Why would you work for free?
Years ago in the design industry, free pitching was normal and expected. Hours were spent producing mock ups of products or presentation boards to win new accounts. In larger companies it is still often common practice.
This is really a light hearted look at why you would consider to work for free, or for peanuts!
Is anything that is obtained without any cost really valued!?
Work for free if you are very rich and just want to play or get very bored. If that is your choice, then great! Congratulations and you are applauded! Those reasons are understandable. However bills and staff have to be paid, so why give away valuable time and experience for nothing?
Time and experience must be considered a product that you have and are prepared to use to help and inform. So why should it not be considered valuable enough to sell rather than give away?
Is it actually appreciated when its free?
Don’t you only ever get what you pay for at the end of the day?
Getting something for free often doesn’t live up to expectations. It’s either ‘end of range’ and outdated or such poor quality you cant use it but how can you complain as its ‘Free’! The delivery and packaging may have cost you the earth but it was Free!
The other side to this is the ‘Lost Leader’. A product or service is offered for a knock down price or for free to capture data or in the hope that once tried and tested the customer will come back for more. I believe this works. Many experts give their knowledge for free as a taster or designers online will offer templates or backgrounds for free. This, I love and appreciate and the cost to them will hopefully be recompensed by the new clients who want more. Done by choice not expectation.
Competitions are an interesting idea, …if you are lucky enough to win, your logo will be used by our company!
If it is only your time, how can you refuse?
A few months ago I was approached to create a logo and branding for a prospective client but after a long conversation about what they wanted and their plans for the future I received an email addressed to another designer explaining that the designer who produced the best ‘Red Hot” design would win the contract. I wrote back thanking them but declining the offer. I also contacted the other designer and asked them if they did this sort of thing? The reply was a categorical ‘NO’ and was as surprised as I had been, to have received such a request. I believe the logo that was eventually chosen was done by the man’s girlfriends sister’s son!
Is it really free or is there a hidden cost?
You know those offers ‘Free Download’ or ‘Free Holiday’ and then you have to pay for a month in advance but can claim it back or pay for the flights.
We had a Timeshare…. once you have a timeshare you are as sitting duck for all the other timeshare holiday companies who think you want another. I was offered so many ‘Free weeks’ for only the cost of each persons flight – oh yes and the admin fee! We had been told by one friendly rep that the cost of the apartments were approx £75 for the week, the admin fee easily covered that and then the flights were our responsibility.
Something usually has to be paid in return – payment in kind?
This actually works as long as both parties are happy with what they are giving and getting. In fact many good relationships are based on reciprocal work. The danger is when the deal is one sided or there are different expectations and lack of communication.
There are many different circumstances but do what you are happy with and don’t be forced into anything.
Under what circumstances do you work for free?