Do you do free pitches to win work? My experience is that some freelancers/agencies will never pitch for free and some always do.
Here’s why I normally don’t:
1. Potential clients nick my ideas
Especially in the case of PR and marketing pitch documents, I’ve come across far too many instances where potential clients ask three or four freelancers or agencies to come up with a full set of campaign ideas. Then, having digested the contents of them all, the potential client mysteriously announces they have decided to do it in-house because they ‘don’t really have the budget’.
So they nick the best of the ideas from all the documents and implement it themselves. Whether they are able to implement it properly themselves is another argument but it still makes me REALLY cross that they a) have the gall to do this and b) get away with it.
2. I don’t have capacity to work for ‘free’
When I’m busy working on client projects (ie: work I’m getting paid for), I don’t have the spare capacity to fit in unpaid work on a speculative basis.
Having said that, there is one instance when I’m happy to pitch for free: when the project is a lucrative, recurring one. For example, I’ve just submitted some sample copy spreads as part of a design agency’s pitch which, if successful, would mean a boost to my income of around £16,000 – £20,000 a year.
It took me around a day to complete but, as it turned out, this week has been fairly quiet so I had some free time to focus on it.
There are six design agencies in the frame, so it’s a long shot. I’ll know the outcome in a couple of weeks.
What about you? In which instances do you pitch for free?