The question about the cost of PR services is one of the toughest ones PR professionals have to answer. The common answer is: ‘it depends…’. However, Partners of Enterie give us an insight on how prices are being calculated and rough estimations for tech startups who want to enter foreign markets.
Read the most recent Prices in Public Relations article
PR, settlements and ethics
One thing is sure: a good PR agency will not agree to charge for placed articles. Every industry code of ethics forbids to promise results which are beyond agency’s control. And it is an editor’s decision whether to publish a story or not. Officially paid articles are called ads. Those paid unofficially – corruption.
We like it or not, PR agencies will charge for effort. Of course, they can set KPIs’ with the client, but payment cannot depend on reaching them. So how are the prices calculated? Here’s some insider information which will help you understand how this business works, to negotiate good deals and to make sure you are not overpaying your agency.
Scope of work and hourly rates
The starting point for budgeting PR services is always an estimated scope of work. Usually, depending on client’s goals, an agency proposes a set of activities and estimates how much time will it take to execute it.
Hourly rates are the second major variable. They are related to qualifications of consultants needed to complete respective tasks. An hour of work of the consultant who develops communication strategy will be more expensive than an hour of work of a junior account executive who prepares a clipping report. However, agencies often use average rates.
Exemplary hourly rates in Enterie – PR services on European markets
Project fee vs. retainer fee
In case of projects, the final price usually equals the estimated number of hours multiplied by hourly rates. In case of long term retainer agreements, the cost of larger activities (such as events or more intensive campaigns) is usually calculated in a monthly fee, so the client pays the same fee every month.
Projects are relatively more expensive than activities executed within a long term agreement, as prices also have to cover the time of winning new business and the time of consultants for onboarding a new client – preparing a tailored media list, learning about the client company and its services etc. In case of longer engagement these costs will be distributed in time.
Agencies prefer longer arrangements. It brings their business stability and enables investment in consultants. Therefore in case of a retainer agreement, you can always negotiate the price and count on better prices.
Exemplary agency fees in Enterie – PR services on European markets
Estimations provided by Partners of Enterie, a network of independent PR agencies for startups, fast-growing and disruptive businesses
*Launch pack – a 3 months entry project for startups launching on new market, covering:
- strategy and messaging development
- preparing and distributing a launch press release
- organizing 1-2 interviews
- writing and offering 2 byline articles to media
- monitoring and reporting
**Monthly basic services – within a longer agreement, covering monthly:
- running a local press office
- handling media requests, answering questions
- media monitoring
- maintaining and updating tailored media list
- writing and distributing 1 press release
- writing and pitching 2 articles
- seeking speaking opportunities: preparing statements commenting market developments, when appropriate
- ongoing advisory
It is often hard to estimate the scope of work, as it can change depending on opportunities, market developments and changeable client’s needs. To certain degree, agencies are flexible. In case of larger extra work it can be treated as an extra project.
Sometimes, to make settlements easier, a kind of prepaid arrangement can be applied. Clients are purchasing a number of hours which can day ‘spent’ depending on current developments and needs. Such arrangement gives predictable income for the agency, and some flexibility for the client.
Crisis communication is a completely different story. It usually requires a 24/7 availability of consultants. Therefore, crisis management services are charged on hourly basis, usually with high rates.
The size of the agency
Large, global PR firms charge more than small, independent agencies. Both kinds have their advantages and disadvantages.
Big corporate agencies have bigger costs, which at the end have to be covered by clients – fancy offices, executive salaries, shareholder dividends. In return clients get access to the global know-how and prestige. They also buy corporate safety – as the choice of a strong consultancy brand is not likely to be questioned by anyone. This is why global corporations usually choose similar PR agencies.
Smaller agencies compete with more down to earth prices – as they are more agile and have lower costs of operations. Smaller clients usually go with smaller agencies, as they offer them better engagement and service. For a big PR firm, small clients tend to be simply less important.
What else matters?
Other important factors influencing the pricing are:
- Industry specialization – deep knowledge of a particular industry is always highly valued
- The value of market – the bigger market, the higher the prices
- Labour costs on respective market – as it is a major cost of every PR agency
- Respective market characteristics – especially supply of PR services
PR fees in Denmark
Denmark belongs to the group of nordic markets, and to its price range. Danmark, together with Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands, leads in digitalisation. Its industry and service sector is very modern and open to international cooperation.
In Denmark – which is relatively a small country – it is all rather about the quality. This rule is reflected in Danish economy, productivity, work ethic, public institutions and lifestyle. Similar to other nordic countries, Denmark is known of its high standards of living and social security, extended public services and wealth distribution.
It all has to reflect in prices. However, again, a very high quality of services will sweeten your deals. Besides – PR fees in Denmark are pretty close to European average.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca.6500 – 7000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 3500 Euros.
PR fees in France
If localization is a key to communications on every European (and world) market, in France it is even more important. And it is not only about the language, but also about the culture and French self-esteem. Therefor localization is not something where you should look for cost cuts.
Luckily for clients, French market of PR services is pretty competitive. As France if economically and administratively centralised state, all important media and institutions are situated in one place – in Paris. So it makes it relatively easy to run PR activities, to meet journalists, organize events, etc. Those two factors – competitiveness and centralization – keep rates and PR fees on a moderate European level.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 6000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 3000 Euros.
PR fees in Germany
Even though the market of PR services in Germany is quite competitive, you have to expect a bit higher prices than the European average. The simple explanation is that the market is large and lucrative. Everyone wants to be there. It means it requires quite an effort to win media attention and break through with your story to the public.
German market is also wide geographical-wise. For many centuries there were several German states-dukedoms. Each being a separate economy with its own administration and trade center. Todays Germany still reflects this historical divisions. Major regions (lands) have its own “capital” (in Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg or Hannover), own institutions (universities, industry associations or chambers of commerce) and own media ecosystem. Therefor media outreach is pretty timeconsumming, and building media relations often require travelling to a distant city.
In effect – with hourly rates similar to other European countries – prices for PR activities might cost slightly morer. For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 9 -10 000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 3500 – 4000 Euros.
PR fees in Italy
There are loads of PR services providers in Italy – especially in fashion, food, tourism and production industry. When it comes to technology – the choice is much smaller. And if you need a Partner who will easily communicate in English – finding a suitable one can be a challenge. Of course, it affects prices and often narrows your choice to an expensive global network PR firms. Luckily, there is also Enterie and Doppia Elica, a specialized agency with all the qualities you need.
The agency is based in Milan, the industrial, financial and technological capital of Italy. It remains independent, but strongly cooperate with its foreign Partners on European and global level.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 6500 – 7000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 2000 Euros.
PR fees in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is another nordic market in Enterie network. One of the most developed and digitalised economy in Europe has a thriving sector of professional communications services, including PR firms, agencies and freelancers. Similarly to other nordic countries, the language is not a bariere in making business, as English is commonly known by literally all Dutch people. So there is plenty of choice in terms of PR services providers.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 9 000-9500 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 4000 Euros.
PR fees in Poland
Celebrating a lately promotion to the group of developed countries (in 2018, according to FTSE Russells), Polish economy still has one of the lowest labour costs in the European Union.
And even if the prices of professional b2b services are quickly catching up with those in western Europe, PR fees remains relatively low. This is also an effect of the variety of global networks, independent PR firms, boutique agencies and freelancers of all possible specializations coexisting on the Polish market. Consequently, the range of prices is very wide.
Poland is also a place to go when looking for production services in communications industry. From simple graphic works, web and apps development to sophisticated film and animation – there is plenty of contractors in Poland ready to help, for a moderate prices.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 5 – 6000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 2000 Euros.
PR fees in Spain
Spain is surly a very attractive market to those who wants to scale up a digital business in Europe (and beyond). Spanish consumer markets is large, and Spanish consumers are willing to use all kinds of technologies. Especially mobile. Because of the colonial history and popularity of Spanish language, Spain is perceived as a gate to Latin America.
While Madrid remains an administrational and political capital of Spain, Barcelona is the most important hub for technologies. Thanks to numerous tech startups and such events(such as World Mobile Congress), it has become an important spot on the European (and global) tech scene.
Of course there is quite a number of PR services providers in Spain. However, for international tech businesses the choice is not so big. Mostly because of the language. To do business in Spain you need to speak… Spanish. Or find a really good partner.
Nevertheless, the prices of PR services are still on rather moderate level.
PR fees in the Sweden
Sweden is an attractive destination for scaling up for many brands. A large consumer market, developed and digitized economy – it is all very appealing to producers and providers of all kinds of products and services. In consequence also PR market is doing pretty well, attracting big international players, agencies with a global reach and offices around the world. However, in Sweden PR agencies (especially those local) are often not used to working with clients with no Swedish representation. Four PR is one of a very few agencies that actually specializes in working with companies from abroad.
As for prices, its level reflects the size of the market and the strength of Swedish economy.
For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca.6000 – 6500 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 4000 Euros.
PR fees in UK
United Kingdom is one of the most expensive markets of professional services in Europe. Especially in Public Relations. There are several factors adding up here.
The UK market itselves is very attractive. It is one of the strongest economies in Europe and in the world, with 66 mln of own, wealthy consumers and yearly GDP of 2,808.889 billion USD. It has a great global trade tradition and plays an important role of one of the key financial market in the world.
In addition, over 800 million people around the world speaks English, and over 350 million people use English as a first language. No wonder that UK is often perceived as a gate other, English language markets, including such countries as Canada, Australia and United States.
It all reflects in the level of PR fees. For a launch pack of PR activities you need to pay ca. 11000 Euros. A regular monthly retainer fee is about 4000 Euros.