Public relations agencies help spread a message or brand for companies and individuals. They contact reporters and other media and publications to pitch news story ideas that promote a client or industry. Hourly rates for PR firms or agencies vary by the firm's experience and reputation, among other determining factors.
Hourly Rate Range
PR firms typically charge hourly rates for their services between $75 and $350, according to the Tanned Feet website. This rate is used by the firm to pay employees working for a particular client and resources used to get the job done. The rest is turned as a profit for the PR agency.
Some PR agencies charge clients a monthly retainer fee for their services as opposed to charging by the hour. This retainer fee is typically calculated based on an hourly rate and the expected time a PR agency plans to work on the client's behalf. For example, an agency that typically charges $200 an hour might take on a client with the expectation to work 40 hours a month on behalf of that client. The agency might then charge the client a monthly retainer fee of $8,000, which is the cost of working 40 hours at the $200 an hour.
Pay for Placement
Another type of payment method for PR firms is pay for placement, which is sometimes called "pay per placement." In this model, clients pay a PR firm for each publication or press article or mention of the company's brand or product. The more placements a PR firm generates, the more it makes. If the PR firm fails to generate any press for your company, you pay nothing. This is an alternative to the hourly rate or retainer payment model, as it guarantees you some press coverage, or costs you nothing. However, the bigger the coverage, the bigger the fee PR firms charge. A feature story in a national newspaper or a segment on a national morning news show can costs tens of thousands of dollars.
All three PR payment models have their advantages and disadvantages. When you pay by the hour, it is similar to paying an hourly wage to an employee. It might be easier to manage, as PR firms typically bill you monthly and you cut a check based on how many hours they worked and the agreed-upon hourly rate. Retainers allow you to budget more easily, as the monthly fee will be the same amount based on the retainer fee, which is calculated by an hourly rate. Pay per placement is the most unpredictable. If a PR firm did not generate any press coverage in a month, you owe it nothing. But, if the firm succeeded in getting several stories, you might owe much more than you had planned. Discuss what the best model is with your financial team before partnering with any PR firm.