Have you ever been in a place where you make or do something for someone and because you are their friend you charge them less money – thinking that it’s a favor to them. Perhaps you’ve agreed to make a birthday cake for their child and you know they have a tight budget, and they know you have really awesome skills in bakery and in the kitchen.
You agree, and it takes 5 hours – from grabbing the ingredients, prepping, baking and beautifying this cake for their child. in the end they pay you $30.00. Is this really worth your time? Really let’s think about this and lets break down more of what this friend is asking you. They know you are worth far more than $30.00 and the way you’ve made this cake – its worth at least $100.00. Would it be better to have given them this cake for free and they tell everyone you made it and how much it would cost? I think the latter is true.
We as artists and designers need to know our self-worth. 30 divided by 5 equals 6. This means that your friend is paying you 6 dollars an hour. Oh wait! Did we calculate travel, the ingredients or just your time alone? when did it become ok to get paid for a huge favor less than what is worth. Ok $30 is low-balling right? Lets say they pay you $50.00. Is it even fair to you, obtain for the costs to get the ingredients?
Perhaps the friend instead purchases all the ingredients, now they are asking for your time and your skills. It’s now three hours of your time – is it worth it?
I think an important question to ask is how bad do need the money? Why am I doing this?, And what value I am bringing for my client. I once was designing a flyer for someone and was charging $50. Little did I know – due to my lack of research and experience that 100 wouldn’t even cover the cost of printing out the flyers they needed. After designing the flyer, they went on to tell me how it is done. In the back of my head all I could think of is if you know how you want this to look, why am I designing this for you?
I chose to let the client go. But they still paid me 50% as that was non refundable. I wanted to give that money back and say no thank you. But they were doing right by paying for what time I had already dedicated to working on their project.
I think its good to have these experiences because it teaches you how to do thinks more professionally. I now know that my fliers would start at a higher rate.
At times I think people think its ok not to pay designers what they want because they can’t see the value of art work or the details that go into making such great design work. So much of this is subjective to ones opinion. Design can always be improved and made better. I also realize that people will pay for what they want and what they think is good.
Think about all the famous artists that have passed away, and what their work is now worth. some millions. Though many have passed before their time their work speaks for itself. It shows that they had what it takes to develop style, characteristic and growth in a medium of their choice. Lets not forget that these famous artists were often times commissioned to do great work. if people in the times of history can respect the time and understand the monetary needs of an artist, why then in the 21st century would people rather find the “cheapest, most affordable” person to do their design and or art work?
The Point of it All
Lets show respect to great artists and pay them as so. So whats the point of all this? I write all this to say remember to charge what your worth. Remember to show your clients the value that you are providing them. Good work doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years to build. Lets start knowing what we are worth and start charging what we are worth. Remember to find the right client by talking to them and getting to know what their needs are. Just like your client, you matter prove them this much is true.