• Tracyjane Rea

How do you ask for a graphics quote?

The hardest part of freelance work by far is what to charge? Unless you are a very adept businessperson, talking about money or even bringing it up in conversation can be the trickiest part. You get that wonderful call when someone wants to ask you about a prospective project, and you get lost in the creative side of it discussing all your ideas, but then you must discuss cost. Suddenly the conversation gets a lot harder. Quoting is an essential part of the job but it’s also the hardest. Once I've put a quote together, I always get that odd uneasy feeling before I press on the magic ‘send email’ button. Most people don't come back to negotiate, so you are bidding against business competitors who are all in the same situation as you are - trying to get the interesting, innovative and challenging jobs and tweaking and adjusting prices to entice prospective clients to give that coveted job to you.

Leaflets created to dress a hotel set for filming

The most efficient and the fairest way to work out costs when it comes to creative work is to charge for time and materials. However, the time aspect of every job can vary hugely in this line of work; you can get it perfect on the first go and it costs much less. On the other hand, if it must be approved by a large team of people who each have some input, then this impacts on the costs due to increased editing and revisions.

The Client:

So how can the client prepare themselves to get the best possible quote for a graphic design job? Preparation is the key, defining exactly what’s required from everyone who has an input into its final agreement is the main way to reduce the actual time the graphic designer spends working on the project.

So, here is my little, by no means exhaustive, checklist to prepare you before you pick up the phone to a graphic designer;

- Dates – agree the deadline and when it needs to be delivered.

- Where will it be? What size of document or graphic is required and what sort of finish does it need?

- References - have a look on the internet or in books to see what styles you like, but make sure you realise that a graphic designer can't copy something directly from someone else's design. It will give them an idea of the direction that you wish to go in and avoid wasting time on designs that aren't what you were expecting.

- What colour scheme is there? Is there one or are you looking for advice?

- When will the decision-makers be free to look and comment; once we know those details, we can work directly to that deadline and you can prepare them in advance.

- Names - will anything need negative checking? By this, I mean if it is a fictional product, item, business etc then that name cannot exist so that you don't upset anyone. This isn't always as easy as simply doing an internet search. There are people who specialise in this sort of research whom you may need to engage.

- Photos follow similar lines, please never just grab something from the internet as the copyright rules are quite hard to navigate and it is far too easy to infringe someone's rights this way. You need to either get the photographs taken or, alternatively, buy some images from one of the many photo stock agencies. These all have different pricing packages based on how you are going to use them. Examine the term and conditions very carefully to ensure that it covers your usage. Also consider that a photograph taken from your phone or personal collection needs to be good quality in terms of pixel resolution and lighting to work well for the graphic.

Lastly, consider how it will be delivered or collected; the costs involved include a courier or postage or having someone available to go and collect it, but it all impacts on the final price.

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