One of the questions I get asked the most by clients and other designers alike is about (surprise, surprise) money.
So what is the hourly rate for a graphic designer?
Ahh, there’s the question. If you’re fresh out of college, I would say (and don’t blame me if you can’t pay off your loans) around about £9-12 ($14.50-$20) an hour.
If you’ve got a few (3 to 6) years agency experience under your belt and a nice looking portfolio I would say you should ask for £18-£25 ($30-$40) per hour.
If you’ve been hard at it for years and have a few regular clients under your belt it starts to get more complicated. You may decide to keep to an hourly rate that maybe starts at £30 ($50) an hour or more but it is more likely at this stage that you will be quoting a flat rate for jobs.
Dollar prices correct at time article was posted (see below).
Charging a flat rate for design jobs
This is where the fun really begins.
Usually, I get asked how much I would charge for a brochure, a website, a poster, a flyer, a business card, a presentation, an HTML email, an advertisement, etc. In which case an amount is quoted and will be received regardless of how long the job takes to do or how much cost is incurred.
This is harder to work out than an hourly rate and after doing it for a few years you get very good at asking questions around the brief to spot potential pitfalls before they occur. Here are a few of the questions I ask:
- Is the text to be supplied? Do they have it now? Is it finalized? Do they need any help with it? Sometimes clients will provide very poorly worded or inaccurate text and will be grateful for any improvement offered but, if so, this should be factored into the price.
- How much text is there? This is a very good pointer to how big a job actually is. For example HTML emails can be relatively quick to do if there is little text and imagery, but they can be incredibly complex beasties with loads of text, links, product images and sections. Nail down the scale of the project before quoting.
- Are there any images to be supplied? Do they have excellent quality photography already or should a price for purchasing more be worked out?
- Do they have a logo? If the answer is yes and you’re doing a print job make sure they have the logo in vector format (an Illustrator EPS or AI file). If no, then they will only have the logo as a small web image which will be no good for print reproduction and somebody will have to re-make it. This is a pitfall that is always happening! Also a job with no logo will 9 times out of 10 need one and that means the cost of a new logo should go into the final price.
Here are a few caveats or qualifications that is always good to mention when quoting for a job.
- How many options? I always specify a certain number of options will be supplied for a brochure cover, website homepage or anything that I’m designing. This is the most important stage of the project and getting it right is crucial but it’s important not to let this process drag on indefinitely. If you don’t get it right after a few goes then the project can go stale anyway. So always have a caveat of a finite number of initial options.
- How many revisions/amends? After the last design option has been finalized and you’re ready to create whatever it is you’re doing, it is only fair that the client will want to make little changes to the text and layout. However, it is always good to put a number on these.
- The extent of the job. Specify exactly at what point the job will be finished. So, for example, if it is a print job, it finishes when print ready artwork has been provided to the printer or when the printed product is delivered to the client’s premises; if it is a web job, it finishes when the site is tested and live or when a certain file has been sent to the client. It is always necessary to agree this first with the client.
General points about graphic design prices
Above all, don’t get greedy. The forces of supply and demand are hard to work against. Charge the correct and honest amount. If you’ve been working for a while you should know what the going rate is. After a while you’ll get happy clients returning to you and others contacting you having received glowing recommendations!
How to run a web design business
If you would like to learn more about what prices to charge clients, how to bill them, how to get them in the first place and how to make money by setting up your own design business download my e-book Running a Web Design Business now!