Newbee Freelancer Needing Price Advice

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by vicki2314, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. vicki2314 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    My boyfriend is designing an 8 page catalog for a small, local custom coin maker. This is the first company he has freelanced for and has done three other small jobs for them recently and this is his first big project. Right now he is charging $50 per page. Is this reasonable?

    The business owner is also asking for him to give her all of his Illustrator files, JPEGS, original files, everything that he has done so that she may use these files to place his artwork on the website and all future print work. Should there be an additional charge for surrendering these files to be used on future projects he will not be designing? If so, what should the charge be?

    He has earned an Associates in Print Graphics and is currently seeking a Bachelors in Communication Design. Prior to this he interned at an ad agency and has about 4 years experience but has never had to deal with the business side that comes with freelancing.

    Any advice would be much appreciated!!
     
  2. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a house.
    #2
    It's hard to say what you should charge. It's mostly based on experience and who the client is. For bigger companies, I tend to charge a higher fee because I know they can afford it. I also tend to charge hourly compared to a set price. The reason is that a company can change keep coming back to you with numerous changes. If they have to pay you hourly, they tend to make a decision a lot quicker and thereby not waste your time. But, even though it is hourly, I still estimate how long it will take and give them an upfront cost with the understanding that the estimate can change if the scope of the job changes. :)
     
  3. DavidFDM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    #3
    Pricing is a tough topic. Here is my two cents . . .

    First, is he updating an existing design or starting from scratch? If it is updating then that is really more of a production job and should be priced lower than a design job, probably on the order of $30-50.00/hour.

    If it is a designing from scratch then that is whole different animal. Design can run from $50.00/hour to well over a $100/hour in my market. This will involve selecting color palettes, typeface families and presenting options as color printouts. I generally submit 2-4 designs for a client to review, discuss and revise before a "look" is finalized then it is matter of production to execute the pages.

    I agree with Chasemac above regarding hourly vs. set pricing. I rarely do set pricing because it really allows the client to be non-committal and vague. I will give a ballpark quote and then bill by the hour.

    For catalog work, depending on the complexity of the page, I usually estimate 1.5-2 hours/page plus 1-2 hours for pre-flight for a job this small, a couple of hours for meetings/presentations, some money for color printouts, CD master for the printer, money for stock photography if necessary and money for couriers or mailing. Once you have the estimate totalled, bill them for half upfront and then bill the remainder when the job is complete. If they balk at the half upfront deposit, walk away. They probably are going to be difficult to work with and not worth risking your effort and time.

    Regarding ownership of the files, legally they are his files. The client is paying for the end product. In my opinion though if it makes a client happy and builds the relationship, I release the files to them. My belief is that a great product and service keeps work coming in from my clients. Generally, when they try to do something themselves, they have a difficult time and end up calling me in to help.

    David
     
  4. vicki2314 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    #4
    Yes, he is starting entirely from scratch and is also responsible for photographing and scanning in products along with copy writing.

    Unfortunately, he told them a set price of $50 per page at the start when the catalog was only to be 4 pages and now the client has added 4 more pages requiring much more photography and scans and basically doubling the time he thought it would take.
     
  5. mnkeybsness macrumors 68030

    mnkeybsness

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2001
    Location:
    Moneyapolis, Minnesota
    #5
    ALWAYS do freelance design, programming, etc work at an hourly rate. Clients almost always want more than what they originally tell you and will abuse your original price quote as much as they can to get work for cheap (or sometimes free).

    Just a word of warning.
     
  6. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #6
    Thats what I do. I bill by the hour and I give the ballpark quote as a range between best case + more time and worse case + more time. How much you change for your hourly time is up to you. I know this sounds quite simple but ask yourself how much you should/can be making a year as a freelance designer, divide that by 2000 and add about 25% to that to come up with an hourly rate. That number will vary greatly depending on experience, talent and what your market will bear.



     
  7. DavidFDM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    #7
    I think he is going to lose his shirt on the $50/page price even if photography wasn't included. He needs to have a meeting to discuss this now. Generally, clients do not want you to fail. They want a good price and great product but not at the expense of losing you. If they are good people, they will realize they are asking and expecting too much for $400.00. If they persist in trying to hold him to that price, walk away. You do not owe them the favor of losing money on the job or working at the the equivalent of $10.00/hour.
     
  8. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    #8
    Also, don't low ball a bid to get a new client. If you do they will expect that price on future jobs. If a long standing client needs something done cheaper once in a while it's a different story.


     
  9. jaromski macrumors regular

    jaromski

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    zion
    #9
    I am a freelance residential home designer (e.g. cut-rate architect) Most of my jobs now come through reselling+servicing existing "prior work", however, a great deal of new clients, new leads come from custom design work. One thing you need to know when trafficking in these jobs; YOUR RIGHTS. Unless formally stated in a contractual obligation; all works reside with the creator (that is you) Most clients will tend to bully you (depending on how much your work creates for them, the income they generate offset your fees by a great margin) and in short they will demand your content. If you are trying to get established then you will be tempted to "dangle a carrot" in front of them with lower fees, better service, etc. You will shoot yourself in the foot in the long run with this strategy; but depending on how bad you need the cash, well that can dictate the contract. For larger clients I usually "cave on my ideals" because the volume of sales they generate can create huge returns for your relatively-small operation. But the bottom line is unless you stipulate the work is done as a "work for hire" then legally under the US Code YOU are the IP owner and YOU dictate the terms of sale, service, and licensing.

    The client is always free to reject your terms but now having run my business sucessfully for the past 10 years (metric: no missed/late mortgage pmts since I've been self-employed) I would advise you to be careful. It will cost you more to maintain an "impossible" relationship than it will to set boundaries UP FRONT before you have wasted time, energy, and possibly health on a client project. There is great reward for a job well done but the risks are there and don't ovestate your abilities and resources.

    As for your fees, they are reasonable as long as they are NOT tied to your customer's profit center. In more specific terms, if they make money selling coins you can't tie your billing mechanism to the "sale of X coins". It needs to be based soley on merit; I will generate X pages @ hourly or whatever you set; NEVER feel guilty for charging what you need to; you are accepting risk and work in exchange for mitigating their risk in something they need expert advice on.

    Sorry for the long post, it hit a chord. I am more than willing to extrapolate further on the vice and virtue of the freelance "design" trade. Or not, I may have said too much! If so, I apologize.

    Jarom
     
  10. vicki2314 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Location:
    Texas
    #10
    Thanks everyone for all your thoughts! This has definately been a learning experience! Next time he will be better prepared thanks to all your advice. I haven't freelanced yet mostly because of this issue of pricing but now I feel much more secure, thanks!
     
  11. DavidFDM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2002
    Location:
    Maine, USA
    #11
    You're welcome, Vicki. I hope you and your boyfriend both have great careers.
     

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