Lately I’ve noticed an undesirable pattern of behavior coming from certain clients and potential clients. This has become such a troublesome issue that I must address it publicly in hopes of deterring this irrational behavior in the future. If you are one of my clients, or you are considering becoming one of my clients, please don’t make this mistake.
Many of my clients first discovered me via craigslist.org. There appears to be a general assumption that service providers (like me) who advertise on craigslist are only semi-professional and/or desperate for business, so we’re willing to work for rates far below the “standard rates” in the business. This assumption is completely UNTRUE!
Just because I advertise my services on craigslist.org, it doesn’t mean I’m less professional, less experienced, less skilled, less talented, or that I deserve lower pay than a similar service provider who doesn’t advertise on craigslist. Yet, there are people who apparently make those illogical assumptions.
I received an email inquiry via craigslist from a potential client who wanted me to quote him an estimate for a particular photography & Photoshop project. His query included the admonishment that my quote should be “a craigslist appropriate price”. I don’t even know what that means! I assume he meant I should be offering my services at a discount, based solely on the fact that he found me on craigslist.org.
I was prompted to write this post due to a recent unpleasant exchange I had with another potential client who had requested a Photoshop project quote. He telephoned me to explain his project and to get a cost estimate. Right from the beginning, he peppered the conversation with hints that he was very wary about doing business with someone he found through craigslist.org, and that he expected to receive my services at a bargain-basement price. He even added, “I would do the project myself, but my time is too valuable to spend doing Photoshop work”. What a snob! Despite his insulting attitude, I quoted him a very reasonable rate for his project. Apparently, it was higher than he was expecting, because he became noticeably irritated, and rushed off the phone with the parting comment that my rate was “far too expensive” and that he’d just have one of his employees do the project instead. The exchange is even more pitiful when one understands that the price I proposed for his Photoshop work was only $2 per photo!
Another craigslist client contacted me regarding product photography. He explained that he had five products (I believe they were jewelry boxes) that needed to be photographed at his location about an hour away. He needed them to be photographed on a seamless white backdrop, five different views of each product (25 total photos). In addition, all the images were to be professionally Photoshop edited by me and delivered ready to use on his e-commerce website. I quoted him a very good rate for his job, but he balked. He said my quote was much higher than he was expecting to pay. When I asked how much he thought my services would be, he stated his budget was “$10 - $15 total”! Ah, the craigslist effect.
I understand that craigslist.org is an open forum for just about anybody to advertise just about anything with almost no oversight or regulation. That means there will be shady characters, desperate people, and creeps to be found there. However, that open forum also attracts the exact opposite -- legitimate, talented, professionals (like me) who are simply utilizing craigslist for it's intended purpose. Please don’t make the assumption that I’m desperate, only semi-professional, or just looking to build my portfolio so I’ll work dirt cheap. I treat all my clients with respect and I handle every project with professional care, I deliver professional quality work, and my rates reflect a proper compensation for great services -- even if you did find me on craigslist.