The troublemakers at Language in Common, who are doing a bang-up job as Guest Editors over at Coudal this month, had up a great post from the other day on their site, Tiny Gigantic, which we found by way of Byrdhouse, which deals with a topic we always dread in our freelance lives: “The Problem With Asking for an Estimate.” It’s something we go through all the time, and went through as recently as yesterday, when a friend e-mailed with a potentially fun project and asked, “So what do you think you’d charge for that?” And it’s always the most uncomfortable thing ever, because you’ve done the same sorts of things for a ton of money as many times as you’ve been way too charitable and done it for pennies (if that). Well, per usual, Tiny Gigantic’s there to offer up some insight into the whole agonizing process and some advice to boot. Here’s a little from the middle:
It’s not a very good system. No matter how confident they may seem, very few creative people I know actually feel confident about the prices they quote. It’s a game full of second guesses and crossed fingers. And it’s often a game full of regret.
And asking for an estimate ain’t so good for the client either, because it forces the creative firm to think adversarially about the client right from the get go. It forces the creatives into games of intrigue, maneuvers, posturing, and bluffs — all to “win” over the client. This is no way to start a relationship, especially one meant to thrive on collaborative creativity.