I’m a freelance graphic designer who, due to the nature of my regular clients, is usually really busy in spring/summer but things slow down for fall/winter. Because of this, I am generally more open to negotiations during that time.
I saw an ad for a production designer that was riddled with spelling & grammar errors. No name for the company or contact person was given. Their office was also not in the same city that I’m based in. Despite this, I needed the work so I send them an email expressing interest and shared a link to my portfolio. I got an email and all it said was “Call [phone number]. ” Still no name.
Me: I sent you an email about the production designer ad you wrote.
Me: Awesome. Can I ask who I’m speaking with?
Client: The OWNER!
Me: Yes, but I’m just wondering how I should address you.
Client: Um, by my NAME…
At this point she realizes she hadn’t given me her name and changes her tune mid-sentence.
Not her real name – changed for privacy reasons.
She explained the type of work she needed, which was layout ads for a magazine, and I told her that I’m very familiar with that and I do it all the time for my clients here. Then she asks my rates and how I want to be paid.
Me: I usually charge $XX/hr, but because this is a slower period for me and we’re not in the same city I can lower it to $YY/hr
Me: So since this is a new partnership I won’t ask for anything up front. I’ll show you my work as I go and once you’re happy I’ll give you a print-ready version when you pay.
Client: Wait, so you’re holding the ads HOSTAGE!?!?
Me: Well, no. I’d be asking for payment for the services I provided.
Client: But we don’t get paid by our clients until the ads run. That won’t work us, and frankly what your asking for is a sh*tty thing to do!
Me: I’m sorry you feel that way, and I’m open to other ideas. But I do want assurances that I get paid for my work.
Client: I can promise you I will pay you. But even if there is a chance of that not happening, that’s the cost of doing business. Clients stand us up all the time and we still don’t hold anything hostage!
Me: Ok, if that’s your business philosophy then I doubt would be a good partnership. Thanks for your time.
I still don’t understand how someone can run a business under the idea that it’s OK to not be paid.