Designer Jessica Hische is fed up with requests to work for ‘exposure’, so she built a Web tool every creative should take advantage of. It’s a “choose your own email-venture” that helps creatives say “no” to free work and better negotiate crappy contract terms.
This isn’t the first time Hische has taken a stand against working for free—her Should I Work for Free flow chart is a fantastic addition to any creative’s arsenal. This newest creation is even better though. It’s not just a blanket “how to say no,” but an interactive email template creator that changes the text of your reply as you select the Type of Client, Budget, Timeline, and Contract Curveballs being offered.
If you select anything other than a “Good” budget, the form stops there. No need to select contract terms and timeline, depending on the type of client, the response will change to deliver an appropriately polite-but-firm “No” to working for low or no budget. If, however, you select “Good” budget, the type of client stops mattering. From there, it’s about navigating timeline and contract terms.
Here’s an example:
Select this configuration, and the automatically generated email goes about advocating for higher pay if rights are to be transferred to the client (work-for-hire), an “opportunity cost” fee in case the project changes between now and the far in the future start date, and advocating for a kill fee in case the project falls through.
The response is professional and respectful, while remaining firm on the fact that appropriate contract terms and compensation must be addressed.
Hische says she tried to make the tool “as comprehensive and flexible as possible,” but since every industry is different small changes might have to be made. Still, if you’re negotiating contract terms and payment over email regularly—as many photographers do—this tool will become indispensable.