I have found craigslist to be a great way of generating new leads for freelance work in this economy. Some homeowners may not be able to afford to hire a real firm but need something to be measured/drawn out for them in CAD. Some need someone to liaise with the city because they find the process intimidating or can not take time off work to do so themselves. I usually offer as-built measurement/drafting services as well as rendering, expediting, designing and 3D modeling. Knowing how to field measure is one of the most useful skills a budding architectural designer can possess. Having a competitive hourly rate is a great advantage, as well as, having set prices for services predetermined. It is hard to estimate how long something will take and many clients want to know how much time so they can estimate how much they will spend for your services. The hard part in answering this question is, the unkown factor that any complications will play. If the city needs clarification or the client changes their mind about a decision they made, more time will be spent than just simply drafting it up. And sometimes you know just from speaking to a client they will change their minds a lot, demand special attention and cost you a great deal of time and money, but other times it will catch you by surprise. That’s why I feel that generally an hourly rate with a cap of a percentage of the total construction cost seems to be the most fair. That way you are covered because your client will think harder about their decisions and change their minds less because they know you work by the hour. I have never met the percentage cap, even with my most indecisive clients, but the idea of it gives the client a sense of security knowing that your services are factored in to the budget. It also sounds more professional than saying you don’t know how long it will take. 🙂
In my ad, I usually include a link to my website and/or an online portfolio, as well as, a link to my resume. I list my skills and platform/software info in a long set of keywords but I keep the body text general and friendly. That way people searching for specific skills can still find me but I don’t bore or scare off the average client.
The most important thing to remember is that your time is valuable. Many people who search craigslist want something for nothing or next to it. Offering to do a free consultation is fine but know where to draw the line. Answer questions confidently but know when you have given them enough information to establish that you know what you are doing. Then offer to schedule a meeting for a price. No matter how desperate you may be for a job, remember that you do not have to take every job. There will be more. Take the ones you feel you will do well and for a decent paycheck because many projects I get are either repeat clients or referrals from previous ones and they will be expecting the same rates. Flexibility is okay but don’t sell yourself short and don’t be a wet blanket. You are in the position of control and authority.
These ads only last a week and you can only post in one category. So either make more than one account 🙂 or find which category fits you best and post religiously. Just remember that the people who search for you may see every other ad you post from other accounts and become annoyed at the redundancy.