I’m trying to get a feel for the profitability and even viability of product design firms since so many corporations do have a design staff now. What’s their annual revenue for instance? Is there a category such as large, medium or boutique firms? What about billing, i.e., how much per hour?
Two firms that I worked for are long gone: Henry Dreyfuss and Deskey. But, firms that I interviewed such as Smart, Group4 and Design Continuum are still around - I wonder how really successful they are?
I’m seeing and hearing the same thing. The largest firms and the 1-3 person firms are surviving and the mid sized firms are getting squeezed out.
My feeling is that the mid-sized firms feel they have to offer more than design (research, engineering, model making etc.) but canâ€™t find enough clients who want to buy these services from them to keep those staff members busy. High payroll and low billing = disaster.
You’ll need a good track record for people to give you royalties.
They don’t just agree to it with no proven case studies of how your ideas and contributions made zillions. I would always take some thing upfont, either an advacn on royalties or soe sort of base fee so taht you can keep afloat or have some kind of income while you are investing your time and energy in something that may never see the light of day.
Clearly a shift to larger firms and the smaller partner based consulting. The medium sized firms are struggling to find point of differientation and a way to charge the prices they need to to succeed. It begs the question, how will the larger firms of the future be created. Where will they come from if not the growth of a midsized firm.
Any good ideas on what to do when clients are blaming the recession for not calling you for more work? How long this mess will last? How to keep our small staff busy and avoid laying them off?
please HELP :!:
Wow, it’s been almost 2 years since I made this post. Well, 2009, for intents and purposes. was a horrible year to say the least. I’m curious how the design business is doing, especially the smaller firms.
footwear industry in general also down a lot, I think I just got lucky for a few reasons. lots of clients are start ups, plus it seems many companies let go staff in 2008/09 then needed projects for 09 as things picked up (compared to 08), plus i do a variety of different things (graphics, marketing, etc.) that also helped by diversifying.