Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Should You Ask for a Flat Rate and a Down Payment?

In my last article, I have mentioned one of the standard procedures in the field of freelancing, which is asking your client for a flat rate and a down payment.

If you're reading this and you're thinking about hiring, or outsourcing jobs to a freelance professional, you must understand that the reason you would need to pay such fees is mostly to ensure coverage for the initial amount of effort coming from the part of the freelance worker.

If you're the one who's freelancing, take it from someone like me who's had almost ten years of experience working professionally. 

Over time, I've grown more and more aware that there will always be plenty of unscrupulous individuals who will pose as clients, discuss the possibility of hiring me for a project, and then, when everything has been agreed upon and  the task is half-finished, the so-called "client" would attempt to bail out on me without giving a valid reason.

That sort of incidence happened only once, and I dealt with it by creating a new (and stricter) set of guidelines before accepting projects in the future. 

Now, I don't know if I had just been very, very lucky, because I've heard about some freelance professionals who do graphic design and photography for weddings, and whose works had been "stolen," meaning their client used whatever they have done and submitted for their own agenda (e.g. took a photo from their websites and had the image enlarged and transferred to a tarpaulin for a bridal event), even if the client had not paid them the total amount that they charged before proceeding with the project.

And since these "crooks" would not hesitate to change phone numbers and evade notices sent through email, it would be very hard for freelancers to track them down.

This could cause unwanted stress to the professional worker, and may even mean a slight reduction in his cash flow.

So, in some ways, the initial amounts paid could also cover for the moral damages incurred by the unscrupulous client.

Now, if you'd been thinking of hiring a freelance worker, you may argue that you have an impeccable reputation and you wouldn't think of cutting corners just to save a few bucks, so you consider the possibility of getting the freelance worker to start the job, and offer to pay only after the finished project has been dispatched to you.

Let me just warn you, no self-respecting freelance professional would compromise just to land a job. Experienced freelancers know that anything could come up within the time frame you've allotted for the job to be completed, and should you decide to cancel and you gave a flat rate and down payment, you wouldn't be held accountable for not coughing up a fee for their efforts.

Now, if you're the freelance worker, you may be thinking, how much money would be a reasonable amount to charge as my flat rate, and how much more should I ask for a down payment?

Since freelancer's fees vary according to industry, there is no one answer that would settle this question. So stay tuned, because I'll talk about this further in my next article installments.

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