How do I know what to charge for my design services?
I have built a website to display my designs and capabilities, am on social sites and have done pro bono work in my area but I am not sure what to charge for the designs I create. Any suggestions?
First of all you need to determine what you need to live for a year. Then you need to calculate how many days/year you have available to deliver your design services, which typically works out to be about 150 days after weekends, holidays, sales days, and administrative days. Take your annual living expenses and divide them by 150 and you have your daily fee just to break-even. Then the question is: re clients willing to pay that much, or more, for you to make a profit?
Pick an hourly rate is the place to start. Consider what you want to earn for a year and divide by 1000, which is a four hour day x 50 weeks per year.
Thank you everyone for your sound advice, you have all given me direction to go from here!
I would first discuss the design with the client to make sure you get it as close as possible in the first iteration to what they feel is the "Stand-Out" branding feature that they intend to use for optimal marketing exposure and recognition. After the client consult I would spend as much time as necessary planning your design using what you know. We all know that just because a client wants something, it may be best to offer your expert advice on a more suitable alternative that will avoid "Scope-Creep" and ultimately result in a more effective conversion tool due to your input.
You must also consider the development that will be involved and make sure that your designs do not surpass the abilities of the developer or your design is likely to undergo unwanted and counterproductive changes. The communication from the front to back-end of a website is crucial in keeping the integrity of the original concept.
Simplicity is key! In both end user and design/development alike. The more communication and less revisits / alterations you have to make, the less hands on labor will be required on your part. This will raise the overall quality of the client experience and allow a wider margin for pricing the project as you will demonstrate intuition on all fronts and deliver consistent design efficacy that will hopefully aid in the client's swift R.O.I..
If you use any variation of this quick workflow synopsis, I am sure your designs will be worth a minimum of 30/hr from planning to delivery. It also depends on your speed in which you design and how complex the design requests are. If you are not as experienced as some other designers or lack versatility in your developing skills, I would put a cap on the initial estimate after a careful evaluation of the project scope once you've concluded the initial consult and know what you're in for.
Make sure you are honest! It's okay to deliver the initial proposed cost & SOW after you have determined all aspects required of the project along with your capabilities in regard to the estimated time-frame for completion. Don't cut yourself short, always expect setbacks.
You may also consider keeping the price cap to yourself and offering it to the client only if you are going significantly past the estimated deadline. Some clients will try and squeeze you for extra work if they know they have a cap.
Ultimately, I would have to see some of your work and know the time it took you to complete it to give an accurate cost per labor hour. As a novice with a long turnaround time I would stay low at about 20/hr. As an intermediate you can gauge the scope and intricacy to determine anywhere from $30-$50/hr. If you are undertaking an expert level design project, evaluate every aspect closely, once you have a time-frame in mind, then you may quote anywhere from $50-$80+/hr.
Remember that you can always negotiate with the client. However, never start a project until these details are mapped out clearly in writing or you will most likely incur some scope creep. A fickle client can take a dent out of your profit if you aren't clear before the very kick-off.
Let me know if you have more information to share so that I may give you a more accurate cost analysis. Perhaps some examples of your work and the time it took for full turnaround? Personal message me on mosaicHUB and I would be happy to assist you as much as needed. We have some great designers at our company and we also develop the talents of interns as well. I can give you an idea of what and why we quote projects as we do and how we keep our clients informed and happy with the investments they make.
Nancy.... google for pricing of the graphic and design product and services that are out there... you can find it. You could even call some competitors who are in the same space, and has the level of quality and service you provide and ask them for pricing.
Another way is - find out what full time graphic designers are paid in corporate.... and break it down into an hourly rate (using roughly 2020 hours per year), then add in expenses and a margin you need to achieve to make money.
Lastly - I recommend to folks, price high and test it through your prospecting. You can always bring costs down...but if you are pricing yourself to low, it is mostly impossible to go up - not impossible but mostly.
Graphic design a very competitive industry.
Websites like 99designs, freelancer.com and Elance tend to push the perceived cost of design services to an extreme low, so differentiating yourself and targeting a specific niche may allow you to provide your services at a more reasonable rate.
Are you going to be charging clients an hourly rate for custom design services or are you creating template-like designs for business cards, WordPress websites, etc?
This depends mainly on weather you are getting visits, links, and sales. If they are all high then you have a well designed website then works well. If one of these are statistically low then you may have a problem in layout, design, placement, conversion, or usability of the website. Google analytics and your accounted can help you determine these things but if you are completely unsure then you can find a marketing or website design that you can trust to help you out. They can go over conversion rates and such to figure out if your website is up to the norm.
Personally speaking, without knowing any numbers I think you are losing a few potential customers in a few different ways. Some text clashes with the background and same is difficult to read. White text on a light blue background specifically. You could also think about your call to action more, what are you wanting people to do when they visit your website?
These may be little changes you could make and see if your conversions and visits go up. Besides that, get a professional analysis of your website, one that is honest and isn't just trying to sell you stuff.