how many people work for royalties only - with no advance?


How comfortable are you working on spec for royalties? Say 6 weeks’ worth of work spread out over the year with the possibility that 1 to 3 of 25 of your concepts will be picked up for production? Royalties paid at 2%, generating a hefty chunk of change for each concept that makes in into the mass market, but no money up-front and an understanding that you can’t shop the other concepts around to competitors even tho the intellectual property rights are yours since you haven’t been paid…

My first time in this particular boat and I’m trying to decide if it’s worthwhile.

Comments? Suggestions? Personal experiences?

I would never work for no money upfront. I thin it is always smart to get at least sometig upfront as you have to eat too…always cover yourself at least a little bit.

look through the forum threads. do a search. has been discussed plenty of times. dont remember anyone thinking nothing up front was very smart. lots of reasons.

only one party benifits from an all royalty based fee structure. The Client. I have seen many entry level designers fall into this trap, especially for the lighting and home decore markets sectors. I have personally seen a close friend of mine produce literally hundreds of concept sketches and probably 2 - 3 dozen finalized lighting designs complete with manufacturing drawings and solidworks part files. Sent then to the lighting company, lets call them Qz.

(Let me back up to the agreement and how they swayed him to do it.
Qz said they only worked on a .5% comission rate with no upfront fees, take ot or leave it. Then they spouted off the names of 6 well known designers and 2 well known archies who supposedly work on such arangments with them. He was fresh out of school, and had no other real offers so he agreed.)

Ok back to the designs. They said that they would take 10 of his final designs to market. 2 yrs later they called and said that they elected not to take is concepts to market after all. Then 6 months after that he saw a variation of 6 of his bathroom fixture lights (one complete family). The design had been modifided slightly to use a different bulb than what QZ had originally specified. By this time he was working and had some $$ so he decided to get his royalties…but was booted from court becuase it was not the “exact” design that was in the royalty agreement.

So be carefull, and atleast cover your hard costs or expenses upfront, royalties should only be used to cover your margin. Good Luck.

I will make sure that I get some pay up-front.

I’ve heard all sorts of ugly stories and yet royalties-only work seems to continue to be really common in the lighting/housewares industry.

Thanks for your responses.

My personal take is that it is so prevalent due to the fact that it is a very fasion orriented industry. That and the marketing/branding exects think they know what the consumers want and are unwilling to take the time and expense to validate the concepts. I even know of a highschool kid (cousin, rich step-father got him the gig after he invested heavily in the company) who know photoshop and painter who sell concepts to a mid-range lighting company, $200 per concept. Depicted in front and side view. Not bad for a 16 yr old with no taining, or manufacturing knowlege. Most would be impossible to tool, as they have them presented…but that is what they pay us proffessionals for.