Thursday, December 22, 2011

Freelancer's Bill of Rights

Freelancers, independent contractors and those who own their own businesses can work with many clients, each having a different approach to projects and payment.  We can establish procedures and rates.  We can ask colleagues or friends if we have concerns or aren't sure of the best way to proceed with a given client request.  But if something doesn't work out as planned or if clients ask for things that seem unreasonable, setting the matter to rights to the satisfaction of all parties can be a challenge.  The Gainfully Employed may be able to appeal to a boss, manager, or HR department for assistance.  The GU is on her own.

What would you do in this situation? A returning client recently sent a project. They wanted it turned around in approximately half of the usual time, which also meant I'd need to do most of the work over the weekend.  My options were: Say no, and displease and possibly lose the client.  Say yes, and rearrange my life and work harder than usual to get the job done instead of fitting in the work when convenient for me.  Say yes, but ask for additional compensation as a rush premium. 

On the one hand, I wanted to retain the client and show I could be accommodating.  On the other, I deserve to be treated and remunerated fairly.     

Awhile ago I proposed an Extras Bill of Rights for those who work as extras in films, commercials and TV shows.  In my experience, for $65 for 8 hours, plus time and half minus mealtime, extras can be expected to freeze in cold weather, fry in hot weather, stand for long periods of time or go up and down many stairs, wait in not so pleasant conditions including (inufficient light to read and/or cramped space), or watch as the cast/crew is fed snacks while they're not.  To some, especially in this economy, eight or 12 and change dollars an hour may be enough to endure some discomfort.  What would your price be?

The Freelancers Union has been working on a Freelancer Bill of Rights.  Here's another from the renegade WRITER.  I'll have some additional thoughts soon.  Stay tuned.

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