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How to get the best out of freelancers?

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by FreelanceUK, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. FreelanceUK

    FreelanceUK Administrator

    Afternoon all :)

    If you could offer any tips to companies to enable them to get the best out of freelancers, what would they be?

    The main ones we guess would be:

    1) Be clear what you want before briefing the freelancer
    2) Leave the creative to the freelancer (e.g. refrain from saying "I want the logo bigger on that page, change that to red, use me in the photoshoot" etc)
    3) 20 last minute changes were not part of the original costs agreed
    4) Please pay me promptly

    Are there any other pointers, however small, that may help clients? Are there any further arguments to be had on the above points? Some clients will argue they should input with the creative work as they're the owners of their brands/companies/projects..where's the line in the sand?

    We ask because we'll be publishing an article to help clients dealing with freelancers - so now's your chance!

    Freelance UK
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2008
  2. hellosmithy

    hellosmithy New Member

    Pay on time.
  3. elastic

    elastic New Member

    1.Pay on time
    2.Don't confuse freelancers with employees
    3.Pay on time
  4. glebe digital

    glebe digital Member

    1) Sometimes the client doesn't know what they want.........a freelance is not just a 'production machine', they can offer solutions to problems you didn't even know you had.

    2) Is unworkable in practice, but in a utopian world for sure we'd all be happy to follow our personal muse with no outside interference on our vision! :)

    However, in reality the 'creative feedback' you get from the client is an integral & very healthy part of the design process.........that creative feedback may be wrong/misguided, but it may be bang on the money too.....it's down to the freelancer to persuade, negotiate & ensure the client gets the benefit of your experience...which they are of course paying for. It's only when feedback gets mixed up with money, that the typical problems occur, but the two are essentially different issues at heart.

    6) Agree clearly defined schedules. [helps all parties immensely]

    7) If it's on-site freelancing, let the freelancer know in advance what SW's going to be on their workstation!.........it can save clients a bucket not to have us guys twiddling our fingers [whilst I.T installs what's missing].
  5. Opus

    Opus Member

    1) Ensure that the fee/hourly rate and terms of payment are agreed before the work is undertaken (as much the responsibility of the freelancer as of the client, but saves confusion/embarrassment for all concerned if agreed in advance).

    2) If the client is supplying content (eg logos, text or images etc) it's in their interests to make sure that as much as possible is supplied at the start of the job. Obviously this is not always possible and will depend on the nature of the work. Failing that, at least having an idea of what is to be included (specific logos and images etc) and the approximate amount of text is helpful.

    3) Discussing if jobs need to be worked on in a particular software package. For example, a freelance graphic designer may be equally happy working in InDesign or Quark but the agency hiring them may favour one or the other and will often need to be able to edit the work in-house in future

    4) Be prepared to pay a reasonable fee and expect to get what you pay for! If you're inexperienced in commissioning freelancers have a think about what sort of fees comparable trades charge per hour, taking into consideration that many freelancers are graduates (or are at least skilled to an equivalent level). Have a think about how long you think a job is likely to take. If you're only prepared to spend £20 having your company logo designed you're either taking a gamble on an inexperienced designer or you're going to have a more experienced designer rushing out the first idea they have.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  6. GTFC

    GTFC New Member


    Ok, here goes. This is based on my experience of being a freelance marketer and a freelance copywriter.

    1. Pay on time!
    2. Expect to pay for meetings after the 'sales process' is complete. That includes all meeting time and travelling time. Basically any time where the freelancer could be doing fee-paying work if they were sat in the office.
    3. Give a clear brief where possible or, if defining requirements is part of the process, expect to have your vague ideas consolidated into a firm action plan (working in conjunction with the freelancer) before actual work takes place.
    4. Don't spend half an hour on the phone gathering your thoughts and asking for advice, then not expect to pay for that time.
    5. Help us with seeking approvals for pieces of work internally within your organisation, or with getting case studies approved by your customers. It saves things dragging on and means that we can get projects invoiced!
    6. Be willing to accept (and pay!) part or interim invoices if projects get extended or do not complete on time (and it's not the freelancer's fault).
    7. Expect to pay more than originally quoted if you change the brief.
    8. Agree to sensible terms of payment - 30 days max, ideally 14.

    Hope that helps.


    Last edited: Feb 7, 2008
  7. FreelanceUK

    FreelanceUK Administrator

    Thank you

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts here - all really sound advice.
  8. kondordv

    kondordv New Member

    Paying on time, and paying the money agreed before giving the service is it real a problem for the companies who works with freelancers? I have 3 months delay and still not yet payed, more than this the company tell me that they don't pay allowance for travel (even the travel took 1 week) and they insinuate that the money discussed before per day was like all included (without daily allowance).

    Tell me please is this treatment a common treatment used by most of companies, or it is a particular one? Because if it is like that, common treatment, I prefer to be employee with no stress, with much more assurance but a little bit less money but payed on time.

    I just thought that companies are much more serious than individual person, and also the companies maybe wants to keep their image high to have freelancers not to loose them. If most of companies uses to do like that, it is better to have a site with all their names and with ranking (stars) from freelancers, to see the trusted companies.

    thank you,
  9. GTFC

    GTFC New Member


    Really sorry to hear that.

    The key thing is to make sure you have a firm agreement about what you will be getting paid for (and when!) up front. The best bet is to have a simple set of Terms and Conditions that you send out to a new client before you start working with them. Mine clearly state that I charge for all travelling time and all time when I am away from my office, and all travelling expenses, but that overnight stays or whatever can be negotiated individually. I also specify my payment terms, and then if they want to negotiate on these (as some companies do) we discuss that beforehand also. It just means that there are no grey areas when you come to invoice.

    The key thing to remember is that you have a right to be paid, and on time, and if they are not willing to work to your terms and Condirtions it's better to know up-front and not do the work, than be left without payment for work you have done. It's a tough call when you are first setting up in business as it's easy to worry that you migh lose the client before the job even starts if you are too 'rigid' about these things, but trust me, these are not the types of clients you really want to have anyway!

    Hope that helps. Not sure there is much you can do about your current situation but it's a lesson for the future I guess if nothing else :(



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