I just had a free lance writing gig and was hired by someone I already knew. Our relationship has always been strictly professional and yet, this is someone I’ve kept a friendly rapport with over some eight years. Though I wrote for his publications in the 1990’s, I never reported to him directly. So our friendship remained steady – albeit at a distance. He found himself pitching a huge piece of new business recently and asked me to work on it. I posed the ususal questions about scope and time frame and of course salary.
When he asked what I would charge, I did some quick math and requested an hourly rate at my standard writing fee. When he replied that he didn’t have anywhere near that kind of money, I simply asked him to tell me what he did have. He quickly halved my number and I made the deal.
What actually transpired was I did twice the assessed work for half the fee. Very predictable as it’s never failed to go down like that in the past. The one difference was, this time I asked for the remainder of the fee I first named to be deferred to the award of the job — which is fairly likely. At that point, I was offered a job. A much better result than a one time fee. Or was it? A choice that was handed to me and, in some instances, I would not have necessarily accepted.
Why? The pros and cons of a future arrangement are: the job might not materialize, the job might materialize but not to my liking, I might be already be committed to another situation when and if the job does materialize. If I get the deferred fee: it’s cash in my hands, I feel satisfied that I was paid for the work performed and I get what I initially asked for. This proves to my possible future employer -should I work for him later on – that I drive a hard bargain and will likely do that in future negotiations with him and with his vendors.
Being tough-minded where money is concerned is a good thing to employers and escpecially employers who are men.