How Much Do You Charge?

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mtngigi
Member has had a submission accepted to the Designer Spotlight
Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013 4:22PM
This video really hit home with me. Though directed toward illustrators, it definitely applies to any of the creative arts and those of us who freelance ... and struggle with how much to charge. It's 30 minutes long, but well-worth listening to all the way through. His comments really helped clarify how I might go about bidding on jobs from here on.

http://onceuponasketch.com/2012/12/guest-post-will-terry-how-much-do-you-charge-for-an-illustration/

(Edited on 2013-01-06 16:23:45 by mtngigi)
hereswendy
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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2013 7:39PM
Thanks for sharing
inhauscreative
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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2013 8:23PM

Find out what your competition charges, make sure you can do what they can do and charge the same
esp_imaging
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 4:03AM
^^ Good point. If you always get work you quote on, you are pricing lower than your competitors. If you never get jobs, you are charging more. If you get maybe 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 jobs you are quoting for, you are charging at close to your competitors.
jonathansloane
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 6:53AM
I charge less. Ed is exactly right, but think about it. "Charge more" times zero work equals zero. "Charge the same" times 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 jobs equals x. But "charge less" times getting every job equals 2x or maybe3x. I would rather do the work and wonder if I could have gotten more than not do it and wonder if I should have charged less. That being said, I despise estimating jobs. I spent a whole day not so long ago putting an estimate together with food stylists, assistants, prop stylists and their assistants, shopping days, prep days, transportation costs, etc and never got the job. I felt like charging them for the estimate!
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 7:18AM
Ed gets it spot on. I hate quoting for work, especially in this economic climate and age when everyone has a camera and an instagram account....to paraphrase Oscar Wilde; "Clients seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing" Gawd he would have made a great agent.
esp_imaging
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 7:43AM

Jonathan makes


a fair point, but it depends how busy you are, and other factors.

Underpricing can reduce your credibility, and it's great to get jobs even when the client tells you you were the most expensive (but they liked your work most...)

Some jobs are more complicated than anticipated, or more awkward, or  post-processing takes longer than anticipate etc, so it's nice to have a bit of margin in which means that you have the time / willingness etc to still do a good job for the client.

Under pricing big jobs can be suicide if you get them - you simply spend too much time doing them, for too little money.
In general, there will always be someone willing to give a lower price for any job in return for lower quality, and you simply can't aford to get into the game of competing with them on price.

Also, once you have established a price rate with a client, it's easier to persuade tham to keep paying you that rate, rather than wanting to increase prices. So it's good to price at a sustainable rate, rather than a discounted "I'm desperate for work" rate.
jonathansloane
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:10AM

Ed, you are right of course. I was being a bit flippant, sorry it's in my nature! The best thing is to get your estimate straight on correct, and I think that I may have done that once or twice in my 35 year career as a pro. The truth is that I price according to my client. I am not going to quote the same day/rate price to a just starting out jewelry designer as I am to a Fortune 500 company.


It is up to you as a professional, or would be professional, how much it is worth to you to do the job. In my experience, every job with very few exceptions has unforseens, extra processing, time-on set, retouching, complications, etc. You need to seriously do a worst case scenario estimate (in your head), and add or subtract from there. How much do you want to do the job, will it lead to more work, is it fun, different, career building, portfolio worthy, or drudgery.


There are jobs I won't do just because I'm not ready to do work for nothing, or next to nothing. Or because they would make me crazy and no amount of money would be enough (a recent offer to do a full-time freelance gig as a retoucher, isolating hair!)


I have never had anyone tell me that I was the most expensive but they liked my work the most, I'm still waiting for that one! I almost always do the best job I can, and happiness comes from being paid what YOU think is fair and adequate. I recently did a job for a guy starting a marketing website and shot 50 items in a day, and not all easy items either. I knew what I was being paid, and I did the photography accordingly. Not my best work, but it didn't need to be.


All of which goes to say that you need to be flexible and thoughtful when estimating. There are so many factors to consider that there aren't really too many hard rules. My favorite trick is to try to get a hint of what the client feels the job is worth. "Do you have any idea of the budget on this job?" is one of my favorites. Several times I've had answers which were higher than what I would have charged. Gotta love that.


 
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:43AM

I guess I was being flippant as well.


I do turn down jobs too, no amount of money would draw me back to shooting jewellry in a studio.......


Sometimes I work for a new client once and that's it. I did nothing wrong that's just the way they are and thankfully there are those clients around who will look for someone new.


Cheap isn't always best as outined above. But if you do pick up a new client go the extra mile to make them happy and hope they come back, they are the best clients.


The only times I would go in cheap is if it is new business and you can see some potential for future work , but this is tricky to judge, I have done it a few times and some have worked out well some not.


Occassionally I have work "pro bono" for agencies where I have worked on the pitch for expenses only on the understanding that I get the job if they win the pitch, again has worked sometimes.


Sometimes you can benefit from a change of creative management at an agency or magazine and the new people want to work with fresh talent again it's a chance to get a foot in the door.


Nowadays if get a big advertsing job (v. rare) I employ a freelance producer who will estimate for me. She has balls of steel and can negotiate far better than me and her percentage  is well worth it.


Sadly at the end of the day we are in a people business and clients like to work with people they know and trust to do a job on time on budget, they wil be pressured into getting rival  quotes just to keep the end client happy. 


Guess I'm rambling off topic. But always keep a contingency in the budget 10-15% if you think the job needs it, you don't have to bill it and that almost looks like a discount
Willowpix
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:55AM

Nice topic. Appreciate the discussion!


ETA - I need to find that ^ steel factory to help with stuff like this.

(Edited on 2013-01-08 08:58:01 by Willowpix)
inhauscreative
Member is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Photo downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 250 Video downloadsMember is a contributor and has less than 125 Audio downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Illustration downloadsMember is an InspectorExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Audio ArtistMember has had a Design Of The WeekMember has had a File Of The WeekMember has won a contest
Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 8:56AM
As long as you can "deliver the goods" I find that it's better to charge more, turn down what you don't want, there is a world of clients that just say "do it" and don't ask, they know they will be delivered what they want, when they want, and it's a line item they don't have to worry about....it take some time to get to this level, but don't be afraid to charge and turn down. I agree, also gauge the client, for the clients that can't pay as much, make sure that they understand that you are lowering your pricing because you want to help them and that you normally charge x-amount. That way, you have room to move up in you pricing with them, or you have a good out, they know what you normal get on the front end. ALSO, never be afraid to communicate, if they are killing on add ons that were not agreed upon, don't be afraid to ask for more and give the reasons why. and most importantly, GET A DEPOSIT OF HALF OR MORE, this show that they are serious and you are not working for free, plus when you have to have that add on talk, the have to comply because they are vested in the project and don't want to get stuck with an incomplete job.
jonathansloane
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 9:06AM
Very good points, all of us.
mtngigi
Member has had a submission accepted to the Designer Spotlight
Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 11:58AM
Posted By ClarkandCompany:
Ed gets it spot on. I hate quoting for work, especially in this economic climate and age when everyone has a camera and an instagram account....to paraphrase Oscar Wilde; "Clients seem to know the price of everything but the value of nothing" Gawd he would have made a great agent. wink


I love that quote - it's perfect and it perfectly applies to this new world marketplace we struggle to compete in. I try very hard not to bring my bids down to the level of ridiculous ($20 for a logo), but that's what some folks know they can get away paying, and they'll have no problem finding someone to do it at that level.


I think the best advice in that video was the bit about getting the client to throw out a dollar figure first - although this doesn't apply when bidding on freelance sites.


As per ususal, I am not receiving subscription alerts and had no idea you all responded ... seems as if this function is never going to work for me anymore.
jonathansloane
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 12:56PM
Did you know that subscribe and unsubscribe are reversed? If you want to receive alerts click "unsubscribe" up at the top of the discussion.
JasonDoiy
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Posted Tue Jan 8, 2013 3:02PM
I agree there. You need to have practice charging too much to be able to offer a reasonable fee. If you're always pricing low you aren't working the middle. It's a big skill and I think you can be creative in the way in which you estimate too. You can go back to a client and reasonably explain the add-ons cost more. It's all part of it.
mtngigi
Member has had a submission accepted to the Designer Spotlight
Posted Wed Jan 9, 2013 10:50PM
Posted By jonathansloane:
Did you know that subscribe and unsubscribe are reversed? If you want to receive alerts click "unsubscribe" up at the top of the discussion.

Well sure ... that makes sense.
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