I found this guy on Craigslist a few months ago asking for an illustrator for his book for prices that were basically laughable. I reached out with some suggested prices that were still extremely, extremely cheap. Then this little debacle happened:
Client: I hope you are doing well. I am not one to “beat around the bush” so let me get straight to the point. You have sent me 3 emails and I will address each one within in this email response. Before we begin, I want you to understand, I am using this as a teaching moment and I hope that you are not offended by my words, but I understand it is likely to happen and I apologize in advance. I know you do not know much about me, but I do have a Business Management Degree and I run my own business. When I said I would help you become a professional artist, I meant it. Part of that process will be how well you handle critics and how well you take that information and either improve your crafts, or simply give up and become like the majority who gave up on their dreams and now live a monotonous life of get up and go work for someone else (making the business owner wealthy in the process), wondering why they’re not happy with their existence.
Your first email:
“Thank you, sir! But I would to be paid per drawing this time & I’d like to negotiate the prices. Please let me know if these are fair for you:
B/W sketch- $5
Colored drawing- $15
Book cover- $25
I find your request to renegotiate your options to be quite rude, hint at a level of greediness, and based on a complete lack of understanding of our business relationship. Therefore I do not accept your offer and believe the price quotes to be outrageous.
I do not believe you truly understand our business relationship. I am not your boss, I am your customer. My part in this business relationship is writing stories, your business is creating illustrations. If I hire you for a job, you are a cost to me with a certain value amount, and I am your customer paying you for a service that you provide. In order to receive any form of payment, the value (need/want) must always exceed the costs. This is true in every transaction that every happens. For example, you pay for food because the value (or need/want) is greater than the cost (the amount of money or the feeling of being hungry). When you choose to purchase anything, it is because the value (or need/want it fills) is greater than the cost (the money or your desire to be without the need/want).
You have requested an increase of what you will cost me (your pay) by a total of 225%, but you have not increased your value to me by 225%, or even by anything for that matter. Requesting a raise by a specific dollar amount is how mundane people do it, and are almost always denied. Request a raise by a percent and then justify it with why you deserve the percentage increase. Let me clear this up for you… I have in my contact list over 25 different artists from all over the world who responded to my ad. These artists have a tremendous more amount of skill than you do and by this I mean they have each sent me links to their websites, various commissions, and examples of their skill which ranges from 5-15 different styles of drawing, depending on the artist. This means at the lowest level, you are competing on a world-wide market, and your competition can draw anything from stick-figures to still-life, and from Manga to 3D rendering, which includes actual animation sequences. Have you increased your skill level by 225% so that the increase in pay you demand is justified? Have you added 225% more to your repertoire of different drawing styles and techniques? Remember, you have only shown me variations of one style and openly admit not being able to draw some things, curly hair, buildings, horses, things in motion, etc. In order to request additional money, you must increase the value of your service. There are 3 criteria in which you should excel before you ever request a raise from any employer or justify an increase in cost to your customer…
This tirade continued for another 700 words. He was so offended at the thought of paying $25 for hours of work that he wrote an entire TEDx lecture.