Over the weekend I spent about three hours working on an article for a local client of a business where I am also a customer. I asked for a decent rate which was accepted and things were rolling along good until my last e-mail from them.
They went from liking the article to not being excited about it at all and finally decided they didn’t want it after all.
The mistake I made was not having an agreement in place for a kill fee. I feel I wasted 3 hours of my work time.
In an instance like this, I am wondering what a typical kill fee should be?
William (Dann) Alexander, Frogsong Productions, www.dannalexander.wordpress.com
Interesting thought – including a kill fee in a contract with a business client. I associate a kill fee more with assignments from the better magazines and newspapers, but as you describe the situation the client changed their mind so a kill fee might have been appropriate.
Allena Tapia over at About.com agrees in her post, What Is A Kill Fee? Her example uses 25 percent of the original amount as the negotiated fee – negotiated in advance. So it should, as you indicate, become part of the original contract.
The approach I use with clients is to take a non-refundable deposit before I start to work, although I’ll admit to not doing that when single articles are involved. I generally charge between a quarter and a half up front.
I think asking for a deposit might be easier in the business world only because they understand that concept. Explaining kill fee might confuse the issue.
The other thing I like about a deposit is I have the money in hand. If the project goes south I have been paid something and don’t have to try to collect a fee from the by then probably disgruntled client.
How do you protect yourself with clients?
If you’ve got a question about freelance writing email it to me with Q&A in the subject line.