I know you’ve seen them: those vinyl letters pasted on the back windows of almost any vehicle sold in Bismarck-Mandan, proclaiming the URL (website address) of the dealership which sold the vehicle. Often they’re very large, almost always they use a rather unattractive font, and they’ve been a pet peeve of mine since they started popping up.
I’d figured that when I found myself in the position of buying a new vehicle, I’d propose that the dealership either remove said decals before I take the vehicle or give me a $300 payment or credit on the vehicle in exchange for leaving the decals on the car for one year. After all, advertising has value. Dealerships pay radio and TV stations to advertise for them. But as a long time advocate of “if you want something done right, do it yourself” I decided not to do so when buying my wife a vehicle recently. Also, the sales person is a friend and I didn’t want to dump that kind of conflict in his lap.
This reminds me of the occasional “offer” I receive – and others in the creative and technical fields receive as well – of doing something either for free or for a ridiculously low fee. Invariably it comes with the promise that “you’ll get your name out there” (without actually saying where “out there” is) as a result of donating my time and work to said offer.
Right. My name is “out there” plenty, and I have more than enough side work (mostly video, sometimes photo) to keep me busy – especially when juggling kids, a new house, and (from 2013-2015) serious health issues. I think I’ll pass on such a promise.
In our photo club people who engage in photography and other pursuits for a living urge up-and-coming photographers to charge what they’re worth. I like to hammer four little words into every such conversation: Your work has value.
So does someone driving around with your website emblazoned across their car window. In fact, there are places that will pay you to put decals on your car and drive around with them. The car dealerships are well aware of what the product on their lots and in their showrooms is worth. They’re not afraid to tell you and charge you accordingly. Therefore they should not be offended if, no hard feelings, you take that new purchase home and promptly scrape off the uncompensated advertising as soon as is convenient. That’s exactly what I did. No hard feelings, but nobody rides for free.