When you ask for quotes for design, you’ll find that the cost may vary wildly, which can make pricing design projects seem like a dark art. With so much variation the prices can seem completely arbitrary and when you try to compare them you feel as lost as Hansel and Gretel in the woods.
An experienced designer won’t be giving you an arbitrary price though; it will have been carefully calculated based on a number of factors. Here’s what you should know to understand design pricing:
Every designer has an hourly rate
The first thing to note is that every designer will have an hourly rate, though they may not advertise it or specify it in quotes.
Their hourly rate is the rate they’d like to achieve for each project in order to pay all their business expenses, create enough salary to cover their living costs and even, hopefully, make some profit. Other factors that affect their hourly rate include their level of skill and experience and their location (as that affects their living costs).
How does this affect a quote?
If a project is to be charged by the hour, that’s easy. You’ll be given an estimate of how many hours a project could take to give a rough guide of the cost, but you’ll be billed for the actual hours worked which could be either more or less than the estimate.
If it is a fixed price quote, however, the cost you are quoted will be what you are charged, regardless of how many hours have been worked. So how is the cost worked out?
Once you and the designer have confirmed the project scope, ie. all the work to be completed, the designer will work out how much time it should take to complete the project. They’ll then multiply that by their hourly rate to get the cost of the project. Even if the work actually ends up taking more time than originally budgeted for, the price will remain the same.
There are, of course, other factors that could affect the price, such as the project’s deadline. If you ask a designer to do a rush job they might have to put other clients’ projects on hold or work overtime to meet the deadline, so it may cost you more. And if you change the project scope during the project, an amended quote may be required to accommodate the changes.
This covers the basics of how designers work out their costs and will have hopefully explained a few mysteries!
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