For that reason, I implemented a minimum order amount for all clients. This means I will still take on any size project, but the minimum order ensures I get paid enough to make that extra research time worth it. How you set your minimum order depends on what your target hourly rate is, and how much time you spend with each client.
It makes no sense to spend an hour talking with a client or researching their business type, and then spend the same amount of time writing for them, unless you get a larger amount up front.
For me, my minimum order is the same as my anticipated hourly wage. This gives my clients up to that many words, but they will not get refunded if what I write is less than the word equivalent of their deposit. If I go over that, which is usually the case, my standard per-word rate applies.
Setting a minimum order will help you make the most of your time and make sure you are getting a fair wage for even the smallest of projects. Most serious clients will have no trouble with such a condition, and I certainly haven’t noticed a decrease in business since implementing that policy myself.