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  1. #1
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    References about Pricing

    Since 3 out of 4 threads in the employment discussion is a question about how much to charge for a job, I decided to make a sticky about pricing advices.

    You pros are invited to contribute to it, that way we can point posters to it rather than repeat the same info 36 times a week.

    --------
    My first tip is to get this book Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines
    Product description from Amazon
    The most respected single reference for buyers and sellers of creative work returns in an updated ninth edition, containing the latest, essential information on business, pricing, and ethical standards for nearly every discipline in the visual communications industry--from advertising to publishing to corporate markets.
    --------
    My second tip is if you are not from North America, look into local artists associations an guilds they often have pricing guidelines, even if these are not as comprehensive as the GAG handbook.
    --------
    My third tip is in case what you are doing is not listed in the book or you simply don't have the book. Evaluate the time the job will take you, add time for revisions, decide on a per hour rate, multiply it by the time you will need. Then evaluate the materials needed, add to the amount for time or quote separately. There you are. It's probably the best way to rate jobs like game assets or portrait commissions. Log the time you spend on project so that you can better evaluate the time you need later for similar assignements.
    --------
    My fourth tip is not so much about the price per say. Make a quote template with your terms of services on it and a personalized letterhead. Stating the rights you give for that price and your payment terms upfront looks professional.
    --------
    Fifth tip, especially if you are working for a non-start-up company, try to make your client make an offer, you could be surprised that he offers more than you wanted to ask. The worst that can happen is that you have to make a counter offer, if they think it's too high, they would have thought that even if you had made the quote first anyways.

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    This is a great idea Qitusne! Thanks for making this.

    Here's a couple of links I have:
    Estimate tutorial
    This tutorial goes through general considerations you should make (hours, materials, usage, etc.) when determining an estimate.

    Creative Business
    This website has useful free sample forms such as this Estimating Worksheet.

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    thanks so much quitsune

    Last edited by kendi; June 2nd, 2010 at 07:46 PM.
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    References about Pricing

    Just found this, it should offer some good book-ends for those who are struggling to figure out what to charge. ***I would guess that the fees / rates quoted are for seasoned illustrators so, if you're starting out, you may want to drop the fee by 20 - 30% (potentially... it's your call).

    http://www.theaoi.com/Mambo/index.ph...=409&Itemid=33

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    Please note that
    1. Those prices are in British pounds, so be sure to convert for your currency.
    2. Rates tend to be lower in Europe than America.
    3. Those are a few years old.



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    Elwell...

    Thanks for the heads-up, I was guessing they were in pounds. So... after conversion what % would you increase the rate by for today's market?

    Conversion formula would be:

    X listed rate / 50% (around) ='s Y

    Y x (Elwell %) = Z

    Z + Y ='s rate you should charge (ballpark).

    That make sense?

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    I find it particularly interesting that they take an 8 hr day and subtract 1 hr for lunch. At every company I've worked for, you're there for 9 hrs and take 1 hr for lunch to total 8 hrs of work. Is that different in different countries?

    Of course, I've heard of some companies keeping you for 9 hours and complaining if you take a lunch, but no company I would work for...

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    It all depends on where you work, I've had weeks varying from 35, 37.5 or 40 hours a week that were all considered "full time" for the company where I was. YOU decide how many hours a week you want to work..

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    Just adding this link to this thread:

    http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    It all depends on where you work, I've had weeks varying from 35, 37.5 or 40 hours a week that were all considered "full time" for the company where I was. YOU decide how many hours a week you want to work..
    Is there such a thing as a 40 hour week? When I'm on a project (especially movies) there are no set hours. You are expected to just do your job and do it well for as long as it takes (most of the time 60-80 hour weeks 6-7 days a week for a few months at a time on films). I find that most freelance is that way. At least mine has been. Of course you are compensated handsomly for all your time and work so you can't complain. In a perfect world all shoot for 40 hour weeks ;-). Ahhhhh.......to be a banker.......Just my 2 cents for what it's worth (which may be nothing :-))....

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    This is advice on calculating rates, not on actually getting the work done, I might not have been clear. If you set your fees to be comfortable working 40 hours a week but end up working 80 because the project requires it, you'll be twice as rich won't you? My point is, don't lower your rates because you work more than a standard "shop" schedule and end up doing the same money at the end. Hard work should have fitting compensation. And when doing freelance casual game art I rarely if ever crunch.

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    Good point and good advice.

    Craig

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    Wow great thread!! I'm hoping to become a Free Lance artist soon so this info is all really handy, bookmarked!!!

    Cheers!

    Cx

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    I just found this, PAGE RATES FOR INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS AND STUDIOS doesnt really apply to conceptual art, but theres a few comic artists around here.

    -JL

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    thanx for everyone's inpuit here.its a big help for freelance artists.

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    THANKS ALL WHO HAVE POSTED IN THIS THREAD

    Your help in giving people starting out or looking at breaking in, has been greatly appriciated by me and im sure so many more. Keep up the great work this is a thread im sure to return to often.

    Cheers from Australia.

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    http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

    excellent rate calculator

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    Good thread. Useful and appreciated.

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    Thanks for posting this ladies and gentleman. I am sure its a big help to me as it is to others.

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    Consider your overhead.

    I saw a job offer today where the potential employer offered 5 euros for a seemingly simple job. I was thinking to myself that 5 euros is not even worth the time it takes to answer the offer (let alone do that job) and I thought a little break down of the thought process could be useful to some.

    Some of you might be aware of the terms billable and non-billable hours. Some freelancers cherge by the hour and clearly they can't bill their clients for the clerical day to day work that goes into running their business such as writing up quotes, invoicing, and marketing. They make up for that by having a higher hourly rate.

    If you work for a fixed rate, you have to consider your overhead as well. Let's say my goal is to make 20$ an hour and I see a job offer for 5$, well it's 15 minutes of my time. Hmmm.... Say it's something very very simple that I think could take me 15 minutes (however unlikely that is) I also have to consider the time I will take to write to the employer, propose my services, see with him if there is a contract, whip one up if there isn't, do the job, revisions, invoice and administrative tasks related to getting the money on paypal . Say everything goes smoothly, and it takes only 30 minutes all in all for the non-billable work... I end up having worked 45 minutes for 5$, 6.66$/h.

    That's why you can charge less for a large amount of small items than for just a handful, because you can streamline the administrative tasks, and because you can pick up speed as you do the job too.

    Hope this helps.

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    Hey this should be recommended to commissioners also. Like myself. That way they have some concept and guidelines on what to expect from artists' work for their own budget(s). I have been told numerous times that I overpay artists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    I saw a job offer today where the potential employer offered 5 euros for a seemingly simple job. I was thinking to myself that 5 euros is not even worth the time it takes to answer the offer (let alone do that job) and I thought a little break down of the thought process could be useful to some.

    Some of you might be aware of the terms billable and non-billable hours. Some freelancers cherge by the hour and clearly they can't bill their clients for the clerical day to day work that goes into running their business such as writing up quotes, invoicing, and marketing. They make up for that by having a higher hourly rate.

    If you work for a fixed rate, you have to consider your overhead as well. Let's say my goal is to make 20$ an hour and I see a job offer for 5$, well it's 15 minutes of my time. Hmmm.... Say it's something very very simple that I think could take me 15 minutes (however unlikely that is) I also have to consider the time I will take to write to the employer, propose my services, see with him if there is a contract, whip one up if there isn't, do the job, revisions, invoice and administrative tasks related to getting the money on paypal . Say everything goes smoothly, and it takes only 30 minutes all in all for the non-billable work... I end up having worked 45 minutes for 5$, 6.66$/h.

    That's why you can charge less for a large amount of small items than for just a handful, because you can streamline the administrative tasks, and because you can pick up speed as you do the job too.

    Hope this helps.

    If it's a really simple job that can be done really first by an artist I don't see anything wrong. However I have noticed a lot of employers wanting top work for really low prices.

    That's why I tell so many employers to save up first so you can find a top of the line artist that fits your project to the "T"

    Lately though alot of employers want Alex Ross,James Ryman work for dirt cheap. It really dosen't work that way. But like I said if the employer wants a simple fast job than it's fine. I've done a $30-40 sketch jobs myself.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Dredwalker View Post
    I have been told numerous times that I overpay artists.
    I have to wonder WHO is telling you that you over pay artists. If people who have no clue about the field suggest that you over pay artists, then it's extremely likely they are just not familiar with the amount of work involved in producing quality artwork. These same people seem to think that going to their cousins high school aged son is a perfectly acceptable way to get art done (which is about the same as asking a kid who does pretty good in math to do all of your accounting).

    If you TRUELY have been over paying artists, then you are one of the very very few (and god bless you if you are). Maybe I'm cynical but I suspect that you are just getting pricing advice from people who just don't know how to value art services.

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    That was my first thought as well, learn to be wary of who you get your information from. A guy once told me that I should stop drawing characters and focus on environments because that's where the jobs are...but the guy telling me this works at Staples...whether he's right or wrong, he's in no possition to be giving me career advice. If the people saying you're overpaying aren't full time artists themselves then they probably don't know what they are talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    I have to wonder WHO is telling you that you over pay artists. If people who have no clue about the field suggest that you over pay artists, then it's extremely likely they are just not familiar with the amount of work involved in producing quality artwork. These same people seem to think that going to their cousins high school aged son is a perfectly acceptable way to get art done (which is about the same as asking a kid who does pretty good in math to do all of your accounting).

    If you TRUELY have been over paying artists, then you are one of the very very few (and god bless you if you are). Maybe I'm cynical but I suspect that you are just getting pricing advice from people who just don't know how to value art services.
    You may be right. Although I will say the people that tell me this are in fact other artists (or so they say in some cases). Maybe they are saying that so that they can get the assignments that I offer. I guess more the reason to check the references of pricing, huh? If so, then I guess I see why I have fallen for that trap from time to time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amber Alexander View Post
    That was my first thought as well, learn to be wary of who you get your information from. A guy once told me that I should stop drawing characters and focus on environments because that's where the jobs are...but the guy telling me this works at Staples...whether he's right or wrong, he's in no possition to be giving me career advice. If the people saying you're overpaying aren't full time artists themselves then they probably don't know what they are talking about.
    Hey man! What have you got against Staples!!! They're professionals! Didn't you read their "That Was Easy" slogan?!? That's proof!
    Just joking.

    Seriously though I see your point. Someone not in the field giving you career advice is rude. Then again, maybe its all about presentation. Not eveyone who gives advice are totally ignorant of your field even if they not in the field. Unless they stand behind the "That Was Easy" slogan.

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    The problem I have isn't knowing what I'm worth but getting people to want to pay those prices... So many people get turned away even after I try to be flexible. It's very discouraging. Just to make resume material sometimes I have to take my prices down to a ridiculous level.

    It's not fair the clients think its so easy. They are also content with crappy work so they will just screw the better artists and find someone in highschool or college that they can trick for free. It's awful.

    I have yet to find a solid way around this problem and only after my 4th straight year of freelancing have I come to a few clients willing to pay me what I'm barely worth.


    Good guide though, great resources. Only problem with GAG handbooks are that they are re released often and I can't always afford the updates. It's a good place to start no matter which one you use but I just hate feeling out of the current loop of prices.

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    Azuma, your work is quite good, it might be time for you to move to bigger clients who are more accustomed to working with pros and to the prices pros charge. There is a category of clients who don't really know better but when you start working with corporate clients, money becomes a secondary question to deadlines and quality. I had barely started to scratch the field of corporate clients before going into full time employment so I'm afraid I don't have more specific advise, but your stuff is of a caliber that could interest clients with the budget to hire you. Hint: you might find some here, but it's better to contact them directly.

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    Very kind of you to say so..! And thank you for your response. I definitely believe that bigger clients who have already worked with committed artists would understand such things but only now have I been able to actually start looking into studio work of some kind. That's the real goal right there.

    I'll definitely be trying to find some close-contact venues such as direct email addresses or phone numbers to score an interview. Freelancing is an unsteady road for sure but it'd be nice to do on the side of something more... salary-oriented.

    Thanks very much again for your advice and feedback.

    Here's my awesome, pro website.
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