There are many options for billing clients. At the most basic level, you can choose between a flat or hourly rate. There are also combinations of the two, as well as working on retainer. It is also important to decide how often you will bill your clients, and how much of a payment to require up-front. Here are various options to consider when billing your clients and advice on determining your design pricing.
When creating a proposal for a new graphic design job, one of the most difficult steps is estimating the design pricing. It can be helpful to break down the necessary tasks to reach an estimate of the hours, which you can multiply by your hourly rate to provide a quote. Here is a list of tasks to remember. Keep in mind these may not apply to every project, and there may be others not mentioned here. You may not want to reveal to the client every small task, so it might be helpful to combine many of the items to provide a shorter list to your client, or to just provide a flat cost that isn't itemized.
When working as a graphic designer, you are bound to have clients who want projects done on a short deadline. You will probably become too familiar with “I need this now.” When this happens, you have to first decide if you have the time to complete the project on deadline, and then decide whether or not to charge a rush fee. This should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and in the end comes down to the personal preference of the designer. There are, however, several things to consider that can help you decide whether or not to charge more for work done quickly.
When working as a graphic designer, you will inevitably come across clients with limited budgets. In some cases, this may mean you need to decline the job. However, other projects have benefits beyond pay, and you will find yourself looking for ways to work within the client’s budget. There are several reasons you may want to do so, and several ways to make it less likely to regret your decision.
After working out a budget with a client, it’s important to set up a payment schedule. This helps to keep the project on target and makes both parties comfortable with the payments owed and the work being done. A payment schedule that defines your design pricing should benefit both the client and the designer.
Deciding what your design pricing should be for projects can be tricky. Factors such as the amount of time needed to complete the job, deadlines, copyright use and printing costs all come into play. Just as important as these factors is the client’s budget. Quote too high and you may lose the job… quote too low and you can miss out on a fair price or even make the client question your skills.
When going into a meeting with a potential graphic design client, negotiating design pricing will often be the most difficult part of the conversation. Talking about the design or technical side of a project is usually relatively easy. In a negotiation, both parties should be looking for a mutually beneficial relationship; the designer gets a price he or she sees as fair for the amount of work, and the client gets quality work within their budget.
In a perfect world, clients would always pay on time and in full. However, over the course of a graphic design career, it is almost inevitable to come across late paying clients.
Billable is a free online invoice creator with a free invoice template. The easy to use, one page app allows you to create an invoice online and then print it or save it as a PDF.
The Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines is an excellent resource that covers graphic design pricing and business practices across all types of design professions, contracts, law, professional relationships and more.
Billings, by marketcircle, is time tracking and invoicing software for the Mac. Billings has a simple and clean user interface that makes time tracking easy, and it allows for complete control over design of estimates and invoices.
As a graphic design business grows, using time tracking software can help you keep organized, properly bill your clients, set your design rates and study your workflow. There are many stand-alone time tracking applications, as well as options that are part of larger project management packages.