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

How to charge for Graphic Design

If you can help someone by doing a flyer, or a web page, or anything that is typically called Graphic Design, you can charge for it. But keep in mind that it's actually a very complex process, and if you get it wrong, you can not only lose out on business, you can make people very angry. People are very careful about money!

Of course, you always start out working for thank yous. In Facebook, they're "likes". And you can always get a like or a thank you for just about anything you do if you restrict your work to your friends and family, and don't charge money for it. If you charge money, then everything changes, very quickly. Think twice before you do that!

The most important thing is to look at the price of something from the customer's point of view. It doesn't matter what other designers charge, or what is typical of the market, what matters is what your customer expects. And since a birthday card at the Dollar store is a dollar, then don't be surprised to find that that is pretty much what your customer expects to pay. Maybe two dollars, if they're generous. Who buys a $20 birthday card? Of course, if you spend ten hours on something, you probably would like to earn more than two dollars per hour for your time. But it doesn't work like that.

The value of what you do is dependent on what your customer is willing to pay. If you ask, for example, twenty dollars for the design of a birthday card, in spite of the fact that it means that you are getting only two dollars an hour, well, that's a pretty expensive birthday card - from the point of the customer.

Since I've been doing freelance Graphic Design for over twenty years, I'll tell you what I do:

• Decide on an hourly rate. Mine is on my website. If someone wants me to work on something, I will give them an estimate @ my hourly rate. My very first client was a car repair place, and they taught me how to do estimates. It's part of the business. And that means that you should...

• Write a quote. And I mean in writing. I won't work on anything until it's written down, which nowadays is in an email. If someone sees the price, and the time I expect to work on a project, in an email, they can either decide to go ahead and hire me, or walk away, no hard feelings.

• Ask for a deposit. I'm a pro, and I can prove it, so if someone wants me to get started on something, I ask for 50% of the quoted price. Again, this give people a chance to edge out quietly, or to step up and say "yes, get busy!" The 50% deposit is also a wonderful way for your client to know exactly what they are going to pay when the final artwork is finished. The final artwork requires the remaining 50%, and it keeps everything open and above-board.

Charging for your Graphic Design moves you from an amateur to a pro. And being a pro takes more work than just doing the artwork. You need to write quotes, send invoices, send statements as necessary. It's not something I recommend to anyone, but if you think it's time, go ahead.