Today's Question: Do you have a rate sheet or how do you charge clients?
Figuring out what to charge clients is by far the most challenging part of my job. I have learned the hard way many times over that I've undercharged clients and over worked. I've also learned the hard way a few times because of not protecting my work with extra fees for clients who change their mind at every corner of a project, or just disappear I've lost money or had many hair ripping moments. Talking about money is never fun either. Charging clients is just plain scary. There is just so much to think about. Will my crazy prices scare people away? Yes a few... but who needs them if they can't even value your work. Are my prices even crazy? Um no probably not, you're probably selling yourself short. Should I have a set charge or charge on a project basis? This is of course up to you, but this is what I do...
I have a few items that are set at a specific price to give clients an idea as to how much I charge and what I've done for other clients in the same size and format. An example would be my blog headers. I have a listing on Etsy for 950:-SEK for a moderately detailed blog header. If a client is interested in something more elaborate or simple this price can possibly be negotiated. I've based this price off of the time that I would generally spend on a project of this size, as well as possibly discount only slightly to account for all the publicity I'll receive from having the header cited as my work on their site.
Most projects I price based on the size, the format, the exposure, and how the illustration will be used. I calculate time on this loose formula = 700:-SEK for the first hour and 300:-SEK for remaining hours. I take into consideration other similar projects and what I charged them too. I also round up, and shoot for a higher price at first... this can always be negotiated by the client, or even better they take it without question. (This unfortunately almost always means that you undercharged them. Dang it!)
There are all sorts of formulas for calculating pricing but this is what I do for my EmmaKisstina prints.
I calculate a wholesale price that covers the costs for printing plus supplies, add a little extra because Stockholm is expensive, and then round up a little more (because yet again Stockholm is expensive and I have to account for all of the taxes that will be taken from my income.) Once this wholesale price feels comfortable I double it to make my retail price. I check to make sure this number isn't too out of the question and then apply it to all of my listings of this size. I've looked at other Etsy seller's listings and tried to calculate my prices around their's but have found that their prices wouldn't cover my printing and living costs. It's important to take into consideration your living costs when calculating pricing not just taking into account the price of paper and pens.
A few of my tips and tricks for creating pricing that will work for you:
• You can always ask the client for a budget. You may be lucky and the clients really values your work and is willing to pay generously for it.
• Don't base your prices off of someone else. What works for them my not work for you.
• Charge a little more than what makes you comfortable.
• Always charge clients up front, and sign a contract that states the method of payment as well as the amount. Pretty please Kristina do this every time!
Hope this helped if only just a little. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments.
You can view the rest of the Take my Advice series here...