It can be hard to be a freelancer.
So here’s a story to help you when you know you should get paid more but you aren’t sure how to make it happen.
Once upon a time my husband and I wanted to take the disposal out of our kitchen sink. Ours wasn’t running well, disposals kind of freak me out, and having them can cause problems in the plumbing lines.
Some of you might think that’s crazy but it doesn’t matter. What matters is we got a quote from a plumber. They looked at the disposal and the pipes and told us how much it would cost to take it out.
I didn’t think taking out a disposal would be a big thing. How much can it really cost to remove something? We weren’t buying new equipment or anything.
Apparently, it can cost a lot. I don’t remember the exact amount but the quote was over $1000.
And here’s the important thing, the part to remember when you are giving quotes to clients. When the plumber told us the quote and we expressed our surprise. (Over a thousand to take out a disposal, seriously?) He said, “We charge $250 an hour for labor, so it can add up fast.”
That was it. It was how much it cost.
At this point, we had a few options. We could get another quote. Chances were pretty good that we could find a plumber to do it cheaper. But, these plumbers did fix the disposal we had. So we went with option two. Which was to leave the disposal where it was, and save our money.
Afterward, I kept thinking about the plumber and how he just told us the quote, and I thought, how can I be more like that in my business? How can I help my students be more like that?
Here’s the answer. When you are giving potential clients a quote, whether you charge a little or a lot, don’t apologize for your price. Just tell it to them. Tell them how much it costs and let them decide if they should take it or leave it. (You can do the same thing with deadlines, and illustration rights.)
Does it mean that some clients will go look for another illustrator, or that they might choose not to do the project altogether? Yes, it does. But, what are the consequences of getting paid too little for your work? What are the consequences if your client says yes?