The old man and the fee

Is price worth more than experience?

Age and experience come at a price, but freelance day rates for professionals in all areas continue to drop. A new report by the by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) claims that day rates are the second lowest on record – and could fall further.

Is price worth more than experience?

Is there a worse time to be a freelancer?

Brexit, IR35, and increasing competition are changing the freelance marketplace. The IPSE survey found that a quarter (25%) of freelancers expect their rates to fall in the next year.

Does this reflect a reduction in demand or an increase in competition?

The report makes no firm conclusions, but it’s likely to be a combination of both.

A damaging race to the bottom benefits nobody – including the client. Forcing freelancers to accept lower wages will affect their ability to survive – and to provide businesses with the short-term support and services that they need.

But it’s not all bad news.

Confidence or hubris?

While a sizeable proportion expect their remuneration to be affected, confidence in the marketplace is increasing. Across the range of professions, freelancers are forecasting a brighter 12 months – at odds with most economists’ forecasts for the wider economy.

There is some logic to this.

Freelancers have always existed – and in many cases thrived – in turbulent times. While businesses may not have the confidence to invest in internal capacity, a great freelancer can deliver the services required often at a much lower cost than employing someone directly.

Rates may stay static (or be eroded through inflation), but utilisation may increase as businesses navigate the economic uncertainty by purchasing the capacity they need, when they need it.

Invest in quality

For clients, the increase in the numbers of freelancers in the market (including low-cost providers located across the world) can make choosing who to work with difficult.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the content and copywriting world where a page of content can be written (or perhaps more accurately described as ‘generated’) for just a few dollars.

It’s a glib point to make, but there are no 30 year olds with 20 years’ experience.

When choosing a freelancer it’s important that you spend your money well. A few days working with an expert can be more effective than a few months with someone less skilled.

Whatever Brexit we settle on, the life of the itinerant wordsmith will be as tough as ever in the coming months and years. Confidence and stability in the economy may fluctuate, but for the good freelancer, uncertainty always means opportunity.

If you’re looking for some content or copywriting support then contact us today.

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