I hope you bear with me. This is going to be quite a long post. I want to lay out my situation in detail in hopes of getting advice as to what I should do and how to approach it the best way possible.
When I was in college, I was an intern for a digital agency. One time, the client liked one of the works we did for them so much so he wanted to meet the graphic designer. Long story short, after my internship, he contacted me if I was willing to be their "on-call" graphic designer, meaning I would work for them if projects arise. I agreed to it.
I don't work at their office. I work from home. We talk online. We meet if necessary. I go to their office if I have time. And if I do, I work DIRECTLY and BESIDE him as HE GIVES comments right away.
There was no contract or whatsoever but we verbally agreed I would be paid for every 2-3 projects—which weren't difficult but they require the right creative direction to nail the what the client wants—at about $400.
I'm no longer a student and just got recently hired on my first day-job.
Our relationship went on for 3 years. During those years, I got paid fairly I would say. It was a good relationship I would say too. But there was a period when I didn't get any work from him for about 5-6 months until in March. So from March - July, I worked on a couple of projects including those projects we did long time ago for revisions. I was waiting for him to pay me after our last project in July but it was almost September and I still haven't gotten it. I sent him a message telling him about it and even sent him an invoice detailing the projects we did.
He was surprised that the invoice was more than what he was usually paying me. Reason being is we had 6 projects during that span and I billed him for $600. I told him how much he was paying before and what it meant in terms of the "projects rendered", which is how I reached that number.
It's now October and we're still negotiating (or probably arguing) how much money I should get paid for.
We met a few days ago and sort of settled how we would go about this. He said moving backwards, I would give him an amount that I think is reasonable for the work and projects rendered. And now moving forward, we would agree on X money every month if there's a project and X money if there's none. I would send him both figure and see if we could agree on it.
I told him the figure but again he thinks they're too high. I said $250/month if we have a project, $80 if there's none. And $500 for the works rendered in March - July.
He told me that I should have a basis for this but I don't know how else I'm going to justify the rate. I based it on the number of hours it takes me to work on a single project — including but not limited to brainstorming, researching, designing, setting up the files correctly, etc.
What now is the solution?
Now I still haven't replied to him because I don't know how to approach the situation. I'm thinking of telling him again how I arrived with that amount (as said above). I would also say to him that I was hired as a GRAPHIC DESIGNER but the responsibility I do is way beyond that. I believe in an agency or design studio, when hired for projects that I'm doing, has a PRINT PRODUCER who manages the files for printer. And I do all of those. I manage the files, set up the files to make sure the printer gets the correct color and size, should know which paper and texture to use, etc.
But is it fair to say so? I also want to say that when doing our projects, he has basically unlimited revisions because it's tough to get what he wants so much so I go to their office just so we can get the revisions done immediately. Not to mention the LATE fees from March - July.
He has told me he thought of hiring an in-house graphic designer but it would be costly to do so, about $300 monthly compared to my usual $200. But it means he would be working at the office, he can finish things faster and efficiently. But he chose not to because we already have a relationship.
I don't know how else to justify my rate but it seems like he doesn't see the value of the work I do for him. He hasn't given a counter-offer of these figure "$200/month if we have a project, $80 if there's none. And $500 for the works rendered in March - July." he just said he hasn't even agreed to the previous amount of $200 (just divide the $400 from our original agreement before to 2 to make it 1 project per month) and now I'm raising it to $250.
What do you think? Am I being too greedy here? Am I not fair enough? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
P.S. All numbers are arbitrary. But to be honest with you when the numbers are converted to Philippine Pesos, it's more or less near the "market rate" or what is accepted for the kind of work I'm doing.