Freelance deals done delightfully

It could be coincidence of course, but I'm starting to hear freelances talk more of increasing their rates - via the basic negotiatory techniques we try to impart, writes Phil Sutcliffe.

Neither of the two examples below were pulled off freelances who did NUJ courses on negotiationg. They have, however, been on a very candid money-talking NUJ network for years. There, we're always saying "Ask for more!"to one another). Two fresh stories:

  • So, bloke gets asked by a record company for permission to use a review he'd written in an ad for their artist - "how much are you offering?" he says. "Oh, er, that would be nothing,"they say. He says, "See you on down the road," cos he's a Willie Nelson fan. A while later they come back and say £300 and he says, OK. Call it a 30,000 per cent increase on first offer, although arithmeticians among you will know it's really infinity per cent as the first offer was zero, but that concept throws everything out of whack...
  • And then there's the freelance negotiating about a feature of 1000 words. Commissiong editor says £150. Freelance says (and here one illsutrates the power of the almighty leap often recommended at the NUJ's Pitch & Deal course for freelances) "I'm thinking £400." Commissioning editor goes away and comes back with "£250 is the absolute limit of my budget" (already a 66 per cent increase, mind). Freelance says "350". Editor goes away again and comes back with "300" and freelance says yes - not thinking that's great but all right and 100 per cent increase on first offer - and notes she'd exposed the bluff (not a lie, this is the souk, not a court of law) about "that's all we have in the budget". No certainties in negotiation but exploration and often, of course, it gets nowhere but original offer and a yes or no - exploration is the thing we have to encourage though, or to be more basic, "Don't ask, don't get" really is an absolute rule...
Last modified: 03 Nov 2014 - © 2014 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editor of the time
Send comments to the editor: editor@londonfreelance.org