Negotiating fees with pushy people

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Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2010-11-14 18:57
Negotiating fees with pushy people

 I need advice on how to deal with people trying to take advantage  when booking shows. I've been a henna artist for 13 years and am good at booking/negotiating shows and festivals but when it comes to private parties and private appointments I have a hard time asking for what I'm worth and not reducing my prices just to get work. 

I recently was asked to do henna for an art event where the promoter would pay me to do free henna on patrons for 4 hours. Bottom line was I agreed to do it for half my normal hourly rate because I have worked with this person on other shows and events. The day before the show I went to pickup my vendor pass and the check and she asked if I would come back that night to do henna for her and another person since they would not be able to get away to get their henna at the show. She said she wanted to be able to show off her henna to advertise and promote my work. 

Now without thinking I said yes I'd do it. No mention was made of being paid for this extra work and the tone of the conversation made it come across that she considered this extra work part of what I was being paid for. I was very flustered when I agreed to come back that night and left there really agrivated and felt taken advantage of.

So my questions are:

How do other henna artists out there deal with this issue?

On private appointments or events where you will be paid hourly do you demand payment ahead of time?

How would you nicely have declined to come back and do henna for the promoter? 

How would you have explained that there would be an extra charge for coming to do their henna? Keep in mind that she had just given me the check for the payment for the show as she was asking this and there were other people around so I didn't want to look like I was greedy by talking money in front of the other people there in the room.

Right now I'm feeling really embarrased for letting myself get into this situation as it's not like I'm new to this. HELP.....



Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 2010-04-26 06:47
Re: Negotiating fees with pushy people

 I totally know how you feel! I haven't been doing this quite as long as you -almost 11 years, but I think I may be able to help a bit.  I used to get a rush of guilt every time I gave a quote and thought things like "that sounds so expensive, maybe I should shave off the rate or reduce the mileage." I felt like a con artist asking for the same rate I know lesser artist charge! I'm feeling better about it now.

The first step is getting paid, whether you FEEL its the right rate or not, you KNOW its the right rate, right? The first step is a contract. Do it with every. hourly. client. I used to think "oh, its just a house party. Its silly to contract that," or "I won't bother contracting the univirsity. Of course they'll pay me in a timely way. They're a welll respected insititution." Forget that. Contract ever time. Your contract should inculde the kind of situations that you know come up a lot. Additional time is billed at x per hour. A non-refundable booking fee of $y is due at the time of signing to secure the date, and will applied to the total ammount due. This takes some of the flexibility out of the transaction that clients can use to manipulate your. It allows you to refer to the contract when the client asks something inappropriate. It gives you the POWER to differ to POLICY. A contract gives you a professional look that lets some folks know they can't take advantage. It gives you an opportunity to let the client know what to expect from you and what you expect from them. Good stuff!

Second step is feeling good about your rates. It can be uncomfortable to ask for such a rate! I had a lawyer that billed the same rate I do. Ya, it was a lot of years ago but that just seems so wrong! All that school and all that knowledge! Here's some thoughts that helped me. All those years practice! You have invested a lot of time and money in your skills. That is very valuable! I'm sure you've spent a lot of time, not just hennaing, but also sketching, building a catalog of designs, mastering your mix, researching history and culture and so on. You have invested in stuff like a website or ads, business cards, banners, booth set up, and so on. Maybe you've went to conferences, bought insurance, printed fliers, etc. Every monitary and time investment you've made needs to be paid out of your rates. If you don't charge enough, you don't get that overhead and education covered you've got a hobby, not a job. You are an ameture, not a pro! You're are a pro and deserve to be!

So to answer your specific question:

No, I don't ask for my fee up front but my contract states that I am to be paid at the event. I do waive that for instutions such as schools or libraries who sometimes due to their own policies need time AFTER service is rendered to process papers before they can give you a check. Everyone else pays me before I leave!

I wouldn't have declined, but I would have said I can come back at the contracted overtime rate! That way its on HER to decline.

Get a square if you don't have one! Its one of those card scanner things that plugs into an iPhone or Android phone so you can swipe credit cards. No special bank account. No monthly or per transactin fees. You just pay 2.75% of the transaction. If you have that you can take cash or charge for overtime when the chech is already written!

I hope you find all that helpful! It seems terribly long winded. Sorry about that.


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