Pricing Your Logo Designs

Now that you’ve been promoting yourself on social media by posting everyday, you start getting emails from potential clients. They tell you that your work is amazing and that they would love to work with you for their project so they ask for your rates / price. You look at the email with excitement and expectation. But you realise that you actually don’t know what price you should set for your work? Should it be based upon the hour? Should it be based on the amount of resources or should it be based upon the value to the company?

How Much Am I Worth?

I get dozens of emails everyday either asking me how much I would charge, or asking me how much should you charge. I try to reply to these emails personally but I’ve cheated a little bit by pre-writing some text with the answers. In this post I’m going to show you how to price your work in a fair way.

This question is probably one of the hardest questions to answer, when we’re starting out with no experience of charging people for ourselves we find ourselves in the position where we don’t want to charge too little or too much.

There are many ways to combat this problem, but I’m not a advocate for charging upon the hour, I think this will make the client relations side of freelancing difficult. I think that the best way to find your price is through the value you will be able to give to your client.

Have you ever wondered why companies big or small are okay spending more money on their logo design than their stationary branding designs? This is because of the value of the logo design. If you client values their own company, then they will value the work you do for that company, when you’re a logo designer you’re designing the face for that company in a functional way. You’re making sure that the company will be able to stand out from the rest of the competitive market surrounding them. Your client should know the importance of their logo design and branding, so they should be willing to fork out a little more than expected to have their logo designed.

I’m not going to divulge into exactly what I’ve charged clients in the past. Instead, I’ll show you how you can confidently price your work to your clients without losing their interest and curiosity.

Expense Or Investment?

As I’ve said, lots companies and small businesses email me asking to work with them, and lots of them also ask for the ballpark price within the first email! This really puts me off working with them. This is a normal question that we all ask before we buy something, but over the years I’ve noticed that companies that ask this question in the first time email communication they have with you are looking for a low cost solution for the problem.

Whenever I work with a company or small business, I’ll always want to make sure that the company will see the work as more of an investment rather than an expense to themselves. I want to work with people who are happy paying me what I’m worth and be happy and confident about it. This normally comes after proving yourself within the design field, but this can also be done by just proving yourself as an advocate to the logo design industry in general.

I work with many great people, nearly all of them see my work as an investment rather than an expense, this means that I’m able to charge the client based upon the value I’m adding to their company by designing the logo, not based upon how much is within the companies budget. For the most part, I don’t really take any notice of the budgets of companies unless they’re a company that I personal know or get on with. Budgets are a good way or shorting the worker for the work, making sure that they have money put aside for an expense that needs covering.

I’ve been emailed before by clients who’ve given me their budgets and I’ve taken no notice of the budget whilst emailing my quote. Sometimes they email back shocked at the price of the job! When they eventually do email back, they normally say that I’m way over the budget allowance and that I should reconsider the amount I’m charging them. The only problem we see here, is that the company is wanting me to charge for less that what I’m worth. This does is not going to happen.

What are you worth? Are you, your work and your time worth more to you than what you’re currently charging your clients? If so, you need to start to bump up your prices. This can be done by adding increasing your price percentage. Normally, every year I increase my price at around 5–10%. This to me is completely fair because of the experience and work I’ve put into my last year.

Make sure you’re charging clients based upon the value of work you do for them. Make sure it’s fair. If you don’t know what price you should charge then you need to personally email some more experienced designers who’ve been the in the field a longer amount of time than you, and ask them their prices. Obviously they won’t be able to give you the exact amount because the price for each job changes depending on the value, but they should be able to tell you how much on average they’ve charge in the past. This should hopefully give you an idea of how much you’re work is worth compared to the designer you’ve been speaking to before.

I Don’t Want To “Put Off” The Client

Something that keeps being mentioned within the design community is that designers are playing safe because they don’t want to “put off” a potential client. If you’re a freelancer you’ll understand that frustration, but I want to change your perception of this frustration.

For every twenty people who email me for commissioned work I take an interest in one. Sounds strange but it’s true, most of the time I’m filtering the people who aren’t able to afford my services. I don’t have a set price for my services, it all really depends on who you are and what you need me to do for you, so when I gather all the information from the client and give them the commission quote for project they sometimes tell me that they have a small budget for the job so they can’t afford me.

This is something that I’ve grown used too, companies underestimating prices for creative jobs, so it doesn’t offend me anymore — but what does offend me (annoys me more than offends) is the idea that a very small percentage of potential clients try and negotiate with me and my prices… With no leverage!

I’m down for negotiations in the right context, but when it’s down to logo design commission work then I rarely negotiate because the price I’ve given is my price, most people understand this but again, a small percentage don’t. So something that I’ve gotten used to within the logo design industry is rejection. It’s important to know that it’s okay to be rejected for some projects — especially if you’re sticking to your guns on a certain price or goal.

I always tell clients that if they want to work with me personally then I won’t be discounting or lowering the price. It sounds strange but I don’t even do payment plans with clients, I make sure that the client understands that they need to be able to afford to pay the downpayment (deposit) before I start work, this isn’t just so I get payed but it’s also to get the client in the right mindset. That mindset being the investment mindset instead of the expense mindset.

I Can’t Afford Your Services

I tell most of the clients that can’t afford my services to start saving up their money so they can afford me — when they do this, they’re in the investment mindset, which is so important for you and the client before you start work. This shows the client that the work you’re doing is important for them.

So the moral of these mini nuggets of information is this: If your potential client has asked you to design or to work on a project with them, it’s not always just because your work is good, but it’s also because they personally like you! You, yourself is so important to the client, the way you act on social media, the persona you reveal to the client on YouTube is going to be one of the main reasons the client wants to work with you. So when you do give your price, be confident! If they really want to work with you, then they will value you and acknowledge your worth. Your experience with the client will overall be a nicer experience.

Don’t be afraid to give your actually price!

Doing Free Work

There’s this bandwagon idea floating around the design community that doing all free work is bad. I actually understand why this idea has taken off so well: the horror stories we’ve heard about other designers not being paid.

I used to have similar views on doing free work. I didn’t want to do any free work because I thought that it wasn’t going to pay the bills. But the more I’ve worked and the more experience I’ve had within this industry the more I’ve noticed that it does intact pay your bills!

Not the bills of today, but the bills of tomorrow

Too many of us are jumping on this bandwagon and writing off any inquiries that ask for free work which is wrong. Doing free work for the right people and companies can mean that you get paid double, even triple for your next project.

If a famous band, for example Green Day asks you to design their new album for free, you definitely don’t want to turn that down just because they’re asking for the work for free. You should jump straight into this because this is the project that’s going to give you the leverage and expectation to charge higher for your work next time. Most of the time, these people will still pay your or your work, but make sure that this isn’t the focus! Doing this work is going to give you so much real publicity that will give you clients you’ve never dreamed of having. Hence why you’ll be paying your bills in the future with the work you’ve done for free for that company yesterday.

This is called investing into your image. It’s so important to have the right mindset when working. You’re not working just to pay the bills today, you’re working to buy a house for the future.

This is a quote that I stick by to till this very day: “I don’t design to get paid, I get paid so I can design.”

This quote is really the story of my life — even if I didn’t have a stable income I would still design, but because I get paid to do design. I love my job and what I do, for me it’s not just the money, the most important aspect of my job is to be able to sit down and draw something awesome. It’s to use my passion to help other’s passions. I want to use my talent and ability for good, whilst earning and growing in that talent and ability at he same time.

It’s so important to get a grasp on this idea. Having the right mindset is one of the most important things you need to have in place to be successful in what you’re doing.

Thanks for reading,

Will Paterson

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