Q&A Time: Etiquette When Hiring Other Freelancers

Questionwww.inkthinkerblog.com — I asked another freelancer if she would edit a job application essay for me. I e-mailed her on the weekend, and she said she was available Sunday. It would have been a rush job, as the app was due Monday. Long story short: The app deadline was pushed back till this week, but I decided not to apply for the job after all.

I sent her an e-mail explaining this, and she replied with a sorta-mad e-mail saying she had rearranged her schedule to accommodate the job. I feel bad. This kind of thing happens to me occasionally with my clients, and now I’m the client who dropped the ball. Thoughts? As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I should reply to her asking her to bill me for a couple of hours of work, anyway.

AnswerI would ask her to bill you for the time since she had already blocked it out for you. And I wouldn’t sweat it. Stuff happens, and if it was a big inconvenience, she shouldn’t have agreed to it anyway if you ask me. But since you did commit to doing it and then the situation changed, I would say that you’re still responsible for the time. She may come back and say, “Whatever, don’t worry about it,” and in that case I would send her a $25 Starbucks gift card or something like that with a note.

A second note from the question asker:

She replied to my offer by stating her per-word rates and asking me to approximate how many words the essay would have been. (It was a 500-word essay.) She also mentioned that her minimum charge was $100. I replied saying that I wasn’t aware of the minimum and that I wished we’d had the rates discussion earlier, because $100 was more than I had budgeted. I offered $50; she sent me back a note saying she doesn’t list her minimum on her Web site because most of her jobs are much larger than 500 words, but she attached an invoice for $50 anyway, and I’ll send her a check in tomorrow’s mail.

My response: 

I’m glad it got resolved, but now I’m a little baffled. If you have a minimum charge for a project, why wouldn’t you put that information on your website, or at least bring it up when someone mentions to you that they have a small project for you? Um, duh? I would not use that person again.

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2 comments… add one
  • Katharine Sep 17, 2007

    You nailed it, Kristen. I wouldn’t use that freelancer again either.

  • Lori Sep 18, 2007

    In general, the situation was just bad all the way around. True, the questioner should have seen it through or instantly offered to compensate the writer for her time. The writer should have given the writer a lower courtesty rate, fellow writer to fellow writer.

    The job was a rush job over the weekend and the questioner’s getting billed 50 bucks? I’d say that’s more than fair.

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