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Help with First Job Rates

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SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
Hi all! 👋

I've received an unexpected email from a game developer (of those classic online girly games where you dress Elsa for prom)
looking to hire me for 2D graphics work to develop assets for their new project.

They seem very friendly and legit, so no worries there, saying they found me via ArtStation and think my style suits what they're looking for, and I'm  interested. They sent along a brief with graphical and technical and requirements too.

However they've asked me for my rates and availability and as a current student I'm not sure what to say!
Personally I'm happy to work part time round my university hours but I'm not sure if they'd accept this or how to tell them that in a more professional way? And I have no clue what my rates should be or how I'd work this out if I'm working without certain hours?

Would it be best to ask for more detail on what exactly I'd be doing and what they're expecting? 

If anyone has any advice or suggestions they'd be more than appreciated!! 😊😅

Replies

  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    This is your first gig and you are from UK right ? My suggestion is to got with something that you are happy but its not too high what ever min hour rate in UK is right now lets say 20 pounds per hour multiply that by 8 now you have both hour and day rate .For availability tell them that you are currently available full time but in few months you are going back to school and will only be available part time absolutely nothing wrong with that if they are happy they will let you know

  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    @carvuliero
    I appreciate it thanks! 😊 That's not a bad idea for rates actually, min wage for me is £8.20, so £65.6 for day rate?
    And it's acceptable simply to say part-time? I shouldn't need to give days or hours more specifically??
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    You are your own boss now so if they asked you give them your conditions and can negotiate from there
    To my knowledge you guys work with day rate in UK but if they want hour give them what ever they asked for[if not sure hour rate is standard ] just round the numbers in your favor this are a bit too exact :) 80 sound better .If part time is what you want then part time it is [hour rate will work best with part time less complicated]
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    I'd charge more like 20-25 an hour, or better, charge by milestones, that way if you can get the work done quicker you get the benefit of increased pay per time. 

    You might look at a task that you estimate takes you a week to complete, get the hourly rate for that, increase by 30% for incidentals. You can show the artwork once done but don't deliver until payment is processed.  

    Check out the wiki too because lots of info there about this.

    Don't guess or assume anything. And just forget about how you think you might appear if you ask this or that question. Ask all your questions. If this bothers the person that's a red flag. If they aren't eager to clear everything up with the worlds best communication that's a red flag. 

    Most importantly, what you are valuing here is your time. You don't want to get in a situation where the work is not worth the time, but you are stuck in a commitment. Make sure any contract you sign leaves you an exit plan and allows flexibility to make changes as you learn more while you go.


  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    @Alex_J
    Really?? I think I'm stuck in a mindset that I'm just a student and my work isn't of a quality that's worth that much 😅 And that if I charge too much they're find one of thousands of artists that'll do it cheaper, even for free just to get in on their CV 😂

    But that's a fair point, I'll look into that, and I'll have a look at the wiki too 👌

    Oh yeah definitely, I'm planning to ask for more detail on the role and what they need from me anyway, just to clear it up before I take on too much without realising.

    Would it be terrible to ask them how much they usually pay their artists? Or are they likely to give as cheap as answer possible, assuming I don't know what I'm doing? 😅
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    Like I said, value your time. 

    If you think its worth time to do the work for a penny an hour, by all means do it. But if they cant afford to make the time worth it for you, no worries, they can find someone else, and you can find another job as well. 

    I wouldn't ask about what they usually pay, and I wouldn't worry about what other people are making. There is always going to be some chump racing to the bottom - but you are trying to get to the top so don't even play that game. Charge what your time is worth, and if you got to improve the quality of your work to get the jobs then you know where to focus.

    If you are really wanting to just get a job for CV purposes, I'd do a lot of homework on these people and only go lower if they are a big deal.

    When valuing your time you aren't just valuing the literal time it takes to do the work here and now. You consider how many years it took to learn your craft, and how rare that talent is - you got to make a return on an investment you took when you decided to become an artist. That's why you shouldn't charge the same rate a guy flipping burgers makes. That's just insanity.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    Just don't get caught in the same trap too many others get caught in. "If I don't get it, someone else will." 

    Jobs come and go. Money comes and go. Just make sure you always value your time and everything will end up just fine. 
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    Dont let greed cloud your mind its your first gig all your effort should be in to making client happy and give your 200% If you do that  there is high change they will call you again and then you can negotiate better deal -> return client is much more valuable then few fast bucks
  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    @Alex_J
    Yeah that's understandable, I get what you're saving and that's pretty good advice actually, thank you!
    I've never looked into freelance or work for hire stuff so all this is new to me!

    But I really appreciate it, I'll have a better look into it. 👍

    Thanks again! 🙂
  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    @carvuliero
    That's very true, I don't exactly neeed the money (or even the work, as I'm studying) but the experience would be great!
    I'll keep that in mind, thanks!😊
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    If you are serious about making a living wage as an artist, always avoid the race to the bottom when it comes to what you charge. 

    Usually you will have way less headaches with companies and clients who are willing to pay a decent wage, way less revisions and nit picking usually that someone who has an extremely low budget but insane expectations. My highest paying clients are the ones who are usually the quickest and smoothest to approve whatever work I am doing for them. Anytime I took lowball work in the past, it was not worth the endless revisions and inexperienced way they went about communicating what they actually wanted. 

    my advice when negotiating your rate, figure out what you actually want to get paid (usually at least double minimum wage for skilled work) and then I add 30-50% on top of that for my initial pitch. some companies accept it without batting an eye (probably could have charged even more) and some will try and negotiate down, usually arriving at the original number I was willing to accept anyways. Most people tend to really lowball themselves right out the gate, much to the delight of employers. 

    Another thing to consider is opportunity cost. If the gig ends up being super lowball and you end up spending all your free time working for peanuts on things you are not super passionate about, you will have no energy or time left to continue to work on your skills that will get you a much higher income in the future. I personally would rather make zero for 2 years if I had the ability to live/work without a job, and get my skills to a level where I can get a 50-70k a year job/freelance rate, instead of getting sucked into a 25k/yr job where i get tiny raises for the next 2 years. short term....a bit painful, long term within a year you surpass the amount of money you would have made in 2 years scraping by with zero time for skill development. not super relevant to this, but my 2cents on viewing opportunity cost. 

    That all being said, don't underestimate the value of your time. You have clearly spent a good deal of time building your skills if your profile pic is one of your pieces, you need to factor that into your rates as well. This is a skilled job and they are certainly banking on being able to make a huge return on their investment when they are paying artists. Minimum wage is for unskilled jobs anyone can do, like working at McDonalds or stocking shelves in a grocery store. Not everyone can draw visually appealing females for concepts/games. 

    Also as you said you don't really need the money but the experience would be valuable, so you are not in a crazy desperate position and have some leverage to be able to simply walk away if they really lowball you. I would say go for it, shoot your shot with a rate where it is actually worth your time.
  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    @PixelMasher
    I really appreciate the detailed response, thank you!

    I agree with you on keeping to a path of working for things I'm passionate for, personally this job isn't something I'd dream for but for my current skill level and still being a student it's more than reassuring to have even been offered! I think I'll ask them a bit more about the project (if they can tell me) and what exactly I'd be doing, because if it just ends up being UI and menu's then that wouldn't be too worth it for the experience, which is what I'm most after.

    But you're right with underestimating my skills, because I certainly do! I'll keep my rates above minimum wage but honestly if the work load ends up being decent and bearable then I don't mind.

    I'll keep what you said in mind, thanks again! 😁
  • SopheeJay
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    SopheeJay polycounter lvl 2
    Update: I ended up getting paid roughly £3.79 an hour 🙃

    About 70 hours of work over 5 weeks (so around 2 hours a day) and after Fiverr's 20% take (we had to go through Fiverr as I didn't have a UTR number at the time). They also paid in one amount for the project, rather than hourly, so no matter the hours that I chose, I got the same amount.

    Though the work was a lot easier than I originally thought and they were also a pleasure to work with, but obviously £3.75 isn't anywhere near UK minimum wage, but is above the Romanian minimum wage (where they're based).

    So I'm not sure if I should go about asking for more for the next project (that I plan to do anyway for the experience and for my portfolio, plus I'm enjoying it!).
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    You should be getting paid based on where you live, not the employer. Where they are is their own problem it has nothing to do with what your time is worth and what you need to live. 

    To be honest I cannot believe there is 3d artist anywhere and they think it appropriate to do work like this for minimum wage (or less!). You might think, "But I'm just a goofy student." Well if that was true why would anybody hire you at all? They need you because you have skills and you weren't born knowing this stuff, it took work and time and sacrifice to learn.

    At some point it is a matter of dignity. I don't think it's good to make a habit of doing other people favors. They will take advantage of it, and then we all end up living in a world where only the meanest jackasses got what they need, and everybody else is struggling. 

    If I was student age looking for work I'd look out for some of these specialist art studios that take interest in developing their employees. Look for team that wants to build you up. Too many bottom feeders out there only want to get rich quick and think squeezing some cheap work out of the naive is the way to do it. You can justify the time and experience however you want but I just think that's a world it's better to avoid altogether.



  • Larry
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    Larry interpolator
    Alex_J said:
    You should be getting paid based on where you live, not the employer. Where they are is their own problem it has nothing to do with what your time is worth and what you need to live. 

    To be honest I cannot believe there is 3d artist anywhere and they think it appropriate to do work like this for minimum wage (or less!). You might think, "But I'm just a goofy student." Well if that was true why would anybody hire you at all? They need you because you have skills and you weren't born knowing this stuff, it took work and time and sacrifice to learn.

    At some point it is a matter of dignity. I don't think it's good to make a habit of doing other people favors. They will take advantage of it, and then we all end up living in a world where only the meanest jackasses got what they need, and everybody else is struggling. 

    If I was student age looking for work I'd look out for some of these specialist art studios that take interest in developing their employees. Look for team that wants to build you up. Too many bottom feeders out there only want to get rich quick and think squeezing some cheap work out of the naive is the way to do it. You can justify the time and experience however you want but I just think that's a world it's better to avoid altogether.



    I agree 100% but there are a few pointers here. Where you live does not really matter if your competitor is the internet. This means more jobs but even more competition with poorer countries that require half of your salary with double your skills.

    If this was OP's first interraction with customers, I'd say realistically any price even as lunch money is nice, as they gain valuable experience over it. With every customer interraction, their price goes up. If they have good skills and a lot of customers, then price goes even higher due to lack of time. But that is the path of freelancing
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