Response:On Getting Paid – The Dark Art of Pricing – By Jessica Hische
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Within this article I will be reviewing and discussing Hische’s article on the importance on being an artist (specifically a illustrator) and getting paid for your work. The specifics that this article discuses are topics such as rate of pay and pricing, Licensing and Rights Management, and Internships. The bottom line of all the scenarios that Hische’s uses is if you are demonstrating your talents and working, you should be paid, period. As a student the thought of charging someone for my work can be quite intimidating, especially when you are first starting out doing freelance work. After reading this article I found that there were a few points that I found to be most helpful in regards to pricing and getting paid that everyone can apply to their work knowledge.
The first point that Hische addresses is how to price your work and dispels the myth that pricing hourly is the best method for freelance work. Hische proves that pricing hourly puts you at a huge disadvantage for many reasons. The only way pricing hourly can be beneficial is if it is a long term project and it is communicated clearly how many hours are going to be devoted otherwise having fixed prices are the route to go. To best explain this Hische uses the following scenario: Two designers are hired to produce a poster that both have an hourly rate of $100 per hour. One designer happens to work faster than the other and at the end of the job the designers turn in their invoices – one worked for a total of 18 hours and the other worked for 7 hours. The employer is expected to either pay a fee of $1800 or $700 for the same result. Rationally the employer is going to choose the designer that took less time to finish the poster causing the designer that took more time to lose a client. Even if pricing hourly seems easier than a flat rate, you will surely lose out in the end .
The next point that Hische discussed that I found to be very insightful was how to know if you priced your work appropriately. To best explain this concept Hische uses the following scenario: There are three types of responses you can receive from a client when you submit an invoice estimating your cost, a.) “These numbers look great! We’ll send along a contract for you”, b.) “These numbers seem a little high, can we negotiate a price”, or c.) “This cost is well out of our budget”. If the answer is ‘a’ it means your prices were too low, if your answer was ‘b’ it means your prices were just right, and if it was ‘c’ it means your prices were too high.
The last point that I found to be the most beneficial from Hische was her opinion on internships. It is a common notion that internships are a great way to gain experience so you can apply for a paying job, but to Hische this is a wrong way to think. Even if you are only doing duties such as shredding papers, organizing, and getting coffee, you are still doing stuff that contributes to the business meaning you should be getting paid. The truth is if you are working enough hours that it becomes difficult to balance your second pay job and your bills, you should be getting paid for your internship.
Hische goes on to discuses about how to get freelance work as a designer, illustrator etc. but what I found to be the perfect ending to her article was her flow chat that was included called, “Should I work for free?”. This flow chart asks you several yes or no questions that will lead you to the answer of whether you should be working for free. Once you take a glance at the chart it is easy to see that about eighty percent of the flow chart has the answer, “No”. The chart starts out with four main categories that you could possible in, “is it for a legitimate business?, is it for a charity or non-profit?, is it for your mom?, and is it for a friend?. Based off of this chart the only times you should work for free are: If you are working for a charity or non-profit organization that you believe in and they will given you creative freedom, if it’s for your mom (no questions asked), and if it is for a friend that you are in debt too. The base rule of this chart is if it involves a ‘legitimate business’ or ‘bands’ they will have the means to pay you in some form for your work. Even with the charity category only say yes to free work if you are going to enjoy the work and believe in the cause, otherwise you should be paid in some form.
Hische’s makes it very clear in this article that artist, designers, illustrates etc. should not be taken advantage of and their work is worthy of being paid for. She states that you must stand up for your worth, especially if you only work for freelance because this is your bread-and-butter so to speak. Artist have to pay their bills like everyone else and should be paid for their work accordingly.