Are you being paid insufficiently as a freelance designer in Malta? Are you making as much money as a cleaner (or less)? Well at least you’re getting paid! I’m writing this article mostly for my students to avoid working for free, after coming across designers and personal friends who have worked hard only to end up with nothing.
Most artists and designers have done work for free involuntarily one time or another, including myself, here are some tips to avoid this and general suggestions on getting suitably paid:
- Before agreeing on a design job and giving a quote- make sure you get as much details as possible. A detailed illustration takes much more time than a minimal one, just as an e-commerce website takes much more time than a website which is there solely to convey some information.
- Always take a deposit – at least 25%. Divide the rest accordingly (another 25% on confirmation of idea, 50% on delivery for instance) If the client drops the project half way, at least you have your deposit.
- Don’t be fooled by the big companies, just because they are well known, it doesn’t mean they’re going to pay up – and they can afford expensive lawyers so be careful!
- Make sure you know exactly what the purpose of your design is for. The project might only take you a short amount of time, but how is it going to be used? Is it for a big marketing campaign or is it for a small family business? Charge accordingly.
- Watch out for a client who is hesitant on giving you a deposit; it is probably going to be a pain to work with him/her throughout, do you really want to deal with someone who can’t even pay the first 25%?
- Consider invoices – especially if you want to be a full-time freelancer.
Some students will work for free to gain experience, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, however remember:
Working for free doesn’t just damage your pockets, but it also damages the local design industry. As long as clients keep finding students to do their work for free, professional designers will suffer. If you are a student now, think twice – sooner or later you will (hopefully) be a professional designer yourself.