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Question Sign Design Revisions

Discussion in 'Designs & Layouts' started by Traceygetters, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Traceygetters

    Traceygetters New Member

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    How do you handle clients who have multiple requests for revisions of designs provided beyond a reasonable amount? Do you have something in your estimates/proposal that states the number of revisions and additional costs if more are needed? If so, what wording do you use?
     
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  2. The Yanki & The Brit

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

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    You can do like I do and simply state that you have done all you will, and you can invoice them for anything more, and then carry on, orrrrrrrrr... you can keep giving away your time.
    Me, with my attitude, and you have to be nice, as much as I hate to do that, but you have to decide if they will be of any future value.
    If not, you cut them short and tell them to try somewhere else.
    If they become to much of a pain in the ***, do you really want to do work for them in the future?
    Not me.
     
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  3. Boudica

    Boudica Active Member

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    Design: $60/hour with a 1 hr minimum and that includes 3 revisions. after that $20 per revision.
     
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  4. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Ya just really need to set your policy up front, so your customers know what to expect. If nothing's been discussed, be a nice guy, get the job completed and then put your policies down on paper and make sure all newcomers read it. Make them sign it. It is afterall a contract to do business.
     
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  5. signbrad

    signbrad Member

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    This is the way to do it.
    One of my exes is a "creative director" (whatever that is). She bought design work for projects all the time. She had two steady designers that she farmed work out to. She had to have a policy since she was a middle man. It was "two revisions and three tweaks." After that, 110 dollars an hour. She said if you don't get a handle on revision work right at the beginning, you will lose your shirt.

    Back in the day, when all our sketches were done by hand, we didn't do any revisions as a general rule. I drew a design, the client penciled in changes, and that was it. Also, most sketches simple pencil layouts, not color renderings.
    The computer has spoiled people, and they will work you to death if you let them.

    Brad in Kansas City
     
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  6. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Revisions. That's a complicated issue and there is no one size fits all solution to it since so many sign projects are different in size, complexity and dollar value. We have different policies applied to different products. A large, valuable lighted sign can be afforded more revisions or minor tweaks than a cheap banner. And then you're going to treat a long-time repeat customer a little more favorably than someone you've never met who is obviously shopping around for the cheapest price on a yard sign.

    For us, tasks such as cleaning up a client-provided JPEG "logo" and converting it to clean, vector art will usually involve a design charge. We'll forego the fee if either the art is easily/quickly reproduced and/or is an element in a valuable sign package. Vehicle wraps almost always involve a design deposit just to see a full blown sketch. The design fee meter stays running on those projects. And since the clients know it up front they get very specific about their requests very fast.

    Some revisions occur because of mistakes or information that wasn't disclosed up front. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get that vital, specific info out of the customer. What's the sign supposed to say? What is the correct spelling for all the verbiage? Are there any existing assets (logos, graphics, etc) that have to be included or any branding manuals that have to be followed? What is the city sign code like where this is going to be installed? When a customer is allowed to be vague it can lead to a lot of wasted time and revisions. LOTS of people will give off the knee-jerk phrase, "show me a few different ideas until I see something I like." Uh, we're going to do a lot of narrowing-down even just in the initial conversation. The best sign sales people will know the right questions to ask.
     
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  7. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Agreed with Gino, nothing too formal, I simply tell customers up front that a basic design is included in the price of the sign, but I
    have to charge for excessive design changes (assuming it wasn't something I got wrong), but I will let them know before we get to that point.
     
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  8. Adam Lamar

    Adam Lamar New Member

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    Our estimates included 1 or 2 revisions. after that, my time is $105/hr billed in 15-minute increments.
     
  9. Todd Jelle

    Todd Jelle Member

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    Colorado
    Sorry, but I have to laugh at that price. We were charging that rate 10 years ago. Unless its just very simple cut vinyl art. We do large electric signs with engineering involved, so a change can & does often amount to re-figuring everything. It can be many hours of work & some people really think the computer figures everything out with a few "clicks", Correct measurements & specs are absolutely critical to estimate a project, not to mention the time spent making sure there are no surprises or unknowns. On many of our signs , the design is the hard work, the actual labor is the easy part, once everything is figured.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
  10. Boudica

    Boudica Active Member

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    Laugh away. The OP didn't describe the project at all. They specifically asked what wording to use to cover this.
    Obviously the amount of work varies depending on the project - and it's generally built in to the cost. The key is to say something up front. Let them know that dinking around,. going back and forth will cost them - because there is value - in time and skill.

    I am an experienced designer (20+ years) but we are not a design agency - so we don't charge design agency prices. FIll in the amount with what ever you want. I was just offering an example of what to state upfront - you may or may not tack on those charges. If they are easy to work with, call it built in already. If they are a PITA, charge them for the time they waste. Just warn them ahead of time.
     
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  11. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

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    It doesn't always come up in the first conversation, because for all I know they could have vector art ready to roll. But our proof sheet that we send has a 3 revision rule directly on it.

    Yeah, sometimes we give a little more than that, depending on context, but the proof sheet that they've got to sign off on is great to fall back on when enough is enough. It's only ever come up once, when one client was like "I can't revise more than three times?? Then will you please mock up 5 or 6 different versions for me to pick from so I don't have to revise?"
     
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  12. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Design fees are going to vary based on geographic region and whether the locale is in a high cost or low cost of living zone. A local market can also be affected by competitors providing their design services for cut-rate prices or even free. Even when your work is clearly better than theirs it's still a hard battle to charge what is fair.

    We usually bake a lot of our costs into the overall sign quote rather than having a "design fee" line item the customer can dispute. It's easy to tell someone the price of steel or plastics has gone up or explain other costs. But too many people just don't see any value at all in graphic design work. They think it's finger painting play time or something.

    I've lived through that a few times. It really sucks when you're having go to round and round with an established customer on a new project, going through what I call "revision hell." It can be hazardous hitting a client like that with a bunch of fees for having to re-do designs and proposals. The risk is they'll get angry and take their repeat business elsewhere. You have to get them to understand your time and resources are valuable. The key is dragging as much critical info out of the customer up front before any design or engineering work is done.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  13. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

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    Very much agree, our design rates are, I think, much much lower than a design firm, but we're East Coast Canada in a small city... etc.

    There is one thing I do want to mention re: this entire revisions discussion - I've made the mistake of saying to a client "Hey, let me just bring this up and tweak a few things" while they're here. Or my boss will say, "Kate can look at that right now, let's just bring it up". This is for sure, 100%, an error. I work fast and have experience; What I do with quick shortcuts etc on screen looks like magic to a client who's never used the program, and it also makes it look easy. I've had clients say "Oh wow, you just did in ten minutes what my previous designer/counsin/friend took weeks to do! Why did they charge me so much money?!"

    I have this problem come up in my freelancing as well. The better/faster I get, the less money I get if I charge hourly, therefore I have to start finding other rates/fees to appropriately compensate my time. So even if I have time right that second, and it might be easier to talk to a client in person as the changes are made, I try not to do it. It changes the professional relationship. Clients just simply can't understand the amount of work and experience it takes to "make a few clicks"
     
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  14. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Member

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    I have found that if a customer spends a lit of time on the design, they will be difficult on finished product too. They will find Something that is not right in their eyes.
     
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  15. SteveQuincey

    SteveQuincey New Member

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    I have a few much larger accounts where I will make any change they need as many times as they ask. I don't charge them extra but I always mark up my invoices 2% or so. I call it "my dogs bone fund" It allows me to never get frustrated and mostly it covers my extra time and gets my pup some extra bones to chew on.
     
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  16. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    Yeah, I really don't like that at all. It's one thing for the boss or sales manager to have a designer open one or more art files just for the visiting client to take a look. It's another thing entirely when they want to start making impromptu changes on the spot. I don't like eye-balling the size and placement of elements in a design, particularly if it's a lighted, permanent sign.

    The absolute worst is when a customer wants to sit down next to you and "work together" on the design. I've been through that experiment before and it's a giant pain in the @$$. You often end up having to explain every click in the process or what's going on in your head to get there. That creates an opening for the customer to debate every step. Or he'll start making requests, some of which don't make any logical sense. Rather than insult the client for his lack of artistic talent and graphic design experience you have to humor him by visually putting together his design request and let him find out the hard way that his idea sucks or doesn't even comply with rules of geometry. Topping it off, the customer discovers the design process doesn't work real fast like it does in all the bull$#1+ scenes of computer use in TV shows and movies. But he doesn't make the connection that the computer use in movies and TV shows is FAKE. No! He might get the attitude that our computers and software sucks or we just suck at using computers since we're not as fast as the actors in the movies. It takes a good bit more time to design something properly and precisely than it does to make a ham and cheese sandwich.
     
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  17. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    We don’t charge or limit revisions. We simply bill by the hour in 15 minute increments and charge them more for the more time they use up.

    Pretty simple, no?
     
  18. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

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    Yes we've definitely encountered the "can you just...." clients. I love almost all of our clients and I appreciate that they want to be part of the design process, but I also think that for the best end results the distance is important.
     
  19. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    First of all, I don't design anymore but used to be 50% of my job for 20 years and I got a reminder recently. I was at a friend's shop and he had a husband and wife come in for design revision. I got reminded, never ever design with 2 people around especially a husband and wife. It was brutal and I could feel his pain.

    In that past, I would avoid it unless it thought 15 to 30 minutes could get us over the hurdle. You have to have a good feel for the client and you'll still be wrong 20% of the time.
     
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