When considering offers of freelance work my priorities are: (in order highest to lowest)
Is it interesting? By that I mean is it technically challenging (I’m not interested in mechanical models) or is the design problem one for which I think I have some good ideas. Does it use abilities I don’t often get to employ?
Is it limited? I don’t like to get tied to a huge project which keeps me from having other options.
Is it worthwhile? Will the work be enjoyed by a large number of people (or a very enthusiastic small number) for a long time. When working as one sculptor on a large project there is sometimes a problem of consistency and compatibility of style with others on the project. I’m quite flexible and can imitate any style I’ve seen (up to now) but I don’t particularly enjoy it and inconsistency can spoil a range.
What does it pay?
How much latitude will I be given? I don’t mind if it’s none provided the order specifies EVERYTHING about the project I need to know. If the latitude is wide I expect the commissioner to be happy with what he gets. I do not like to do people’s research for them. In my experience no one not even a sculptor knows everything he’s going to need to know to complete a project he’s never done before.
Do I know the commissioner, either directly or by reputation from people I do know? Are they easy to work with?
As indicated above, pay rate is not my first priority and no miniature project pays nearly as well as toy work (which is what I have been mainly doing the last few years)anyway. I am open to royalty work, but only if I know and trust the commissioner. From what I have seen my ordinary rate for commission work on gaming figures is about 50% higher than the rate most people regard as ‘normal’. My experience is most commissioners regard as normal the lowest price they’ve ever heard. You pay for what you get, but you don’t necessarily get what you paid for.
My schedule is almost always terribly backed up.. anything up to 6 months or a even a year