Freelancing is all about flexibility — including the flexibility to work with clients all over the globe, no matter where you’re actually based. If you’re willing to give up just a little bit of that flexibility, though, you can often up your income.
The Meeting Premium
There are clients out there who will pay a premium in order to work with a freelancer just down the road. The ability to meet in person — or at least have a telephone conversation — is a service that freelancers can offer in order to up their income. I admit some personal bias, of course: I don’t particularly like working with clients over the phone. I like to have project details in writing at every step and, if I don’t get my way, I’m going to charge a little extra. I’m also going to charge a higher rate when I actually have to drive somewhere to meet with a client.
Don’t get me wrong: I like my clients. But both telephone and face-to-face meetings take more time than exchanging emails. I’m going to make sure my charges reflect the time I spend on those meetings.
Finding Local Work
Being able to charge that premium for face-to-face meetings can work out well for you — as long as you can find enough local work. There’s a new website, YaaZe, that is focusing on connecting local workers with gigs. You can set up a profile based on your zip code and apply for a variety of gigs (including freelancing opportunities). It’s a free service, which claims to be twenty times more precise in connecting both job seekers and employers than Craigslist.
The idea of working as a freelancer locally is certainly not new, but I do worry that prospective clients aren’t going to be as aware of the fact that they need to pay a reasonable rate for a local freelancer. As I see it, many companies have gotten used to the idea that they can find writers for a bare minimum: they’re used to online bid sites and so on which drive down prices because individuals who can afford to work for less are competing with those who can’t. You may need to educate your local clients on just what they’re paying for.
How do you feel about working locally? Have you seen any difficulties in explaining to clinets that they have to pay more for a face-to-face meeting?