How much to charge for simple layout work?
September 7, 2007 5:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm asking for a friend of mine: this company she used to work for has contacted her and asked her to design brochures for them. Problem is, she doesn't have any real design experience and has absolutely no idea what to charge them.

These are just one page, tri-fold brochures, nothing super fancy. Any ideas on a price range that wouldn't seem laughable? Thanks!
posted by reallygoodgirl to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If she has no design experience, then the final product she creates (in Word or Publisher, I'd bet) will be low-quality and difficult to print professionally; her inexperience will dramatically increase the prepress time, along with all the cost that will entail. The ethical thing to do is politely decline and suggest they call a professional who, when all is said and done, will cost them less money and earn a greater ROI.

That out of the way, a standard freelance fee takes into account taxes and overhead, and in most markets ranges from $60 - $100 per hour. If she is doing it for less than $60/hour and is an honest taxpayer, she is probably undercharging.

It is impossible to estimate how many hours this would take without knowing the details of the project.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:56 PM on September 7, 2007

well, maybe her friend has no experience with such office paraphernalia, but she may already be handy enough with photoshop or freehand or any of the fancy tools kids use nowadays.

if she feels up to the challenge (after all, there's a first time for everything, no?), it would be a good idea methinks to call a couple graphic design offices in the vicinity and ask them for a ballpark estimate. i may get flak for this, since we all hate to provide estimates for someone who won't be needing our services, but as i see it market prices shouldn't be a secret, and she could tell people on the phone that she's just asking for an informal figure so she can estimate her next trimester's budget or something.

hmm.. come to think of it, maybe the best idea is to send the client over to an established pro. she could still charge a finder's fee, though, i don't think that would be unethical (though some "purists" may disagree).
posted by papafrita at 6:44 PM on September 7, 2007

Oh god, don't do it. I foolishly agreed to do this very thing somewhat recently. I am even fairly computer literate and know my way around photoshop and imageready. My brochure had to be in InDesign. I had never used InDesign, but took a 2 hour workshop to learn the basics. Having to learn InDesign very fast, SUCKED. I also had major issues getting the text for the brochure from the people who hired me and they had me make lots of edits not only to the design layout, but to their text, images and graphics. I ran into a lot of problems when I took the file to the printer and had to make a lot of last minute changes.

I ended up spending something absolutely insane, like 30 hours (including meetings) working on this stupid brochure and got paid a flat fee of $400. Never, never again.
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:40 PM on September 7, 2007

Best answer: Another way to look at this, since she isn't a professional designer and is being hired by a company she used to work for (assuming her work there is the reason they feel she'd be right for the job), is to charge a fee based on what she was making per hour when she did work there and then add on a premium since the company doesn't have to pay her FICA and insurance (40% increase sounds right). Then she should just charge based on how long it takes to actually do the brochure. Much like she would be paid working there for the time spent doing it in house.

I'm sure her rate would be lower than a professional designer, but it will take longer to do the work. Net/net at the end of the day, they will get a result that should be reasonable and she will have been paid in accordance to her ability and experience.

Think of it sort of like paying someone overtime to work on a special project . They would do the work they would normally do and make a wage based on a premium for working beyond their normal salaried hours, time and a half typically.
posted by qwip at 2:55 AM on September 8, 2007

Response by poster: thanks, everyone. my friend did brochures for them in the past when she worked there; we kind of think they are asking her because they don't want to pony up for a professional.
posted by reallygoodgirl at 9:06 PM on September 8, 2007

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