The cost of PR: How much should you be charging?

“Since I’m small, and more of an independent, I find that these rates are now in line with today’s marketplace,” Rees says.


Typical retainers begin at as little as $1,500 per month and max out at around $20,000.

“In terms of dollars and cents, I’ve seen budget ranges under $5,000 per month, at or near $10,000 per month and then much higher,” says Chicago-based Motion PR[9] CEO & founder Kimberly Eberl[10]. “For the smallest amount—$5,000 a month or less—expect a narrow focus (i.e. just local media pitching, solely trade media, etc.). For larger amounts, you can build in more tactics, reach a wider audience, conduct events, utilize third party experts, etc.”

The Edelman’s, Weber Shandwick’s and FleishmanHillard’s of the world don’t get out of bed for less than $25,000 and command fees of $100,000[11] or more per month. Major clients at the high end of their scale include major cities, global corporations and nation states that require large staffs dedicated to single accounts.

Southern California’s Tracy Bagatelle-Black worked for one of the world’s largest firms and dissects how retainer pricing worked there.

“When you figure out what a project will cost a client, you plug in an account coordinator at one rate and how many hours you expect to use them and a Senior Account Executive or two at a different higher rate,” Bagatelle-Black says. “For the most part, account hours are mostly filled with more hours from the junior staff than the senior staff because they are much cheaper.”


  1. ^ Building strong relationships (
  2. ^ Great publicity must be earned (
  3. ^ establishing trust (
  4. ^ Everyone’s PR (
  5. ^ Ryan Waggoner (
  6. ^ 48 West Agency (
  7. ^ Blue Cube Marketing Solutions (
  8. ^ Rhonda Rees (
  9. ^ Motion PR (
  10. ^ Kimberly Eberl (
  11. ^ $100,000 (

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