First, I want to say how much I appreciate your blog and emails. I’ve been freelancer for about a year now and while I haven’t been wildly successful yet, I enjoy all of the advice and encouragement you provide.
Second, I applied for a contract position I found in one of your job lists a few months ago. They didn’t contract me for the job, but they’ve contacted me with another project.
My quandary is this, they are a European publisher and I’m not sure if there are any specifics I should be concerned about before undertaking this project. They are a large publisher so I’m not too worried about being ripped off, but is there anything I should be aware of?
They requested my birth date and place, address, tax number (SSN), and VAT. I don’t have a VAT and assume I don’t need one, but I could be wrong. I think it’s kind of odd that they want my birth place and date.
They offered a fairly low rate of pay, but I’m willing to accept it right now. However, they gave a pay rate in Euros – I don’t want to absorb any currency exchange fees if they cut me a check in Euros. I think I’m going to ask for an additional 10% to cover any exchange fees. Does that sound reasonable?
I’m not sure if you have any experience in this area, but I don’t know where else to turn! Thank you for any advice.
Glad you find the blog useful and congratulations on having a publisher contact you.
I don’t really know the answers to these questions, but let me tell you what I can and ask those readers in Europe to fill us in.
VAT is a Value Added Tax that’s paid in Europe. I doubt they will insist. It’s probably either your social security number or your VAT number. Depending on how they are asking I might simply send my SSN and let them ask me again for the additional information if they really want it.
As I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere I prefer being paid by Paypal when I have an overseas client because I’ve had some trouble with checks and my soon to be ex bank Chase. I think you can also use the merchant side of Google Checkout although I’m not as familiar with that.
Of course, some still insist on paying by check. You can check in advance with your bank to determine the fees, although Chase couldn’t tell me which is one of the reasons I’m leaving them.
I also like these services because I don’t have to think so much about exchange rates. Yes, I pay a fee, but it’s one I include in my rate, although I don’t spell it out.
You do need to make sure you’re not underearning. You can find a zillion currency converters with a quick search. Choose one that makes sense to you, make sure the date is fairly current and enter your amount.
So, where am I wrong and what other information does SKM need?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu