[thelist] Re: Freelance Web Designer

Paola Kathuria paola at limitless.co.uk
Wed Apr 4 11:24:13 CDT 2001

Thomas Granger wrote:
> > Here is a link to an article I wrote about How
> > freelancers need to learn that their "time is money".
> >
> > http://www.florentinedesign.com/articles/march_bus_01.htm

Rebekah Murphy wrote:
> While I agree on the importance of a good proposal,
> I hesitate in creating any of the folowing before money
> has changed hands:
> "Site Specifications and layout"
> "Storyboards, diagrams, or examples"
> All these things take quite a bit of time, and doing
> them before the client has agreed to hire you is not a
> good idea (in my opinion).

(In mine too.)

I just uploaded an article I wrote in 1998 about the kinds of
things to include in briefs and proposals.  Although it mentions
site structures and designs sketches, both of those would be based
only on information gathered before and during the initial sales
presentation (and only if that kind of info came up or the
graphic designer was sufficiently inspired).  The article's at:
(without a surrounding web site).

I made up a dummy proposal to go with the talk; I'm willing
to mail it out to people upon request (although I'll want to
update it first).

I've also put a requirements document online - since it
represents at least 5 man days work, I'd certainly not include
it in a proposal.

I've been following this thread with interest.  I agree that
one should reduce the equivalent in deliverables if the budget
is cut (the price is otherwise meaningless).  However, I also
consider trading promotion by the client (if they're well known),
like a bigger credit on the site, a credit on every page of the
site and/or a mention in their press releases about the site launch.

With regard to giving discounts or working for nothing, my friend
(a lawyer), advised me to always let the client know the full
value of the thing you're offering at a discount or a trade (before
you do the work).  You then pre-empt any problems later of using
your normal rate for new projects.

I also eventually figured out never to let the one of the first
things in a working relationship be a favour (that is, you cut
your price, accommodate delays in payment, you do more changes
than previously agreed, you do more work than previously agreed).
It just puts you in a weak position and makes it all the harder
to stand your ground later on, when it'll matter more as you'll
want to get paid.

I have been working on a charity site over the last year, but I
have learnt from some of my mistakes on other free sites I've done.
As someone else mentioned, I keep timesheets and tell them regularly
how much I would have charged them.  I made a conscious decision
to do the work to the same quality as a paying client.  Both these
things (aside from the satisfaction of doing a good job) means
that if they talk about me to people who are potential clients,
they can talk sensibly about me as they'll know a) what I can do,
b) whether I'm any good and c) and idea about what I'd charge.

Finally, on turning down potential work.  After going to a few
business seminars, I ended up at one about qualifying clients.  I
jotted down a list of what a project had to contain for me to want
to do it.

Keeping the list in mind helps deal with prospects.  If you take
on work that doesn't fit all the criteria, you won't have time to
work on a project with a better fit to your goals.  And, since
one's portfolio attracts the same kind of work, if you do work
*only* for the money, you'll find yourself "typecast" into a certain
kind of site (or with an empty portfolio, if you choose not to
include it), making it harder to get the kind of work that will
fulfill your other goals.


p.s. Just read Janet Green's suggestions.  Brilliant.

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