Imagine, for a moment, that you are hiring someone to redesign your kitchen. This redesign will improve the layout and flow of your space, make it more attractive to visitors and give you a sense of pride when you show it off.
You wouldn’t invite a contractor to give you an estimate and then expect him to do the work for $5 an hour. You wouldn’t shy away from a contractor who provides you with at written summary of work prior to the project starting and expects you to sign a contract.
Of course not. Those are unrealistic expectations. Why would you avoid a contractor who is professional and thorough enough to itemize all work and protect you legally?
That’s exactly the type of behavior I experience regularly from people who approach me for writing and editing services. I have been asked to write for under $10 an hour. I have been asked to edit novels for under $100. I have even been asked to write a several hundred page eBook for $40.
All those potential clients received a polite decline. Like with any contractor, I have expenses and overhead. I cannot give my time and talents away for a figure that isn’t even high enough to pay for filling up my car’s gas tank.
I understand. People want to penny pinch and save as much money as possible. As the saying goes: You get what you pay for. I simply wish people would be upfront and let me know they are seeking other quotes.
What mystifies me are the potential clients who shy away when I provide them with a project overview statement, detailing all the projects’ details, deadlines and prices.
What mystifies me even more are the potential clients who I never hear from again when I tell them I need my contract signed and returned before work begins. The contract is less than 1,000 words, written in simple terms and outlines both mine and the client’s responsibilities. A down payment also is due with the contract.
As a feminist and a solo entrepreneur, I cannot help but think that these potential clients might think that I am so hard up for work that they can take advantage of me. By offering a project overview statement and by requesting both a contract and down payment, they quickly see that will not be the case.
When I was first starting out, losing potential clients was a blow to the ego. Now I have learned it is par for the course and to be expected.
Have you ever dealt with a similar situation? How did you resolve it?