Like many freelancers do, I scan the People Per Hour (PPH) freelance work site - by all means register and try it yourself (click here) - to see if there's a little bit of extra work I can pick up when there's a lull in my mainstream freelancing.
However, it never ceases to amazes me not only the often straightforwardly parsimonious rates people offer to pay for their jobs, but more, the sometimes crass idiocy of some of the freelancers who apply for those jobs. They fail to realise that by acceding to ridiculously low rates, they are sustaining the cheapskates who use the PPH site not as a recruiting ground for freelance professionals to help get a job done, but as a shop window to get jobs done on the absolute cheap.
It seems to becoming a haven where the unscrupulous take advantage of the unwary.
Let me explain.
I was alerted to a copywriting job today. Looked interesting, but demanded a pound, going on near 20 kilos of flesh. The job-poster wanted someone to write, over the course of one to two weeks (not full-time, of course) 20, original, high quality, plagiarism-free (fair enough!), 500-word articles. With full ownership of the articles transfering to the purchaser (to presumably enable them to pass off as their own work) when complete.
So we're talking here a good 15 hours work, if the articles were to be professionally and well-crafted.
And the reward?
A whacking, big, £64 Sterling. Less the commission due to PPH for the introduction (I don't for one minute deny the site that at all), bringing it down to £57. That's £3.80 an hour (with tax, costs - heating, lighting, internet access, insurance, PC depreciation - still to be deducted from that, taking it down further to about £2.75 an hour net) for a professional writer willing to give up their full copyright and ownership of original work.
The minimum hourly rate in the UK for an under 18 year-old with no qualifications or experience is currently £3.68 (official minimum wage for an adult is currently £6.19 an hour).
I find this appalling.
Yes, let the customer beware. But why does it always have to be that way? Is there not one ounce of honour and honesty left anywhere in the world today? Always rip-off, rip-off, rip-off.
I challenged the poster to find me a solicitor and accountant at an equivalent rate. I also asked the web-designing poster of a job at similar slave rates if he would design my website at the equivalent of the £4.20 an hour he was offering.
He said 'no'. Quelle surprise!
His rate was £55 an hour. Yet he expected me to write creatively for him at a rate thirteen times lower than he charged for his services.
Sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander here!