January is adjustment and renewal time, so if you’re unsure on how your creative agency charges you, read on.
We often hear how bewildering it is trying to figure out what a graphic designer or branding agency charges. If you’ve ever asked them what it will cost, the typical answer you probably heard was, “well, that depends on how many hours I’ll need, and how many extra hours on the weekend or how fast you need it done” – Arrggh!! Why can’t they just tell me what it will cost? You have a project, it needs to get done, people are breathing down your neck, and now you have to dance ever so delicately around the price issue. To top it off, he cites $x amount per hour, but how in the hell are you going to know how many hours he’ll take?
Well, the solution is simple. Flat fee.
An established graphic design company will have enough experience to know how long your project will take, and will have the experience to get it done within that time frame. That’s why they’ll have the confidence to tell you exactly what it will cost. No surprises, no hidden fees. If they say it’ll be $500, it’ll be $500. No hourly rate, no premium rate, and certainly no mystery as to what the final bill will be. Now isn’t that better?
‘Course sometimes design work takes longer, but a good design company will have plenty of work on hand, and won’t be so desperate to recoup every single dime out of you. And if they’re faster than expected, they should pass that savings on to you. Yes, you read that correctly.
But beware of changing direction on them. If you suddenly and without warning change the parameters – or worse, supply all new copy, watch out! You could find yourself in Gouge Central, paying way more than you ever intended. But if you already work with a great design company, you’ll know they’ll communicate with you, and will rework the fee so it’s fair for both parties.
So if your graphic designer stings you with big bill, maybe suggest a flat fee for your next project. If he balks at the idea, then maybe start looking for a creative partner that understands your world, and your challenges.
Greg Carmichael is the Managing Director of Synergy Design, an accomplished graphic design and marketing-support company near Toronto. He leads a talented team of designers that produce visually effective marketing collateral for print and online, and ensures that their clients have a great experience in working with them.
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