Tidbit Tuesday: Is it Cool for Your Boss to Have You Work a Full Day for a Half Day’s Pay?
No? Than why would you bargain with the creative expert you are hiring to complete your project for you? You’re essentially asking for them to do the same thing. Some people may feel that photographers, retouchers, graphic designers, web developers, dancers, make up artists, art directors, inventors, etc and etc are not as worthy as those placed on the societal pedestal such as doctors and lawyers… they’re wrong. Creatives spend just as much time (and in most cases money) as doctors, lawyers, and other professionals spend to hone their crafts. If anything, bargaining with creatives is more insulting because their specialties are typically innate where these other professions are usually learned. You wouldn’t walk into a restaurant and try to barter your meal thus the same respect level should be held for artistic fields. Can you imagine walking into a hair salon and offering half the money now and the rest the next time you visit IF you visit again?? (A Must Watch parody!)
In the average commercial scenario where a creative is hired, the person needing the work is looking to market their product, be it themselves, a service, or goods. Why would you risk your product being presented in a mediocre manner just because you’re trying to shave a few bucks off the top? Your brand must be your number one priority. In most cases you get what you bargain for, as the old saying goes, and in turn you end up spending more money because you aren’t satisfied with the quality of work you received that does not in any sense reflect the message of your brand.
Consumer clients requesting work, such as a photographer for a birthday or a graphic designer for a wedding invitation, also have a responsibility to understand the quality of output they are requesting vs the compensation they are offering. I flip through craigslist every now and again for some great laughs as the people offering “gigs” have no clue what it entails to provide the services they require. A wedding photographer with 2 cameras, 4 lens, and a tripod (ie thousands of $$ of equipment) should never be asked to photograph a mid-afternoon summer outdoor wedding for 10 hours with finished photos that tell a beautiful story in an elaborate wedding album (which in itself is a few hundred dollars) all for the grandiose price of $500. $500 barely covers the insurance the photographer is paying to safeguard their equipment in case someone trips over the tripod or spills happy juice on their camera body.
With all of this said, please take the time to not only be mindful of your budget, but also of the human being (even if you’re contacting a company, I know we tend to forget that they are still operated by people…) who is on the other side of that email looking to provide you with a great service that you will want to brag about for years to come. When in doubt, watch this clip from a documentary on Harlan Ellison called Pay the Writer!