Monday, September 16, 2013

What Are Your Negotiables and Non-Negotiables as a Freelancer?

One of the issues that often come up among professionals who'd like to turn freelancing into a long-term career is, how do I negotiate with my clients to avoid selling myself and my skills short? 

Aiming to create a win-win situation all the time can be very tricky. You want to build a steady cash flow as soon as possible, so you're tempted to just take on any project that comes your way.

But what if I tell you that you only need to master a few principles of negotiating for your freelance business to experience a steady growth?

First, when having a copy of your Contract encoded in Microsoft Word, make sure to include this portion:


Any amount given by the client as a flat fee and down payment are non-refundable.

This ensures you of a stash of cash even before you proceed to work on the project. 

Second, inform your client that should he end up dissatisfied with your work and asks for further revisions, you will only agree to do so if you were notified within a certain time period, say 48 to 72 hours. By asking them to contact you immediately, you're sending off signals that you also value their time.

Using my own experience as an example, part of my job involves writing and proofreading resumes and ghostwriting speeches, and projects of this nature require a lot of revisions, although it usually takes me only several days to a week to get them finished. I tell my clients that within that one-week period, they should allow me to notify them a few times as a way of making a follow-up, and also, to get the reassurance that I'm on the right track. 

I have determined that I will allow a maximum of two revisions within the given time frame for the project. If I will be asked to make further revisions and the request is reasonable, that's when I charge an additional fee. 

A word of advice here. If you think charging your client an additional fee is just a step beneath extortion, remember that your time as a professional is valuable, and you shouldn't hesitate asking for remuneration in exchange for your effort and hard work.

Third, set your own conditions and use that as a basis on whether you'll accept or turn down an offer. For example, if a client has tasked you to write a feasibility study and asks you to submit it no later than Wednesday, ask if you can have the deadline extended for just a couple more days, say, until Friday, to allow you more leeway before declining altogether.

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