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Speculative work - is there a positive side to this?


#1
Ok, so here is a new one for me. A regular client has asked my position on speculative work - i.e. get paid for the projects that go forward, but not on the ones that never see the light of day. Obviously I have no way of knowing how many will or won't pass the finishing line. Is there a compromise to this? Seems to be a big gamble, or am I looking at it in a negative way? I have a good relationship with the client, who I believe to be honest, but essentially he is asking for free work, or am I missing something? I would really welcome people's views/experiences on this. Best wishes H
 

Wardy

Well-Known Member
#4
On the very few occasions I've done this, I make sure I get something out of it if it doesn't turn into an actual job. Maybe ask them for half up front, half if the job goes through. Make sure
they need to come back to you, only send visuals or low-res stuff, etc. No self-respecting client should ask you for free work.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#5
I've had it before where I sent lo-res artwork for a coffee shop.

I never heard from them again. Never got paid. Never could get in contact with the person again.

I went by the coffee shop shortly afterwards, only to see all my lo-res samples plastered all over their coffee shop walls...
 

@GCarlD

Well-Known Member
#6
I've had it before where I sent lo-res artwork for a coffee shop.

I never heard from them again. Never got paid. Never could get in contact with the person again.

I went by the coffee shop shortly afterwards, only to see all my lo-res samples plastered all over their coffee shop walls...
You can't just leave us with that cliffhanger!
 

Edge

Active Member
#7
The first problem with this is he is asking you to take on all the risk. The second problem with this is you have no control over the gamble as he'll be managing it. Unless you can do something about these two problems decline and say why.
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Whether the project/projects go ahead or not, you should be paid for your time and expertise. If none go ahead, you're left with no compensation for your time. If it's a couple of hours, it's not too bad, but if it's a couple of days, weeks, or even months, then we're talking a pretty hefty chunk you're not being paid.

Stay clear.
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#10
Whether the project/projects go ahead or not, you should be paid for your time and expertise. If none go ahead, you're left with no compensation for your time. If it's a couple of hours, it's not too bad, but if it's a couple of days, weeks, or even months, then we're talking a pretty hefty chunk you're not being paid.

Stay clear.

Reminds exactly of the situation Paul Rand found himself with Steve Jobs.

Jobs asked Rand if he'd design a few different logos and he'd pick the best one.

Rand told him, no I will design you 1 logo. You will pay me $100,000 on completion of the logo - whether you use that logo or not.


Moral of the story - they pay for your time and expertise, whether they choose to employ your designs or not is up to them.
 

Dave L

Well-Known Member
#11
Risk is indeed the issue: sounds like you're being asked to collaborate on someone elses business venture as a partner while being paid - if you're lucky - as a supplier, so the risk/reward ratio is stacked against you from the start. Sure, you might make money on some jobs (that appears to be as solid as the proposal gets) but you need to think in terms of offsetting paid work against unpaid work, meaning that the work you are rewarded for is effectively offered at a (probably massive) discount. Also, by agreeing to work for free (as you would be), with decision-making and influence placed elsewhere, you create a relationship that's wide open to abuse.

In short, then, be very wary of this kind of deal. What kind of projects are we talking about? Why does your client want design input prior to getting the green light (as opposed to engaging you to work on viable jobs with a secured budget)?
 

hankscorpio

Moderator
Staff member
#12
I'm going to get an architect to design me 100 houses. And then if I like one of them I will pay him for 1 design of a house. If I don't like them I will not pay.

But I'll say it only took him 5 minutes to do so it should only cost max 1 hours work. Here's £100 for your services. The next time I need a house designed I'll call you with 100 more ideas.

You can imagine the response.
 

@GCarlD

Well-Known Member
#13
Unfortunately, these kind of people do not fully value design, or designers. They think we sit around a computer, press a few buttons, click the mouse a couple times and like magic the design is complete, job done. They drastically underestimate the amount of time and effort put into a good design and think its easy and will only take a couple mins. Because we don't walk around with a toolbox, wear a blue all in one apron, and have oil stained hands, they do not think of it as hard work, just a fun hobby.