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How much to charge

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RGiddyHow much to charge
by on Mar 6, 2007 at 4:34:55 am


I've been trying to find my own work on the side producing videos and graphics. My first real paying gig turned out to be for a family member. The problem I'm coming into is how much to charge. I don't want to get low balled because she's my aunt. I was just looking for some estimates from other professionals that I could base my price around.

I created a brand logo for a new store that she is opening in my hometown. This logo will be on everything! The sign, mugs, tote bags, t-shirts, etc. This is the image of her company.

The store is focused on tourism and the historic landmarks in the area. I had to trace line art from pics of 5 historic buildings around town in Illustrator and make them look like old charcoal drawings from back around the late 1700s. Then I combined them all into one logo. I spent probably around 16-18 hrs. on this project.

I was thinking of $200 since this logo will be used for several different applications. Am I in the right ballpark?

Any input is appreciated.



I think; therefore I am.

-Rene Descartes

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zrb123Re: How much to charge
by on Mar 6, 2007 at 2:30:15 pm

If you spent 18 hrs on it and only charge $200 you are only making about $11 an hour.

Decide how much you are worth an hour and then charge accordingly.

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Craig SeemanRe: How much to charge
by on Mar 6, 2007 at 2:42:14 pm

I hope your cost of living is VERY LOW in your area.

A typical small business model might estimate that you need to cover all business and personal expenses plus make a profit on about 20-25 hours paid work a week. The rest of the hours is unpaid work such as marketing, contact with prospective clients, gear maintenance, other paperwork. Based on that and what you're charging you'd gross about $300 a week to cover all your expenses including food and housing.

Cost of living can vary greatly across the USA (and other countries as well) but even a college kid with low expenses may well have student loans to pay back. If your business is dependent on word of mouth (as most are) and your aunt mentions the price, be prepared to get stuck with more low paying job offers. If you're doing her a favor (and in my opinion you are at that pice and that may be OK since it is your first gig) tell her to keep the price quiet.

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RGiddyRe: How much to charge
by on Mar 6, 2007 at 7:04:18 pm


Like I said, I'm just doing this on the side when I'm not pulling 50 hrs at the TV station. Just trying to earn some extra cash to help pay for grad school.

I think; therefore I am.

-Rene Descartes

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Mike_SRe: How much to charge
by on Mar 6, 2007 at 11:15:44 pm

Often times, folks on the forums here can focus hard on one half of the pricing equation - what we as suppliers would like to be able to get to maintain a decent life.

There is also, though, the demand side to consider - what will the market bear, or what will the customer be willing to pay? It's where these two "curves" intersect that economists think we find a market price - and usually what the customer will happily pay is a lot less than "every hour I can think of, billed at my most optimistic rate" will add up to.

There's also, sometimes, a tinge of not-illegitimate fear that newcomers, part-timers and hobbyists doing it for cheap will hold down market prices - which they will. That's not really your problem, though.

As producers, people deliver long, complex, unpredictable and sometimes hazardous projects every day to fixed budgets - managing the customers' expectations and managing the processes so as to deliver impact on the screen at controllable costs are key skills.

At a freelance / facilities level, people and businesses quite realistically want to charge for just what they do, rather than take on a fixed fee deal and find a customer wanting to rack up all the hours God sends and then some, because, hey, it's all in the price, right? Wrong ...

So why not charge what you and your aunt think is a fair price, and enjoy it. If you've done a great logo, you've given her good value - whether that took you weeks of agony and trying or whether you pulled it together in an hour's inspiration and half a day of sweating the details ... which of those should cost her more, if the result's the same ...? These are not always easy questions, and there will never be consensus, so don't distress over dissent - just do it your way

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George SockaRe: How much to charge
by on Mar 7, 2007 at 3:04:01 am

Of course, whether it should have taken 18 hours to do this - or whether a quotes professionsl end quotes would have taken 18 hours are factors to consider. A pro might have loaded those photos into Photoshop and used one of the artistic or brush stroke or sketch filters to accomplish in 30 seconds what took you a painstaking 18 hours. If the job should have taken 2 hours, then $100 per hour is not bad at all. You don't mention the time to photograph the buildings. That time should be considered as well, unless, shame shame, they were borrowed, so to speak, from the internet or somebody els's brochure.

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Steve WargoRe: How much to charge
by on Mar 12, 2007 at 7:35:41 am

Your charging your aunt? Didn't she give you a ton of cool birthday and holiday gifts for almost 20 years? Didn't she babysit you time and time again? Let's not even mention the diaper thing from years ago.

Like Mike said above, have a sit down and come up with a happy price for all involved. Be prepared to tell her what it would have cost to have it done by a pro in that field. Fair is fair and fair works for everybody. Dwell on how much she saved, not how much she paid.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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