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Why we don't work for free

If you value your professional expertise and experience, why would you give it away for free?
Clare Lydon

Clare Lydon

2 minute read
March 12, 2024
If you value your professional expertise and experience, why would you give it away for free?
Why we don't work for free Image

Let’s say you’re seeking legal advice. Would you expect a lawyer to give you their professional guidance before you decided if you were going to pay them? My guess is probably not…

In our opinion, creative expertise is no different. We don’t believe it’s fair or ethical for creative agencies to complete work for free as part of the pitching process. It puts our team under unnecessary stress and diverts precious resources away from paid projects.

But more than this, asking for our ideas free of charge undermines the creative process and the integrity of our work. This leads to work that is neither insight driven nor collaborative, which doesn’t lead to the best outcomes for clients. A unique solution that’s tailored to a client’s specific challenges and needs is ultimately worth paying for.

In our experience, the best way to manage a pitch process is to identify a shortlist of 3 suitable agencies and engage in conversations to share requirements, establish rapport and mutual understanding, and sense check credibility through experience and approach. We love these kinds of new business conversations, as they help both us and future clients decide if we’re a good fit for each other.

If your organisation’s procurement rules require a more formal process, this approach still translates. A tender request or quotation can be built around demonstrating expertise through approach and previous experience, with commercial fit established through sample pricing exercises. Many of our relationships with outstanding clients have begun this way, including the likes of Médecins Sans Frontières, Bradford College and Now Foster.

So, if you want us to produce creative work or campaign strategy and ideas as part of a sales process – we’ll say no. Not because we don’t want to work with you (we do), but because we value our expertise and the wellbeing of our team, and are committed to the integrity of our industry.

If you’ve got an upcoming project you’d like to discuss, please do get in touch.