I am constantly amazed about the requests for about whether I’ll do some work for free and it got me to thinking about what other jobs receive similar requests for do work for free. I guess graphic or web designers comes instantly to mind judging by the stories on the Clients From Hell website
Generally these requests fall into similar categories:
The ‘I’ll see if I like your designs and then pay you if I like them after’ potential client:
By all means we can meet and see if we can think we can get on but there are stacks of examples of my work on the website in the PROJECTS section, however your design will be different to all of these and all I can say is that I’ll listen carefully and do my very upmost to transfer your requirements, dreams and aspirations into a built form.
The ‘You’ll get loads more work from this job’ potential client:
To create something good, takes time (and money) and I value my time. And you almost certainly won’t get more work from it.
The ‘You’re doing nothing anyway due to the construction recession’ potential client:
I actually had this one yesterday, in fact I’m very busy and if I wasn’t busy I still wouldn’t be doing work for nothing, see above – I value my time.
The ‘I only want a few ideas, you can knock these out in no time’ potential client:
Good design takes time, is a cyclical process of analysing, designing, evaluating, redesigning, evaluating etc… Now I can knock out a few ideas but without the thorough briefing, analysis and designing they probably aren’t going to be what you’re looking for. This ‘sketch design’ stage of the work is one of the most important and critical areas that architects should value the most. As well as giving work away to other professions (when they could easily be doing it themselves), they also undervalue and (as it now seems) are giving away and in many cases undervaluing probably their most important-that is their skills as a designer. There are many people out there now that can draw but there are less that can design well.
So I suppose you’ve guessed by now that I don’t do work for free. But what surprises me most is that I wouldn’t dream of asking anyone, professional or trade to work for free!