Sian Meades-Williams says: A couple of years ago I was doing some copywriting for a well-known travel company. The projects were meaty, regular and well-paid and I was really enjoying it. After a few months they dangled the opportunity of a permanent role, something I really wanted at the time, but with a catch: they wanted me to lower my day rate for the next project. I did. As soon as the project ended, they ghosted me. I suspect there was no job, but they’d got the work they needed at a lower rate. I felt really let down, and if I’m honest, more than a bit stupid.
Despite this cautionary tale, we’re in different times now: we know the pressures our clients are under, because we’re all watching the news and looking at the closed shops and restaurants along our high streets. And for the most part, I really believe that a client asking you to lower your rates isn’t trying to pull a fast one, they’re just trying to survive. We all are.
But it doesn’t make it any better for freelancers, who have definitely got the raw deal here. I’ve spoken to dozens of people this week who have been asked to lower their rates because of the pandemic. One was asked what was the “absolute bare minimum” hourly rate they would work for. More than one has been asked to slash 20% off their day rate as the rest of the full-time staff have. A couple of people have been asked to work for free with the hope of payment in the future. What’s clear is that everyone is approaching their budgeting problems differently: there’s no one-size-fits-all scenario. Which means there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for freelancers.