How much those consultancycharge

Just wondering how much those design consultancy (IDEO,Astro,fuse… )charge for one project industrial design?Such as a boombox or a digital camera.

around 200 an hour

How many hours they think one project generally need?Either way,how much do they charge for one project totally.$50K,100K…?
Thx again

It depends on project scope.
But it will run you 50K for simple designing (styling?) to over 100K for total product development including reserach and engineering.

How much do you think they charged for the Alienware computer case? Nike Triax watch? Etc. Whatever it is it is less than what the client made off them. Designers’ contributions are hard to measure…sometimes they come up with breakthru designs that become market leaders and that is worth more than $50K.

Most design projects are in the 50 - 100K range from what I see out there.

Fees depends on deliverables.

Ahyone want to start a survey so that we are all in the same boat and not undercutting or overcharging? I guess there is no real standard.

Most firms I have been at are in the $25K - $150K range per project up to 3D Surface CAD deliverables.

i’ve seen programs run the gammut between 5k for ‘turnkey’ design to 250K for ‘design research’. at any rate, the people with the purse strings know how to smell a chump.

I think $50K for simple styling is about right.
However it is what you can get for your design.
Unfortunately our industry has no standards. There are low ballers who work too cheap and mess it up for teh rest of us.

If we all stick to our guns we can at least get a going rate that forces clients to a certain level in fees.

If you are a firm you should not be below $100/hr.

Let’s start a general survey:

PDA cost?
Cellphone design cost?
Computer Bezel cost?

Just in general ballpark.

by putting a ‘cost’ to your design services, you are are futher commoditizing our profession.

Each project should be scoped and proposed based on the needs of the client and the type of work involved.

Any attempt to define the process any furhter than that will degrade our profession as simply another service available to the lowest bidder.

Some factories in Asia now are bundling ID for free…so it has gone below lowest bidder to being a freebie given if you give them the long term manufacgturing contract. This is like construction running the architecture biz.

The progressive response to this trend would be for more American firms to toss their hourly rate out the window, build manufacturing relationships with Chinese vendors, and then approach clients will full development capabilities. Instead of getting an hourly rate for your work and then watching your client make all the money with a sucessful product-- take some stake in the success of the product by manufacturing and selling the product to your client.

I’ve tried to do partnership deals with overseas factories but have found them to be very unethical and dishonest. They seem shortsighted and want to con you instead of working long term.

I was calling on a waitstaff interface manufacturing firm this summer, and they mentioned how an ID firm located on the eastern seaboard designed a new product for them and as a test they had a comparable product designed in the Far East at the same time. According to the Engineering Director I spoke with, the US design firm set them back something on the order of $750K, and he said the Asian version was “a tenth” of that. I don’t know how much smoke he was blowing (we weren’t exactly competing with the firm from the States, mainly just trying to sell them mechanical / packaging design), but his argument for not using the American firm again was convincing. Just my two cents.


$750K? What kind of product was that. That is a lot.

Most projects I see from top tier USA firms are in the area of $65K - $150K range.

My understanding was that it was one of those touchscreen order entry devices that you see in many / most restaurants. Something along those lines, apparently.


i think this topic is a bevy of missinformation and third person related stories.

Most firms charge by the phase (i.e. research phase, ideation phase, concept refinement phase, 3d phase ect). Many clients only purchase a few of the phases, but all of them would most likely total betwee $35k and $75k depending on the complexity of the project and the number of people involved. I’ve worked on projects that lasted over a year with multiple designers on it (not full time) that is worth $75k.

Most firms work for between $85 and $150 an hour that I know of. Depending on the overhead of the firm, they usually charge a few dollars an hour above their break even point. The break even point includes the pay of the designer per hour (usually like $40-50 including all the beni’s), rent, utilities, materials and salaries of non-hourly employees like business development. They work hourly because many projects never make it to production, and if it does make to the store, the product is going to take about three years to get there if it is anything beyond a styling excersize.

If a firm works on a royalty basis, the likelyhood of them getting paid is slim. What do you use to pay your employess for three years while you are waiting for the product to be released? Once it is released how do you make sure the company doesn’t screw you and deflate the sales figures? (it happens). If the product is canceled somewhere in thee development proccess, a big company can right those costs off to R&D and make it back on their otyher product, but how will you recoup the costs you put in as a small firm? Usually it is cleaner for both parties involved to work hourly. If the product is a smash hit, the client will be back for moree business.

This information is based on my personal experience at a consulting firm that I wworked at for 5 years as well as on information from friends directly that work at different firms.

Oh that is a POS Point of Sale device. Hmmm…I designed one of those but it certainly wasn’t even close to that kind of design fee. But they can be complex systems if interface and software was included.

I have done some royalty contracts but have never made a dime off royalites yet. They almost always die before making it to production.

My justification is to take at least some money upfront and gamble with the rest on royalties. It is hard to know what they can pay or what any innovation you give them is worth.

I agree that $35K minimum for a full process styling based job is reasonable for a small or independant firm or designer.

Most projects like cellphones should be in the $60K - $75K range in my opinion.

What type of design services are you talking about?

New product from conception including market and end-user research, strategic design planning, prototyping, iterative worldwide testing, engineering & design control document creation from an iPD consultancy?

Or “cosmetic refresh” of an existing product from a small boutique consultancy?

WILDLY different costs for wildly different results.

Usually it is either:

  1. I am given a PCB board and do a styling job over it. (Usually straight fixed design fee).


  1. No parmeters, come up with optimum configuration (I take lower fee for royalty if I offer an innovation).