A few months back, I did some work for a company, a coupla illos, nothing huge. They professed gratitude, paid me promptly and at a reasonable rate, said they’d want to work with me in the future, and all was well. Recently dropped them a line, said “Hey, you guys need anymore art yet?” and so forth. They got back to me, they’ve got a bunch of stuff coming out, and requested a whole slew of work, which ordinarily would be fine by me.

Thing is, they wanna pay me a very…very…small amount. Like, not even half what they’d stated was their usual payment for art, and so little that I could auction off commissions on Furbid and get twice the money for half the time. It’s a much, much lower payscale than what we originally discussed, much lower than what they paid me last time, and I seem to be dealing with an entirely different person than the art directors I was originally dealing with.

Such is the joy of freelancing. I stared at the ceiling a bit (I should put art on the ceiling, for the amount of time I spend staring at it), and then wrote back asking if they could see their way clear to paying me a bit more. (I half suspect it’s a typo or something.) Never having had this scenario come up before, I’m not sure quite how to proceed–I really don’t want to take the project for that pittance, because once people learn you’ll work for dirt, you work for dirt for the rest of your life for them–but at the same time, I don’t want to alienate a client. I suppose all I can do is say “Well, when I first contacted Company, I was told you generally pay $X per page, and under that scale, this would be at bare minimum $4X, and you’re offering me $2X total, and much as I enjoyed working with you in the past, I’m afraid that’s just not enough money for the work involved. If at some point in the future, your budget increases, please contact me again.” Which I’m fairly sure will mean that I’d never work for them again, but what can you do? If you’re gonna starve either way, might as well starve with free time.

Of course, I may luck out, and it’s just a typo, or this person may be new and once I explain the payscale stated by their predecessor, we can work something out, but it was an unpleasant surprise all around.

Ah, well. Still beats flippin’ burgers.

Leave a Reply