Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Paid what you're worth...(again)

Nice timing. I talk about free services, and the NYTimes does an update on the On the Cheap series.

From the start, this series bothered me. Mainly because the NYTimes solicited their readers to write in their problems as potential clients and then asked designers to participate by waiving their fees. The readers got beautiful rooms that "fit within their budgets". The professionals participating? Well, supposedly publicity.

The projects required full design services from the professional participating. And, to the credit of those participating, the professionals seemed to take on the projects with zeal. Not just a 5 minute consultation, some sketches, and a sample board. They were on site, arranging furniture, ordering, coordinating, even making items for their respective clients.

Now, I know many firms write off a certain amount under marketing expenses. So, I imagine the professionals who opted in for this series saw it as such. It might be time not paid, but certainly it is magnificent exposure. But, as with any foray into a public forum, not all the articles in the series were flattering.

The professionals, in participating for free, were not only subject to the typical ups and downs of completing a project, they were now doing in under the scrutiny of the NYTimes readership. Everything laid open for others to judge. The problems that might arise between client and professional. Aired for entertainment, framed by the narration of third party. Worth the price? I wonder how many new jobs the participating firms got.

I am glad that the NYTimes included the cost of the design services performed. And the services fees weren't insignificant. Personally, I think it would have been better for the NYTimes to cover those expenses, rather than asking for professionals to donate it. After all, the NYTimes isn't some non-profit organization, publishing for free. They make money off what they write and the subjects they write about.

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Anonymous richcorbusier@hotmail.com said...

The same as those stuipid TV made over or design shows which they redo the whole house for $1000 for paints, rugs, cutains and crappy decorative stuff. There is no mention of the design fee, labours fees or even if they need to pull a permit for knocking down a wall.

4:21 PM  

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