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Securing A Gig

This section helps you understand some of the terminology you might come across in the hiring process, along with helpful templates you can take reference from to adapt for your own needs.

Click on the links below to jump to the respective sections:

 
What is Procurement?

Every organisation needs to procure or purchase a slew of products and services. The objective of a Procurement Policy is to ensure all purchases are authorised, and that the purchases accomplish the organisation’s goals. Hence, each organisation will have its own unique Procurement Policy, where the larger the organisation is, the more complex its Policy.

A Procurement Policy simply means a set of principles and procedures which includes approval limits e.g. a manager can approve a lower amount than the CEO.

What is Purchase Requisition?

This is an organisation's internal process, where a purchase must follow its Procurement Policy. In short, it is a “Boss, can I buy this?” process. As one of the key considerations of most organisations is to minimise cost, to “ask first before buying” is extremely important. Just as an arts freelancer you might have paperwork to handle, know that the hiring organisation will also be managing many internal processes to get you hired.

What is a Quotation?

As part of the procurement process, you will be asked to give a Quotation. A Quotation is how organisations determine who best to appoint, whether on the basis of price, quality or scope. While doing up a Quotation may seem like extra paperwork, it is an essential part of your pitch and also often a compulsory internal procedure for the organisation wanting your service.

When asked to give a Quotation, please include:

a) Your scope of work or the description of the service you are offering or the item you are selling or renting to the organisation;

b) The fee or price you are hoping to receive; and

c) Any terms and conditions you may want from the organisation.

To help you get started, we have prepared a Quotation sample which you can adapt.

What is a Purchase Order and Order Form?

A “PO” is a Purchase Order that an organisation will give you after it has gotten approval to purchase your service. This is an external document to the vendor (that’s YOU) and forms a binding agreement when accepted by the vendor (yes, that’s YOU again). The PO will stipulate what is being purchased, at what price, and on what terms. Instead of accepting a PO, a vendor like you might want to issue an Order Form for the purchaser to accept, with all terms and conditions already pre-printed on the Order Form.

As an arts freelancer, it is quite unlikely that you will be issued a PO unless you are selling or renting out, say, an art-making equipment. You will also not need to create an Order Form for your hirer because you can simply ask your hirer to acknowledge on your Quotation with his signature and company stamp as acceptance of the work or item to be delivered. Just make sure you have all your terms and conditions stated on the Quotation.

What is a Letter of Agreement?

If an organisation is interested in hiring your skills and services as a freelancer on a contract basis, your binding contract is more likely to be a Letter of Agreement (LOA) rather than a PO, which spells out the salient contract terms between your hirer and you.

In the LOA, ensure the following is in place:

a) Your scope of work to be delivered;

b) The period you are given to complete this scope of work;

c) The fee given to you for this work;

d) Other expenses either the hirer or you will need to bear; and

e) Payment details, that is, how and when you expect to be paid.

As a point of reference, we have prepared a Letter of Agreement sample and a Performance Agreement sample which you can compare any Agreement you receive against.

What is an Invoice?

After delivering your project or service, you will often be required to issue an Invoice before you can be paid by the organisation. An Invoice is a payment demand for goods or services delivered, or for instalments due, based on contract terms. The organisation will match your Invoice to what was in your agreed contract, which could be your signed Quotation or your Letter of Agreement.

Before payment, the organisation will also assess the following:

a) Did you deliver as agreed, only partially, or not at all?

b) If it is a physical good like an art work that you have delivered, was it in agreed condition?

c) Was the delivery received and acknowledged by the organisation?

If all is in order, the organisation will then be able to process payment to you. So do issue that Invoice or you won’t get paid!

To help you get started, we have prepared an Invoice Without Tax Sample and an Invoice With Tax Sample for you to adapt.

 

NB

Invoice without Taxis used if:

a) You are an independent arts practitioner with no company backing.
b) You have a registered arts business entity that does not need to be GST registered*.

Invoice with Tax is used if:

a) Your arts business entity is GST registered*ie. with a unique GST registration number.

*GST registration is compulsory only if your arts business entity has taxable income exceeding SGD1 million.

What is a Timesheet?

This is basically a record of hours you spent working on a project. If you are an hourly or daily rated arts freelancer, there should be a Timesheet given to you by your hirer that you will need to fill in dutifully. It is then acknowledged by your hirer with his signature and your signature together. A Timesheet serves as proof of work done, and it is a document your hirer can use to process payment to you, without the need for you to raise an Invoice.

In addition, it can be helpful for you to take the time to document your work progress with email correspondences, mobile messages exchanged, etc. with your hirer. These can all serve as proof of work done.

If your hirer does not give you a Timesheet, here is a Timesheet Sample you may propose to your hirer.

It is good practice to always keep a Timesheet even if your contract stipulates a fixed fee, that is, you are paid the same amount regardless of having worked 40hrs a week or 67hrs a week. Filling up a Timesheet diligently allows you to see the actual number of hours you have spent on a project, and serves as a valuable benchmark for your next project Quotation.

Here is a Timesheet Sample for Personal Tracking purposes, for reference and use. 

In summary, your hirer having received your Invoice or Timesheet will:

a) Match it against the agreed contract; and

b) Verify you have indeed delivered as agreed upon, before making any payment to you.

Often, there will be a time-gap between your Invoice or Timesheet submission and the payment into your bank account, known as the credit term. Usual business-to-business credit term is 30 days or 1 month. As an individual, you may want to negotiate a shorter credit term of 14 days.

 

Budgeting

This section provides a budget guide you can adapt for that first important step in planning before you embark on your project, as it enables you to predict whether you will make money or lose money. It is also a must-have should you decide to seek funding from external sources. 

Branding Your Work

Creating amazing work is just one half of the puzzle, getting people to know about your work and what you can offer is the other. In this section, the samples and tips listed – from CVs to Artist Statements – may be a helpful place to start. This section provides templates you can adapt to position your work, present your skills and publicise your creations. Click on the links below to jump to the respective sections:

 

Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae is Latin for “the course of my life”, and hence, should detail your most notable work experience, skills and achievements. That said, your CV is best kept within two A4 pages and written simply and clearly. A CV is not the same as an Artist Bio or Artist Statement, which will be detailed separately. When you write your CV, do include the following points:
 

  • Personal information like your full name, citizenship, home address, mobile number, email address and other online presence like LinkedIn;
     
  • Short profile of three sentences summarising the uniqueness of you – who you are, what you love to do, your beliefs, your proudest accomplishment;
     
  • Employment history by year (latest project or job on top), the time you spent doing that project or job (e.g. March 2019 – August 2019 and possibly some highlights from that job);
     
  • Education qualifications by year (latest on top) and highlight any awards you may have received;
     
  • Skills listings e.g. good with Powerpoint, speak fluent Polish, can reach a High C note easily;
     
  • References, such as past hirers or mentors who are willing to be contacted by your potential hirers.

 
Below are a few CV samples as starting points to think about your own CV creation:

Stage Manager 

https://resume.io/examples/stage-manager

Artist -
Actor

https://resume.io/examples/actor


https://www.myperfectresume.com/how-to/cv-examples/acting-cv-example


https://www.myperfectresume.com/how-to/cv-examples/actors-cv-example

Voice Actor  https://resume.io/examples/voice-actor
Visual Artist, Community Artist, Arts Educator, Arts Manager, and more https://hamiltonartscouncil.ca/curriculum-vitae
CV Tips for arts practitioners who have Multiple Roles in the industry https://www.theguardian.com/careers/writing-an-arts-cv

 

Artist Bio

An Artist Bio is a one-paragraph summary of your career written in the third person that may be included inside publicity collateral like a programme booklet or website.

If this is your first time writing an Artist Bio, check out the links below as potential starting points on how to write succinctly:

How to Write an Appealing Artist Biography https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/how-to-write-an-appealing-artist-biography
Write the Perfect Artist Bio with these Five Simple Tips https://blog.society6.com/write-the-perfect-artist-bio-with-these-five-simple-tips/
Writing an Artist Biography https://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/09/15/writing-artist-biography/

Artist Statement / Personal Statement

An Artist Statement is a proclamation of what you believe in and is a clear communication to those experiencing your work to understand your intentions. If you are creating a new body of work, an accompanying Artist Statement would be helpful. It should preferably be 150 – 200 words in length.

A Personal Statement is similar to an Artist Statement but written by a non-artist like an arts administrator. A Personal Statement is usually written for grant applications or scholarship applications.

The links below offer good tips to guide you through structuring the statement from scratch to the finishing touches. Singapore visual arts veteran Michael Lee also has some useful tips and examples to share with you too.

How to Write an Artist Statement

https://www.wikihow.com/Write-an-Artist-Statement

https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/art/how-to-write-artist-statement

https://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2016/07/23/how-to-write-artist-statement/

 

Marketing Blurb

A Marketing Blurb is a short, punchy piece of writing that is akin to an elevator pitch for your artistic work. You may be asked to write this for promotional collateral like a programme booklet or website. Western Arts Alliance has a piece on how to write the perfect marketing blurb:

How to write a Marketing Blurb https://worklush.com/2017/06/mastering-art-blurb-writing/

 

Press Release

A Press Release is a longer piece of writing that provides more details about an artistic work, usually a new piece of work. This would be handed to the media for potential coverage in print, broadcast or online platforms.

Writing an effective Press Release takes a lot of practice and years to master. If you are lucky, it may be easier to ask a PR professional friend to do this work for you. If not, here is a Press Release Guide as a starting point, with a helpful list of arts and lifestyle media you can share your Press Release with.

 

Applying For Grants

This section provides some helpful tips on how to make the process of writing a successful grant application a little less daunting. 
 

  • Singapore arts veteran Tay Tong has some useful tips to share here.

  • Artistsnetwork offers 7 grant writing tips to follow here