When I started my own graphic design business, I made the decision to not post my prices. They’re not on my website, Facebook or Google Business Page. In fact, if your first email to me asks “How much would it cost to…” I probably still won’t give you a price.
I know. It seems counter-intuitive. How can I be competitive if I don’t let potential clients see my fees? It seems like it would just be easier to post a flat rate. Logo design? It will cost you $10,000.* A quarter page ad? Oh, well that will run you $500.* I could come up with a whole rate card with all the services I offer and what it would cost you. Except, that’s not fair to either of us.
Really? No prices?
Say you’re looking for a website. I could tell you a website would cost $5,000.* Now, let’s say we meet to discuss what you want. And it turns out what you really want, is something simple. Just a home page, blog and contact form. And your budget is $1,000. Or instead, what you really, really want is a complete retail experience. Dozens of pages and sub-pages with custom coding, a retail portal and custom images that haven’t even been created yet. That flat rate shouldn’t cover both options. One isn’t fair to you and one isn’t fair to me.
Instead, I want to discuss your project and, in the end, your goals before I give you prices. What exact work do you need? What is your budget? What is your timeline and what assets do you already have in place? Knowing the details of your project allows me to provide the best service possible. And it allows me to find that sweet spot where your needs and mine meet to make this an affordable and successful project.
One of the core values of my business is to build a relationship with my clients. When you come to me for design work, I want you to be sure that your work is a priority. I want to know you and your business. To understand your goals. To help you succeed. Building a relationship means I understand what you need which in turn helps me to provide you with pricing consistent with your work.
Talking it through
There is another reason I don’t like to give out pricing before we’ve had a chance to talk (or email!). As we’re talking about your projects (and your goals), I might have some other (or completely different) thoughts as to how to accomplish your goals: You came to me looking for a brochure, but maybe a postcard would work better for this project. You love your logo, but your business feels stale so time for a new logo. Maybe what you really need is to refresh your existing logo and update your brand. Talking through your project goals may provide a variety of ideas you may not have considered.
Before starting any graphic design work, though, you should spend time considering what that project is worth to you. Despite what we both wish, your budget is not unlimited and it’s important to be realistic before starting the work. And share that budget with me up front. You already know what your cap on the project is and by sharing that with me upfront, I can be honest about the services I can offer at that rate.
Once I have a better sense of your goals and we’ve agreed on your project needs, I will always provide you with a proposal. This proposal will list the scope and fees of the project. There will be no hidden feels or secret charges. Work won’t begin until you’ve signed and returned the proposal. I promise to be up-front about all charges during the project and will always let you know if there are any additional or unexpected charges before moving forward with anything.
Ready to discuss your next project? Send me a note thorough my contact form (don’t forget your budget!) and let’s get talking.
*No. This is not a real price. It’s not even close. Or maybe it is. Let’s talk about what you need before I give you a price.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash