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mercy44's picture
20 pencils

How much to charge for a menu design (4 pages double sided) and a logo for a pizzeria and a newspaper ad.

Hello! I have 3 years experience and I still have so much confusion about how much to charge. I was thinking to charge $300 for the menu design, $200 for the logo and $400 for the ad, because the business is small. Can you, please, give an idea on how much to charge for a business like that and for a bigger one?

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Ivan's picture

This is a tough question. Charge as much as you can.

3dogmama's picture
1990 pencils

+1...loved "Charge as much as you can."

"Art -- the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised." - James Thurber

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

:) That sounds good!

Alex's picture
397 pencils

This rates calculator (freelanceswitch.com) will help you work out what you need to charge per hour. From there you can just need to work out how many hours of work there are in the project.

It's all to easy to come up with ballpark figures that don't do justice to the work, and time you put in. Although quoting low can be part of a strategy for building a client base, it can also be a great way of devaluing yourself and getting exactly the kind of projects you don't want to work on.

Quote accurately and fairly, and talk through exactly why a quote is as it is, both in terms of time and cost. If the client turns it down because it is out of budget, then you are in a great position to talk over other options with them that might fall within their budget (or to walk away).

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

That was very helpful!
Thank you!

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Charge based on your time, not the size of their business! Examine your bills. Examine your skills. Basically take 1/2 off the top for your expenses, training and materials and equipment and that's your real hourly rate.

Talk to designers in your area about what they charge; make sure they've been doing it about as long as you have.

Initially, I'd say you are undercharging. I'd question any company, small or not, willing to only spend $200 on their logo. Do they want to be a $200 company?

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

I was told by another designer who has 20 years experience that I have to charge based on the size of the company, that's why I still don't know how to charge :(

Thank you so much for your comment!

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

That other designer is steering you wrong! One of my most generous clients isn't even a business, really. He's just a man with projects, good taste, and a very deep wallet.

The message you're getting from us is work out your cost of doing business, then add profit for yourself. If they can't handle that, either they can't handle you or you need to be willing to take less of a profit. At this early stage in your career, it might be realistic to pare down a bit, but not before you float the real price point. They might just say "Fine!"

I wonder why you would charge twice as much to lay out an ad as you would for designing the logo, which will probably be the ad's prominent graphic feature. That seems backwards to me.

Mara

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

Mara

Mara

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

I don't see it that way at all. Perhaps you're very, very good at what you do and are known nationwide and are in great demand. If you're not all of those things, then you must at least **consider** the size of the potential client - especially in this economy.

What most designers fail to either understand, or accept (in some cases, both) is that you need not treat every client as though they're the largest client in the world and this is the most important piece of work you'll ever touch.

If the client can only afford to pay $200 for a logo, then give them $200 worth of effort. Nobody is forcing you to put in 50 hours of research, sketching, and design into a logo design. We all know damn well that it's possible to create a fantastic logo in a matter of hours.

Now I'm not saying that all designers should lower their rates, or that we should just accept whatever price the client is offering. But you have to take into consideration your own financial situation (how bad do you need the money), how easy or difficult the job will be based on what you know about the client and what they're asking for. And finally, do you WANT the work or NOT? I mean, is this a cool client that can potentially result in an awesome portfolio piece? Will more work come in the future as a result of doing this work? If so, maybe the $900 is worth it.

All that being said, I think $200 for a logo is a bit too low - even for someone just starting out. If they asked you to design it, it's because they like your work. I would say a minimum of $500-$700 is more appropriate.

Make it simple on yourself. If you want to make $20 per hour and you have a $200 price quote, that means you can only spend 10 hours on the whole logo - including time meeting with the client. If that's possible for you to do, then the price is right. The question you have to ask yourself is "do I want to spend 10 hours of my time for $200?" If you have the time to spend, then the answer is probably yes. If you have other opportunities out there, and already have a busy design schedule with deadlines looming, then the answer is no.

Be a smart business person. Don't base your decisions on meaningless things like award potential, atta-boys from other designers and agencies, and what you read somewhere on a design site, etc. You don't need to create a " work of art" on every job. Sometimes you just have to "pay the bills."

Mehhh, what do I know. I've been doing this for 20+ years and I still can't give you a straight answer. Ivan really said it best - it's a tough question. Charge as much as you can!

If you take one thing from what everyone has shared here, let it be this:
Your client is the one with the money, and you're the one who wants it. How bad do you want it?

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

Jim, read me again, please -- HA! Like you have nothing better to do!!! :-)

In saying the other designer was steering our friend wrong, I meant they were wrong that the size of the client always determines the size of our fees. I made the point that one of my most reliable sources of lunch money is not a large client at all. If I followed that other designer's advice, I'd be cutting my cash flow off to spite my bank account! Conversely, some of my clients that would fall into the "big" category by most people's reckoning are outright skinflints.

My advice was to fix your rate based on what you actually need to live and make realistic profit, and be willing to accept less if necessary, on a case-by-case basis.

I' too, have been in this business for over 20 years, and it looks to me as if we've both reached the same conclusion, though we've built up to it in different ways: charge what you can :-)

I also agree that $200 is low for a logo, but I've done lots of logos for around $250. I've also gotten as much as $1,500. That's peanuts by the standards of big NYC design houses, but a nice chunk of change for me. There's no way around the fact that we sometimes have to do little dances when we create our proposals, and hope that they'll be intriguing enough to keep the "audience" from walking out on us.

Mara

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

I read your comment wrong. Ooops. It appear we gave the same advice. But as I/you stated - the "high horse" designers in this world we live in that spout off "standard practices" and "contracts this" and "current rates that" must be living a wonderful life.

For the rest of us, it's eat or be eaten. You takes what you can gets!

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

Oh man, are you ever right about that! I doubt even the "high horse" guys can get away with that today -- if they ever could.

I've gotten bolder lately about just presenting my fee without a lot of apologetic build-up, and it surprises me how often the client feels it's fair and just wants to get the project going.

It's always a bit of ballet.

Mara

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Let's not confuse being a good business person with "high horse". Contracts, standards, and negotiating a good rate did not disappear with the recession.

mara06's picture
2752 pencils

Very true! :-) I wish I were more careful to nail the process down with all my clients. I get lazy sometimes, especially with my many repeat clients. It's easy to get too casual.

Mara

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Let your contract hold you, and your clients, to your process. :D

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Thank Mara for the advice. Regarding to fees, I feels so lost sometimes!! It makes sense what you are saying, i was thinking like that but after she told me that I was doubting! Thank you!

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Thank you so much Jim! You have really opened my eyes and I will reconsider my prices.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Please let us know how it works out for you.

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Thank you jim, i'll let you know how it goes next week, by the way, the graphic mac site is AWESOME!!

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Thanks, I appreciate it!

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Well guys, spoke with my client and he is going to pay me $400 for designing the menu, but when it comes to logo he doesn't want to spent even $250. I explained to him that the logo is very important, is the face of your business, yada yada, but he say no. For him it's more important the menu than the logo. Well, at least he wants me to do the menu. Thank you all for your comments! xxxxoooo

natobasso's picture
3951 pencils

Of course by all means do the logo, but he's going to get a $150 logo at best. Does this client want their business looking like a $150 business? Might be a good conversation to have.

However, if the client doesn't care, work for a couple hours, charge $150 (ish) and be done with it. You can only advise a client, the don't always listen. :D

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

I told him that phrase you said.... :) but he still doesn't care. He came up with the logo himself. When I sow it, is just the name: PIAZZA I was: what the hell.....ha I explained to him that the logo will represent his business and based on that we can design the rest (menus, packaging, signs, etc)
He told that is ok! The logo will be just the name using rockwell font!

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

Sometimes these clients come up with some obscure clip-artish mark with a hand-drawn font, with gradients and outlines, etc. and it's a real mess to work with. Most often, they only have a flattened .jpg file of it to work with.

It might be a blessing that he's just using a standard font for the logo. At least you can re-create in Illustrator if you need to, and obviously it will work in any color in virtually any design - other than the fact that it'll be ugly.

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

michael.frany's picture
1 pencil

You can charge according to your market demands and needs, greater the demand of your work greater the amount and vise versa. You can charge $350 for the menu design, $250 for the logo and $450 for the ad, as you have experiences of 3+ years. 646-976

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Thank you for your comment!

pleasebekind's picture
48 pencils

I'm just starting out, too so I understand what you're going through. Since you've already figured it out with your client, my comment will just be a sharing-of-experience at best.

There were a lot of factors for me at first that led me to believe that I don't have the right to charge a higher value for the work I do. Would you believe that I started taking on projects at the rate of $2 per hour? My thinking back then is that I don't have a design degree, therefore, I don't have the school bit to back me up...I was rather hesitant calling myself a designer, actually (sometimes, I still do).

I do, however, have a decent enough portfolio (not that expansive, but at least it shows what I can do) and have learned designing all by myself through getting friends to teach me how or reading via the web. The only actual class I took was a 10-hour tutorial session one Sunday afternoon ^__^ The rest is what I would say sheer will and perseverance.

So when I first started looking for clients I really didn't know how much to charge! It was very nerve-wracking. My thinking was, as long as they're paying me, I'll take it. But after a few horrible experiences (you really do learn the hard way), I felt like I owe it to myself to charge a reasonable amount for the kind of legwork involved. There weren't any freelancers in my area, and I didn't know a lot of people, so I turned to the internet for answers. That's when I started reading and learning, at first through Freelance Switch and then recently this site :)

Then I started adjusting my prices. At best I have an hourly rate. Whenever a client asks me for a quotation, I'll try to estimate how long it'll take me to get the project done and then multiply it with my hourly rate, then add to that my overhead expenses. Some clients are okay with this, because they like to know the justification behind such price. Others don't, and would just like a fixed quote. So I give them a fixed quote - which, really, still depends on how much time I'll spend working on it. My fixed quotes are also guided by the average price other designers charge, too, based on my research.

There will be clients who will walk away. That's the hard part, but should not hinder you from charging what you think you're worth. Sometimes, there's a tendency to give in to a $100 or $200 job, even if you know it's worth $500 or more and you're afraid that you'll lose the project if you do charge them that price. This is really difficult for me, especially when the times are hard and I don't have any clients for that week or if I really need to pay the rent. When this happens it's always a risk I take.

First I charge them what I really feel is the right price, and hope that they'll agree. If not, I ask them what their budget is, and I adjust accordingly -- if they can only afford to pay me this amount, then I can also only afford to give them a service worth this amount. Sometimes they agree, and then both of us are happy -- I still get paid (although not very big) and they get what they want. Sometimes they don't, and I just have to let it go. I've been in circumstances wherein I caved and said, alright, I'd do your logo for $100 and in the end I hated myself for it because they took advantage and I let them, just because I need the money. And besides, what kind of company is content with a $100 logo? Not a very great one. The one thing I had (thankfully) in my arsenal is a degree in branding and marketing, so I know how large an effort is invested in making a logo.

Anyway, it's just not worth it to me now. I just have to foster this self-confidence and belief that if my work ethic is good and my skill is competent, I'd find clients who will be willing to pay what I'm worth. I just have to work hard to market myself and find them!

Of course, I break the rules sometimes, too ^__^ That is, when I really like the project, or the client I'm working with, or when I feel like I could take away something valuable from the project and relationship, like better knowledge, better experience, etc. -- This is when I am willing to go the extra mile to do a good job, to do more even if I'm not getting paid, to give the client something really good and beautiful even if he/she doesn't have a lot of money but is a very great and sincere person - that kind of thing.

Anyway, yeah. I know I'm not at all the best person to give an advice, but I guess I just wanted to say that I understand how it can be confusing at times. Just work on building your portfolio, learning through experience and building on confidence that yes, you can charge this amount because you know you'll do a damn good job. Oh wait, that's for me too! Haha. ^__^

- Katrina

mercy44's picture
20 pencils

Amazing! Is like I am listening to myself :)
It feels good to know I am not the only one going through this process. Thank you for sharing your story. Thanks to websites like this one, where I can find such great people, talented and experienced artist willing to listen, help and support me, is that I am growing more in knowledge about this industry.

JimD's picture
2626 pencils

You simply have to be happy with the work you did, ad the money you got paid to do it. It really doesn't matter what the "going rate" is, or what others are charging, or even what you yourself SHOULD be charging.

Some of the best clients are ones that you don't make a ton of money off of with each job, but they're easy to work with, you genuinely like them, and you have fun designing for them. Then there are those who pay a ton, but they're miserable pricks that you bend over backwards for, give them great work, and they're still not happy. In the end, sometimes they're just not worth the money.

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Visit The Graphic Mac for graphics and Mac OS tips, reviews, tutorials and discussion.

zenrabbit's picture
1 pencil

I just graduated from design school with a graphic design degree about a month ago. I accepted a job designing a restaurant in house menu for a small cozy restaurant in upper Manhattan. It's not a high end place but not too shabby either, but the owner of the restaurant seemed sort of stingy. My bf was actually working there which is how I got that freelance job. The owner knew next to nothing about design or its potential other than its stereotypical values as decoration. So I charged him $200. I did the best I could, basically guesstimating what type of personality he wanted for the restaurant. He had no logo, no set color palette, or really anything solid in identity to go on. I based my designs on the type of crowd and size of the restaurant my bf described to me. It was really a bad idea to just design one menu. But I basically created a clean logo for his restaurant in the menu as well as color palette and a legend for the symbols. I think for $200 that's a pretty good deal for him. In fact, the customers commented on how great the menu looked when it was first used. I ended up spending over 26 hours total (2 weeks on and off) to finish this. Because he wanted so many adjustments on the layout, then color. I never met him in person, it was all relayed thru my bf, so it was very frustrating, trying to find a footing in the dark. He liked it so much though, he ended up asking me to make another in house menu + takeout menu for another restaurant.

So this time I'm charging him $200 for each menu ($400 total). But I'm building the logo into the menus and the price. And I asked him to build an identity for the restaurant with me this time. I don't think he would understand the concept and importance of the actual logo. And personally I don't want to drag this out because he's only giving me 1 week's time. I don't think charging by the hour would be a fair estimate, because then I should be charging him at least $1000 for my time. And I doubt a small manhattan diner/takeout type restaurant would pay that much for menus. Keep in mind I've also never had any clients before this so as a starting out price is that fair for me? Or too low?

Art D. Rector's picture
3166 pencils

Too low. $200/26hrs = $7.69 per hour. That's less than minimum wage isn't it? (I'm not sure what minimum is these days). Especially in NY. You'll never make a living that way. But you're starting out, so you probably need some portfolio pieces - so you can chalk it up to experience. I'll be honest with you - I quit doing menus about 3 or 4 years into my career. They almost never pay off. Especially if you're designing logos and color schemes to go with them. The problem is restaurant owners don't have any idea what design costs and they're changing the prices and menu items right up to the last second which means plenty of changes. Then there are the companies who just give menu work away for free - there's a cheese company that will do an entire menu in full color with photos of all the food and everything just for buying their cheese. So you're up against people who are giving the work away as well. In the final analysis - unless you have some kind of stellar rep for doing unbelievable menus or something - they just never pay off really (at least in my experience). $200 is usually right about the top amount you can squeeze out of a restaurant owner.

The other thing is you need to meet with the clients. The more people in between you and the guy with the checkbook - the more work involved. I know it probably cost you some travel time/expenses to get down there and talk to him - but you really need to do it. Or at least have a conversation online or email - don't do it thru your bf.

Hope that helped.

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