8 - What is it worth?

Monday, October 08, 2012

I am today once again faced with the eternal dilemma of pricing a design job.

Do you price to what you and your time and expertise are worth and hope that your potential client gets that you'll more than likely be thinking of them night and day until the job is done? More likely you price to what you think will get you the job and massively undersell yourself and your time and knowledge, not to forget creativity which runs through your veins and occupies your every thought one way or another.

I read something very pertinent (here) by a "Jonathon" on July 8th 2010 (I realise its a little dated but the thread is oh so relevant)...
Designers are useless when it comes to money. Myself included. That’s why we have business and production managers who handle that side of the business to make sure we make money!
We need to stop undervaluing our profession. I’ve always admired how well plumbers and electricians value their skills. Why can’t designers do the same?
The part about plumbers and electricians resonates clearly. In our case both of those guys live down the street from us. They are great guys that help us out when the boiler has packed up because its got dust in after a weekend away, or when A. drilled straight through the middle of a cable in the wall last Christmas. Both also have no trouble asking what they are rightfully worth when it comes to a routine job. As a creative I feel nervous asking for what I think a job is worth. Partly because I worry the potential client will go elsewhere (a little of something is better than all of nothing right?) and partly because at least 50% of my job and the process is done in my head, while I'm cooking the babies dinners or drifting off to sleep, in the shower or doing the school run. Because thinking time isn't tangible until it manifests as a logo or brand or piece of packaging or stationery.

I have to say the business part is not my favourite and I look forward to the day when I earn enough to hire an account manager to do the nasty. I like creating, I love making people happy, I get a kick out of creating something that will last. If only I could make like Shen* and paint everything I needed so I didn't have to charge for my services...

*The Magic Paintbrush by Julia Donaldson, my Son's favourite book a year or so ago.

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