It’s hard to believe what good – or even bad – design can cost. How do designers figure out what to charge their customers?
There’s a couple of factors to consider.
The average designer is lucky if half of his working hours are billable. The rest of the time is spent doing the books, answering emails and phone calls from clients, upgrading his skills (when a new version of your design software comes out, it means a new learning curve), doing the books, sales and networking… you get the idea.
Another factor is the cost of equipment. It’s easy to drop 5 grand on a computer with the requisite software, and these need to be upgraded every few years. When you get an MRI or a CAT scan done, it may seem to take just an hour. How is it that the test costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars? Well, the machine’s probably worth a few million bucks. The price of the machine has to be recovered through the way patients are billed.
Finally, there’s the creative process. Sometimes these things just take time. Perhaps one of the toughest is branding, because the artist needs to figure out what the company is all about; research, sketching up different ideas and running them past the customer – all takes time, and therefore, money.
I found a great discussion on the subject here.
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