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03-06-2001, 12:44 PM
Freelance != Freework

Post your tools and tips for freelancers here.

Post troubles and questions to this thread.

Post the following:
Suggestions for freelancers.
Tips on protecting your work.
Tips on pricing your work.
Url's to sample freelance contracts.
Url's to sample proposal formats.
Url's to good collection companies.
Url's to good legal services.
Any information to better our businesses.

Maybe the moderator can see this post stays directly under Announcements.
[Edited by Nogard on 03-12-2001 at 10:29 AM]

03-06-2001, 01:07 PM

Some people shop at thrift stores, some at department stores, some at Neiman Marcus. All these stores sell basically the same thing... clothes ect. And you know what? Neiman Marcus is not hurting for business!

knowledge + creativity + software + hardware + hours = price

So What Do YOU Charge?
Know what you are worth and charge it!

I live in Colorado and minimum price for a Flash site is $5000. For beginners that equals out to about 50 hours at $100 per hour. That is a good average figure. For more advanced Flashers maybe 25 hours at $200 per hour. Database work is of course extra and priced at around $10,000 on up depending on the complexity of the project. ALL updated are an hourly charge. Also a monthly fee if their site is on your server.

03-06-2001, 01:20 PM

There are 2 good approaches I learned in design class.

1. 50% down and 50% on completion.
$100 per hour for all meetings.
3 format/content changes for free. (within reason)
No one will redo the entire work project for free!

2. 1/3 down 1/3 on review 1/3 on completion.
$100 per hour for all meetings other than review. If they want to meet in person for the review to discuss changes that is included in the original price.
3 format/content changes for free. (within reason)
No one will redo the entire work project for free!

This structure works for entire sites as well as piece work.
AND by all means get everything in writing!

[Edited by Nogard on 03-29-2001 at 11:38 PM]

03-09-2001, 08:36 PM
Hi !

Originally posted by Nogard

knowledge + creativity + software + hardware + hours = price

I live in Colorado and minimum price for a Flash site is $5000. Database work is of course extra and priced at around $10,000 on up depending on the complexity of the project.
But if you are far it will be
knowledge + creativity + software + hardware + hours - miles = price :) Example:
I live in Russia and maximum price for all scripting and backend job for a Flash site is $500. Database work is of course extra and priced at around $100 not depending on the complexity of the project.
May be I have no knowledge and experience ? I don't think so :)
Just trying to say everybody from "second part of the net" here that if you want to be freelancer you must:
1. Have much more experience then all others freelancers or have some unique attainments.
2. Be ready to work for much less money.
3. Be ready to work for free in 50% of cases.
And be ready to look at it like at fact and to make nothing of it :)

03-10-2001, 01:50 PM
:)Hi Flash Shaman!

Great reply Ilya.

I started this thread so everyone could get an idea of how to operate as a freelancer. (From anywhere in the world)The more information posted here the less we have to surf through threads to find this type of information. So to assist here with market research and practical business information will assist all freelancers.

Glad you posted what the market is like in Russia. The market in the US and Canada seems to be more lucrative.

I believe anyone marketing their skills as a Flash or database designer has attained a level of skill to price themselves within the surrounding markets as you do. Freelancers who are not familiar with what the market will actually pull might underprice their skills.

03-10-2001, 04:10 PM
Prices are coming down for basic design across the board. Front end is getting cheaper if you know what you are looking for.

The lucrative clients are the ones who do not know how to value all of the easily produced "bells and whistles".

Most corporate accounts want the back-end to be database driven/and or transactional in nature.

Some rules to ponder...

50% down..always.
Contract..always. This seems obvious, but too many parts of the production process rely on verbal confirmations..which are usless to you in the future should any problems arise.

Estimate your time in your head, then triple it.
Whether you bill this much or not, this will be closer to the real amount of time.

Legal starting resource: http://www.nolo.com

I'll post some contract resources in a bit, my wife's an Intellectual property paralegal.

03-10-2001, 11:37 PM
Hi !

Originally posted by Nogard
:)I started this thread so everyone could get an idea of how to operate as a freelancer. Glad you posted what the market is like in Russia.

:) Actually i am not sure about "freelancer market in Russia" :) - I am not sure exist it or not :) All freelancers from my kith and kin always work with US\Canada clients. I just trying to give advice to everybody here who not from US\Canada\West Europe\Australia. May be little "criminal" advice:
Talk about your location only is somebody ask
In fact 80% of US potential customers, %90 from Europe and 95%-99% from France and Australia will just disappear after one word like "China", "Russia" or "Belarus". We all live in captivity of stereotypes, and first thought of customers after that word will be something like "O! Interesting... he hacked me already or not?" :) So if you live in Russia, you must drink at least 2 litres of vodka each day and hack everybody, if you live in China, you must use only warez soft and hack evererybody too and etc. And we can't fight against it - they just afraid (and i can understand it :) )

You may follow it or not, but i know few people from Russia, Bulgaria, India and Georgia why have .com or .net domains, SMTP server with hiding "senders IP" and claim that they are from France working with US (because of not so perfect English language :) ), from US (working with France) and etc. And everybody near can't contradict that they have much more money for same job an less "working for free" time :)

03-11-2001, 10:16 AM

Agent coop :)

Look forward to the input from your wife. Here is a sample of things to consider using in a contract.

Month Date, Year

This Independent Contractor Agreement ("Agreement") is entered into this Nth day of Month, Year, by and between Client and Contractor.

Client and Contractor agree:

Delivery Schedule and Acceptance. Contractor will deliver work to Client according to the delivery schedule specified by Client. The Services shall conform with the specifications and instructions of Client and Publisher, and is subject to Client's acceptance and approval.
Client has a maximum of (number) days to reject any deliverable in accordance with this Section, and must notify the Contractor within (number) days of receipt of work that additional editing revisions and/or amendments will be requested.

Change of Scope: Alterations. Client has the right to remove any portion of the work from the Contractor at any time, for any reason whatsoever. In the event that Client deems it necessary to remove any portion of the work from the Contractor, Client shall give the Contractor (number) days notice. In the event any portion of the work is removed from Contractor, the compensation payable to the Contractor shall be decreased by (percentage) of the amount of such compensation allocable to the work removed from the Contractor.

*Additional Agreements of Client and Contractor. Contractor acknowledges and agrees that the terms and conditions of his/her retention by Client under this Agreement shall be subject to any requirements that may in the future be imposed on the Client from (outside source) with regard to the work. If any requirements imposed by (outside source) on Client shall impact upon Contractor's performance of the Services, or upon the relationship between Contractor and Client, written notice will be given by Contractor and/or Client. *not applicable in all cases

Force Majeure. If either party hereto is unable to perform any of its obligations hereunder by reason of fire or other casualty, strike, act or order of public authority, act of God, or other cause beyond the control of such party, then such party shall be excused from such performance during the pendancy of such cause.

Ownership of Work. Work sorce files shall be and remain the sole and exclusive property of Contractor unless otherwise financially negotiated. Contractor further agrees to take all actions and execute and deliver all documents requested by Client, at Client's expense, in order to evidence the assignment of Contractor's rights in and to the Work to Client.

Permissions and Releases. Client shall indemnify and hold harmless the Contractor against any and all claims, costs and expenses, including attorney's fees, due to materials included with the Services at the request of Client.

Confidentiality. During the course of Contractor's performance of services for Client, the Contractor will receive, have access to and create documents, records and information of a confidential and proprietary nature to Client and customers of Client. Contractor acknowledges and agrees that such information is an asset of Client or its client, is not generally known to the trade, is of a confidential nature and, to preserve the good will of Client and its clients must be kept strictly confidential and used only in the performance of Contractor's duties under this Agreement. Contractor agrees that Contractor will not use, disclose, communicate, copy or permit the use of disclosure of any such information to any third party in any manner whatsoever except to the existing employees of Client or as otherwise directed by Client in the course of Contractor's performance of services under this Agreement, and thereafter only with the written permission of Client. Upon termination of this Agreement or upon the request of Client, Contractor will return to Client all of the confidential information, and all copies or reproductions thereof, which are in Contractor's possession or control.

Independent Contractor. Contractor is retained as an independent contractor of Client. Contractor acknowledges and agrees that (i) Contractor is solely responsible for the manner and form by which Contractor performs under this Agreement, and (ii) Contractor is a self-employed individual, who performs services similar to the Services for various entities and individuals other than Client. Contractor is responsible for the withholding and payment of all taxes and other assessments arising out of Contractor's performance of services hereunder, and neither Contractor nor any of Contractor's employees or independent contractors shall be entitled to participate in any employee benefit plans of Client. Contractor will not have the authority or represent herself as having the authority to bind or obligate Client in any manner whatsoever except for the terms set forth within this Agreement.

Choice of Law. This Agreement shall be construed and enforced pursuant to the laws and decisions of the State of Illinois.

In witness whereof, Client and Contractor have entered into this Agreement.
Contractor:....................................The Client

By: __________________......By: _________________
Contractor.....................................Per son's Name

Tax Id #:.......................................Title:
Address:........................................Ad dress:

Date: Month Date, Year..................Date: Month Date, Year

03-11-2001, 10:33 AM

These are links to good freelance websites I have run across. I will edit this list if I find more.






[Edited by Nogard on 03-30-2001 at 12:11 AM]

03-11-2001, 03:30 PM
Nogard "contractor" contract is one of the most important kinds of contracts for a business person or freelancers. However, I do not agree, or at least question, using a "independent contractor agreement" for web development. A much better option (in my opinion) is to use a "contract for professional services". This is a very common type of contract, one that you can find in almost any book on contracts. For example, "Business Contracts for Dummies" is a starting place, and the book is only about $25.

It is important to remember that a contract can be slanted to the advantage (or disadvantage) of one party. I think of a "independent contractor agreement" as something that I would write and have a contractor sign. With a "contract for professional services", a professional is defined (as I understand it) as someone who has training comparable to others in the field. Thus web developers that have experience and training would be considered to provide "professional services".

Anyway, Nogard's contract covers most of the important stuff, and in fact both types of contracts have many similarities. My advice is to get a book on contracts that has blank contracts that you can customize. $25 - $35 is not much to pay if you are going to be freelancing very much. It will pay for itself eventually.

03-12-2001, 11:28 AM
I think of a "independent contractor agreement" as something that I would write and have a contractor sign. With a "contract for professional services", a professional is defined (as I understand it) as someone who has training comparable to others in the field. Thus web developers that have experience and training would be considered to provide "professional services".

Good input Zacvin

I have always used an independent contractor agreement for the tax benefit of my clients. My intent was to have proof I was not an employee in the eyes of IRS. Now that you have shed a new light on this pracitce I will research the benefits of using a contract for professional services.

I am not a lawyer and have relied on contracts I have found on the net or in the stationary store. If you have links to any online examples please post them here :)

03-12-2001, 11:46 PM
I'm glad to read about the indemnification clause, I refused to sign a contract where the so-called client, this was a probono project, wanted me to accept liability.

I generally try to arrange for a kill fee with my contracts.

03-13-2001, 11:01 AM
please keep the inof comming guys, i am really glad this thread started, as I will be soon looking to do some freelance work, to build myself a portfolio as I am new to web design, and will shortyl looking for entry level positions, but want to do some freelance work first, so any info helps, espically site links

03-15-2001, 03:49 AM
wish i waz in US...i dont get even 1/10th of your prices here in India.


03-15-2001, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by studio249
I'm glad to read about the indemnification clause, I refused to sign a contract where the so-called client, this was a probono project, wanted me to accept liability.

I generally try to arrange for a kill fee with my contracts.

what's a kill fee?

i agree - indemnification important. Also a clause which gives you no liability should a site that you re-design not receive as many sessions/hits etc. once you have finished it! It does happen!

03-15-2001, 01:28 PM
Re: Kill fee - it is an additional amount you charge for a client pulling the plug. Good to have so you don't waste time..

03-15-2001, 01:38 PM
ah, yes!
I do charge a 'kill fee' I just didn't realise the proper term.. now I shall use it! thanks

BTW, I normally make this 75% of total project fees - so if the client abandons the project between the deposit (50%)and the beginning of the final stage of development, they have to pay a further 25%.

I normally split a project into at least 3 stages, sometimes up to 5, so that an amount is payable up front as a deposit and then further interim payments are made on completion of the various stages. If the client cancels up to the end of the pen-ultimate stage they are liable for the 'kill fee' - they are liable to pay the full project fees if they abandon the project in the final stage.

Just hope that I never have to go back to an agreement once it has been written. Usually the existence of this type of agreement - will make a client think twice about messing us around.

03-15-2001, 02:54 PM

I'd like to add my 2 cents as well. Down here in Brazil, Flashers, Designers (or web-designers, as you wish) make more with freelance than in normal jobs. The amount you charge really depends on who you are selling to. Normally it'll cost you less to contract a freelancer to do the job, but it'll also be worth the money for the little guy doing it.

A regular html site can be sold for as little as 500R$, which would be 250US$. For us, 250US$ in a few days is a good amount of money, considering that our minimal wage is about 60US$ a month.... Really, noone makes just this, I mean... No. there are people who survive on this, but this is the ugly part of my country, I'd rather not comment.

We still get very low wages compared to Americans. In São Paulo, our biggest city, I'd say wages vary from 1K to 3.5K US$ a month for "web-designers" and flashers.

So... There you have it.
I'll add more when I have more time.


03-16-2001, 05:03 AM
Nogard, would you mind if I translated to Spanish and Catalan your contract and post it here? It is great and I am making these two versions in my native languages for my personal use, if that is OK! :)

BTW, a wonderful thread that is helping me lots to make my own freelance experience much easier and rewarding... :)


03-16-2001, 08:58 AM
I just want to add Romania on Ilya country list.

03-17-2001, 09:45 AM

Remember the contract is an example and should be altered to each individuals needs. By all means PLEASE share this with everyone possible and in what ever language you know! I would be offended if you did not.... just kidding :)

Thank you so much for asking I appreciate your respect. This thread is truely here for all to benefit. I hear so many individuals selling their talents for next to nothing and it saddens me. There are so many talented people in our world that have no idea what they are worth. I wanted this thread to grow so we all have an idea that what we do is valuable.

I have freelanced in other areas for some time now. Just new to Flash design. (You can probably tell by my goofy posts). I would never have freelanced if it were not for an individual who once told me that everything I touched seemed to turn to gold. At first I laughed at his comment till he sat me down and made me realize that I was good at what I did and that I should charge for it. After that I started a professional coaching business which he assisted me in starting and have loved it ever since. It is amazing what one can do when someone believes in them :)
[Edited by Nogard on 03-17-2001 at 08:49 AM]

03-24-2001, 05:48 AM
I am a freelancer from russia maby a newbie freelancer but a freelancer :) and here in Russia the prices for web design are so low that alot of people try to get .com names and english websites and try to work with US/Canada. Like me. Just some prices.....
A internet shop : $1000
A HTML website : $200
A Flash website : $450
There is not much Flash websites in Russia.

03-24-2001, 01:16 PM
Hey unseen33, that sounds pretty good to me right now! I am in the states, but I am sure having a hard time getting business. I have a good site, plenty of programming skills, great business cards, a brochure, an ad in the paper, first page ranking on a number of search terms at goto.com, as well as listings on about all the service directories that I know of. I am even have only about two years left before I get my degree in computer engineering!

This is really frustrating!

I guess that I am going to use this time to build my portfolio, if I can't get any clients. I have been "open for business" only since the first of the year though, so maybe it just takes time.

I think that I may be going to try to offer my skills as a programmer and web developer to try to get some freelance work from web design firms. I really think that there is more development demand than design jobs right now. I ran into a local guy at the book store just the other day though that said that there was tons of work out there. His sight was not even all that impressive.

Any suggestion from anyone about better ways to solicit clients would be very welcome.

03-24-2001, 02:00 PM

Have you tried taking your Flash Skills to CD Rom?
Why? Many companies that I talk to already have a website... whether it is designed well or not is another sotry, but they have them nonetheless. Actually, when the Website craze hit businesses hard four yars ago, they all had one built. Now, however, many businesses are shying away from placing much stock in their sites. They have seen too many "Dot-Bombs" and have lost their taste a little for online business plans.

On the other hand, if a company has sales reps, or caters to clients, a well made business card CD (or a full size CD for that matter) placed in their customer's hands does wonders. First of all, it lets the customer learn about the site in an interactive way without having to "Log On". Additionally, you can place a button on the movie that will launch the user's browser and connect to the company's existing website on the Internet.

See, this is a good way to garner business from companies that have already been approached by traditional web developers.

Anyway, this is an approach that has been very successful for me. Perhaps you can benefit form it as well.



03-24-2001, 02:06 PM
You really have a great idea there Jabez. I will have to look into in some more. I would worry still that I would have a hard time contacting business with the idea. How do you do it; do they come to you, or do you contact them?


03-24-2001, 02:16 PM

Take just One Hour and go downtown in your nearest city. Walk into a mid-size corporation and ask to speak to the owner. Ask them to pop in your "Demo CD" and stand back as they are "wow"d by your awesome abilities and talents. After the presentation, tell him you'll modify the CD he's looking at with his own text and pictures for $250-$400 or you can create him a custom CD master for a quoted price.

What'll they do with the master? Well, you can tell them you'll put them in touch with a low-cost replicator (that pays you a comission for the sale) or he can take that fancy little CD and burn it on his computer at home.

Bottom line is this, Zac... we can sit in these forums and talk about getting business, or we can get off our butt and go get it. Unless you have a huge list of past clients with big mouths, the business is not going to come to you.



03-24-2001, 02:25 PM
Good point. I have done some real live person to person contacting, but I think that it works against me almost. At about 20, people just look at you like you don't know what you are doing. That is the nice thing about getting business vie the internet from people in different locals. But I suppose that if you visit enough business you will find at least one sucker:)

No, really my biggest problem is just seeming like a kid. That plus I don't have a very strong (aggressive) sales persona.

03-24-2001, 06:02 PM
Please refer to the last paragraph of my post above...

You said you don't have the sales persona? It's only what you make it, fella. You are doing a pretty good job of selling me on the idea that you're going to sit in this forum and complain about not being able to get business.
Why not turn your efforts around and spend some time convincing a client that you can get some business.

I think I have exhausted my efforts in trying to sell you on the fact that there is indeed a market out there. Imagine that.

Good luck.

[Edited by JabezStone on 03-24-2001 at 05:04 PM]

03-25-2001, 03:52 AM
This is a link to one of the better resources out there for Web Deveoper / Web Designer contracts & project worksheets.


It helps you accurately quote the price that multiplies your profitability and efficiency, it also includes tools which help brands you as a top professional and help close the sale.

I have literally increased my bottom line 200% by just being able to acurately predict costs better.

It includes contracts, spreadsheets, client interview sheets, and stronger contracts to help you when a client decides to kill a job, or try to.

WAY..early in the thread I said I would post more info (my wife's the Intellectual Propert Paralegal)..but the above link is the absolutely best resource out there.

I kept running into "Here's a sample contract, but DON'T copy it or else" sites...


03-26-2001, 04:55 AM
Hey zac i have a business offer for you if your interested email me : unseen33@yahoo.com

03-30-2001, 01:27 AM

This CD idea is good:) Have any additional information you could share?

I have read a few threads a time back that had information on where to get duplicated cd's, cd business card size, and rewriteable cd's. If you know this information please repost it here.

I believe the rewriteable cd business cards were expensive. Around $4.00 each. They could be updates from a clients website though. Very interesting idea!

03-30-2001, 01:34 AM
Our company produces them for between 1.50 - 2.00 US a piece.