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Old 12-10-2012, 03:43 AM
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Default How do you handle word counts

I have a long-time client who recently moved to paying per word instead of per article. I have no problem with that. The issue is that I've been sending a note regarding what I got for a word count since the blog tool they use doesn't list one. Other clients who pay me per word have me include the word count I get when running it through plagiarism software, so I'd been using that count.

I got a rather scathing message from the client saying that they've never had someone not trust their counts before and that I needed to knock it off. The whole response sends up red flags for me. I don't think it's unusual to send a quick note about what I show for a word count. They're telling me no one does that.

When you're working with a client who pays per word, do you just trust them to be right or do you run a count too?
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:00 AM
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Various online tools are available to assist you calculating the word count such as allworldphone / count-words-characters.htm and more ..
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:14 AM
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I've had very few clients in the past that paid per word, but I have to say if they have an issue with you wanting them to include a word count or at least tell you what a word count is then that would make me question a few things as well.

For my writing, I use Word then send it through Open Office then over to WordPad. I jot down the word count just to be sure all the content meets the basic word count the client requested even though they generally pay per article. I'm thinking you could do something like that to sort of gauge the least amount versus the most amount you would be making on each article. If it falls within those bounds on your pay then leave it be, but if it is below the lowest you have then I'd question it and let them know your count versus there count. Maybe ask them what they are using because you want to give them the word count they need and yours is not matching theirs.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:17 AM
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[QUOTE=jwinter;3057559Maybe ask them what they are using because you want to give them the word count they need and yours is not matching theirs.[/QUOTE]

They said they have their own program and wouldn't give me more info than that, so that only added to the concerns.

I don't mind them wanting to do their own word count, it's the secrecy that bothers me. I've never had a client get upset by my sending word counts and asking if that's close to what they've come up with.

I've only done one article this way and the word counts were only 12 off, but still 12 words at 4 cents - that's a loss of 48 cents and over time that's really going to add up.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:22 AM
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I have always included the word count when doing per-word rates. They always appreciated it and never had a problem with it. In fact, a few people I did overflow for I forgot to include it and they asked me to go back and figure it out for them. It seems weird that would bother them unless they didn't plan on paying you for how many words there truly were.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:31 AM
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I always do a word count just to make sure I have reached the minimum and haven't gone over the maximum. It seems like maybe they don't want to pay you for all of the words. If you aren't doing the word count, then they can sneak it by you. I don't understand why it would be a big deal if they are being honest about it.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennWith2Ns View Post
It seems weird that would bother them unless they didn't plan on paying you for how many words there truly were.
That's my take. I've just never had a client complain when I sent the word count I got, so when I got the complaint about it, it surprised me, especially when they said they've worked with dozens of writers and never had writers enclose a word count.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:07 AM
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I agree that that is strange.

I do all by-the-piece billing now, but when I did by-the-word, I invoiced all of my clients. So I'd include the word count (whatever GoogleDocs said it was) and that was that; no one ever questioned me or wanted to use their own software.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:17 AM
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I pay all my writers by the word not the piece just because its easier. When you have a large team its hard to constantly go back to them and agree a price for a piece.

With paying on word counts I always use either wordpress or word.

I will say pay $2 per 100 words for a blog post of 400 words so $8.00. So if they do 410 words they would still be paid $8 but I would accept up to 375 words for their post so if they are a little under they will still get paid for the full 400 words.

I have a lot of writers that do simple 100 word descriptions and many of them fall between 90-105 words and they will all get the same.

So my opinion is that it levels out over time for when the word count has been high or low.

Sometimes I will have them edit a document and instead of them doing a word count of the paragraphs they have done I will pay them a lower rate for the whole document even if they are not technically doing it all.

Anng I would just keep a tally and if over 5-10 pieces you have lost quite a bit I would walk away or agree on a word count that you are all happy with.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:19 AM
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Oh and I may add...

From myself and other clients the only time I have ever seen work sent back because the word count is too low is when dealing with article directories. As they may have a 250 word minimum word count and if you turn in a 242 word count the article will be rejected.
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