Freeland Graphic Designers - I need your help! (or opinions)

ILuvShopping

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Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
I was just wondering, when you're doing a project for someone that involves you buying supplies, how do you figure out how much to charge the client?

for example, i might be getting a freelance job where i will be designing and printing invitations, rsvps, and possibly anything else this company needs for an event they are having. I will be purchasing all of the paper that will be needed and will be using my own printers.

How much should i charge above the cost of supplies to include time for my work? do you charge a percentage above the actual cost or do you have another system you use?
 

bagnshoofetish

Oh. Gee.
O.G.
Feb 12, 2006
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I think it should be pretty much up to you.
Keep all your receipts for all the supplies you end up buying. You can either charge your client for those or write it off on taxes as business expenses.
Its up to you to charge them for your work by the hour or charge them a flat fee. Do some research and call around to see what your client would be paying if they were to go elsewhere for the same product. Price yourself competitively - not to much but not too little. Clients, especially those with plenty of money to spend - will pay good money for quality work. Just don't price yourself too high and don't undervalue yourself either - psychologically, people will think the product is not up to par if you do. Then there are those that will take advantage of you undervaluing yourself and want that price all the time. If this is a first time client you want to do business with again, give them a special introductory price and if they like your work, they will come back again and you can charge them your regular price. But let them know that in advance so they will feel they are getting in on a special deal and you will possibly gain more work with them or people they know in the future. Recommendations are the backbone of small business.
 

hartofalyon

foreign contaminant
Jan 14, 2007
438
0
NYC
great advice bagnshoofetish.

in my experience, make sure to define the scope of work in writing so there's no confusion as to the service and product provided (generally in form of contract). if the work scope is not defined clearly at the beginning, many clients would try to sneak extra work in hoping it would slip by. in your case, i would define exactly how many invitations, flyers, etc. and if the copyright to the work is transferred. also, it's important to define the maximum number of revisions allowed. this is to prevent indecisive clients from making too many changes delaying the completion of the project.

regarding pricing, when i was a full-time freelance web designer, i had an hourly rate and i simply estimated the number of hours it would take me to complete the job. that would be the quote i provided my clients. so it's a flat fee based on an hourly rate. figuring out your hourly rate is a matter of researching your competition.
 
Jul 23, 2008
1,000
0
Vancouver, BC
^ I agree, and it also helps to factor in the organization itself. The quotes I send to non-profits are different than the quotes I send to the "private" sector - organizations who depend heavily on donor dollars often have less money to put towards things like graphic design, marketing, anything administrative and usually businesses don't have these same constraints (usually)
Good luck!
 

ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
thanks everyone!

this project i'm doing right now is for a not for profit with a very low budget for this printing. they used to get a heavy donation from a local printer which funded practically all of their printing needs for this event and this year they wouldn't discount their printing at all. so for them i'll probably do it a lot cheaper than i would normally. and hopefully it'll just help get my name out there a bit.

i maybe do a printing job about once a year if that, so it's hard to keep up with the trend on costs ;)
 

bagnshoofetish

Oh. Gee.
O.G.
Feb 12, 2006
33,579
3,050
earth
this project i'm doing right now is for a not for profit with a very low budget for this printing. ...i'll probably do it a lot cheaper than i would normally. and hopefully it'll just help get my name out there a bit.
ask them if its okay to place in really small print on the bottom of the back of the invites, your web address or company name in lieu of your full fee. (ie; designed by " ") If you feel really confident, just charge them for supplies and production costs and donate them (you can write that off too) and you can print "invitations designed and provided by - " instead. You get the tax write off and free advertising. just a thought if you are trying to grow your business.
 

ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
that's an EXCELLENT idea! thanks shoo! I think i'll run that by them and see what they say.
 
Jan 22, 2009
201,619
9,559
SoFla
lots of good advice here...I do the same. I especially want to second the notion that you put every little thing in a contract or estimate before you do the work...especially in this economy, & especially with non-profits.

in general, I have vendors that I deal with, & they give me a discount. I charge the client the full value of the supplies &/or printing so that the discount that I receive is my profit margin.

I charge differently depending on the client. when I charge a rate per project, I figure in the cost of the supplies plus then add a little to compensate me for the time it took to go & get the supplies. when I charge an hourly rate, I charge the full amount for the supplies & my discount is my profit.

when I do work for a non-profit, I claim the discount in my rate as a tax-deductible in-kind donation.
 

ahertz

O.G.
Jul 16, 2007
6,218
18
Santa Monica
As someone who contracts out to freelance graphic designers, I make sure to get all of these (hard) costs in advance and they are invoiced along with the service hours. I do not pay a percentage over the cost of hard costs, but will pay the contractor for the amount of time that they spent researching, purchasing etc.
 
Jul 23, 2008
1,000
0
Vancouver, BC
lots of good advice here...I do the same. I especially want to second the notion that you put every little thing in a contract or estimate before you do the work...especially in this economy, & especially with non-profits.

in general, I have vendors that I deal with, & they give me a discount. I charge the client the full value of the supplies &/or printing so that the discount that I receive is my profit margin.

I charge differently depending on the client. when I charge a rate per project, I figure in the cost of the supplies plus then add a little to compensate me for the time it took to go & get the supplies. when I charge an hourly rate, I charge the full amount for the supplies & my discount is my profit.

when I do work for a non-profit, I claim the discount in my rate as a tax-deductible in-kind donation.
awww lucky! You can't claim services as an in-kind donation for a tax receipt in Canada - it's this backwards thing where you still have to claim it as income and then claim the same amount as a donation...so if you're income tax bracket is more than the deduction amount (which I think is 33%, then it just cancels out)

boooo!
:smile:
 

ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
are there templates out there floating around for what should be on a contract that i can use?
 
Jul 23, 2008
1,000
0
Vancouver, BC
I'm sure you can google it. Off the top of my head, you'd want to include:
-Project deliverables and timeline
-Payment schedule
-How fees above and beyond your "contract" cost (e.g. expenses) will be handled
-Who has ownership of the materials created
-Termination clause (how many weeks either party would have to give to terminate the contract)

That's all I can think of for now :smile:
 

ILuvShopping

★☆★★☆★★☆★
Jun 4, 2007
23,822
3
Iowa
i feel like such a horrible excuse for a graphic designer.... i have no clue about anything lol
 
Jul 23, 2008
1,000
0
Vancouver, BC
^haha, this isn't knowledge that we are born with :smile: It takes lots of experience to learn how to navigate the "self-employed" world

One last tip - make sure you save all of your receipts (supplies, gas, vehicle insurance, meals that are business related etc.) - this will come in handy during tax time (remember that you are often not taxed for self-employed earnings so when you claim this during tax time you will need to pay the taxes then, the expenses from receipts will help to offset this)
 

HuskyLover

O.G.
Apr 8, 2007
836
0
Just going to throw in my 2 cents here. I am a graphic designer that works for a printing company, but I also still do a few side jobs here and there. You have received some excellent advice here already, but I'll tell you how I do it. Since I do work for a printing company, I know what 'retail' would be on any given printing project that would be taken to a shop. There are a few considerations that would make a substantial difference on the printing end though. (This could get very complicated!) For instance, if a job is printed on a press, with actual ink, it's going to cost more than something that's just run through a printer, or done on a digital machine. If a customer requires a PMS match on ink, you're not going to achieve that with an inkjet or laser printer, nor will you on a digital machine, so that job has to be printed on a press to get that exact match of color. Now I understand with the job you're taking on, that probably is not even an issue, but is something you'll want to keep in mind for future jobs. If you do have to take a job to a printer to be printed, then you get into a whole slew of other things.

OK, I'm rambling, so back to topic :smile: For side jobs, I mark-up the cost of supplies X 1.5. This covers my cost and the time, gas, etc. spent acquiring the items, which I can usually find wholesale. Then I charge hourly for the actual design work. This includes ALL time spent on the project. It can be a challenge to keep track acurately, especially when working at home. I keep a log next to the computer and write down the time I start, and if I get up to do anything else, I write down the time I stop. It works pretty well for me.

As mentioned above, I have also 'donated' projects to different organizations. Some I have asked to put my info. on, others I have not, depending on the end product, and who will receive it.