How mush would you charge?

I’m part of a group of designers, there are three of us, starting a freelance project for a start up. The project is to design a new product for an international market. I recently sent a quote and a project time line to the client and after 4 days i got a reply saying ‘over valued and drawing out’. I quickly arranged a meeting for tomorrow to discuss this.

I know most of you are thinking that this sounds very typical of a client not willing to pay and that we should walk away. But, it has left me second guessing myself. I had proposed a 4 week project, each week being 40 hours long and remember there is three of us that need to be payed. I’m looking for rough estimates, how much would you charge in the same situation?


It is hard to answer your question without knowing the full scope of work that the client is asking for along with what are the deliverable material you will provide to them.

Did you provide them with an outline that detailed the work you would do and the deliverables you would provide? If so then you need to ask them what inparticulare they feel is “over the top” and then you need to evaluate if you have really added to much for the project or if in fact the client simply is not looking for the full service and scope you have offered them. In which case then you and they will need to determine what should be removed from the scope of work while still being able to provide them with a quality design they will be happy with.

i.e I know many firms that will try to charge in their process for VOC studies which is great when you can but not all clients are willing to pay for this.

Chevis W.

Basically, without getting to too much detail, they have an idea for a product, its a clothing accessory. The quote that was sent to them was for research, concept generation, development, etc. and it would end in a production ready prototype. This was to take 4 weeks and then a second phase would begin that would include manufacturing.

Hope this gives you a better understanding.

Now take for what it is and the fact that i don’t know the full details this does seem pretty hi to me but like i say it is hard to know with out fully understanding the complexity of the product they want you to develop or how you have broken out your time to them

Number of hours for research (this can vary and is sometime in my opinion on of the most inflated phases from ID firms)

number of hours for concept generation - number of concepts to be generated and at what quality

Number of hours for concept refinement base off of client feed back (1 -2 final concepts)

Number of hours for CAD creation for prototype (always hard to determine when a final concept has been chosen but if this is a production ready prototype I can see this number being higher then the concept phase, unless it is a really simple product.)

Cost for prototype - usually billed out separate (hard to quantify when the final concept hasn’t been chosen.

If you haven’t broken out your numbers in this sense then i suggest that you do and see where you land you may be dead on with you you 160Hr quote , then you need to determine if you are willing to take on the project for less… If you are extremely busy then the answer would be no, if you have no work and nothing in the pipeline… well one must feed the machine someway but be careful of how much you short sell…

in the end you may be right and the client just isn’t willing to pay for the full process.

Try this thread.

Did you put together a gant chart showing the flow of each activity and deliverable and key decisions at the end of each of those activities?

3 people x 40 hour weeks x $100 p/h (have no idea what your rate is but this makes my math easy) = $12,000 per week burn rate. Might be too much for a start up but it isnt that high. Are all three of you really going to give a full 40 for all 4 weeks? You might be able to trim the budget that way. 4 weeks sounds like cutting it close time wise to go from research to a finished proto.

Something you need to consider, I think related to yo’s point.

If you are starting a consulting biz with these other guys, you need to be realistic about workloads. It is very unlikely that all three of you will work these hours straight through, concurrently, uninterrupted, on a single project. There will be milestones after each phase at which the client will need to weight the options you have presented and make decisions. This will create gaps. There will be sequential tasks that all three of you cannot be working on at the same time. Except for the push to create a presentation, it has been my experience that a single project for these reasons usually doesn’t consume more than 50% of your time. The other 50% is for other projects and scoping out other clients - with all their related scheduling gaps and lags. Unless you’re doing some sort of production art project and being paid for hands instead of brains, but that’s production art, not design. Different game altogether. Consider this and rethink your proposal. What specific tasks will you be doing, and how long will each task take? What specific kinds of expenses will you incur? What is realistic timing, based on the client’s decisionmaking process?

I don’t know how you work but we each would be working 40 hours a week. I met with the company today and i asked how much they thought would be fair. Turns out they weren’t planning to pay but to offer a ‘collaboration’. I told them the price again and to contact me if they were interested.

Next time you meet with a client like that, you’d probably want to wear this t-shirt:

It isn’t that you aren’t working fulltime. The point is, when you work fulltime, it usually isn’t fulltime on a single project - because the client’s decisionmaking introduces lags, or because certain tasks must be done in sequence such that one or two people are cranking but the third is not. The rest of your time usually gets spent weaving other projects into your workload and scoping clients.

Sorry to hear the client isn’t interested in having a designed product.

He’s interested in having a designed product, but not interested in paying for it. Our company doesnt usually do freelance, we were doing this because we had a month to spare. We usually work about 50-60 hours a week since its our own company so 40 hours a week on this would be very typical. There is times when work would come to a halt naturally but it would be still my time being used and i would charge for it. If i did anything personal or unrelated it would be done outside of these hours.

I think bcpid was just being sarcastic there, saying that if you want something designed, you have to pay for it.

Hu_hu_cool, where are you based? Maybe I should move my studio there!
If you have a steady (paid) work load of 40-60 hours/week per person in your studio, it seems like this won’t hurt you much at all.
I am not too familiar with billing structure, but to bill out 180 hours for three employees a week sounds like a whole lot.
I’d be very happy with that…

If a “client” doesn’t want to pay, then that “client” is clearly not interested in having a designed product. I’m not sure I understand your billing method.

Sarcasm is hard to do on the internet.

I’m in ireland, theres about 3 design consultancies in the whole country! Only one of them is actually good. As i said we do our own thing and this was merely for something to do extra. I dont usually do quotes up for design work so my method might seem odd but basically all it is 4 weeks salary for three designers, trying to keep it simple.

Yes it was sarcasm. bepster you must have posted at practically the same moment I did.

Maybe you should walk down the beach with these clowns, hold hands and wait for inspiration to hit. Tell them you’ll give them two hours of that for $200. See if they bite.

Just spit coffee all over my desk!

Delighted I could be of service :slight_smile: NURB - the only Chris I know in the Cities is Chris at P-Soup. Which Chris are you?

Ha! Not that one.