Would you go to your local grocer and pick a premium grade 72 ounce steak from the meat/deli section, take it to the cashier to ring up and then tell her, “I’m not willing to pay that! I think I’ll pay just $5 instead. $5 is all I can afford for this steak.”
Would you arrange for an attorney to handle a legal matter for you and tell him at your first meeting, “You seem to be a great lawyer and you come highly recommended but I just can’t see realistically paying the retainer you’re asking. I’d like to pay you $10 per hour instead but I’ll gladly tell everyone I know who might need your services that you did a great job”?
These two scenarios would see ludicrous to your average person yet so many still believe it is acceptable to treat writers this way. While many of us do write because we are passionate about the written word and enjoy sharing it with others, this doesn’t mean we should be subjected to the type of abusive treatment we often see when trying to work in our professions.
If you’re even possibly considering hiring a writer to assist you in some way, you need to be certain you’re ready to open the wallet before you begin to solicit professionals. Think for a minute here about why you’re asking for help in the first place. Either you are not capable of doing the work for yourself or you simply do not have the time to devote to it.
In either case, you are asking someone else to lend their time and expertise to assist you. It’s not logical or reasonable to expect them to do this for free or for pennies. I saw a job posting earlier on a bid site with a minimum of $50 projects. The post was for 10 articles and was then edited to add “My apologies… I see that the minimum bid allowed is $50 and I definitely don’t want to pay that for 10 articles.” This poster then asked the writers to bid on 3x that original number instead.
Not willing to pay $50 for 10 articles on a site that charges the writer a $10 minimum on projects is a joke. This means the writer would get about or less than $4 per article. Even at a short word count, this is bottom of the barrel pay. You are asking this writer to do this as a “ghostwriter” and revert all copyrights to you so they cannot even use this in any way to further their careers.
Exactly what quality of writing do you think you will get for such substandard work arrangements and payment structure? People act downright offended when I tell them I am unable to work for such lowball rates. I’ve heard comments like:
• “I really wanted to hire you since you are an expert in the topic but I guess you’re missing out.”
• “What? Are you trying to rob me!”
• “You’re good but you’re not that good.”
• “I know you are English speaker but guy in India do it for ½ that price.”
• “If you do it for my rates, I promise to tell everyone I know about you.”
• “I can’t pay that much this time but if you do a good job, I can try to pay you more next time.”
There are too many more excuses and outrageous statements like these that I have received in my 11 years as a freelance writer. What is absolutely unbelievable about the issue is that the “buyers” so often think that they are doing no wrong. They are unable to realize even that they are harming themselves. You are insulting anyone of quality experience who would want to do your work and most likely only going to waste the little amount you are willing to pay on a mediocre or even downright awful and inexperienced writer. You will have wasted money and wasted time and more often than not, end up with a service or product that you cannot use.
It just doesn’t make logical business sense in any way. Would you use these excuses with your dentist or your auto repair center? Would you say this to your electric company or to the vendors who supply products to your company? What then would make you assume it is acceptable behavior to treat a writer in this manner?
The bottom line is this: Don’t attempt to hire a writer when you’re not willing to pay appropriately for services.