| Setting Your Price
Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if
my clients could weigh my imagination and creativity and pay
me $12.99 per every pound! Then all I would have to do is
to dump all that thought onto a scale and come up with what
they owed me. No one would then question why Im charging
the way I am or give comments like Oh that looks like
it didnt take much time at all
all you had to
do was put this here and put that there.
First off, if you run into a client that degrades
your efforts or work, please do yourself a favor and refuse
service to them completely. Youll realize that youre
not losing a customer, but gaining a lifetime of relief from
all the anguish and emotional abuse that youll most
likely go through. Im getting off course with this,
but I really want young designers to be firm in regard to
setting the initial tone and professional values of their
Always discuss your fees ahead of time and give
yourself a good range in terms of estimates just in case the
project turns out to be the project from hell. For example,
if you decide to take on a project of designing a logo, tell
your client initially that you will charge a conceptual fee
as well as hourly rate for your work. Let them know that your
conceptual work will cost $350 and
that your hourly rate is $45 per hour.
Then tell them that the maximum they are
expected to pay for such a project (taking into account
changes and revisions) is $850 (or
whatever it comes out to). It would be a great idea to also
let them know that if they keep their changes and revisions
to a minimum, that amount will be much less. This method will
prepare them for the worst case scenario and cover you just
in case the client turns out to be one of those demented types
that freaks out once you send them the invoice. And lastly,
always ask your client for a 50% upfront
deposit, assuring yourself of at least some money in case
the client decides to bail.
Anyway, let's get back to your pricing guidelines.
I have worked in this industry for many years and have come
up with some sort of pricing plan which I know works quite
well. It takes into account your overhead, talent, experience
and know-how and scrunches it into a nice hourly rate that
everyone can understand. Of course if you work out of an office,
you have the advantage of tacking on some extra cash just
for the fact that you have a professional establishment as
well as overhead.
a) Let's start with a base
of $10 per hour for a recent graduate.
b) For every year of experience, add $6 (up to 12 years).
c) If you work from an office, add $10 for small, $12 for
medium and $15 for large.
d) If you have won any sort of awards or recognitions, add
$5 (not per award, but for all).
e) If you have a Master's degree or better, add another $10.
Based on this formula, my hourly
rate for my 9 person company is as follows:
$60 (10 years experience)
$12 (medium office)
$5 (for 6 awards)
$0 (sorry, no master's degree here)
$87 / Hour (total)
I also want to mention that although these prices
are fair, there are those who do not see the value of design.
Unfortunately, everyone with a computer thinks they can design,
and this sometimes includes the client himself. For instance,
someone was in my office the other day talking about re-designing
his company website as well a getting a new logo done. During
the length of our discussion, he made mention to the fact
that he has a computer at his office and he can buy PhotoShop
for a rather fair price, making notion that he too could do
the design work himself, but admitted that he has better things
to do with his time!
I was tempted to say "Well what the heck
are you doing here then?" but decided to hold my tongue
until I got home. The truth of the matter is that although
we know our prices are fair and that so many people out there
are making more money designing professional sports team logos
than the president of the United States makes in a year, we
have to be able to bend a little to get the business. I'm
not asking you to put up with abuse, I'm merely saying that
for a client like this, which you know is from a reputable
company that may need your services again in the future, you
have to have some room for a discount.
In my case, I asked him if our price was what
concerned him the most, and upon hearing "yes",
I quickly assured him that we can work out something to keep
both parties happy. I told him I'll give him my "friends
and family rate" of $75 per hour. He was ecstatic and
told me to fax him our working contract.
Be firm, be selective and bend a little bit when
you can. It will not only make your life easier and more joyful,
but it will also gain you the respect and business that you
credit to Kevin Javid & American