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A message to anyone who uses freelancers

28 February 2013, 07:22
Today, I was told that freelancers should charge less because 'you're not a business'. While any other freelancers out there will understand why I didn't feel the need to dignify this with a response, it did get me thinking about a few things that these kinds of clients would do well to consider:

1. Freelancers do not 'build' the cost of office coffee, parking spaces and printer cartridges into the cost of your project. That means we can't hide poor work behind Nespressos and swivelly boardroom chairs. 
2. Freelancers do not arrive at work late, take 9 smoke breaks before noon, enjoy an extended lunch break, and then leave early because of that one day last month when they worked an extra hour. 
3. Freelancers do not take fake sick days/personal days/Skrillex days that cost you money because your project has been delayed. 
4. When freelancers get into bed at night, they get into bed with YOUR project. When they wake up, they wake up with YOUR project. And when they eat, or see their friends, or go to a movie, they're thinking about YOUR project. In fact, it's easier to work on your project than attempt to do anything else that'll just be plagued by thoughts of your project. 
5. Freelancers cannot shift accountability to project managers, team leaders or copy editors when a project is late, lacking in quality or just plain shit.
6. Freelancers cannot produce crap. If they do, they can't eat. Which is crap.
7. Freelancers are good at what they do. Often, they're the best. That's how they've managed to become freelancers and still pay the bills. In a 'business' environment, the crappy workers are hidden by the project managers, the Nespresso machines and the photo-quality paper that your invoice has been printed on. And they've probably been assigned to your project.
8. Freelancers aren't just going to 'get their salaries' regardless of how they've performed during the month. If they spend their days monkeying around, they get peanuts.
9. Freelancers don't take sick days; they seldom take leave (without their laptops) and they don't turn in projects late. This is because they usually have really tough bosses who don't let them rest until their work is done.

Of course, there are plenty of businesses that offer good service without ripping their clients off. But when it comes to freelancers, it's hard to find one who's going to miss deadlines, produce rubbish or cheat you in any way, because our entire livelihoods ride on our ability to do a damn good job. 

So think about all this the next time you want to 'knock down' our prices, or ask us if that's 'the best you can do'. Have a little respect - being FREElancers doesn't mean we work for free.
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