[ASC-list] Rates for freelance work

Bobby Cerini bobby.cerini at anu.edu.au
Wed Feb 2 04:39:04 UTC 2011


In response to Rachel¹s query I can suggest the following rules of thumb for
freelance work:

Not all science communication work is created equal, nor are all employers.
You need the ability to quote flexibly on each piece of work, in a way which
addresses the different components of a job.
The rates you charge may vary with the budget available, the nature of the
work, your experience and skills, and the reputation that precedes you.

For example, if you are starting out and want to charge for science
presentations or science writing, then you have to be aware that there are
plenty of good science presenters and writers out there. Many people are
good performers on stage or page, and are often willing to work initially
for a lower pay rate in exchange for the opportunity of exposure and
experience. Therefore you¹re initially competing in a cheap labour market ­
you¹ll need good negotiation skills to argue your case, particularly until
you have established a name for yourself, are offering a high quality of
work, have clients who will attest to your skills, and you can identify and
market any additional value or points of difference you bring to the table.

Once you have established yourself, you are competing against other
professionals who are generally charging standard rates for their work. As a
rule, you should know what the industry awards are for the nearest
comparable industries and work to these. If you¹re well recognised, highly
esteemed, extremely skilled, very talented or just plain lucky then you will
at times be able to charge more than standard rates; for example, if you¹re
famous then your name might act as a draw card for public events. But there
aren¹t all that many people in this situation in science communication;
mostly, standard rates are the go and most professional organisations are
happy to pay them.

Industry standards are available for professional actors, editors, writers,
directors, producers and the like. These can all be found on the Media
Entertainment and Arts Alliance website at www.alliance.org.au/resources.
It¹s also a good idea to talk to people you know who are already in the
freelance game, and also to prospective clients about the rates they offer
for standard work. 

Best wishes

Bobby Cerini
PhD Candidate & Consultant in Science Communication

The Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS)
A Centre for the National Commission of UNESCO

The Australian National University
Building 38A ­ Physics Link
Canberra, ACT 0200 
CRICOS provider 00120C

Email: bobby.cerini at anu.edu.au
Web: http://cpas.anu.edu.au

Telephone: 0415 032 701


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