Chances are that if you are a creative, you’ve been approached or thought about trading services with another. While it may sound like a good deal ( and probably really enticing, let’s face it! ), make sure that you are always fair to yourself and others. It’s a two way street. I can’t stress this enough. Because we typically use currency to pay for goods + services nowadays, there is an established value for each and every creative, which is important to respect. Everyone has a different story and experience level. But no matter what, they have worth. SO, if you are considering a trade of services, here are a few things to keep in mind :
01. Do your research and attempt to come up with a realistic monetary value for what’s being traded. Maybe a photographer needs a new website and offers their graphic designer a free session for shooting design portfolio work. Or maybe a florist provides their services to a well respected stylist for exposure during highly anticipated shoot. This kind of stuff happens all the time in the creative world! But no matter the scenario, try your best to figure out what’s fair. Take what you would usually charge and SUBTRACT the trade portion’s value. Sometimes this means you’re working entirely for trade. Other times it’s simply a portion.
02. Although you may be performing your services for a trade, you should still follow your typical process and have the client sign a contract. Ultimately, this protects both sides in terms of holding up each end of the bargain. Don’t think of your payment process as being TOO different. There is still a form of value being traded, even if it isn’t in the form of bills.
03. At all times, remember that if you DON’T think the trade is fair, it’s okay to be vocal about it and even say no. Discussion is okay and nobody will ever force you into something you simply don’t want to do. More often than not, creatives are really understanding about getting paid their worth for work and don’t want to make anybody feel slighted in any way. If it doesn’t work – it doesn’t work.
I’m not saying either way that you should or shouldn’t trade. I think that it’s a topic open for discussion and each and every creative is different in terms of how they approach these situations! I myself have worked for trade a handful of times and have even approached others to work this way, too. And so far, I haven’t regretted any of my choices. They’ve turned out to be wonderful collaborations that I would do again in a heartbeat! So what about you? Anybody have good / bad experiences? Feel free to share in the comments section. I’d love to hear!