Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear freelancer

I'll have artwork I'm allowed to post on Jan. 1st but until then here's a business related post.
I've heard some strange comments from freelancers lately that makes me want to respond as an art director.
Quote Requests
Apparently some freelancers prefer clients to be the first one to propose a rate for the work rather than the client requesting a rate quote. Which is an understandable wish but some believe the request is an attempt to get the artist to sell themselves short. Some believe it's a nefarious act that an AD doesn't disclose their budget first and that it would be honorable to do so.

AD hat on
Don't be so damn paranoid. Sometimes when I request a rate quote it's so that I can determine what the budget would need to be based off that rate. Then I can propose that budget to the owner or narrow the number of illustrations I would like for a project based off that rate. It can also aid me in persuading the owner to raise a budget by saying, "here's what we got for X in the past and here's what we could get for x+$5". I won't even really address the idea of not telling all about the budget not being honorable as it makes no business sense. As an AD it feels like socially awkward artists transferring their frustration onto the AD because they don't want to handle the business side of being an artist.


Freelancer hat on
Are you crazy? If somebody tells me the rate they'd like to pay immediately that has been an indicator, in my experience, that this isn't going to be a flexible relationship. "The pay is X and the contract is X. Will you do it?" It's also been an indicator that I'm not necessarily an individual that they have a true interest in using. They simply need art and I make art. Luckily most of the clients that come to me these days ask for a rate quote and I think that's because they see me as an individual who makes art that they already like or I have come recommended by friends or peers. This gives me some power as I know I'm wanted.

It seems that some artists prefer the"the pay is X and the contract is X" as it's a simple process for them and they don't have to squirm in their seats and agonize over what's a rate suitable for the industry, suitable for the size of the company, suitable for profit, suitable for the contract,etc. Contracts are a big deal and being able to negotiate them can make the difference between getting paid and not getting paid or showing your work and never being able to show your work. Respond to the quote request E-mail. Set a price and terms that you would be happy with. If they tell you no then you're only missing out on work that must have had terms that you wouldn't have profited from or would have made you miserable. If they say yes and it turns out they had a higher budget, who cares? The payment was enough to make you happy what are you complaining about? If you're that far under budget then don't be surprised to find them flooding you with a lot more work down the road and that flood will raise your rates across the board as you're not able to meet the demand.