1. Avoid doing work for family and friends, if possible. They have no knowledge of the value of what you do. They know bugger all about good design and often end up being really bad clients. You can do skills-swaps though, e.g. how many air cuts is your job worth? They could end up asking you to do more and more, for nothing.
2. For charity. Just because they’re a charity, doesn’t mean you work for nothing. depending on the scale of the charity, they do have a budget for design. ‘Pro Bono’ work is work for free. There is a scale, depending on the size of the charity. Ask them if they have a budget and how big is it? Can you afford to do the job for free?
3. Don’t under-estimate the value of what you do! Think about the worth of what you do. Remember minimum wage, taxes, etc. Make it ‘Reassuringly Expensive’, low prices tend to say that it’s going to be bad.
4. What people charge is a highly guarded secret. Talking about money, and talking about the skills you have, are an essential part of being a designer. If there is no budget, think about whether you should be doing the work for free. Assess the risks! Ask to see the money up front.
5. Never get in the middle of paying for a print job. If you regularly work with a printer, you would have an account with them. Your client might already have a printer you can work with.
6. Find out as much as you can about your client. If it’s a friend-of-a-friend you might be working for, check them our first. Do they regularly pay their designers, can they afford to pay you, etc?
7. Any one who works in the public sector has to abide by ‘public procurement laws’. Unless a company is approved by a public sector business, you can’t work for them. To get on a roster takes a 20 page application, and a lot of time. You will be required to put in a quote, even before you get to talk to them about the design. So even if the idea is awful, they will judge you on your pricing before your track record.
8. Creative pitches. Some companies ask for you to do the first part of the brief for free. In this case you might not win the pitch and therefore loose out on money. Some people don’t do this because you’re giving away your best creative ideas for free. However, this does work for some people.
9. Be straight about money and ASK! Find out how much money they have to spend on the job and edit your working time accordingly.
10. Your portfolio should speak for you.
11. Strip tease. Don’t show them everything at once! Tell a story with your pitch and leave them wanting more.