Every graphic designer ask the age-old question…. “How much should I charge my clients for logo design?”. So if you don’t know what your skills are worth, rest assured you’re not alone. I still wonder whether we are doing ourselves justice with the rates we have set, and I’ve been in charge of my business for what seems like a very long time.
There is a great quote I use with new clients which reads ‘It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds’. This sums it all up so nicely. As an experienced designer you may be quick, but it has taken years of practice to get to that point.
You can’t be expected to price a design project without first understanding the needs of your client. I just don’t know how some designers can advertise a list of predetermined prices for x amount of concepts with x rounds of revisions, they are attempting to commoditize a profession that by definition can’t be commoditized.
Every client is different, so every design project will be also.
It makes no sense to me to pigeonhole your client into a specific price bracket. What works for one will not work for another, and your time profit a big hit when you limit yourself to a set range and attract clients on the basis of price alone.
The pricing formula
Pricing logo design is far from an exact science formula, and even when you think you’ve covered every factor possible for determining your costs, another one will crop up and force you to recalculate. It’s important to consider what affects the amount you quote, and how you can ensure you actually make a profit.
A logo design is likely to contain a range of print design, such as business cards, letterheads, or a brochure, and it is difficult to determine how and what to charge your client for providing this service.
Designers normally charge a markup on the total print costs when they handle this service for the client. This is their way of recouping the time and effort spent liaising with the print company. There’s no industry standard percentage, but somewhere between a 15 and 20 percent markup is a good starting point.
My advice is to advise clients to deal directly with a printer locally. This helps clients in two ways: They save money that is otherwise spent on my markup, and they build a business relationship with someone local, which can save a significant amount of money on future print runs. And if your clients take the time to ask a printer how to make the most of the money they plan to spend on their printing project, they likely will be surprised at the advice and help the printer delivers.
Level of expertise
Only you know how much your skills are worth, and this value is the result of your experience in dealing with clients. I frequently ask myself if I’m charging too much or charging
too little, and I reckon every other designer does too. But the main goal is to make sure you’re compensated for the level of experience and education; the overheads for your office space, equipment, electricity and heating, etc; and the expenses you will incur as a result of working through the design project with your client (travel costs, your time, etc).
Quick turnaround times
If a client is under pressure to have a job completed within a tight time frame, then you need to consider applying a “rush job” markup. Accepting the request means that you, too, will be under increased pressure to get the job done, and might result in a rescheduling of your existing projects. I recommend a markup of 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the urgency of the deadline and the client.
When a client needs a new website to go along with their logo, consider it a wonderful opportunity, even if such a service falls outside your skill set. It’s situations like these that allow you to provide that extra level of service and support that is most useful to your client.
It is essential that you receive a down payment prior to commencing work—especially when dealing with a client with whom you have no prior relationship. If you don’t get one, it’s easy to be taken for a ride.
I made a mistake of falling into this trap in my early days of being in business. I once worked with a client with whom I had an understanding that full payment would be made after I sent final artwork. I supplied my client with the designs, but almost immediately after, my client contact evaporated, and I was left with nothing.
I would recommend at leat 25 – 50% deposit. This is not unreasonable to ask, and it quite common practice in business.
The money exchange
After having worked with overseas clients for some time, I began to wonder about fluctuations in exchange rates, and whether I should factor these into my initial quotes. It’s worth considering, because there might be a sudden dip in the exchange rate before you receive full payment, potentially leaving you out of pocket.