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Free work...

Hi all,

I have just won a great freelance job for a very successful cafe (they have won a lot of food awards and are very 'hip'). I have completed work for them on a rebrand and a menu design, and some window decal. All charged (although I have gone about 5 hours over).

They recently asked me to 'throw' an invitation together, which i have done as a gesture of goodwill.

However now they have got in touch asking 'if I want a beer bottle label on my CV'. I.E, another job for free. I really want to keep the relationship as there is a great possibility of future work (they are opening another branch and are writing a cookbook) but I don't want to be taken the mick out of either! Also, the beer is getting made at a local brewery (that I have also recently pitched for work for) so it's all connections.

I am thinking of going back to them and saying if they know what they want, I will do it half price. I am currently only charging £30 an hour, £210 a day, I am thinking I need at least 2 days on it. So £200 half price. But I don't want to lose the job. How would you handle it?



Staff member
I wouldn't do it for free personally.
As my Mum used to say "If you act like a doormat, people will walk all over you".

You've done them a freebie and now they are asking for more. Hmmm?

It's not a good way to start a business relationship as that sets the boundaries for future work.
If a person were to walk into their cafe and ask for a free meal and in return for allowing them to say that they'd eaten there then I'm very sure they'd tell them to "f**k off".
The issue then with doing the work for half price is they may expect that rate all the time, its a difficult balance. Do you have enough work coming in to not have to reduce the rate that much. Maybe work on £300.00 for the job. If they value your work as a designer they will work with you.

Think about future work does not always come through. Or when you expect.
The branch they are opening have they set any dates in mind. Have they got a location. Have they the first draft for the book? A publisher?

Hope all works out.


Well-Known Member
It depends how much you need the work, but another freebie is taking the p...! Offer a discount by all means, but not half price.
Be brave, offer 20% off or something, but make it worth your while. If they are a 'very successful cafe', they should be prepared
to pay full whack.
Thanks everyone. It frustrates me because they are a very small business too, but very successful. I don't have much work but financially I am doing okay at the moment, I think doing it free is definitely setting a president in future - one I don't want.

they have been really happy with the work I have done too, so if they want me they will pay.

No this future work is only a possibility. thanks for all your help, I will go back and charge, explaining why etc and let you know how i get on!



Well-Known Member
Go for it, Mandy! That article Scotty put up says it all.

Btw, it was probably a typo, but it's set a precedent, not president.(y)
Haha thanks Wardy...teeny typo there. Best do a spell check on the client email

Great article Scotty thank you. I think my next blog post will be 'why to never do work for free', I can then point clients to that!

Will keep you posted.

M x


Staff member
Tell them that you'll do it for free, if they give you free lunch/coffee whenever you want it.... mutual exchange of goods for a common benefit.
"Architects don’t give away their blueprints. Diners don’t fork out free meals. Personal Trainers don’t sign over their intellectual property on spec. This video pokes fun at the speculative creative bidding process in new business pitches. We believe there's a better way for agencies and clients to find the perfect match. " GREAT VIDEO:


Paul Murray

Staff member
However now they have got in touch asking 'if I want a beer bottle label on my CV'. I.E, another job for free.
They're taking the piss, though they may not be entirely aware of it. You need to nip the free jobs in the bud now, or they'll come to expect it further down the line. Stand your ground and show them that you're a professional and command a professional rate. You're already giving them a good deal by working for a fixed rate, i.e. they know the exact amount they'll pay, but you're taking a gamble on whether you can complete it in that budget. If they want a cheaper rate I'd switch to hourly charging instead so you're being paid for every hour you work, but the cost vs time gamble is with them.


Staff member
My response would be 'I'd love a beer bottle label on my CV, send over the brief and I'll give you a quote for the work'

I have and never will do work for free, no one would do it for free for me, I 'might' offer a discount if it's beneficial to me to do so but that's about it... and yes that goes for family too.