I don't know about what recent experiences you've had of late, but I was approached by a particular individual - either 'very much unaware' or simply 'tight-fisted' - querying having to pay up for potential work done on their behalf?!
A particular woman wanted me to explain in great detail (via email - no attempt was made on her part to communicate via the telephone) about why I charged what I did for Proof-reading or Script Editing or providing Development Notes re: Scripts - I initially gave her the benefit of the doubt, encompassing her cautiousness, but quickly caught onto her ploy to drag me into a "long-drawn-out-waste-of-time escapade" - I presented her with competitive price quotes, along with the 'heavy-hitting end of the price spectrum' - but all she wanted to do was latch on to wasting my time.
I ended up being polite, but very much 'up front' with Take It Or Leave It ie. If you want a professional service you are going to have to pay whoever it is you decide to do business with. A very interesting thing happened. She politely extricated herself from any more communication.
NB: I know what I'm worth in the marketplace - if people want my services, they'll simply have to pay! ;O)