-do you have a contract that you present to a client before accepting the job offer especially if the client is from out of town? What form does this contract take and do you ask for a downpayment prior to starting the project?
i usually don’t do contracts. i tend to rely on my guts and except for very few occasions (exactly 2 in 17 years of freelancing) that worked out pretty well for me. i would consider it though if it would be a really big job (like several weeks/months of work) for a client i never worked for before. when i do stuff for clients from other countries for the first time i usually ask for a downpayment upfront. of course that also depends on who the client is. if a major tv station for instance from another country hires me i wouldn’t. if it’s a studio or company i never heard of before then yes, i request some money upfront. they usually understand.
-what is a good daily/weekly rate to focus on as an experienced 3D artist?
depends on your skill level and area you live in… i live in germany and i charge a daily rate of 400 - 800. it also depends who you are working for. studios and advertising agencies here rarely pay more than 500, if you have bigger companies as direct clients you can usually charge a bit more.
-after completing a clients project do you keep a copy for yourself to use in your portfolio?
what do you mean by keep a copy? of course the project data remains on my drives. the client usually gets the final output, sometimes they want source files as well, but why would i delete them after sending them???
-is there anything that you look for with a potential client that determines whether you will accept or reject their job offer?
yes, to me it’s very important that my clients are decent companies/people. i would never do any work for companies that don’t match my personal moral compass. if they pay very well i’m a bit more tolerant, but only to a certain extend … also there’s of course the fun factor. some jobs i tend to decline because they are just too boring and/or tedious, others i just can’t refuse because they are too much fun. i also tend to vary my rates a little depending on that factor.
-when accepting a job offer do you give the client an exact delivery date or a rough time frame in case of technical issues that may arise?
erm, most of the time you will be GIVEN a time frame, it’s called deadline. and usually that deadline was yesterday jokes aside, i rarely worked on any job where the client asked patiently when i think i’m going to be finished with it. they usually come to you with a rather unrealistic time frame and from there you have to try to talk some sense into them. and yes, if it’s a complicated task with a lot of variables i tend to plan in something extra. how much of course depends on the job.