There is no such thing as a ‘free pitch’

In reply to Rebecca Bletcher (Letters, DW 17 November), there is no such thing as a ‘free pitch’. Someone has to pay. The work you are doing for ‘free’ is being paid for by your existing clients.

Clients who act unprofessionally, by requesting free pitches, don’t know what they are doing. They’re ignorant. They are the same clients who rudely keep you waiting in reception for 40 minutes, never provide the information on time, expect you to work unsocial hours and solve their problems.

If they expect one thing for free, they will expect something else for free too. Why pay you at all? They are, inevitably, the same clients who never pay on the terms of the invoice and usually take six months or more. And, if they are prepared to supplant other design groups in this way, what makes you so sure they won’t treat you in exactly the same way?

Creativity isn’t everything. A professional service that answers the client’s brief also has a lot to do with it. Advising the client of the best solution, not ‘doing what the client wants’, is a professional responsibility.

A working relationship based on trust and professional respect also forms the basis of an effective working relationship. Sometimes that might mean standing up to the client and telling them some unsavoury home truths. Professional respect is earned. As for an ethical responsibility to your fellow professionals, the community, society and, heaven forbid, ‘the environment’, well, it doesn’t matter does it?

The term ‘profession’ is defined as a paid occupation – therefore free pitches are unprofessional. Clearly Bletcher has yet to come across the ‘client’ who: does a ‘free pitch’; employs no one; cherry picks the best ideas and represents them as their own; or does a ‘free pitch’, selects the best ideas and uses their incumbent printer/designers to implement them.

Geoff Gradwell, Gradwell Corporate Design, Preston, PR2 1ZS

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