looking for advice

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dee-jay
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:23AM

I hope it's kosher to ask for advice on freelance work processes here, but you guys are my community!


I was contacted this morning through sitemail by a designer who is interested in having me do some freelance work. At the risk of exposing myself as a complete newbie in this business I'm not really sure where to start.


I know that pricing is a personal thing and an ongoing issue. I was looking for advice on any online resources or books etc. or any personal advice you can pass on. I don't know where to begin with contracts, licensing etc.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
daveturton
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:28AM
hold on, some good advice will be along shortly
studio524
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:37AM
hi Dawn!

You might want to check out this book at your local bookstore:
Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines
It covers illustration, licensing and distribution, etc.

You'll have to adjust to your particular market but it is very useful.

My personal piece of advice:
Don't do anything without a deposit and don't take a deposit without a contract or at least a written agreement to terms that you have both find satisfactory.

(Edited on 2006-08-10 11:42:53 by studio524)
johnwoodcock
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:43AM
Pricing is always hard-you either go too high and put the client off, or too low and feel you've undersold yourself. If you're unsure about pricing ask the client what their budget is-they've usually priced it up themselves anyway. Here in the UK you don't usually get paid until the job is finished, I believe in USA it's usual to get some money up-front, possibly 50%. If you have to come up with a price give yourself a reasonable hourly rate and guesstimate how long it will take.
As I work mainly in UK publishing the norm is to be given a purchase order and a contract giving copyright to client. This is not usually the case if working for design consultants or ad agencies, where you would normally retain ownership of the artwork ( again this is UK practise-Publishers often re-use illustrations so need full ownership) I am usually provided with any info , reference etc, as well as page layouts.
dee-jay
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:05PM

Thanks for the pointers! I'm in Canada so I wonder if normal practice would follow US or UK or somewhere in between. Although, come to think, the client is in the US.


Thanks for the link to the book Haze, I'll check it out.
daveturton
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:37PM
IF you're in Canada you'll have to divide your price in half, then in half again. Be sure that also include the whole six-pack eh! hehe juss havin fun. Don't you folks use Looney's?
tonyagoodnow
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 2:58PM
I give clients a flat fee based on an hourly rate that I set for myself. The biggest mistake I've made using this method is forgetting just how much time can be spent on communications with the client--talking about project details, going over revisions, etc. So make sure to budget in for that when you estimate your time.

Deposits are something I don't consistently ask for. If it's a client I've worked with before, I don't ask for any money up front. For new clients I usually ask for 20% non-refundable down and the balance upon final approval of the artwork (before delivery of files).

If you really don't know where to begin, do some online searches of other graphic designers and see what they're are charging. You'll find that pricing is all over the place, but it can give you a sense of where your skill level fits into the market.
dee-jay
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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:13PM
Posted By daveturton:
IF you're in Canada you'll have to divide your price in half, then in half again. Be sure that also include the whole six-pack eh! hehe juss havin fun. Don't you folks use Looney's?


Yes, loonies, but I'd take payment in multiple six-packs as well. I'm flexible. And thirsty.
dee-jay
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Posted Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:19PM
Thanks everyone, for the advice. And Haze, I'm going to order that book you suggested.  I know this is a BIG topic.
majordesigns
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Posted Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:48AM

DJ, remember too that if you do work on this project, unless you specify otherwise in a contract the work you create is yours. You'd be wise to establish in writing somewhere how it can be used by your client, similar to how iStock does it. If they do expect to own the copyright to the work, kick the price up in the quote you give them and explain why...that you will not be able to make anything from those images afterwards if you give them the copyright so it's not gonna happen for free.


 If you don't know these people, 33-50% up front is a good idea. I don't always do it myself but I really should. Luckily I haven't gotten burned yet but it does happen.

Everyone has their own policies on freelance procedures, and that book is a good resource. There are different rules concerning copyright ownership in US and Canada so I would check it out. There's a whole chapter on that stuff. Good luck!
dee-jay
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Posted Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:57PM

Thanks for explaining that, Jason. And, yes, I'll check out the differences between US and Canada, too. It gets more complicated when the client is in the US and I'm in Canada.


I haven't heard back regarding the inquiry so it may be a no go anyway, but I've ordered the book so I can study in case I get another opportunity!
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