Should I pay my PPC hourly or by project?

For the last couple of months, we’ve been going on and on about the different possibilities you had whenever facing the situation of having to hire a PPC, and the many aspects to consider before going ahead and doing it. We’ve already dived into the many different types of PPC you have, where could you (and should you) find them, and even did our best to help you find the right PPC fit for you. But of course, there comes the time when you’ve already gone through all that discovery process, even had some interviews, and are almost ready to sign a contract, but then you have to figure out which your working relationship will be. 

Recently, we’ve been discussing a little on whether you should hire a PPC through a performance model and the perks and drawbacks of that system, so today we’ll dive into some other payment systems, their particularities to consider, pros, cons, and which scenarios are they the best fits for, and of course, which one should you choose to go with. So let’s not waste any more time with the intro, and jump right into what brought us here, shall we? Let’s dive into whether you should pay your PPC hourly or by project. 

I remember from when I was a kid, I once read a joke in a comic book (because I’m old school enough that I used to read these Chilean comics named Condorito, which were very popular while I was growing up) where a painter came into a lady’s house ready to paint her wall, and he brought a massive brush (sized like the wall) and a very small one, so she proceeded to ask why had he done that and which one would he use, so he answered: “it depends on whether you’ll pay me hourly or for the job done”. And I think that’s an awesome summary of the main difference between these two payment arrangements. 

So first, let’s talk specifics about each one of them. Paying someone (your PPC or your painter) hourly is the most classic way of payment, and is by far the most popular among all the employee-employer relationships in the world. And no, I didn’t check that fact, but also I don’t need to, I know that. And the thing is it really makes life easier, you pay some amount per hour, your employee works a certain number of hours, you multiply the numbers, add some calculations for taxes and stuff (please don’t make me research about them too), and there you have your paycheck. It’s simple, you have a lot of places to go look for references, and your employees will fully understand the process.

Paying someone for the whole project can be a bit of a more controversial situation. There usually aren’t such specific references to consider, and more often than not the price will be defined, although some negotiation may happen, by the PPC in charge of the project. What probably will happen is that they’ll come up with a plan or strategy for your project, and will tell you how much they’ll charge you for it. You can try and negotiate a little, but it’s really more of a call that they have to make. 

Of course, both of them have their pros and cons, and there are situations where even both can work. So let’s see when and where we should implement which! 

About the deadline 

Let’s say you have this huge advertising campaign that you need to launch in a week from now, and if you don’t, then your whole company goes bankrupt. If you are facing that situation, we can definitely say that you are handling a pretty strict deadline and that you’d need your project to be done as fast and well as possible. And how does this affect the payment method? Easy, if you pay someone per hour, then they’ll be much more likely to want to spend as many hours as possible so they can earn more. However, when a PPC charges per project, then they’ll try to do everything as soon and well as possible, so they earn more money for less time working (which doesn’t mean it’ll be done wrongly, because then they’d have to spend more time correcting them). So, if your situation looks like this, then you definitely should opt for a PPC that charges per project. 

About their work style 

Every PPC expert has their own particular way of working, and that’s something that definitely will affect the whole process of our company. So, depending on their styles, there are PPCs who decide to charge per hour and PPCs who decide to charge per project. The vast majority will choose to be paid per hour because it’s easier and usually they find it fairer, and here’s why: If you decide you want to get paid per project, then you probably consider yourself a very smart guy who can do a good job fast enough so that they make more money “per hour” than you’ll do actually charging per hour. But that’s not how it usually goes because life happens. Things can turn out to be more complicated than you thought, or you can have a personal problem, or get sick, or many other aspects that can cause that the project takes you longer and gets way less profitable than you thought it would be. So, if your PPC is actually incredibly smart and efficient (much more smart and efficient than average), then it’s totally fine that you pay them per project. However, if they aren’t, just like the vast majority of humans aren’t, then it probably will be fairer to pay them hourly. 

Are you 100% sure your project’s scope is the right one? 

A problem that may come along when you are developing a project for a PPC to take care of is not being entirely sure if that’s the approach and results you are looking for. And that’s fine because being flexible and open to better marketing solutions is important in order to make the most of your business. However, there are things to consider before hiring someone to be in charge of your not-so-clearly-defined project. If you are paying someone hourly, then you can change your scope as much as you want because they’ll keep getting paid for what they have done until then anyway, and also for any start-over you want to have. But if you are paying someone per project, then it may not be entirely fair to be changing the scope everyday because they’ll have to throw away whatever they’ve done until then, start again with a whole new project, and get paid the same. So if you are still not super clear about what your campaign is all about, then you definitely should pay your PPC hourly. 

So, the bottom line here, as I’ve previously stated, is that both payment methods have their upsides and downsides, and really it depends on how you and your employee work, and the working relationship you want to build together. So, if you are now in the process of signing a contract with your PPC, please make sure you review these three key points before you make the job offer to them.

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