What freelancers should and shouldn’t do for free
As the freelance industry develops and some Northern European countries even implemented an official tax system for freelancers, it also needs some clear instructions on what kind of work freelancers should do for free and what kind of services they have to be paid for.
When freelancers can offer charge-free services:
- When you work with a non-profit organization you care about. This includes a project, charity, startup, etc. If there is an ability to offer your services for free and you can afford it – do it.
- When you want to step out of competition. It can be helpful to offer some of your services for free especially if you are pitching against competitors. It can be a part of a project that your client thinks is possible to do only for an extra cost.
- Show a bespoke copy of your portfolio. If you are in the process of pitching a proposal for a project, your client might ask you for a test version of your portfolio. Of course, you can also charge him for this but it will be a good complementary move to do it for free to show that you are willing to do extra to win the competition.
When it is suggested to charge money for your work?
- With financially insecure clients. Before starting to work with someone, it is suggested that you do some background research on this person to have an idea who they are, how successful and financially secure their business is, etc. You don’t want to put yourself in a vulnerable position and not get paid by someone who is financially insecure.
- When it impacts the billable hours or deadlines. You should not spend time on unpaid work especially if you cannot afford it. Also, free work should not prevent you from completing other work by the deadline.
- When you know that lowering down your costs or doing free work will impact your well-being and/or mental health. There are cases when clients are forceful but you should always value your work and do perform your work at a fair rate you are comfortable with.