Friday, August 25, 2006

Price versus Quality

Writing for a living can be a tough and often thankless job, particularly for writers who work in the commercial space. I am fortunate to be doing what I love for a living. I take as much pride in the quality of my work and professionalism as I did when I worked in Corporate America. However, there are those in the business world who seem to have a disregard for the commercial writing profession.

As a commercial writer I have to find jobs. No fancy bylines or articles for me. I have to spend a portion of my week on business development. In the past year that I’ve been in business, I have developed regular clients but as all business owners know you can never stop marketing. So, I use several of the freelance boards to bid on writing assignments. It’s a great way to reach a target market but every group has its rotten apples. As I sifted through project listings today, I ran across what sounded like an awesome creative writing project until I read the post. The client was looking for talented, creative, dependable, flawless writers with excellent command of the English language. This client was tired of posting projects only to work with writers who have disappointed in some way. The client was unwilling to pay any up front deposit because he’d been burned in the past. The post was one of the longest I’d ever seen with many requirements. I was interested until the end “will only buy in bulk, 50 articles, 1 per day, will pay no more than $1 per article.”

If the article takes 2 hours to research and write, you are making $0.50 an hour. At 2 hours per article, you are giving this client a little more than 2 weeks of your time for a whopping $100.00. The client complained about quality but the old adage “you get what you pay for” does apply here. This client will get lots of bids but at that price will not find quality writers.

It leaves me wondering, if we have reached the point that we are so price driven that quality no longer matters. For my sake and that of other service professionals I hope that time will prove me wrong.


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