How should I divide profits for creating/customizing a blog theme with another designer?
December 4, 2007 8:37 PM   Subscribe

I developed a really intricate, feature-packed free blog theme, but despite many requests, don't have time to do paid customizations for users. However, I've got a very qualified acquaintance who can handle the spillover work. How much should I get for sending the referrals?

I basically designed the theme and have worked on it for 4-5 months. The difficult stuff is already done. I continue getting frequent emails asking for color changes, column additions, masthead re-structuring, and so forth. It's fairly easy work, and I don't mind pushing it off on someone else, but isn't it fair to charge a small referral fee? Is 20%-30% enough? How are these arrangements usually structured?
posted by deern the headlice to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd ask for 50%, if it's priced such that 50% would still make it worth his time.
posted by Marquis at 8:58 PM on December 4, 2007


I'd expect the amount of the fee to be dependent on what you were doing. If you just send them somebody's name and contact info, 20% seems more than generous.

If you want more than that, I'd expect you to contribute more to the relationship than a simple "this guy can help you."
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:04 PM on December 4, 2007


Why go the route of referrals? Why don't you contract it out?
posted by bigmusic at 10:44 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with bigmusic - contracting is the way to go in this situation. After your acquaintance sends you the bill, add 20% (Or less, depending.) and send it along to your client.
posted by georgemandis at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2007


Response by poster: If you want more than that, I'd expect you to contribute more to the relationship than a simple "this guy can help you."

I contributed the entire groundwork of the theme, which is usually 80% of the final product.

Why go the route of referrals? Why don't you contract it out?

I'm too busy to choose a contractor each time. I want to pick one comptent person, give him all relevant projects, and take some kind of base referral fee. At least that's how I'm imagining it.
posted by deern the headlice at 8:18 AM on December 5, 2007


I contributed the entire groundwork of the theme, which is usually 80% of the final product.

I'm not sure if you're misunderstanding my point on purpose or if you really just don't get it.

Generally speaking, if you have a graphic designer on staff, you'll bill the client approximately double their actual wage. This additional 50% is because you're paying the designer all the time, you're providing them with computers, phones and office space, and making sure there is a constant stream of work headed their way, with salesmen to manage the accounts.

You aren't doing any of that. You happen to be in a position where you can send some possible sales to somebody. Sure, it has some value, but the fact that you made the original theme is neither here nor there.

If you can con somebody into working for 50%, good for you, but it'll either be a ludicrously unfair deal for that person, or it will involve charging the client a fairly massive premium that has no correlation to the quality of the work.

Ultimately, I think that any increases in your referral fee will be offset by sales that are smaller in number and in size, as the overall hourly fees creep higher.

Personally I'd take 20% of something rather than play hardball for 50% of nothing.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:06 AM on December 6, 2007


Response by poster: Hmmm. I'm not "misunderstanding on purpose" nor would I know how to go about doing that. And I'm certainly not looking to "con" someone -- I don't think these are fair ways to portray it. If I was going to con someone, I wouldn't be asking questions about what's fair.

I've never attempted this kind of arrangement so I'm asking questions as to how it's commonly done. If 10-20% for referral seems more than enough, that's all I need to know.
posted by deern the headlice at 2:14 PM on December 6, 2007


I didn't mean to insult you, and I apologize if I did.

I should have been more clear about what I meant when I said contributing more than just "this guy can help you." I really meant things like guaranteed levels of business, or taking active participation in the client's project to help shield the designer from some of that day to day stuff.

For what it's worth, I'm giving this advice as somebody who owned his own consultancy for a number of years (and sold it while it was profitable). My goal with the consultancy was always to try to acquire more small, reliable streams of revenue (like you'd get with small referral fees) because if you can build those up, your overall business cash flow because far more predictable, and you also end up with more people who might occasionally approach you with significantly larger projects.

I've had clients that started as "do you know somebody who can edit a few web pages?" and ended up as multi-year, $20k/month contracts. Thus my desire to always have a good way to say yes.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 2:30 PM on December 6, 2007


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