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Hello all, I'm just getting started doing vinyl signs and graphics. My plan was to do t-shirts but I kinda fell into a couple sign jobs so I did them and I really enjoyed it. I didn't worry about pricing the first two jobs cause the customer offered to go some trade out work with me and I thought there was good value in it but now I've had a customer ask about doing a window graphic. 

 

The design is text that is outlined, 2 colors, and is 10" x 32". I plan on charging $50 for the artwork, plus charging for the decal, and charging for the installation. 

Am I wrong to charge for all this labor? If not, how do I price the decal and the installation? 

I appreciate any help if you're not tired of answering such a question. 

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That doesn't sound out of line. If they baulk at the price or ask about it just tell them you have a $50 minimum charge for any install. If I am there doing other work like several windows or a sign plus the door or window I usually give them a break but you should always allow for the potential screw up you'll have once in a while where you have to do it twice. 

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12 minutes ago, Wildgoose said:

That doesn't sound out of line. If they baulk at the price or ask about it just tell them you have a $50 minimum charge for any install. If I am there doing other work like several windows or a sign plus the door or window I usually give them a break but you should always allow for the potential screw up you'll have once in a while where you have to do it twice. 

Ok. I just redid my question cause I didn't like the way I worded it after I read your reply. You would only charge $50 to design the piece, cut both colors, weed both colors and then install it? 

I definitely understand giving a break if you're in the area already and I know first hand about screwing up. Lol. I had to redo two lines of text on my second job which was a window sign. 

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5 hours ago, Ron Stewart said:

Ok. I just redid my question cause I didn't like the way I worded it after I read your reply. You would only charge $50 to design the piece, cut both colors, weed both colors and then install it? 

I definitely understand giving a break if you're in the area already and I know first hand about screwing up. Lol. I had to redo two lines of text on my second job which was a window sign. 

I actually usually charge about $35 for a basic window about that size plus an up-charge for the second color of about $6/SF but my area prices are really low. That is actually one of th reasons I have switched to mostly apparel, better margins because you not only get the design, vinyl and labor you also get the MU on the shirts.  If you have extensive design then you better charge for it. Design is my strong suit so usually something I offer as no charge if they are buying product (and not too many revisions). Some txt in a box is 10 minutes design at best. 

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In the vinyl world the main cost is really time. Most vinyl is really cheap and even a large window you usually have only $4 or $5 of actual vinyl. Figure out how much time everything will take you and what you want to be paid per hour, add in a little to cover materials and there you have it.

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I appreciate the responses. After I made my original posts I went back and thought about it and I can't charge $50 for the artwork cause it didn't take that long for me to create it. Or should I say it shouldn't have taken me more than about 10 minutes. I was thinking in terms of what screen printers charge for artwork. 

Darcshadow, that's a good idea. I think that's the way I'll build all of my prices. Thanks

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9 minutes ago, Ron Stewart said:

I appreciate the responses. After I made my original posts I went back and thought about it and I can't charge $50 for the artwork cause it didn't take that long for me to create it. Or should I say it shouldn't have taken me more than about 10 minutes. I was thinking in terms of what screen printers charge for artwork. 

Darcshadow, that's a good idea. I think that's the way I'll build all of my prices. Thanks

Something else you need to decide.  Who gets the design?  Are they buying the design/artwork?  Or are you going to just keep it?  

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7 hours ago, MZ SKEETER said:

Something else you need to decide.  Who gets the design?  Are they buying the design/artwork?  Or are you going to just keep it?  

Hmm... Never thought about that. If they buy it then I can't use it for anyone else I guess. But at the same time, I don't want to sell a design to someone and then they have Aunt Sue make it with her Cricut machine. 

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1 hour ago, Ron Stewart said:

Hmm... Never thought about that. If they buy it then I can't use it for anyone else I guess. But at the same time, I don't want to sell a design to someone and then they have Aunt Sue make it with her Cricut machine. 

If you charge for the design time and they own it nothing stops them from using aunt sue.   But if you do it free and provide a nice clear image without a watermark aunt sue just does an auto trace and you get nothing for your time.    Everyone learns the hard way early on 

 

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On your comment about the price. I generally try to get the "perceived" value out of the job. I hate to admit this but when I started I called a few places and asked for phone quotes of basic pricing including installs to get a feel for what my local area is getting for their products. Bearing in mind that I do not have a brick and mortar and therefore way less overhead I can make nice margins and am respectful of the market in the area so as not to end up like the soccer moms on their Cricut machines practically giving away products. If I don't have anything to do and am hungry I may drop down and do a cheap job here and there but as soon as you do one too cheap then they will expect that forever so you need to sell it with some sort of caveat that you had some left over vinyl or they are getting a first time customer discount etc... so you don't set yourself up to be working too cheap. 

If I do a log or a design for free I keep the design and own it even if it's their logo. If they want the fruits of my previously free labor (having done it free for a shirt order for instance) they have to pay me to get it.  When I do artwork for sale, even if it's strictly a logo build with no product at all, I always make up an agreement with joint copyright so the client owns it from his payment and I own it for my efforts and the ideas that came from my mind. I may use it for advertisement or some elements out of it in some other design etc... I don't do those very often but have done 3 or 4 over the years where someone wanted a logo for their new business or a new logo for their old business. My typical charge is $300 and I explain that it's for approximately 6 hours of computer and consultation time and a thumb drive with their logo(s) when complete. The first one I did not make that clear and they had me doing mock ups for about a week straight so I learned my lesson and now when I get to the point that I am tired of them changing their minds I let them know they reached the limit and will now start paying extra. It helps motivate them to decide. I'm fairly fast with AI but you can still rack up hours very quickly if not careful. This may be bad but I also make sure to leave plenty of time between changes even if small so that they don't actually realize how easy it may or may not have been to adjust. This falls into that "perceived" value thing. One guy had a logo that ended up really simple and it didn't take very long so when it was all said and done I cut the price in half but it was after I was all done and knew what I had into it. He is now a client who buys shirts and hats etc.... That happens a lot. Treat people fair and they come back. 

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Thanks for the answers. I had never thought about actually selling the design itself. When I was asking about charging for it I was referring to the time involved to do the design just like screen printers charge. I guess I need to get some copyright agreement in place in case a customer wants the design, otherwise it will be mine. They aren't paying for the design itself just the time it took to create it. 

I thought about calling a few places just to see what the market is paying for services but I haven't done it yet. I do realize that I don't have a brick and mortar building either so I have less overhead but I need to charge accordingly if I ever want to grow to be that big. Can't be charging cheap rates cause of low overhead and then raise prices just because my overhead grew. At least that's what makes sense to me. 

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I rarely design anything from scratch, but when I do, the price is partly dependent on how much (anticipated) time I will spend on it, but the other part is just a simple product fee. I'm not quite how to explain it. You can have the most simplest design - take the verizon red check mark/v for example. Any one of us on the forum would be able to get that drawn and cut within minutes, but you can bet your bottom dollar, someone got some money for 'designing' that graphic. If you're designing the graphic for them, you deserve to get paid for it - like Wildgoose said, it's perceived value. I have a few friends that do graphic design - one got paid an exorbitant amount of money for basically a 'designing' a chef hat with basic test under it with the companies name. Still, he's a professional graphic artist and they were willing to pay for the graphic. I'm not saying to charge an exorbitant amount of money, but you shouldn't sell yourself short either.

There are times when I work on a graphic and I know I can't charge for the amount of time that I put into it, because it would just be too costly for the customer. You will get your footing to get an idea of what to charge, how much to charge, and when to charge it. Just don't look at it exclusively as a 'per hour' kind of cost.

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Ron, I know this was not the main point of your question but along the same lines if you have ANY input in the designs that you are working on try to steer them to things you can actually build easy. For instance you may design some gnarly American flag skull that looks totally awesome until you actually try to produce it for the client on a sign or tee short. Whoops... I try real hard to show options that can be done with simple 1, 2 or 3 color work. If my clients ask about the more complicated stuff I will go there but I always give them the run-down that if it's got shadows and gradients and all the bells and whistles then it will be printed work and will ALWAYS be printed work costing them much more in the long run. Practically all the truly big names in any industry have a fairly simple logo. Striking and unforgettable for long term brand recognition yes, but usually not complicated. Years later when they have a lot of money they can use that base concept and expand on it if they feel the need for a face lift. An example in my area is a lawn company that has a sweet looking vehicle wrap with grass growing up along the bottom of the car and a picture of an actual lawn mower doing it's thing. It's really a work of art. Try putting that on a tee shirt. So when they DO decide to do a tee shirt what do they do now? Come up with something else entirely? And how does that new look coincide and support the vehicle and the "Brand" they have been busy trying to establish? You won't win all the arguments (and don't argue with your client but you know that) but you can really help yourself out sometimes. Even simple things like showing a flag that the stars are each out in the open and the weed just peels off them vs one that the stars all sit in a rectangle and have to be individually plucked out costing you a lot more labor. I never even show them the solid one so it doesn't get in their head. If they pull out a screen shot off the internet and want something similar I at least TRY to get them to go the simpler way but you can't always get what you want or so the song goes. 

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On 8/2/2020 at 5:50 PM, Wildgoose said:

Ron, I know this was not the main point of your question but along the same lines if you have ANY input in the designs that you are working on try to steer them to things you can actually build easy. For instance you may design some gnarly American flag skull that looks totally awesome until you actually try to produce it for the client on a sign or tee short. Whoops... I try real hard to show options that can be done with simple 1, 2 or 3 color work. If my clients ask about the more complicated stuff I will go there but I always give them the run-down that if it's got shadows and gradients and all the bells and whistles then it will be printed work and will ALWAYS be printed work costing them much more in the long run. Practically all the truly big names in any industry have a fairly simple logo. Striking and unforgettable for long term brand recognition yes, but usually not complicated. Years later when they have a lot of money they can use that base concept and expand on it if they feel the need for a face lift. An example in my area is a lawn company that has a sweet looking vehicle wrap with grass growing up along the bottom of the car and a picture of an actual lawn mower doing it's thing. It's really a work of art. Try putting that on a tee shirt. So when they DO decide to do a tee shirt what do they do now? Come up with something else entirely? And how does that new look coincide and support the vehicle and the "Brand" they have been busy trying to establish? You won't win all the arguments (and don't argue with your client but you know that) but you can really help yourself out sometimes. Even simple things like showing a flag that the stars are each out in the open and the weed just peels off them vs one that the stars all sit in a rectangle and have to be individually plucked out costing you a lot more labor. I never even show them the solid one so it doesn't get in their head. If they pull out a screen shot off the internet and want something similar I at least TRY to get them to go the simpler way but you can't always get what you want or so the song goes. 

Thanks for the advice. I came across this with a design I did for myself. It looked really sweet on the computer and then I thought "there's no way I can turn that into vinyl". Lol. 

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