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The Design Center / Creative Networking / Designers Talk About Freelancing  

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New Question about FREELANCING

... should freelancers broker jobs?

  >   For those of you that freelance, do you handle the printing end of a job
  >   - like a flyer, or do you just do the graphics and let them fend for
  >   themselves for printing?
  >   If you do handle the printing part, do you
  >   mark up the pricing you pay for it?

B.C. says:
      If I am doing a printing job, I will usually try and handle the printing for the client as well. This is for a few reasons.
* #1, I can markup the printing costs;
* #2, I have reletionships with various printers and can not only get a better price (usually) I know who I am working with and can design to theur specifications.
* #3, when I have used the client's printers, they have been a bigger PITA than the client themselves.

T.T. says:
      Yes. Clients usually expect you to handle everything. It makes good sense as you know what is expected. And yes, you should mark up for supervision time. Advertising Agencies charge between 17+ % to 20%.

T.R. says:
      While handling the printing end of a job seems like a logical add-on for a graphics firm, be aware that it is time consuming and has as long a learning curve as Pagemaker.

I have been a printing broker/ gd for 30 years now and through deligent manuevering have managed to make a very good living at it. The key is finding good, reliable, helpful suppliers. And yes, there are trade printers at every level and in every section of the printing manufacturing segment.

Balck and white business cards to four color, 300 page books. Matchbooks to billboards. Signage, shirts, hats, coloring books are all available at wholesale price points that enable you to make money (as high as 100% markup, which is what im making now on the printing portion of full color business cards).

L.M. says:
      Sometimes I handle the printing myself, and other times I prefer not to. Most of the time, I don't mark up the printing, but I charge for the time it takes to request the quotes from at least 3 printers for the client (and/or myself) to pick from.

Some designers I know charge at least a 30%-40% markup on the job. Again, if I was asked to do a press check of the job, then I'd charge my hourly fee for it and not a percentage. It works out ok, because most don't want me to do a press check, and then it's the client that has to deal with OK'ing the project. I'm off the hook if a problem arises.

Once, though, I was lucky that a client chose a printer for me to work with. She liked the print shop for other projects she was doing for at least a year, and the print shop suggested me to help her with the design portion of the project (I've used this printer many times, myself).

Unfortunately, my printer and I wound up in a legal battle to get paid from this client, and basically, the printer told me that if I (as the designer) had chosen the printer, myself, and this client didn't pay the print shop, then I, the designer would be stuck paying the bill. And, believe was a HUGE bill. The lawyers for the print shop couldn't recover enough of the money, so the print sales person had to eat the cost out of their weekly paychecks until it was all paid off. NICE...NOT!

Therefore, I am even more careful now, based upon that experience. I am curious to see what other's have to say about the subject, too.

R.D. says:
      I've been freelancing for 2 years and I think my advice would be to be reliable and dependable above all else (even above superior graphic design). Be easy to reach and treat your clients like they are the only clients you have.

I don't have an online portfolio but have done my share of cold calling to meet people and show my samples in person. I have not done much marketing in the past year because I've stayed busy with 2 big clients and a few little ones. (I "sell" printing and mark up 15%)

I'm not getting rich but very happy at home and here when the kids get home from school. Luckily I have a husband who enjoys helping me with my books. I don't know if I could do it without him.

And what a nice way to end this article!

While freelancing does offer a wonderfully exciting world of opportunities, new experiences, and a dazzling array of clients -- it does have it's down times. Probably the most important thing a freelancer can have is that other special person to help them through the rough times -- and maybe even put food on the table!

Don't forget to read the thoughtful list of tips for freelancers by Lori Leach-Forster from Zenful Creations
... and Growling Gut Instincts: On Changing Jobs & Email Etiquette with Stacey Dyer, TripleFrog LLC

Share your experience...

If you have tips, advice or experiences you'd like to share, please let me know!. I'll pass it along to all the DTG readers!

Thanks for reading

Fred Showker, DTG Magazine
Editor / Publisher: DTG Magazine


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