Dealing with the financial side of our business can be difficult for graphic designers. There are many factors to consider and issues that may arise when determining the graphic design pricing for your projects. This list of resources, tools and articles provides help when it comes to design rates, budgets and time tracking.
A common decision to be made when starting a graphic design project is the method of design pricing you want to use. Two common choices are flat or an hourly design rate. Each method has pros and cons, as well as ways to work towards a fair deal for both you and your client. In general, charging an hourly rate is best for work that is considered “updates,” such as changes to a website after launch or revisions on an existing print design for additional uses. It is common to charge a flat rate for large design projects, and for repeating projects for which the designer can accurately estimate the hours.
Charging a flat rate for graphic design projects is often a good idea, because both you and your client know the cost from the start. Unless the scope of the project changes, the client doesn’t have to worry about going over budget, and the designer is guaranteed a certain amount. This step-by-step guide will help you determine your flat rate design pricing.
One of the aspects of graphic design pricing is setting an hourly rate. Your hourly rate is important because it will position you in relation to your competitors, determine what your flat rates are for projects, and of course directly affect what you earn. Fortunately, there is a method to follow to figure out at least a ballpark for your rate, which may then need to be adjusted based on the market. This step-by-step will walk you through the process.
A retainer is a fee paid for a pre-determined amount of time or work. Most commonly, a percentage of a retainer is paid up-front for a specified number of hours or days of work within a time period, based on your hourly design rate.
Even in tough times, people are always going to need things designed. Here are some ways to save you and your clients money as you take your design business through a recession. Included is advice on discounts, reducing printing costs, fee reduction, ways to save on advertising and budgets.
There are many benefits to time tracking in your graphic design business. Keeping track of the hours you spend on projects, and specific tasks, can help you set your design pricing, improve your business, and even save time in future projects. There are also many methods of time tracking, from handwritten notes to automated software packages.
Over time, graphic designers will want to, or have to, raise their hourly rate for design work. When taking on new clients, this is easy, because the client does not necessarily know your previous rates. When raising design pricing on existing clients, this can get a little trickier. You don't want to lose a client over a $15 an hour increase, but you also often cannot continue to keep a client on at an old rate.
Tracey Halvorsen is a blogger, painter, author, speaker and Principal and Creative Director at Fastspot, a Baltimore, Maryland-based interactive agency. I had chance to interview her about the many aspects of running a design business, from social networking to determining design pricing to the importance of failure.
Read Tracy's advice on design pricing and budgets.
Finding our your client's budget can save a lot of time and aggravation. By simply asking, or researching, how much a client can spend you can often determine not only if you can take a job, but what type of service you can provide. As there are often variables that can greatly affect graphic design pricing, it will help you work with the client rather than quoting blindly and potentially losing a project.
It is often difficult to find out your client’s budget. While some may reveal it, others will want to get the cost of your design pricing from you first. However, with some explanation regarding the benefits of a disclosed budget, some clients will talk money with you early in the process and this will often save you time and improve your relationship with the people you design for. Please note that these ideas are suggestions, and how you deal with your own clients should always depend on your existing relationship with them and personal preference