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Art fees set up fees fees fees

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Geneva Olson, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    So, my business is growing and I love it. But I'm having a hard time with art fees, design fees and set up fees. For example. I had a customer call today. I told her the standard banner is 3 ft a 6 ft and I charged $4 a square foot. So the banner is $72. She had a general idea on what she wanted on the banner, but needed guidance. So I told her there was a $25 art fee. I believe it scared her off. So, I must ask, is this reasonable for an art fee? Why are banners cheap without an art fee?
     
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  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    If someone balks at a $25 art fee on a $72, they deserve to walk.
     
    • Agree Agree x 8
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  3. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    Your charges are about half of what they should be.
     
    • Agree Agree x 6
  4. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    If the banner contained only basic text, nothing fancy, something that could be churned out pretty fast I wouldn't include an extra art charge above the square foot price of the banner. With that being said the basic square foot cost of the banner should include the labor and materials needed to get the job done. It shouldn't be priced according to the banner material and ink printed on it alone.

    We don't have flat design fee rates either. There's a certain rate for converting customer provided pixel-based "logos" into vector-based artwork. The fees also vary depending on how much time we have to put into creating various kinds of original graphics and the value of those graphics. Fees also vary for fixing technical issues with customer provided vector-based artwork.
     
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  5. Sindex Printing

    Sindex Printing Member

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    We charged $85 an hour and just increased our design and shop rate to $125 an hour on the 1st. I do have a lot of customers that I don't charge any design time. They do make it up with volume and loyalty.
     
  6. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    The customer could have just designed her own banner on one of dozens of online sites and paid considerably less than $4 a square foot. What's her problem?
     
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  7. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    We are struggling with the same thing. Our route is to split our business approach for the one off customers and give them an online process with a designer tool for a hands off approach. Or for a fee and hands on with our staff and designers.

    We are currently charging $85/hr for simple design and setup and $125/hr for full creative design. Many times setup is baked in to the cost of the job, other times that take significantly more effort we break it out as a line item.

    To the OP, $4/sqft is below average for many markets but double most online outlets. Don't compete with online outlets unless you have an online tool that you can remain hands off like these online outlets. It's a struggle we have faced but have learned most of these people who compare prices don't compare service and they end up coming back if it's important.
     
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  8. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Member

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    Consider charging more for banner and throw in artwork and set up fee. .
     
  9. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Raise your prices. $72 plus $25 is $97, so for a 3x6 banner you are at $5.38 a square. Raise it to $6 a square.
    When you tell a customer a quote then start adding fees it scares them off wondering what else you will charge them.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  10. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Key phrase in the OP's post: "..client has a general idea". Translated: Time wasting zero profit most irritating thing I've done in months.

    I worked on a job last year where the client knew what they wanted until they saw the comp. 21 revisions later the job was finished. Got paid for every bit of it.
     
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  11. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    BC...... we were getting a minimum of $10 a square foot. Everything was done by hand. Only supplies needed was some canvas, a thimblefull of paint and time to paint it..... lettering and/or pictorials alike. Now, ya have all these expensive machines, vinyls, inks, hemming techniques and design time and ya only charge $3 bucks a square ??

    You need to get real and charge what the industry dictates. Anyone can charge next to nothing and be busy. How good are ya ..... or are ya just cheap ?? That's the real question. Can you get the market rates with worthwhile products ??
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. SameDay Signs

    SameDay Signs Member

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    I get $3 a sq ft all day long and put out a good product with ZERO art fee/setup unless its complex or is edit after edit....Then again we pop out 90% of our banners sameday and i can draw up a nice banner in the matter of 5 minutes print a 3x6 in 5 minutes...trim, hem and grommet is another 5 minutes thats 15 minutes - $54and easy money good profit ... to say $3 sq is to cheap or crazy isnt at all i don't compete with online people thats a waste of time but in my area NW Ohio most shops are getting $3-$4.50 on high side for banners....The people that can get $6-$8-$10 sq ft for banners are not in this type of market where we are at and before they say they wouldnt do them then they should realize you wouldn't be in business around here just saying because your not getting that...I say charge what makes you happy what makes you the money you want and let others ***** and worry about what they want to get themselves....Only 1 person has to be concerned or worry about what you charge and thats the owner of the shop
     
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Fine and dandy, SameDay. Maybe that's all you want, but think about this, for every banner I make, you hafta make triple that amount. Therefore, you have triple the costs, triple the time and triple the wear & tear on equipment. I can do a sign for the same costs you do, but while you're making 3 of them to my one..... I'm onto other good paying jobs.

    Remember, this isn't a race to the bottom, but staying in business and working smart.

    Based on your profile, if it's up-to-date, your cost is close to a dollar a square foot to produce said banner, I highly doubt you get it finished from start to finish in 15 minutes. Seriously, til you input your information, send it to rip, put the correct media in the machine and align it, cut it down and trim it, apply your tape to the edges, fold it all over and then put your grommets in, you're gonna have at least a 1/2 hour in it, unless you have other people helping you do the monkey work. If so, now there's more labor involved. Nope, I doubt you making as much as you think.

    Do you charge for your waste ?? You know the materials that don't get printed, but you still hafta handle. That would amount to 18" of good stuff, you throw out. Who pays for that ?? The ink in your waste bottle ?? The time on the phone or in person with the customer ?? Nope, I really doubt your banner is a 15 minute project with lotsa profit.
     
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  14. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    It can be really tough for people just getting into the sign business to have enough guts to let a customer walk when they say they can get a particular product online for so many dollars less. We won't bat an eyelash when hearing it. It's basically like, "well, bye!"

    Sometimes it's really about calling that customer's bluff. Because some of those price claims they toss out are just made-up BS. We know what it costs for specific materials, labor, etc. We have to cover those costs. We're not going to sell something and take a loss on it. Customers don't know our costs, overhead, etc, but some will sure try to act like they're experts on it. They'll belly-ache like we're trying to rip them off or something. You just have to stand your ground. Most of the time they give in and buy the product. And of the ones who actually walk, well you probably don't want their business anyway.

    That sounds like BS. How do those 5 minute designs look? Is it something more than ugly default Arial squeezed and stretched all to $#!+?

    Some customers believe labor is not worth anything. So it doesn't bother them if they cause you to make lots of revisions on a job, even something cheap like a banner. They think computers all work like the BS they see on CSI: Miami. Just rattle some gibberish into the keyboard real quick and the job is done. Then there are some customers who don't want you making any kind of profit on a job. Locally there is a couple douche-bag types we ended up black-listing over that kind of nonsense. There is a lot of people who have money who are still decent people, but I really can't stand the types who feel like they're losing money on a deal if they don't make you lose money. That's just sleazy.

    Ultimately all clients and projects are different in their own way. Any kind of flat pricing runs counter to that reality. If we're doing a big sign project for a new restaurant or some other kind of business and they're buying lighted pylon signs, lighted building signs, directional signs, interior signs, etc it's nothing for us to throw in a temporary banner or construction site sign for cheap or even free. We'll especially do that if it's a repeat customer that has bought a lot of stuff from us.

    First time customers right off the street are another matter, especially if they're people wanting things for personal projects not related to a business. Someone may come in wanting a banner for a birthday party, class reunion, welcome home troops, etc. We can't spend a bunch of time dinking with design revisions on that kind of stuff.

    Even on big permanent signs or vehicle wraps we try from the outset to get the customer to narrow down what they want at every stage. If they're going to be iffy, not know what they want, etc we're not going to waste time creating finished designs with all the dimensions and material specs on the sketches. We're certainly not going to do that if any elements have to be hand-drawn and/or created from scratch. They're going to start out seeing basic doodles, quick pencil sketches on paper (or iPad), etc and be forced to decide on things at those stages before the elements move into the final design stage.

    If we're doing this with a first time customer they're going to know from the outset that the meter is running (especially on things like vehicle wraps). There's not much we're going to do for free. Some people are just price shopping; they'll let you produce 10 revisions on a design project only to walk to a competitor that low-balled the price. And they'll try to take your artwork to that competitor!
     
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  15. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    I was charging $5 a square and a lady told me that she got one elsewhere for $4 a square. I found a price at a competitor for $39.95 for 3x6 banners. I mean I want to charge what the industry standard is in the area, maybe a fraction cheaper. I know I can compete with big names because I don't have a franchise fee I have to pay. I just struggle with the right prices.
     
  16. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    So I should be charging $8 a square for banners? and $50 art fee? I ask because I have lost a few sales because I was charging $5 a square foot. I did some research and people seem to be charging around $4 a square foot. I pay for the whole roll of banner material in one banner.
     
  17. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    You don't always have to compete on price. When they balk at your price offer them information as to why you are different and worth the higher cost, Add value and most clients will pay. You will lose potential sales but the sales you make are worth more and are truly rewarding.
     
  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    The only banners I'm doing these days are ones where they provide camera-ready artwork or are old customers. I charge $5.50/sq. ft. and have them drop shipped from S365... THAT is making a banner in 10 mins. Thankfully I really don't have the need to work hard for a $100 banner order anymore... or magnets or yard signs... hopefully I never have to go back to doing those things.
     
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  19. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    For a small banner like you discribed where I needed to do layout work, yes I would. Now, I might not get the job, but I wouldn't care because that is the price I need to make money.

    Banners are pretty much the cheapest type of sign you can make, and there is a race to the bottom with sign shops trying to compete with online pricing. We choose to charge what we need to make money and focus on higher profit jobs. You mentioned that "1 banner will pay for the whole roll" this is flawed thinking, our material costs account for less than 20% of our yearly expenses, know what cost the most, labour!

    If you figure out your hourly shop rate, and then time how long you spend on a small banner order from emails, design, proofs, revisions, printing, finishing, packaging, invoicing, shipping etc. You will see that you will have most likely lost money on the order.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    No one banner is the same either. The low-ball outfits online are going to crank out canned type and canned clip-art, anything that can be thrown together fast. If the customer provides the outlet some JPEG image of their banner idea chances are very good the low-ball company will just slap that JPEG into the banner layout and print that. They're not going to spend time cleaning up art, converting logos to vector or any of that stuff for some $3-$4 per square foot rate, especially on a small banner. If they're stupid enough to do that then let them have the work! They'll beat themselves to death losing money on such jobs.
     
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