Ready reckoner’s remarkable rates

THE FREELANCE Ready Reckoner for shift rates, devised by Andrew Bibby and mentioned in the last Freelance, has been attracting considerable interest - and also a little scepticism. Some have questioned the data or are surprised that the calculated daily rates for freelances appear so much higher that the rates usually paid in our industry. Is this another case of freelances' alleged penchant for whingeing for special treatment?

Absolutely not, Andrew replies. He stands by his calculations: "The aim has been to show the sort of levels of daily income which freelances should be receiving so that companies don't use freelance workers as a lower-cost alternative to staffers." And, he adds, "People often forget the additional costs to employers of having employees, above their salary."

The Ready Reckoner calculates that a staffer on £25,000, for example, actually costs the employer over £41,000, once accommodation, equipment and other costs are taken into account. "We need to be much more savvy about this. Freelances who sell themselves cheaply are not helping either themselves or their staff colleagues," Andrew says.

He adds that he has been asked how the Ready Reckoner can be used by freelances who are paid on a per-word basis. "You'll know on average how long it takes you to produce an article. Check the Reckoner table to see how this compares with the day rate," he says.

Finally, Andrew also reminds freelances that, as it stands, the Ready Reckoner is not appropriate for casuals doing shifts on clients' premises. However, he has now made a few tweaks of the Ready Reckoner program and come up with data which does take the typical situation of casuals into account.

A staff salary of £25,000, for example, equates to a day rate for casuals - for each and every working day of the year - of £136. The Ready Reckoner is based on the rule that three-fifths of a freelance's time is "productive" and paid - the rest is spent on admin, looking for work and so on. On that basis, a comparable casual day rate is £227. For a staff salary of £35,000, this day figure becomes £333.

This may be a lot more than most casuals are currently paid - but we should bear in mind that these day rates would not raise a hair in other occupations, such as freelance training. It's time to carry forward the battle for better pay rates. Because we're worth it...

The Ready Reckoner can be found at www.andrewbibby.com

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