How Much Does It Cost to Hire a PR Firm?

Given the lack of publicly available information on the topic, it’s perhaps no surprise that, when it comes to looking into just how much a PR agency costs, figures vary wildly.


March 14, 2023

Given the lack of publicly available information on the topic, it’s perhaps no surprise that, when it comes to looking into just how much a PR agency costs, figures vary wildly.

What makes this doubly interesting is that the three-way relationship between the agency fee, the agency output and the desired outcome of the client isn’t always a straightforward linear correlation.

We’ve seen £40k a month PR campaigns nose-dive spectacularly into the ground, and we’ve seen £7k press launches and £3-4k a month fixed retainer projects achieve outcomes far exceeding the expectations of both the agency and the client.

So, as a prospective client, how can you establish the size of budget you need to invest in a PR campaign, in order to deliver results? How do you know that the proposal you like most represents good value?

Types of PR agencies

To understand what your PR campaign or project fee is actually buying, first you need to consider the variety of agencies out there.

Ask yourself 4 questions:

1. B2B or B2C?

Are you seeking to engage with a business or consumer-centric audience group? All but the largest PR agencies will offer a route to one or the other, but rarely both.

2. Am I looking for a specialist?

Does the project or campaign you’re planning require an intimate understanding of the sector in which you operate? If so, there may be agencies out there that have taken the positive decision to work only on campaigns in your area. Meaning your budget is invested in achieving results, not bringing your PR team up to speed.

3. Is geography important?

You probably work with a variety of service providers in a variety of countries. As with all sectors in our shrinking globe, the physical location or your PR team may not determine the best partner for you. But we’d argue that the geographic reach of their experience should. Does your prospective partner have a demonstrable track record of success in the country or region you’re targeting?

4. Which services might I need?

Are your needs centred on media profile or market reach? Do you need public affairs support? Or help engaging with stakeholders? Perhaps what’s you’re really after is marketing content? Or digital and design services? Perhaps it’s all of the above. Be clear with yourself and your prospective partners which services matter to you. And don’t assume that all agencies can excel in all services.

Taking the time to consider these questions should help you trim down a field of hundreds of potential PR partners to a field of tens, or even single digits.

Consider then what motivates each company? Are they independent or part of a wider group? How long have they been in business and have any of your peers worked with them previously? What’s the chemistry like?

Financial cost of hiring a PR agency

You’re now ready to answer the question about how much it will cost you to hire a PR agency!

Typically, agencies will offer best value to retained contracts employing a fixed monthly fee and delivery against a pre-determined plan or set of KPIs. Retained relationships tend to have the inherent flexibility to dial different service lines up and down as needs change.

The alternative is to contract a PR team to work on a bespoke project, with tightly defined parameters in terms of timeframe, deliverables and services.

Either way, what you’re really buying is time and expertise. Any prospective partner should be able to break down their headline quote for you by both time input and the seniority of the personnel delivering the work. If they can’t, you might reasonably ask yourself how they delineated their quote in the first place.

The strategic PR cost

The cost here involves your time. Or specifically, the time taken by whoever has been assigned to manage the agency relationship – acting as the primary point of contact between the two teams and the person to whom the agency will naturally gravitate to remove roadblocks and campaign obstacles.

Note here that the person assigned to manage the agency need not be the same person who hired the agency in the first place – although they do need to have a clear understanding of the aims and objectives that the agency is delivering against and they do need to command the respect of the internal team – including senior executives.

How much does it cost to hire Tamarindo?

Tell us about the type of campaign you have in mind and we’ll prepare you a detailed quote!

We work on projects and retainers of all shapes and sizes, for businesses across the globe. At the lower end of the spectrum, we have a handful of clients spending a few thousand pounds, at the upper end of the spectrum, we have a growing number of clients investing double digits each month for a programme involving multiple service lines. The majority of our clients sit somewhere in between.

Irrespective of the scale of investment, all of the programmes we work on share two common threads: they have decarbonisation in mind, and they’re founded on an active, bilateral decision to build a partnership.

Got a brief for us?

We don’t pretend that any one client or campaign is the same as the next. Instead, we’ll design a communications programme bespoke to your business and your needs. The right strategy, the right creative and the right team.