This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

How to charge for Graphic Design

Before someone will hire you, they need to know how much it's going to cost them. No wants wants to hear "it depends". And they really don't want you to start on something and then charge them "whatever's fair". You wouldn't bring your car in for repairs and expect the shop to say this, so you shouldn't do it with your Graphic Design business. Learn to write estimates. If you can't do this, then you aren't ready to start charging money for your design. I started doing design and illustration in high school and learned about how long things take.

My very first client for my Graphic Design services was an auto repair shop, and I adopted their method to price my graphic design. By the way, I designed a car parts catalog for them. This is how it works - you take your hourly rate and multiply it by the number of hours you estimate the job will take. Again, if you don't know, you need to practice. When I was a teenager, I did volunteer stuff, for example, for my church. And you hold to that price. If you accept a job that you estimate will take four hours, and it takes five, you bill for four and eat the rest. You never, ever charge more than the estimate. If you do, you are ripping them off. Yes, even if it took you longer. To them, you lied to them. Don't do that.

If it sounds difficult, it is. Each experience and each mistake teaches you a little more. You don't need to write up an elaborate contract and have it notarized, but it's a good idea to write it down. My design rate is $75 per hour. I might write an estimate to design a simple web page as three hours @$75.00, which would be $225. A deposit of 25-50% is common with new clients. When your client makes a deposit, they expect the price to be firm. If the client wants to add more things, you should inform them of the additional charge. They made a deposit to have you design a simple web page, so if they want more, they will be willing to pay more. Just be up front with them.

Clear expectations make for happy clients, and I have a lot of them. Promise a lot, and then deliver on that promise. Your clients will love you, and incidentally, they will pay you.

If you're in the Phoenix, Arizona area and would like to learn Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Dreamweaver, please contact me. The fee is only $275 for a half-day session, which is four hours, and I come to you anywhere in the valley.