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jfibarra00's picture
6 pencils

How Much To Charge for cd cover? need help please

I do some freelance graphic design for a small record company. They want me to create a cd album cover. Its just a single, though and they want me to create the album cover with photos that they supplied, they need some changes. Such as changing the color backgrounds and such. They also want me to create the cd label to match. The problem is the way they work. The make me email them at least five different examples and then ask me to make minor changes then and send it again then an hour later they change their mind. After its "done" they make me email to whichever print company the hired to print them. I am unsure of what to charge. I charged them $100.00 for the cd l label and $200.00 for the album itself. I don't know if I am under charging?

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pokie's picture
1217 pencils

Your price is pretty reasonable but you may be selling yourself short. How much time do you think you'll end up spending on it?

spigot's picture
190 pencils

What you charge a client depends on a few things, like what they are willing to pay (what it's worth to them), what you're willing to do it for (what your hourly rate/experience level is) and how many other designers would be willing to do it for less...

All in all though, I'd say you are undercharging. $300 for a cd and album cover would mean less than 5 hours of work for me. A fresh design on almost any project takes more time than that.

Alex's picture
397 pencils

It's a tricky one, and one that's bitten me a few times. The client has agreed on a cost, but work done exceeds that cost. Without a set in stone contract detailing all expectations what do you do?

Here's a great article which covers some of this (It's geared towards developers, but I would say the bulk of it is applicable to any designer):
http://www.andyrutledge.com/calculating-hours.php

What I've learned to resist is the desier to 'just get on and do it'. Planning as much in advance, chatting it over with the client(s) and following each meating up with a set of 'agreed' points, is a great way to keep on track or to let those you are working with know when the project is slipping.

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

"Without a set in stone contract detailing all expectations "

that's the real problem. when you agree to do work, you need to create a contract with specific requirements from the client and specific cost for specific work from the designer. and some information about what will happen to the cost if the scope changes based on client needs (will you charge hourly? will you renegotiate?). and this includes how many rounds of changes are included.

anything that changes the amount of work then should change the cost based on the contract. working w/o a contract is like working w/o a net.

jfibarra00's picture
6 pencils

My problem with them is that I didn't have a contract with them. I finished the project which ended up taking me all day because of all the changes they kept wanting me to make. For instance they asked me to out the title one way and then asked me to flip it the other way and email it to them. Then they would decide they wanted it another way. By the end of the day from about 9am to about 6pm I was done. I then sent them my invoice and they sent me my check, which was less than the invoice, and i don't know what to do because there was no contract.

gwells's picture
1707 pencils

did you have any discussion with them at all about cost/pricing before you started?

if not, you can ask them to pay the full amount on your invoice, but you basically left yourself without much to fight for. you may have to chalk this one up to experience and use it as a reminder to yourself that you always use a contract. even a simple one. always.

Alex's picture
397 pencils

It comes down to understanding the client's expectation of you. It sounds like they were using you as a pair of hands to do exactly what they required rather than as a thinking, decision making and consultative specialist.

Though some may disagree, this isn't necessarily a bad thing - as long as you know in advance that that is what they want from you so that you can charge and project plan appropriately.

As I mentioned earlier, the temptation is always to jump in and get designing, but you can save yourself problems (and resentments) like this one by finding out more about the project and agreeing with the client exactly what they expect of you.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

They are a small label with undoubtedly a small budget, but you are WAY undercharging for all the revisions, I feel.

Let's say you charge $50/hour. For all the revisions you mentioned and samples required, I'd imagine you'd be in the 10 hour range at bare minimum, $500.

Don't forget, who owns the rights to the art? YOU do until you sign them over. This requires another fee, which really depends on how widely this cd is being distributed.

Remember, you only get what you negotiate. And if you don't have a contract on all your jobs, you're just a trapeeze artist performing without a net.

----
Natobasso
dirtandrust.com
"Powerpoint is not a design application"

Emeralddragon's picture
2 pencils

Hello, I just found your sight and I have a question. I make art quilts and someone saw pictures of my work and wrote to ask me if they could use the picture of one of my quilts on the cover of an upcoming CD they are making. How much is a reasonable price to charge for the use of my quilt photo? Do I need to sign a contract? I would appreciate any advice.

Alex's picture
397 pencils

In terms of pricing, go with whatever you think is fair and be prepared to negotiate. If you can, chat to cd cover designers and illustrators and see what they charge.

A contract is worthwhile for both you and the band and should cover things like reprints, reuse in advertising and merchandising - it should also specify whether and how you want to be referenced in the work (ie, does your name always appear alongside it?).

Emeralddragon's picture
2 pencils

Hello Alex,
Thank you very much for the help. I appreciate it very much. E.

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Discover the distribution. Multiply your rate times the units sold and perhaps by region as well. Worldwide rights cost more than local rights. And don't forget to stipulate what happens after 12 months. You normally have the rights transferred back to you after that time.

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