Like anyone, in the course of my freelance graphic design career I have made some mistakes, one of those being that in my earlier freelancing days I did some free pitching (won a few lost a few). It’s something I haven’t done for a long time now and I wanted to explain why, so you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.
5 Reasons Why Free Pitching for a Design Job is a Mistake
1. You need to increase your prices by 3 or 4 times
Let’s face it if you are free pitching you probably won’t know how many people you are pitching against, but at a guess it’s a minimum of 2 others. So the odds of you getting the job are 1 in 3, which means that in order to make as much as you would for doing normal paid work you need to charge at least three times more.
2. Winner doesn’t take all
Because winning one job doesn’t mean you will get all the rest of the work. I have pitched and won a job, but the majority of the rest of the companies’ work was done in house.
3. No one may win the work
Just because a company have asked designers to free pitch does not mean they will award it the work to anyone. In the past I have free pitched and then the client has decided not to go ahead with the job with anyone. Of course it was no skin of their nose as they hadn’t paid anything to any of the designers/design agencies who took part.
4. You can’t necessarily give your best work
If you are quiet a free pitch seems like it’s not a bad idea as you have plenty of time to spend on it. So what happens when you get a few paid jobs in? You then have a choice, put in a second rate effort with the time you have or pull out of the free pitch last minute (I have done the latter) neither of which look good on you.
5. Your work might be copied
Imagine you have done your free pitch, but unfortunately you didn’t win the job, there is still a chance elements of your work may appear in the final design. I don’t even mean through total plagiarism, but perhaps the client liked some of the elements you used in your design or the colours or fonts you used, chances are they will somehow incorporate them into the final design however innocently (or not).
I haven’t done a free pitch in a long time and if you are thinking about it BEWARE. The only way I can see when Free Pitching could be a viable option would be if it was to win all of a companies’ design work and not simply one job.
What do you think about free pitching? Have you done it yourself? Would you do it again? Please tell me your thoughts in the comments below.
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