Freelance work and sites like Fiverr

I just lost a bid for some POP rendering/concept work (and some packaging graphic design) because the client said I’m asking too much. He’s one of those maybe shady entrepreneurial types trying to get some product he “invented” into stores and needed some help. He had the mechanical engineering/design work done in Asia, and his original logo, packaging design, and marketing video done on Fiverr for $30! I gave him a VERY reasonable quote/proposal for both the graphic design and the rendering work, and his response was something like “yeah, you said this won’t take more than a few hours…this isn’t in my budget” (I budgeted 6 hours for each project including calls, meetings, and three rounds of revisions) I could lower my price but I’m not, I’ve been doing this for 12 years and it’s not worth it to do some work that undermines my profession for $100 total trying to keep up with someone who will essentially work for free in somewhere like Pakistan or Belarus.

How can the profession deal with this? I’m not doing jobs for $30. A plumber makes more than that.

This is the story of most of my freelance life. Nobody wants to pay for this stuff. I’m super pissed off and frustrated.

Sites like that have existed for a while, at the end of the day you need to bring your products and quality to a level where you can clearly articulate what they’ll get for $30 and what they’ll get for $3000 - at that point it’s up to them.

If they just needed any kind of crapped together graphics for his THC-infused bubble gum cardboard POP stand, then just walk away. He’ll probably realize that he’s not going to get what he actually wants out of it in a few weeks and either come back, or be happy with the crap he got.

We had someone at my current job pay a “fiver” $180 for a character design. That person took a $3 CAD model off turbo squid, added an extruded letter to it, and sent over the rendering. So for them, $180 for ~30 minutes of production work and emails was a great deal. The client didn’t know that it was just a stock 3D model so they were thrilled.

At the end of the day you just need to walk away from those clients and try to find clients with pockets deep enough and reputations important enough they don’t want to screw their creative work up.

Im in the 3d industry, and we have been dealing with international competition for a while. A few years ago when all of these freelance services started up, you could see the change in business as clients went to these cheaper options. Fast forward to now, and we are seeing many of the clients return. The quality of work is definitely worse, but the biggest issues was the items not directly tied to the final output. If the client needed a revision, good luck. Being in a completely different time zone, language barriers, and software complications are only the start. We have heard stories that it was impossible just to get simple revisions figured out. Also, one of the components of our industry is the ability to make changes at any point. Several clients said that once the image was completed by these ‘freelancers’, that was all. We can simply open the file and make changes for a minimal cost at any point in the future.

At the end of the day, it does suck. However, I think that given some time, you will see that the clients that are serious about their product will return. There will have to be some education on why you cost five times more than the previous freelancer, but it should be easy to justify.

Walk away and find the right clients. Some “clients” do not understand or value design work so you need to identify them and walk away.

Some clients will ask for a discount or would want a bargain…if you go down that road neither you or the client will be happy. A) You’ll be pressed to work fast in order to make a profit. B) Usually the clients that want a discount also want the most work done or multiple revisions so they’ll want you to keep doing stuff for free.

There’s also the “I have more projects we would like you to work on so give us a good price”. If I had a nickle someone said or implied that. When somebody says that just offer to give them a discount on the “next” project.

Some people are just cheap and some just don’t understand. It will be hard to get the right compensation from the cheap person and it will be hard to educate the person that doesn’t understand. Just walk away and don’t dwell on it.

sounds like he is doing you a favor by going away. In my experience it is the smallest projects that go wildly over budget. I basically won’t do a project for less than $5k-10. There is a cost to just starting up a project.

I would have to agree with this approach but it can be hard when you are a “starving” consultant. But as Yo points out many times these small projects in the end cost you far more in terms of tying you up.
I use to and still do have certain criteria that i set for clients / projects to help ensure that it will be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Even now i am more picky, i recently did a class A alias sculpting project to help fix some flaws in a design, but i did this because i knew the client and i thought it would be fun to sit at alias and do some surface sculpting because its not something i do often anymore.

my criteria use to be criteria

  1. understanding of the value i bring
  2. passion for the project
  3. timeline
  4. current workload vs future workload
  5. current cash flow
  6. Always willing to walk away if it is not mutually beneficial short term or long term.

Depending on the project and cash flow weighted item 1-4 differently - and this is a living list. for example at this point in life today 2/3/1 are the most important.