Print compnay employer is requesting my pay requirements - help
November 8, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

A print company owner is asking me what my pay requirements are to join his staff as an illustrator. How much do people who do this kind of thing make?

I live in a large city known for its arts and music scene. I've been looking for work here as an artist, graphic designer or illustrator, but it's been discouraging because there are SO many good artists in town.

So I got a message from the owner of an art press based here, who posted an opening for a full-time artist/illustrator a few weeks ago. They produce product lines for people who want sets of promotional items - posters, mugs, key chains, pamphlets, tee shirts, and pretty much anything a client might want an illustration on. From what I can tell, the job involves finding out what the client wants and in some cases designing a logo, to producing posters or other full-page concepts and themed product lines featuring custom art for the client.

I sent him some samples, and I saw that he looked at my LinkedIn profile. He sent me another note today to say they're still trying to "build out our team" and would like to know what my pay requirements might be for the position.

I'm unsure what ballpark to ask for. I've done freelance art work, and radio work. I worked at a union radio station and got a pretty high starting rate six years ago of $30 an hour. When that gig ended, I figured I'd never be making that kind of pay again (without totally changing my field or getting more education or whatever).

I now have a part-time radio non-union job where I make $22 an hour and work only one day a week (which is why I'm still for another an additional, gig).

I'm also a freelance illustrator, and my fees can range from $50 to $300 or so. I charge per project rather than hourly, because if I did the latter I'd price myself out of the market since I work a bit slowly.

So - how much does this guy need to know of my background in terms of what I've made? Should I let him in on it, or shall I come up with an hourly rate and see what he says?

Can I be tricky and ask him what the position pays? Or will he see that as manipulative?

Any insight from those who've worked as in-house illustrators would be very welcome.
posted by cartoonella to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't tell him what you've made in the past at various jobs or freelance contracts. I would tell him what you want.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tell him what you want, if $30 per hour is the going rate, that's $1,200 per week, less whatever benefits cost. So $52,000 annually. You want to quote an annual number, because you want to be salaried.

If they can't afford you for that, you can counter with "I want benefits and I'll take what you're offering but I'll work a 30 hour week."

That's what my sister did. Sweet, right?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

I would really try to avoid throwing out a number if you can, by saying I am really interested in the jib and would hope to be paid the going rate is or whatever is far. You don't have to give him a number -- you can say you are open-minded and very interested in the job and see what number he puts out. If you want to, you could say your work in the past has been project-based so you would be interested to see what sort of salary range the position would offer. Then that gives you a plausible reason for not having a number and basically asks him to make an offer. It sounds like you want this job more than he needs you, so it's the hard balance of making as much as you can without scaring him off. If you must give a number, try to figure out what a reasonable salary or rate for this job is in your city. Then I'd give a 10k range (somewhere in the 50k bracket, for instance) but mention that you are open to negotiation because you're very interested in the job.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Absolutely nothing wrong or rude with asking him about "what the position pays." It's always beneficial in negotiation to have the other person give a number first – just keep in mind he'll probably be trying to do the same!

If they're helpful, here are some wage/salary stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Graphic Designers
Fine Artists (incl. illustrators)
Scroll down for more region-specific numbers that may be interesting.

Keep in mind that if you are working full-time for the company you will likely be working "work-for-hire", so your employer will own the full copyright of your artwork, and with the exception of self-promotion you will not be able to re-use or re-sell any of the art yourself. If they are not able/willing to meet your salary expectations, you can always suggest that artwork rights be put on the table and that the company only retain limited rights. (Though they may have their hands tied in this regard by their agreements with their clients who likely also expect to own full rights of the images on their promo materials.)
posted by Kabanos at 10:19 AM on November 10, 2014

« Older Please save my marriage. With cheese.   |   Gaming without the grind? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.