How much to charge for freelance gig?
December 14, 2007 9:39 PM   Subscribe

How much to charge for a (new) freelance job in graphic design?

My friend is right out of college and has a freelance job lined up with a client. She needs to give him a quote by tomorrow on how much she is charging. Trouble is, she's never done this before, so any insight is appreciated!

The project:
The guy wants 72 proofs designed, 4 categories with 18 in each category, plus a flyer.

She was thinking of charging 25$/hr, plus an additional 100$ for changes. (Assuming each proof takes 1 hour).

Is this too much? Not enough?
posted by thisisnotkatrina to Work & Money (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Too little for a pro, but not bad for straight out of school, I guess. A proof of what, exactly?
posted by maxwelton at 9:45 PM on December 14, 2007

Response by poster: oh, whoops, t-shirt designs. i believe the categories were sports-related, (ie softball, soccer, etc.)
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 9:51 PM on December 14, 2007

I think assuming each shirt design will take only an hour isn't quite right, unless many are smaller variations of each other. She will have to prepare them for printing, transfer and archive files, review them with the client, etc. Also, she'll be working with fairly hi res artwork, so even the processing time will be length.

I'd say at least 2 hours per proof. And four hours of changes for 72 proofs seems overly optimistic. That's assuming an average of just over 3 minutes per proof spent on revisions. It'll take that long to locate and open the file, probably...
posted by visual mechanic at 10:15 PM on December 14, 2007

As a freelancer, taxes and such take almost half of your income. $25/hr seems low. I hired freelancers in St. Louis, MO, and $55/hr was more standard (but that was through an agency).
posted by Ostara at 11:00 PM on December 14, 2007

My opinion is that if someone is good enough to charge, they should charge closer to the going rate. Sure, a beginner gets less than someone with more experience. But I never recommend under $35 an hour for your first assignements. The average rate is more like $75 and up. And I agree with the statement that the revision time is terribly underestimated.

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posted by The Deej at 12:01 AM on December 15, 2007

Best answer: 75 t-shirt designs? Sounds like the client wants her to be his product designer.

If, in fact, she is designing an entire fashion line from scratch (i.e. using no pre-existing art or other properties provided by the client), she might want to consider negotiating some form of licensing agreement in order to garner a piece of the profits. Or, at the very least, retain some ownership over the graphics, or be duly compensated for the continued use of the graphics.

Fashion design and apparel graphics are a bit of a different arena from standard graphic design. In apparel, your design IS the product (and not merely serving to promote a product). It's more akin to illustration than normal design.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on December 15, 2007

I'm not comprehending the $100 for changes part; I'd go with an hourly rate, period. Changes get billed as however long they take.

That said, $25/hr is low ... does she already have the job for sure? For just-out-of-college, maybe $35-$40. Around these parts (Chicago) designers charge in the $50-$80/hr range. (The more expensive ones, they really know their stuff and charge for their experience.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 6:08 AM on December 15, 2007

Best answer: I've noticed that beginner free-lancers always want to charge a lower rate than what they are worth. I would definitely NOT charge $25/hour. She just won't be taken seriously and will only attract cheapskate clients that will cause them problems down the road.

At an absolute minimum, I'd charge $40/hour. It's still a bargain for the client, but it's a respectable rate for her, especially out of school. And drop the $100 for changes thing. Her rate is $40/hour and if changes take time, she charges them at that rate. Let me reiterate that $40/hour is an absolute minimum. I'd probably quote $50/hour, and if they balk, negotiate down to $40.

I know coming out of school this seems like an insane amount of money. $50/hour as a full-time job is a 100k job. But she won't have steady work (especially in the beginning), and she's shouldering a lot of risk that would normally be taken on my an employer if she took up a full-time gig somewhere.

And I'm serious about getting taken seriously. I know plenty of free-lance programmers who are very good who would actually get more work if they charged more. At the rates they charge, non-technical types just can't believe they are good.
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:02 AM on December 15, 2007

Best answer: Way too low! $75/hr at least. The Graphic Artists Guild Pricing Guidelines would be a good resource if she plans to stay freelance.
posted by Dean King at 8:26 AM on December 15, 2007

$55-$100 is a going rate. If all freelancers charged $25 an hour we would never have health care or self respect.
posted by gradient at 11:28 AM on December 15, 2007

When you consider taxes and actual billable hours v. actual working hours, no sane person, even fresh out of school, should charge less than $50/hour. And that's a fucking bargain.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2007

Way too low! $75/hr at least.

I would definitely NOT charge $25/hour. She just won't be taken seriously and will only attract cheapskate clients that will cause them problems down the road.

no sane person, even fresh out of school, should charge less than $50/hour.

uh, no. where are you ppl working that you think you can charge over $35 fresh out of school?? she should be charging around $25-35/hr. ppl who charge $75 an hour are up in the senior-level have been at it for several years. $50/hr is about mid-level. she is FRESH OUT OF SCHOOL, a junior level. $35/hr max. cheapskates will expect to pay you around $12-$18/hr. those are the ppl you don't want to work for.

The guy wants 72 proofs designed, 4 categories with 18 in each category, plus a flyer.

72 proofs? WHAT? this is crazy. how many designs will actually be produced? tee shirts (and i make my bread and butter off this for major brands) are usually a flat rate of anywhere between $150-500. if she's going in-house to work on these, then the charge should be by the hour.

the flyer should be charged by the hour or she can negotiate a flat fee.
posted by violetk at 3:52 PM on September 10, 2008

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