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9 tips on getting paid for your work

Dan Antonelli...

Tip #6 Explain the "recreating an existing logo" fee.

poseidon It's a little easier to sell a logo when you explain that if they want you to use their existing design exactly as is, you'll have to charge them to scan it in and make it "plotter ready". In some instances, it can take just as long to do this as it does to create a new logo.

Tip #7 Explain why

Explain why your design will be better for their business. I've had so many clients who, when we first met, insisted that they had a "logo". I've enlightened nearly all of them as to why a more professional design would be better for their business.

DDD The ones I can't convince rarely become clients. I don't want to work for someone who is not interested nor appreciates the value of creative work. They are usually the ones who think that Helvetica Bold holds the key to their financial success. I defer that work to the many instant shops around. It's not what my business focuses on, anyway. Sometimes it's not too hard to convince clients that what they already have doesn't work. Again, this is where education and experience play a role in convincing a client to trust you. If they've had their printer add a 30-year-old clip art design to their business card or, heaven forbid, they have the "nephew who's really good at drawing" design -- and they think that's their logo -- it's usually easy to greatly improve their design.

Tip #8 Know what the market will bear

EEE Know what the market will bear and the client's logo usage. I can only attest to my rates for logo design. I'm sure it varies throughout the country.

When I first started a few years ago, I was getting about $75 per design for small businesses. That was not nearly enough. Now my bare minimum for a logo is $175, and most generally sell between $225 and $275. I know a few local shops that charge nothing or a nominal fee. Regardless, the old saying of not getting what you don't ask for holds true. If you think you're going to add the price of the design on the back end, forget it. You'll end up with a client who thinks you're overcharging them for something else.

You need to be up-front with the client about your separate logo and lettering fees. Give examples of what different logos cost and what those logos cost to letter. Find out what their sign budget is, explaining that the design will be created keeping the client's monetary constraints in mind. You don't want to design a nifty logo that you'll have to charge $200 per door to apply when the client only wants to spend $125 per door.

FFF Generally, for a logo design and two truck doors, most clients will spend roughly $475 to $600. After they've had the work done, they all agree that it was money well spent.

It's important to note that there is a huge variance in pricing for logos for small businesses versus large businesses or institutions. I've sold several logos for a few thousand dollars for large companies. The design didn't take me any longer than a $200 one, but the fee was obviously much larger.

Why? Well, for one, the usage was much different. If the design is going on nearly everything, and you're dealing with a milliondollar corporation, they should pay more than the landscaper who is just using the design on his dump truck.

Tip #9 Reposition your shop.

GGG If your design skills are strong, try to think of your shop not as a sign shop, but rather a mini advertising studio. Look past the sign aspect and focus on what the client really needs from you in order for them to succeed. You're not just providing them with letters on their doors, but rather a whole image on which they can build their business.

If you stress the sheer marketing value of good logo design from a consumer standpoint, your clients can see the benefits more clearly. And as soon as you advise them of a marketing strategy, you're not just lettering their vehicles, you're giving them advice on how their business can grow.

Dan Antonelli

See Dan Antonelli's excellent series of books on logo and graphics design...

Also by Dan: Logo Design Back to the Basics, and An effective logo is easy to grasp

Copyright © Dan Antonelli This article originally appeared in the May/June 2006 issue os SignCraft and is reprinted here with permission and kudos to SignCraft and Dan Antonelli -- Dan Antonelli, President and Creative Director, Graphic D-Signs, Inc. and SignShopMarketing.com. Please contact Dan Antonelli

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