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Survey about charging for design time on projects

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by TimToad, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Tags:
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  2. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    sounds bout rite
     
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    So basically it's just all over the map.
     
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  4. 2B

    2B Moderator

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    Pretty much. if you are a repeat customer, who is pleasant to work with. you get more perks and freebies than the PITA

    In the end, time is money and how I spend my time is at MY discresion.
    To add to this, it means that companies policies it will be clearly posted stating that designs (initial, edits, etc.) will cost and if I decide to waive that fee that is my choice.
     
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  5. Jean Shimp

    Jean Shimp Member

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    I've seen that poll and it appears about 30% of sign companies are giving away free artwork. I've run into that a lot more lately and have lost jobs because I do not work on speculation. For one thing, good design takes time, I certainly can't just "whip out a sketch" of any merit. Unfortunately I believe the general public doesn't realize this. They think someone who supplies free artwork is giving them a better deal than someone who wants to get a deposit or charge for a design. As a result there is a lot of really bad looking signage out there.
     
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  6. JR's

    JR's Very Active Member

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    Jean you are spot on . (Unfortunately I believe the general public doesn't realize this.!!!!!!!!!)
     
  7. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Does it really matter what you do or the next guy does ?? Seriously, some people have a good knack for closing a deal with a drawing, while others can't do squat with a design..... paid or unpaid. Besides, some people are terrible at design..... heck, just look at all the horrible fonts you people are always asking for.

    Some shops are smart and won't start a job without a signed and dated quote along with a deposit before hocking up a preliminary drawing or two.

    One needs to be confident and adamant about their shop's policies. Only then, can you say your reputation is what it is, because of what you do.

    In the last 46-7 years, I gave free layouts/proofs away before getting anything in writing. Sometimes it worked and sometimes I never heard back from them, but saw my design eventually go up. Giving people little freebie sh!t doesn't usually work, but it might on some occasions. Take your chances and consider where you wanna be in 20 years.
     
  8. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    I'm in the sign business, not the design business. In order to make a sign first I have to lay it out. Not 'design' it, just lay it out. It's all part of the job. And yes Jean Shimp, I'm perfectly capable of 'whipping out a sketch' that will pretty much be of some merit.

    If a patron wants me to set up a logo or layout a newsletter or anything else with not resulting in a tangible product, I'll certainly charge for that service. Not for merely laying out a sign.
     
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  9. player

    player Major Contributor

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    I charge for design. No money, no funny.
     
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  10. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    What I found most interesting about the survey was the broad range of responses and lack of any one clear direction or policy.

    Like others including Bob who explained the distinction nicely, there is a difference between a layout, which in my opinion a reasonable amount of labor time should and would be included in the price of the sign and actual design work we are contracted to do above and beyond what is needed for the sign itself.

    We were just paid to design a logo for a client who also intends to have us produce some window graphics and a shingle sign. She clearly articulated her desire to have a logo designed that could be used for other advertising, so a separate charge for that was agreed upon.

    Where I think some of us get in trouble is when we include too detailed and finished "layouts" or "designs" without having secured a commitment from the client.

    A while back I was roundly ridiculed by the usual suspects here for daring to hand off a logo design questionnaire I've created for clients to use at their own leisure to describe their preferences and goals for the logo we'd being designing for them. Our goal for the questionnaire has always been to flush out the tire kickers who really only want or need a "layout" connected to a particular sign and those serious about working as partners to help us create a logo that fully reflects their image and brand that can be used for multiple purposes. Those that use the form to express their goals and preferences without the pressure of doing it in our shop while we are trying to listen to them and comprehend their needs being shared verbally only are rewarded with a cheaper price for the logo because we have concrete ideas formulated while not under pressure or distractions.
     
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  11. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    Dec / 2017 in response to Lawn Care logo
     

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  12. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Or just ask them to browse "logos" on google and rip off whichever one they like.... much easier
     
  13. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    As scientific as that survey may have been, I believe more than 30% of sign shops give design away.

    We only do layout and design of signs and business collateral. We work directly with corporate clients and we have sign shops we freelance for. Either way, we have to get paid. But currently, all our sign shop clients do not charge the client, they write it off as the cost of doing business and add that time equally to all the clients or when they land the job.

    I have worked for quite a few sign shops and none of them charged outright for layout or design. They all believed it was part of doing business.

    How do we stay in business when most clients are not willing to pay for sign layout and design and most sign shops are not charging? By being a little more accurate and creative, designing sign projects that the average sign shop can't handle, and allow the client to take projects out to competitive bid. Many times a face change turns into a complete branding overhaul... the 1000 dollar budgets we sometimes work with will turn until 30k. We also rarely design just an apartment sign, it's usually project wide. So a 5k monument sign can turn into 200k because of all the code and related signs that need to be replaced. You work with a real estate management company with 100 properties? Then you have to start to factor in where giving the design away becomes cost prohibitive. We sometimes encourage shops to charge a little for larger projects, then allow the client to bid out the job, but we design to the shops specialty. That way when bids come back, the contracted sign shop has a better chance of being awarded the job and it also build trust with larger corporate clients.

    You mention the creative brief. We don't use it for tire kickers, we use it to keep clients on track, define the scope of work and incorporate that into the contract. Without a creative brief, we have no direction, without a direction, the client will use up valuable time having us design without any real goal or target. When we design something to the design brief, and the client wants to go a different direction, we get to charge more because the scope of work has changed and of course, they have to fill out another design brief.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  14. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I just let the customer select from our high quality menu of ready to go logos:
    9-bucks.jpg

    For $9 bucks I can give them away all day long.....)

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

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    In this day and age Im more than certain its much much higher than 30%. People will lie to surveys, because they can. Thats why you never can put faith in surveys. I believe survey questions are an excellent time for you to answer what you really would like to do instead of what do you do.
     
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  16. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    It's not just the general public, but also ones that should actually be aware of what goes into it, but they are not or they are trying to increase their bottom line. Which doesn't help the general public either. I can actually understand the general public not knowing this, it isn't their trade or related in some fashion to their trade. But when it comes from someone that has the same issues happen to them and then they turn around and do it themselves. That's something else in my mind.
     
  17. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    All good points, but I need to clarify that our design brief isn't used specifically to weed out tire kickers. Its given to clients who appear serious about a rebrand or logo design after some initial questions and potential costs are discussed.
     
  18. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    thetoads.jpg
     
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  19. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Hey Steve.......... do we still get a chance at the new hybrid car if they miss it ??
     
  20. DStanworth

    DStanworth Stanworth Sign

    $85 an hour for design in California. Why wouldn’t you charge?
     
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