Presley Design studio, a web-design company in Dallas, suggests in its blog that small businesses choose designers who charge prices that are not too cheap, and at the same time, not too expensive. (Presley, 1) Presley uses this way of thinking when considering how much to charge clients for their work, and claims that it has kept them in business the past seven years. It is only natural for us to want to charge a large amount of money for the work we produce; the more money we have, the more financially secure we are. If we charge too much for our work, however, our clients will choose other, cheaper vendors who can give them the same quality product. At the same time, designers who are still in college typically do not have very much money, and charging too little would be detrimental to our own financial agendas. The question is how do we decide that we are charging a price that is both reasonable for our clients, and reasonable for us?
A quick and easy way to figure out how to price our work would be to ask an experienced, professional designer for advice. This is what I did before taking on my first freelance design. After consulting my advisor, he suggested a specific hourly rate, taking into account the quality of my work, and that I am still a student who, without the support of my parents, is not financially secure. Both he and I decided that this was not too cheap for me, and not too expensive for the client. In the end, however, the client was unwilling to pay the amount, and while he was very pleased with the design, he paid a much smaller price for it.
Of course, as we discussed in class, that there is the issue of paying our dues in the design world before we try to earn big bucks, and sometimes that means doing work for free. When choosing which payless jobs to take, however we must consider both present and future; will a specific freelance job for little or no pay lead us to higher financial security later? I currently intern for no pay at the Dakota Jazz club, a club that is well known throughout the US. Designing for the Dakota takes up much of my time and, as a result, I have had to tell other, smaller clients that the work I do for them over this semester would not be completed as quickly as it once was. Designing for a well-known jazz company will get me more attention than designing for my other clients, and therefore, have the potential to work for even bigger clients in the future who will pay me even more. While small jobs can be a quick way to earn experience, we must prioritize if we want to be financially secure.