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Art fees set up fees fees fees

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

  1. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    This is the sign of business boys and girls. There's only a price. Period. No setup fees, no art fees, no radioactive waste disposal fees. just sign->price. If you're not sufficiently intelligent to generate a price that will, if not make money, at least not lose money, then perhaps you'd be better off in some other line of work.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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  3. bowtievega

    bowtievega Member

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    This is always tough to deal with. In the end you need to charge what you need to charge to make enough money to run your business. If someone else wants to charge below market value more power to them. Maybe there is something you can do to streamline your process and lower your production costs and maybe not. I definitely agree with 2ct and say you need to add value to your product and the service you are providing. Stuff like this is why I’m happy we don’t have a storefront and don’t get walk ins for banners and other cheap signs lol.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    I started painting signs in the early seventies. Word got around I was a decent artist, and all through high school and college I had a nice part-time income and met a lot of people. After graduating from college in 1979 (graphic design major), I worked in the printing industry, and watched first hand as the copy shops decimated the local offset printing business. I went back to painting signs, and opened a full service shop in 1984 (the year the Mac came out with PostScript printers). One shop in town had an early Gerber plotter, and I saw the writing on the wall. Years of learning how to hand letter, and now anybody with $20k could just set one of these up and produce perfect vinyl letters. We adapted, spent the money, and by 1989 had a cobbled together system using a Mac that could drive our plotter (output from TypeStyler, a program that could outline the PostScript characters). Not long after that, we started seeing PC based systems that were a lot cheaper, and "Vinyl Shops" started popping up everywhere.

    The traditional sign shops took a beating, and we started to concentrate on installation, service and maintenance. We still produced vinyl signs, but the small Vinyl Shops had much lower overhead and were able to kill us on pricing (but I still had my art skills, so we had an edge with discerning clients). The conversations at sign shows and Letterhead meets were remarkably similar to the ones we had when Copy Shops killed the local offset business.

    Fast forward to today. Same conversations, but now how online printers and outsourcing has killed the traditional sign business. I had already been through this a couple times, so twenty years ago I started focusing on art and design as a profit center. I began outsourcing production as much as possible, including installation, maintenance and service. I am lucky in that I have a loyal base of clients who keep me busy doing art and design.

    I sell art and design, both to clients and production shops who cannot afford a professional sign designer on staff. If the client wants me to furnish and/or install a sign, I outsource it and mark it up. Not surprisingly, my pricing (even with a 40% margin, which is my standard mark up), is very competitive. I keep local installers busy, and in they (well, some of them) turn to me for design and project management. My overhead is low (I work from my home and have a small shop less than a mile away for meeting clients and some very light production). Admittedly not for everybody, but something to consider if you want to make money as an artist.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    It's good you are in that position, but "artists" can be outsourced online too.

    I've leaned towards installation because it's hard for the internet to install a sign. Besides the fact that I dont like sitting still at a desk all day, I like being outdoors.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Stacey K

    Stacey K Getting Back in the Game

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    I tell the customer they have 2 options - if they give me "creative freedom", I will send them a couple mock-ups if they approve with a minor change, then no set-up fee - as long as it's pretty basic. If I have to go back and make several changes or they want clipart and certain colors then I charge for my time. MANY people will just tell me to go ahead with whatever I come up with because they don't want to pay extra for design time. I figure I can give them 15 minutes of design time. I have a banner currently in which they wanted 13 different symbols representing things they offer - that I am charging for as it's time consuming searching for all that clipart. I send all my banners out to signs 365 $28 including shipping for this size. Pricing for companies in my area would be $85 min for this size not including any art fees.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. I think it comes down to this. How busy are you? Are banners your bread and butter? If you're busy and they aren't, don't nickel and dime with everyone else. Charge for what you time is worth. We charge a lot more than $4/sq. Sometimes we get the job, sometimes we don't. People know we do great work and if they want peace of mind that it will be done correctly within their time frame, they will pay the extra cost. We would rather not get the job and focus on something that will make us money, than get it and not make anything.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

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    Wow, I used to bill $150 an hour working in Dallas back in 2003, I freelanced for half has much on my own time.
     
  9. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    Youre not
    I like your answer. Somewhere in the middle of all of these responses, I realized (and maybe someone said it), I just shouldn't (can't) compete with the online banners and online coroplast signs. My focus needs to be more on the big signs and lettering. We focus more on autowraps ANYWAY, so that's where the real money is for us in this business. I can DO banners and I can DO coroplast signs, but I have noticed that it is a competitive market and many people are looking for a deal. Especially when they tell me that they will lose the sign or it will get thrown away. I can't charge a "throw away" price and make money at it.
     
  10. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    If someone came into our shop to discuss a 3' x 6' banner and they said, it was gonna be a throw-away banner, I'd say, Okay, the blank banner material is $48.00, here is a Black Magic Marker...... and good luck. Tip my hat and shut the door.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    Well,
    Isn't that relative though? The lady I was talking to is starting an insurance agency. So she wanted her name, a photo and then the clipart for the various insurances she provides. Pretty straight forward but had to do with how it would be placed. I figured $25 was fair for spending about an hour placing items in CorelDraw. No artwork being drawn at all. When it was all said and done, she could do the same thing on an online banner service and let them print it out for her. (That's the take away from the general comments on my post)
     
  12. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

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    That $150 an hour was the most basic work ever - pure DTP - no logo design or anything, just mechanics of placing items and moving them.
     
    • OMG / Wow! OMG / Wow! x 1
  13. Geneva Olson

    Geneva Olson Member

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    I'm really going to have to review my prices!
     
  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Unless we're doing logo work, ours is presently $145 per hour. It's been that for about 10 years. I'm thinking of upping it this year to $178.00 per hour. Haven't decided. I always have the ability to discount it if I see a need to.

    Had several people over the years tell me that's an outrageous price and I usually say, yes, I know. Do you want to do it, instead ??

    Our cost for washing a vehicle, if not clean when coming in to be lettered is $185 an hour. My Dad used to say, who's gonna want you to wash their vehicle for that price ?? I'd say to him..... that's my point........ :clapping:
     
  15. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Sign installers make for expensive car washers... and not that pretty

    [​IMG]
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 2
  16. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    See, when paying by the pound, it's a really good deal. That looks like a big sign shop...............................


    By the way...... what's that guy squirtin' up the other guys bumpter ??​
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 1
  17. Chuck7772

    Chuck7772 silverback

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    One thing I have learned is I don't say fee. I word fee scares peopl . Someone said they will wonder what else are you going to charge them for. I use cost it makes people feel a little bette .
     
  18. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    You think $25 is fair for an hour of your time? This is a big issue for new business owners, they think they hourly rate is the same as a wage, it's not even close. The $25 /hr is what you should want to take home after all your expenses are paid (actually more but this is an example)

    Also you said "$25 for an hour's work is good since there was no design work" again this is a common thought among new business owners, but it's flawed, your shop rate is the same weather you are designing a fleet of vehicles wraps, or weeding vinyl or cutting sign blanks.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  19. The Yanki & The Brit

    The Yanki & The Brit The Yanki & The Brit Signs and Radio Show

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    I put everything into one price. Take it or leave it. I'm old enough now to not give a **** anymore... Customers pay first, unless they are established, then they get their artwork till they are happy.
     
  20. MI Bearcat

    MI Bearcat Member

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    So it's the same price whether or not they give you a print ready file or if you have to spend a half hour working on a layout?
     
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