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A new freelance gig?

May 22nd, 2011 at 06:50 am

Last week I responded to another Craig's List job...a web developer looking for a freelance writer. I was thrilled when he contacted me after I told him my hourly rate was $40. If this first job goes ok, there would be more work on a hopefully regular basis. I checked out the guy's website and googled his name and he's done a lot of website work for a wide variety of clients, and I'm thinking, more regular work would be fantastic.

This first job would be for a small chemical company that wants a new website. I don't think it necessary I know much about the business, a distributor of chemical supplies to the metal finishing industry. The sections I'd be writing would be About Us, Why Us, Our Sales Team and the like.

He kept pressing me for a more exact estimate of what I'd charge and I gave a rather wide range because there are so many variables. (Does the client want us to basically start from scratch with content, or just revamp and improve existing copy? Does the home page require just a summary of copy found elsewhere? etc etc) He answered a bunch of my questions and again asked for a narrower estimate range. I gave that to him last night; we're supposed to talk on the phone tomorrow about the job.

I told him about 12 or 15 hours of work for this first job; I also would have to travel about an hour to interview the company owner. A lot also depends on how my interview with the owner goes. If he's fairly articulate and engaged in the process, I can do a lot with that, but if he's too busy and doesn't have a lot of time to talk to me, I can only do so much, even if i have brilliant questions and am perfectly prepared.

I plan to ask for mileage reimbursement and for an advance retainer of about $125. This is to protect myself in case I do all the work and he doesn't pay me. This way, if he pays me the retainer, he shares in the assumed "risk," since there's a risk I'll take the money and run. Until we know each other, I feel a little nervous about entering into a work contract with someone I only know from email/phone. By getting the retainer, I mitigate my risks somewhat.

If he flat out says no to that, I'm not sure what I'll do. I don't think it's an unreasonable request and I'm not sure I can proceed without it.

And since I would typically interview someone over the phone, I think it's fair to ask for the mileage reimbursement. I hope he goes for it. This job will pay in the $500 to $600 range.

The sales manager for whom I wrote the bio loved it and asked for my bill ($110), which I already sent. The other real estate client also loved my writeup for the breast cancer website ($95) and said she'd have 3 more little assignments for me next week. (They'll likely all be in the $100 range.)

If I get enough of these little assignments, it does add up, but this is all gross, and by the time you deduct regular income tax plus the self-employment tax, it really whittles it down. I take very modest deductions for a home office on my tax return.

It looks like for the month of May I will squeak by with income slightly exceeding expenses, and that includes my new washing machine. That's mainly because I got several more unemployment checks this month that were delayed in April and retroactive to then.

I'm torn about whether it would make sense to make another SEP-IRA contribution for the additional freelance work I've done YTD. It would be nice to do that because it lowers my taxable income, but typically, without a lot of freelance work, I run a monthly shortfall in income vs. expenses of about $300.

Everyone who's placed a wager in my Newspaper Coupon Experiment seems fairly optimistic about how quickly I'll pay for the $10 subscription fee. I don't often buy a lot of packaged food with preservatives, high salt or high sugar, dyes or hydrogenated fat, so that rules out a lot of coupon foods. However, double coupons might help. If I use just $1 worth of coupons a week, I guess I'd clear the subscription price by Week 10 or 11, as Baselle predicted. We shall see.

Yesterday was household hazardous waste drop-off day. I had just a few items, and I also picked up a few things from my neighbor, the one who is now home but still recuperating from knee surgery. I also mowed most of the front lawn and was glad i did so around noon because the rest of the afternoon ended up rather rainy, unexpectedly.

I plan to make more cereal for my breakfast. It's similar to granola, and will go really well with plain yogurt. I should also do a load of wash. And I need to decide whether to accompany my mother to pick up some art from the latest show. I don't have much to do today, but maybe i need to get out of the house.

3 Responses to “A new freelance gig?”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    How you negotiate each job is interesting. Do you arrange signed contracts?

  2. patientsaver Says:

    No, not usually. It would take too much time and cause delays. If it was a pretty sizable job, I probably would, but most of my freelance work is small stuff. I do make sure that the key terms like payment are documented via email, should I ever need to use it to pursue payment in small claims court.

    Most of my clients I've done business with before, so I know I'll be paid. It's not often a new one comes along, and I'm just feeling my way along as I go, to be honest.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I hope this new gig turns out well!

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