don’t see why I’d price it differently than anything else. I base fees on word count ranges or pages rather than the publication or medium.

    I’d see if you can get an estimated word count from the client and go from there.

  2. Jenn’s suggestion is solid advice. Start-ups are often sketchy at best. I’d want to know if they have the navigation designed. For example, from the user perspective, you first enter symptoms. That takes you to the symptom checker. A series of questions drills down to narrow the search. That links to specific conditions…etc. What is their source of info? e.g., does it link to internet resources for health info?

    I’d ask if they have a sales presentation with screenshots mock-ups that show how the app works. You figure they had to pitch the idea at some point. But Jenn is right. It basically boils down to word count and time. I don’t know your background but creating copy from subject matter experts (SMEs) is different from creating copy from your own experience and research. And even with SMEs, I still do my own research, which adds to the time.

    So I’d consider the following:

    Review time of start-ups info
    Research time (and I’d put a limit on it)
    Discussion with SMEs (if applicable)
    Drafting copy based on Word count (can estimate range-e.g. 100-200 words per screen)
    Editing time (yours and client revisions)
    Fudge factor for unknown

    Total time x hourly fee = Total project time
    Could quote total project by defining max words/screens or fee per screen (with word count parameters)

    Hope this helps somewhat. Good luck!

  3. Ladies, thank you so much!

    Jenn – I usually price services based on word count/pages too, and I’m not really sure why I was thinking mobile content would be way different. Uncharted territory, and all that… 😉

    Cathy – Thank you for breaking down how you’d price it. It was really helpful to see how you’d consider pricing the project!

    Honestly, this company is definitely coming off as sketchy, and I’m leaning (heavily) toward trusting my gut and walking away. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’d be busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest, with not a lot of money to show for it. I don’t think I have room in my schedule for the amount of time I’m anticipating this client needs. Oh! And the words “well, I’m not even sure what I want” from the prospect didn’t exactly get me excited about it. rollseyes

    I have a phone meeting with him tomorrow morning, so I’ll see if he’s narrowed down what exactly he’s looking for. If not, I think I’ll just say we’re not going to be a good fit and keep it movin’.

  4. Been there, done that with healthcare start-ups. His “not sure what I want” is a common response. I always say go with your gut. I’d love to hear what you think after your discussion tomorrow.

  5. Well, we had our little chat this morning. I’m definitely going to pass on this project. He was still unable to tell me what he was actually looking for – no length of content, no specific medical condition or treatment to focus on, etc. He wanted me to start tomorrow though! And commit to 50 hours of work up front! All without discussing budget at all…when I asked, he danced around that question and didn’t give me any information other than “we can give you a low number, we can give you a high number. But it might be too high.” Right.

    So I’m going to email him a no thanks so that it’s formal and documented. I’m thinking I dodged a bullet here!


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