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"Got carto skills?"

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Derek Tonn

Derek Tonn

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I am fairly certain you disagreed then agreed with my position ( "$10 is not a competitive rate for competent work" and "making sure that our work is vastly superior").
It is a reality for virtually any market, and the sooner we adapt to it, as Derek laid out, the better. Making lasting relationships with clients is key to sustaining work - where they know your
capabilities and really enjoy working with you.


Actually, no. I think people who are charging $10/hour for their work in countries such as India have the potential to be VERY competent in the work they produce. The difference is "micro" versus "macro" economics. The going rate for GIS work in Jesi might be the equivalent to $20-$30+ per hour. I have no idea on that, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point. $20-$30+ per hour might be what you need to lead a reasonably comfortable life in the "middle class." Compare that to many/most regions in India, where $20-$30+ per hour will likely make you among the financial elite...depending upon the particular city/community you live in.

So now let's say that you're in India, and you WANT to charge $20-$30+ per hour for your work, but the demand for your services in your country is very low and/or the pay rate is $8/hour or less. You decide that the BEST thing to do is to bring your services overseas, to countries with a much stronger demand that tend to pay a LOT more for your services than your "home" region. However, you ALSO know that if you're in India and charging $20/hour on a project in Jesi, while an Italian freelancer or firm is also offering to charge $20/hour on that same project, "tie" almost always goes to the local design firm.

So what do you do? You market your services overseas and charge at enough of a discount rate to overcome the "I'm not local" stigma that we all face when producing work outside our "home" region. You might be producing "$50/hour" work and simply cannot crack the markets/industries that are willing to pay for it. That said, what you charge is not equal to the quality of your work. In general, the "better" firms/freelancers can charge more for their services. However, every single region is different.

Our firm will typically charge between $60/hour and $80/hour for our work. However, when we're quoting work in China or Hong Kong, we're quoting 1/2 to 1/3 that. Does that mean that the quality of our work at $20-$25/hour has magically changed? No. That just means that we charge what the market is able to bear. ;)

The biggest mistake we all can make is taking the "rules" or "economics" of Jesi, Italy or Springfield, Minnesota and apply them to other regions in our country....other countries, other continents. But my habit of making a short story LONG simply intended to say that price does NOT necessarily equal quality. :) I've seen architects or ad agencies charge three times what a lot of us do to produce amateur, inaccurate crap. Economics, branding, product positioning and market forces are much, MUCH more complicated than that.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC


Maps.com Bryan

Maps.com Bryan


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Wow quite a thread going here.

Some background on the Maps.com Freelance Program:

Our goal by developing this program is to save time and increase capacity by outsourcing to freelance cartographers who can help with the work we would otherwise end up having to turn down. The program has been running for about 18 months now. We have over 70 cartographers signed up, and have paid almost $135,000 out to various cartographers worldwide on over 250 projects.

Cartographers sign up at a rate of about 3 per week and I accept in to the program maybe 60% of all those who do sign up. We are looking for quality cartographers who can deliver quality maps. I guarantee you that price is not the sole factor in determining who we outsource to. I’d rather pay significantly more for quality work than have to spend 5 additional hours fixing cheap shoddy maps. The purpose of the program is to save my staff time, not add to it. I’ve had freelancers deliver all sorts of garbage cartography, miss deadlines, freelancers saying they can’t do the job hours before a deadline, and even had one guy send a pornographic picture instead of a map (not kidding). I try to be as fair as I can with everyone – it’s a symbiotic relationship where we need your help as much as you might need the job. The last thing I want to do is burn anyone, especially in a small, tight knit community such as cartography. That being said if a freelancer delivers unusable cartography there is no way we are paying. I am sure you can all respect that as well.

On the other hand we’ve been fortunate to have developed some incredible working relationships with many talented cartographers. We are extremely thankful to all those that have helped us so far. As some have noted in this thread it does not hurt for you to sign up, check out the postings, and then decide if you want to participate or not. And since the program is set up on a bid basis you have the opportunity to bid based on what you think your time is worth. If you post a bid and don’t get the job you haven’t lost anything other than a few minutes spent reading the job posting. We are offering work to those who have the skills and have the time.

Anyway without rambling on too much longer......... Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments.


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