How Not to Ask for Help

I look at Craisglist periodically. I look not only in the hopes of finding a rare gem of a client, but also for the entertainment value of some of the listings.

I’ve previously posted about a job found on Craigslist earlier. I found two more that could use some comment.

Looking for someone who designs flyers
Lowest bid gets the gig

  • Location: Santa Ana
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: no pay

So basically, this guy is looking anyone who will do this job for nothing. No portfolio review. No experience needed. No demonstrated competence at all. While it may be true that this guy needs a simple flyer that he’s going to copy and litter people’s windshields with, why is he going to the trouble of having someone design it? On the other hand, if it’s such an easy job worthy of very little compensation, why can’t he crack open Word or Publisher (Shudder!) and do it himself?

And then there was this one.

I have a jpg photo of a design that I would like to have enhanced. The colors are a bit faded, they could be more vivid. Hopefully I can find someone that knows what they are doing, maybe using adobe photoshop.
This gig pays $20 via paypal only. I email it to you, you hance the colors and make it look new and defined, email it back and if the results are reasonable I will either say no, ask for more detail, or paypal you $20.
I need someone asap, thx.

  • Location: Irvine
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: $20 if a reasonable job can be done, nothing if the results are poor

This sounds like a fairly straight-forward image retouching job. However, I’ve learned that there are very few jobs that are “straight-forward”. No matter how you think something will work out, there always seems to be a little wrinkle you don’t expect that needs to be solved. This is aside from the fact that that my retouching starts at $100 an hour with a minimum of one hour billed. This guy wants to only pay $20 and he’ll only pay if he likes it?

The typical thinking is that this is a simple job that just about anyone with image editing software should be able to do. While that may be true, more often that not it isn’t. What needs to be understood is that what the client thinks is an easy task is only easy because I have spent years learning the software and developing my photo retouching techniques and eye. It’s akin to watching a great athlete. Just because he makes it look easy doesn’t mean it is and doesn’t mean that anyone can do it.

In the end, these two posters may get exactly what they are looking for. However, I think it’s more probable that they will get exactly what they are paying for and end up with some very unsatisfying results. The adage “You get what you pay for” is a popular saying for a reason. What is certain is that they will not be seeing any bids from me. My time is too valuable to me to even write a proposal for something that will only pay $20. If you want a job done professionally, be prepared to pay a professional what he is worth.

If you don’t, your great idea may end up like this in reality:

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