Tips for doing freelance work...

polycounter lvl 8
Offline / Send Message
The Devo polycounter lvl 8
I'm starting to look into doing some odds and ends freelance work, and I'm wondering a few things.

How are contracts dealt with? Is there someplace to find a decent stock art contract, or do I need to use a lawyer?

How is payment usually handled? I don't have a company name or anything, and I'm guessing in some cases my clients may not have a company name either. Suggestions?

Should I take jobs where it's clear that the client is very ignorant of what they're asking? I plan to lay out a specific pipeline for dealing with people, but in the case of someone who really isn't sure what they want, will it even be worth the trouble to coach them?

Any input would be helpful. Thanks.
Chris

Replies

  • Kwramm
    Offline / Send Message
    Kwramm interpolator
    The Devo wrote: »
    will it even be worth the trouble to coach them?

    Many people have a "the customer is king/right" attitude. Forget about those guys. It's often not worth it. Especially if things turn out more difficult for you (because they want lots of changed) they will just feel reinforced in their thinking that listening to you was a bad idea.

    Sometimes you find clients who really appreciate your input and with whom you can actually work TOGETHER! Keep those, drop the rest, unless they know what they want and can describe it in reasonable terms. Build yourself a client base with people you're comfortable to work for and stick to those whenever possible.

    Having good people skills, lots of patience and the ability to explain and break down artistic/technical issue in plain English helps.

    And do EVERYTHING in writing. Verbal "handshake" deals can become your worst enemy. Archive all correspondence. I used to encounter some bad apples when I did freelance who'd drag out payment forever. Good I had all correspondence archived. Got my money in the end.

    Have some terms of service set up and put on the contract - e.g. when payment is due (usually within 30 days - reliable clients can get up to 60). Agree how and when the money should be received.
  • Racer445
    Offline / Send Message
    Racer445 polycounter lvl 10
    1. if you're doing work for a company they will usually provide you with a contract. just have a read over it to make sure it looks right. i've freelanced fulltime for two years now and the client has supplied one every time.

    2. once the work is done, ask what method they use to pay and invoice them.

    3. in my opinion, if they're not 100% sure what they want right off the bat, don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions to find out EXACTLY what they need before you sign anything. generally a client should give you a concept and some rough specs before you agree to work with them. if they're clearly idiots before you accept the work just turn em away.
  • kaptainkernals
    Offline / Send Message
    kaptainkernals polycounter lvl 9
    What racer and Kwramm say are 100% right.

    Also having done alot of freelance (not game related but graphic design related, still creative field and design) I can say the following.

    If you're required to write up a contract, my contract and quote are one and the same, so it works like this:

    Client approaches me to do work. I then ask all the required questions, what is the job, what are the technical requirements, by when, ask as many questions as possible. Get all of the details, if you're not sure of something, ask. Clarity is always a good thing.

    I then draw up a quote, this contains a break down of how my time is spent, what the various elements that are costed for etc.

    It has a total, and the quote requests 40% down payment before you start working. In the quote are my T&C's. So it state's upon recieval of the down payment, the client has agreed to the quote, and all of the T&C's. Some of the T&C's:

    1. A 40% deposit is required on acceptance of the quote. The deposit also indicates client-agreement with the terms and conditions specified here.
    2. The job will only be commence once the deposit has been paid
    3. The final invoice must be paid within 14 days after job completion. (You could also state upon settlement of outstanding amount final files will be delivered)
    4. Quote includes 2 rounds of changes per listed item. Thereafter a charge of R350/h is made applicable.
    5. YOUR NAME will not take responsibility for any errors observed in the design/illustration or printing thereof after the final design or illustration has been approved by the client. (meaning, once it's approved, it's approved)
    6. All work is non-refundable. Should the client wish to cancel a project, the work done to date of termination will be invoiced.
    7. All amounts are in South African Rands.

    ^ these are the T&C's that i use, and you'd have to tweak them to your needs and region. But you get the jist. A contract should protect both you, and your client.
  • JO420
    Offline / Send Message
    JO420 polycounter lvl 14
    Do you guys work often enough to make a consistent income? Im considering Freelance myself and ive been wondering how much time are you actually working?
  • walreu
    Some gigs may give nice consistent income ,like i worked several months for a Tampere University of Technology.
    And some works give enough money so you can have some time to find new ones.. It always varies a lot.
  • Xoliul
    Offline / Send Message
    Xoliul polycounter lvl 10
    If you work for something like Liquid you could make a living off of that I think. Just because they're consistent with offering you stuff.
  • MagicSugar
    Offline / Send Message
    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    JO420 wrote: »
    Do you guys work often enough to make a consistent income? Im considering Freelance myself and ive been wondering how much time are you actually working?

    Depends on number of clients you have. The volume of work they give you and how much time and energy you actually have to carry out the work cuz there would be days where work overlaps...then you're screwed :(

    Meaning, you either fight sleep or sacrfice block of hours for one job so you can finish another. Why you may want multiple clients? Cuz there'd also be days or weeks where one has no job for you (if you have a regular client, for example).

    But starting out, I recommend getting one client/project at a time. Or combining it with a regular part-time job. Maybe shift-work so you can allocate a block of your day to your freelance but have the comfort of knowing you'll be able to pay rent if there's not enough work.

    Currently juggling 3 gigs with different project durations and end dates. It's NOT easy.
  • The Devo
    Offline / Send Message
    The Devo polycounter lvl 8
    Great info guys! Thank you for taking the time. I'm trying to educate myself as much as possible so I don't get into trouble, upset clients, overwork and underpay myself, or get financially screwed. You've been extremely helpful.

    Chris
  • amile duan
    Remote contracts is always a concerned problem for many free-lancers,I think you can contact them through fax.A lawyer is not necessary,but you can still have one.
    Payments should be easy handled,just remit into your personal account.
  • yodude87
    Offline / Send Message
    yodude87 polycounter lvl 5
    youre welcome botsy ^^
  • Bruno Afonseca
    Offline / Send Message
    Bruno Afonseca Polycount Sponsor
    MagicSugar wrote: »
    Depends on number of clients you have. The volume of work they give you and how much time and energy you actually have to carry out the work cuz there would be days where work overlaps...then you're screwed :(

    Meaning, you either fight sleep or sacrfice block of hours for one job so you can finish another. Why you may want multiple clients? Cuz there'd also be days or weeks where one has no job for you (if you have a regular client, for example).

    But starting out, I recommend getting one client/project at a time. Or combining it with a regular part-time job. Maybe shift-work so you can allocate a block of your day to your freelance but have the comfort of knowing you'll be able to pay rent if there's not enough work.

    Currently juggling 3 gigs with different project durations and end dates. It's NOT easy.

    I'm currently doing 2 freelance projects plus a fulltime studio job. The studio guys are cool and let me use lunch time for doing my freelance. One of the projects has more loose deadlines and the other one is more strict, so I work around that, sometimes sacrificing social/sleep time, but not that often. Working on multiple projects with tight schedules might be hard!
  • b1ll
    Offline / Send Message
    b1ll polycounter lvl 13
    its possible to make a good living as a freelancer, Out of my 12 year in the industry, i have spent the last 8 as a full time freelancer, not from working with outsourcing company ( except to help out friends ) but as a Solo Freeancer ( well i do hire other people often tho).

    Its possible if you are dedicated. Anyway I dont want to spoil my article already, so just read Ryan Book, not that u guys would miss it anyway ^^
  • Eric Chadwick
  • Muzzoid
    Offline / Send Message
    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 9
    Just a little tid bit that is actually incredibly useful when im doing freelance stuff. If making logos or tons of assets or concepts, never present it to the client all crammed to gether on a single page it makes it seem like a fraction of the work that you actually did.

    Split them out into seperate images.
  • The Devo
    Offline / Send Message
    The Devo polycounter lvl 8
    Another question!

    I've done plenty of research on what to charge, but how do you guys handle the actual payments? PayPal? Check? Other?

    This really has been a huge help. Thank you again.
    Chris
  • Entity
    Offline / Send Message
    Entity polycounter lvl 14
    I've always used Paypal, but that's because I live halfway across the world and wire transfer through banks become such a hassle
  • MagicSugar
    Offline / Send Message
    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    Paypal for me too. One client is direct deposit.

    Thing with paypal to keep in mind when you use it and when you set your fees is their service charge. Both incoming and outgoing (if you decide to do a bank transfer) you'll lose money.

    It's not too bad if you get paid couple a hundred but if it's like in the 5K range and up and you're all happy with your score until you look at the details...then you go "what the f*** just happened???"
  • cptSwing
    Offline / Send Message
    cptSwing polycounter lvl 8
    very informative thread guys, thanks!
  • Steppenwolf
    Offline / Send Message
    Steppenwolf polycounter lvl 11
    Paypal is shit. They charge way too much. I always get my money wired.

    How freelancing works for me: I have a small buisness registered in my home town through which is my tax dealt with and makes my work legit (might not be necessary for you. i live in Germany). My contracts so far always have been Independent Contractor Agreements. I get paid a fixed rate each month (only worked for two comapanies so far, each for over a year). I'm not charging for single assets instead i just do my regular work hours like an employee would do. I write an invoice each month and that's it.

    You don't get employee benefits as a freelancer so take care that you are properly insuranced! (health, invalidity, unemployment). Know how to deal with this in your specific country.

    Not sure i would want to do freelance in the sense of doing a little here for company A then a little there for company B. I like having steady income and some job security. Of course this only works when you know the right people to work for and there is mutual trust over work and payment.

    And make sure you save some money for the case that you are suddenly without work! There is no 3 month notice or stuff like that. As a freelancer you always have to be prepared to be without income from one moment to the next.
  • JO420
    Offline / Send Message
    JO420 polycounter lvl 14
    What about looking for clients,do you guys just write to various companies and wait for a bite or....?
  • Steppenwolf
    Offline / Send Message
    Steppenwolf polycounter lvl 11
    I got all my jobs through social networking (LinkedIn, forums, staying in contact with ex-coworkers and possible future clients etc.)
  • MagicSugar
    Offline / Send Message
    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    JO420 wrote: »
    What about looking for clients,do you guys just write to various companies and wait for a bite or....?

    Google hustle. I do a search every 5-10 minutes I'm not working or playing. Applying lots and not waiting for replies before further searching.

    I don't/won't do the freelance sites cuz I'll never win in that game. As an exclusively remote artist I'd rather pick and choose who to work for and what type of a gig: model with provided refs = yes; animation = no - cuz from my studio experience it's high-maintenance art directionwise involving possibly lots of fixes (to the point you don't have time for other work) or you'll have to really charge high.

    Good luck!
  • walreu
    My client is being a huge bitch. He approved my works earlier and now he want's changes.
    Can i just say im not going to change them because they were already approved?
  • Muzzoid
    Offline / Send Message
    Muzzoid polycounter lvl 9
    Did you have it in writing first?

    How major are the changes?
  • walreu
    Muzz wrote: »
    Did you have it in writing first?

    How major are the changes?

    Agreements of work? No, not in a way it should've done i guess and i regret it.
    But he has replied to email to my works that he agrees them / are fine by him.
    Just to clarify, i do exterior house visualization.

    Well here's some of those:

    - He specified colors earlier (grey-green, light-gray etc) and for different models ("just same kind of tone"). And now although he saw many of the ready pictures way earlier, he wants colours with specific color-codes. -> i need to do textures again.

    - Although he had the first pictures like more than month ago and told they were ok, now he says that the wall panels/boards need to be in exact measure. --> textures again..

    - He accepted the yards i did for the pictures, he replied to email that those are ok and lets go with those etc, and now he wants to change order of the bushes, different color to pavement etc..

    - He want's perspective flipped horizontally.. again a thing that could've be arranged if he would've just said about it earlier.

    Im not listing all the things. There we much more of them, like different parts of the building should be that and that colour. He didn't told those specifications earlier and although he saw pictures that i did weeks and weeks ago, he only asked changes now, today.

    Now that it looks this project will take much more time that originally planned, can i ask for extra compensation although we agreed on fixed compensation?
  • MagicSugar
    Offline / Send Message
    MagicSugar polycounter lvl 10
    walreu wrote: »
    Now that it looks this project will take much more time that originally planned, can i ask for extra compensation although we agreed on fixed compensation?
    Looks like a new work order to me. Try to agree with cost that works for both of you.
  • walreu
    MagicSugar wrote: »
    Looks like a new work order to me. Try to agree with cost that works for both of you.

    Thanks for the info. I agree.
    The money thing isn't the biggest concern for me right now, i would just want to get this work done with and move on.
    I already mailed him that i would like to have a list of the features and details he wants and i make the models with them and thats the final outcome. And also that i won't continue work until he has sent me the final work files (he has sent me updated files couple of times that have modifications and i have to start everything from scratch..)
Sign In or Register to comment.