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Help me to set the right rate please!(6 Posts)
I've posted already on the Freelance board but it's very quiet on there at the moment and I need quick advice by tomorrow night.
I'm struggling with negotiating payment for my services for medical copy editing.
The work came about through friends of a friend who I've met and know superficially - we are friends on Facebook too. These friends run a healthcare marketing company. I'm an editor and writer with no medical or scientific expertise but I've done some initial work for them which they're delighted with.
I didn't know what the initial rate was supposed to be as this is a new area for me so I accepted what they offered. However, the work was more involved than I'd thought and I asked to renegotiate and the man in charge said he would be willing to do that.
He's suggested a rate that's a slight improvement on the old arrangement. BUT, they want me to take a more active role in liaising with clients directly once I'm more familiar with the medical terminology, which they reckon will take another few months. This is to free up their time. And they want me to write original content, which would be great and I'm keen.
BUT, my pal, who's a copywriter, said: "If they've offered you that it means there's more money available and you could get more. Ask for more than you think they will pay. Don't sell yourself short - employers will always try to get you for as little as possible. They are dealing with Harley St doctors and will be raking it in. Make sure you get your slice."
The friendship aspect is what's bothering me. I would ask for more if the friendship aspect wasn't there! My pal, the copywriter, said: "Forget the friends thing - they won't give a shit."
But another friend said: "I would take the rate they've offered - it's already an improvement on what you were getting. You are learning this new area and you want to get more experience, then you can negotiate more later, especially if you are spending more time liaising with their clients to free up the owners. Now is not the best time to play hardball over money. You are building a new business relationship that's important, and the educational opportunity it offers and the potential to change direction (which I want desperately) is not worth risking by asking for too much at this early stage."
I don't want to be ripped off, but fear I might end up worse off if I agree to their rate but then end up doing more for no extra in liaising with clients etc. On the other hand I don't want to offend them or appear too greedy!
What would you do, folks?
Not much help but .....
I'd definitely charge the "going rate" even if they are friends. (Possibly even "especially" if they are friends)
If they're genuine professionals, they should expect that. If you want this to lead to more work, you should expect it too.
Having said that, it may well be appropriate to charge slightly less if you're not top of the game (yet). That's reasonable- pretty much every service industry you can think of would have staged rates based on experience / qualifications / ability,
Hi DrQuin and thanks for responding.
I'm at the top of my game in my related industry as an editor, I've held senior positions in the best companies in the industry and have 30 years' experience. It's the medical aspect of the job that's new to me.
However, I'm lucky to get this opportunity because most medical editing gigs want people with medical or scientific degrees, which I don't have.
Meant to add... I need a change as I'm fed up with working ridiculous hours and commuting into the city and the copy editing/copywriting route is appealing.
Could you renegotiate on the basis that you'd be on an improving rate the more you get into the role and increasingly add value.
It sounds like you have scope for advancement and just need a bit more time to broaden your knowledge of terminology and liaison directly with clients. So that sounds to me like it's an opportunity to prove yourself and increasingly take on some of the heavy-lifting that your "friends" don't have the bandwidth to do.
So maybe a somewhat improved rate immediately, during your learning phase, with a further incremented rate during your expert phase in, say 3-6 months time. This enables you to 'up the anti' on activity, prove yourself, then when they realise they can't manage without you, the increase will be meaningful to them and you.
Hi daisychain - I appreciate you taking the time to answer me. Thank you.
I've already secured a slightly (not dramatically) better rate, which is fairer - is this what you meant when you said that I should get "a somewhat improved rate immediately"?
I intend to negotiate for more once I'm more familiar with medical terminology and liaising directly with clients, and I will certainly want more for writing original content to take account of research.
Thanks so much for your suggestions, which sound fab - I just wish I had the confidence to go for it in such a positive way!