How to Price Your Design Jobs And Get Paid On Time | Melanie Greenwood | Skillshare

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How to Price Your Design Jobs And Get Paid On Time

teacher avatar Melanie Greenwood, Designer & Founder of Vision City Studio

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Trailer: How To Price Your Design Jobs and Get Paid On Time


    • 2.

      1. DOWNLOAD Your Price List Worksheet


    • 3.

      2. Level Of Experience


    • 4.

      3. Quality Of Work


    • 5.

      4. Why You Should Never Under Charge


    • 6.

      5. Let The Wrong Clients Walk


    • 7.

      6. Time Vs. Task Pricing


    • 8.

      7. The Power Of Deposits


    • 9.

      8. How To Quote A Job Over Email


    • 10.

      9. Invoicing Design Clients


    • 11.

      10. Project and Encouragement


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About This Class


This course is for: Artists, Designers, Illustrators and Hand Letterers.

I have been running my own freelance design business for over 10 years and have learned many lessons when it comes to pricing, deposits and invoicing. I work mainly in the music, entertainment and wine industries. 

In this course, I have created an effective and simple work sheet to help you honestly consider your creative work experience, the quality of your work and the type of work you are asked to create.

By the end of this course you will have a solid price list so you can be CONFIDENT when clients ask for your pricing.

In this class, you will discover:

- your level of experience

- the quality level of your work

- why you should never under charge for your time

- why it's ok to let the wrong clients walk away

- time vs. time pricing

- how to write a proper quote email to new clients

- the power of deposits

- invoicing like a pro

I believe that the myth of the "starving artist" is a thing of the past!

I look forward to you joining my course and please feel free to ask me any questions! Also I love reviews!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Melanie Greenwood

Designer & Founder of Vision City Studio



Welcome to the my newest course: Design a Rock Band T-Shirt: From Sketch to Vector Art

In this class, we are going to create a t-shirt design for a rock band, from sketch to final vector.

You Will Learn:

1. How to use words to create ideas! (Attribute Words)

2. How to research design references.

3. The rough sketching phase - this is an important time or exploration.

4. How to refine your sketch.

5. Tracing your sketch in Adobe Illustrator.

6. Adding color and texture to your design inside Adobe Illustrator.

7. Exporting for AI vector (screen printing) and also PNG for print on demand.

8. How to create a 3D T-shirt mock up. (Bands can use this photo on soci... See full profile

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1. Trailer: How To Price Your Design Jobs and Get Paid On Time: hi guys, many of his Melanie Greenwood and I'm the founder and designer of Vision City Studios. In this course, I really wanted to focus on a topic that I think is really swept under the rug when it comes to designers and creative studios. And that is how to price on how to quote our jobs and actually get paid on time. The finance section of Design Studios is the backbone of that studio, and it enables us creatives to really continue doing the creative work we love. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I talked to incredibly talented illustrators and letters designers, and they tell me these horror stories of how they didn't get paid for a job. Or even worse, somebody just kind of walked away when they gave him a quote. And it just kind of really bothers me because I think sometimes if we just knew a little bit more about how to approach the finance part of our business, that would be more successful. Would feel actually, like we've been validated in our time and really getting paid properly for the amount of time and energy and creative thought we're putting into each project. So I want to invite you to join me in this course. And I believe that as I really expand on this subject, and it's something that's going to add to you as a creative individual and really give you a strong sense of confidence when it comes to pricing, sending invoices, communication regarding your financing of your business, as well as serving clients in the best way you can. So join me in this course on how to price quotes, an invoice for your creative work. 2. 1. DOWNLOAD Your Price List Worksheet: Hi, guys. Welcome to the course. Now, the first thing I want you to do as you're joining me in this process of really developing your pricing and your whole process for pricing. So I want you to download the worksheet that I provided for you. This is going to help you to actually fill it in as we work together. And that way you're gonna have a full on price list and overall way of doing pricing. By the end of this course, this is something you can actually then type up later and include in maybe a website, Or maybe just even have it somewhere privately in your in your studios that people can refer to it. Maybe even other designers. You work with our work under you or with you. Um and then that way, you have a real platform to go from when it comes to pricing. So go ahead and download the worksheet and meet me right back here. We're gonna get started 3. 2. Level Of Experience: Okay, So first things first. Somebody requests a quote for a design job. You get an email in your inbox and it goes something like this. You know, I've discovered your artwork, your awesome I love your style. And I would love for you to design me a logo, for example. Now, what is your your price? So this is now a request for a quote. What do you do? How do you approach that now? The first things 1st 1 of the first things I wanted to begin thinking about is the fact that you're pricing. One of the things that established on is your level of experience. If you just got out of college and you are not even as college, maybe you just started doing design because honestly, want Some of my favorite designers didn't go to college. But the point is, is that maybe you're just starting out and you were just trying to figure this thing out. Where do I even start when it comes to pricing? First things first. You want to go based on your experience? Have you done a lot of logos? If this is your first time doing a logo, guess what? You're not able to charge a lot of money for it. You may even want to offer it as a freebie just to get your feet wet. Um, now, if you've been doing logos for a decade and you are the logo master and you're brilliant at logos and you have some really great clients under your belt, then guess what you're gonna be able to charge. Ah, lot more. You're probably be able to charge even the four figures when it comes to a logo design. So that all really comes into play. What is your level of experience? Now go ahead and answer the first question on your worksheet. Do you consider yourself to have a beginner or professional level in your Artkraft? 4. 3. Quality Of Work: The other thing you want to think about is your level of quality compared to other designers who are pricing at a certain level. So so you have other designer friends or just colleagues? Maybe working a design studio. I would really ask around and ask what different people charge. People not always don't always want to share that information. It's kind of private. But if they're your friends and their your creative friends, ah, lot of times they'll share it with you. And I would just ask them, You know, what do you charge for your design? And maybe that person has been doing this bit longer than you. And frankly, maybe they're a little bit better in their craft than you. Maybe not. Maybe they are, but depending on level experience and the quality of the design work you're offering, that's kind of where you're going to begin to get a ballpark of your pricing so you don't want if you're just starting out in a style, for example, like for example, see, you're just beginning to get your feet wet in hand lettering and somebody's asking for a hand letter logo, and you've just started like this month trying out hand lettering. Then in that way, and in that technique, you may want to give them a little bit of a better price because it's something kind of new to you. Whereas maybe you've been doing other types of design for years and you're more confident in those areas, then you know, that's kind of something that would come into play. So your level of experience as well as a level of quality, those air to foundational things when it comes to pricing your design work at this time, please, honestly, answer question number two on your worksheet. Do you produce the same quality of work as your peers? 5. 4. Why You Should Never Under Charge: now, having said all of those things as far as level of experience and level of quality. What I don't want you to dio and I don't want any creative artists to do is to undercut yourself. Now, if you've just began design and you want to just get some pieces on your portfolio and you want to do something for free, that's cool. And I totally respect that. And I've done it many times just to get more art in my portfolio because you can't show people stuff that you've never done right. But if you've been at this for a while, you know, maybe you've been at this for, like, several months years, You know, whether you went to school or not. You've been putting in the time you've been really developing your craft, and your time has value. I don't want you to undercut yourself and go like hundreds under somebody else who's got the same level of work. This is really important because number one your time and your art matter number one, but number two as an industry of creatives. If one of us starts offering the same level of work for like next to nothing. Frankly, it actually lowers the level of quality of the entire kind of scene or the entire industry . So for the sake of your other fellow designers, don't undercut yourself. Because so maybe that actually helps kind of shake off some of the nerves of pricing. Because if I'll undercut myself, I'm actually kind of undercutting the entire idea of hiring a designer. So we want people to recognize design illustration, hand lettering, cartoon art, all these things that us creatives do and really are passionate about. We don't want them to think it's just for free or it's just for nothing. So I encourage you. Don't undercut yourself. Give yourself the a level of respect that you deserve as an artist, and I encourage you to price your art and your time wisely. 6. 5. Let The Wrong Clients Walk: Now, as you're quoting jobs, sometimes people will just flat out say it's too expensive. Now, if you have come to a decision on your job quote and you feel really comfortable that that's how much you know time it's gonna take you to do. And, um, you know, I'm gonna get into how to quote in the next few sections. But if you've already decided on a quote amount and you've sent it off and the client got back to you and said, Well, that's just ridiculous. I cannot do that price and that's just too much. You have to be okay. Let that person walk away. Now some people straight out are cheap and they don't want to pay. Okay, I did all those people and honestly, they're a nightmare to work with. So I know it sounds terrible to say it, but it's true. Um, there's some people almost in the way they talk to you. Even if it's over the phone or over email, they just sound cheap. They just sound like they don't value the time you're about to spend. You're gonna have to really fish those people out and straight up, just let them walk away and say, This is how much I offer Thank you very much. Always be kind. Always be respectful. But you have to be able to put your foot down and say this my price and say with a smile But say this my price And if they have to walk away and they say that's too expensive you know, maybe they wanted it for $20 is actually gonna cost $400 or whatever. Um, so obviously, that's way above what they're willing to spend. Maybe they don't understand the value of your time, and maybe they understand the value of your artwork. Um and so I would be okay. Let that that person walk away. The important thing is, if you begin to take jobs way undercutting yourself, what happens is you will spend hours and hours and hours working for people who don't value your time, encourage you to spend those hours and hours and hours working for people who appreciate you and who will pay you for that time and people who will really love your work and, frankly, those the people who will give you great referrals because they're already fans of your style in your work. Just set yourself up for success by working with the people you want to work with and letting others walk away. 7. 6. Time Vs. Task Pricing: one of the things you'll need to decide on as a designer is whether you're gonna quote for your time or whether you're going to quote for the finished task. So it's called, like time versus task pricing I personally am or in favor of one price for the entire job. Now the reason why is because creativity is not always easy to package it within time. So if I say I charged, you know, 40 bucks an hour, for example, and then what if the whole job gets completed in two hours that I have just Tilly undercut myself? Now if I say I charge $500 for that whole project, Um, and it only cut takes me two hours and hey, awesome bonus. They're still getting the final Amazing products them. I'm providing them. Maybe it's a design service designing a promotional piece. Or maybe you're a watercolor painter and you are creating a piece that's going to be included in a promotion of some kind. Maybe within like, a fashion story or something like that, and you are off. You know, you're really on that day and you're able to actually just complete the job. Really quick and sometimes creativity just takes really long. Sometimes it takes really a short amount of time. So I find, in my opinion, if I could give you some advice, would be to quote based on task. Now, what I want you to do is I want you to actually take the printed out worksheet that you printed out off of the skill share notes. And I want you to begin to list out the type of tasks that you are requested to do on a regular basis. So maybe people request you to do logos. Maybe you're requested to do poster design. Maybe you're awesome at T shirts, and that's one of your niche thing. So you you know you're requested to do that. I wait to write down several and we're gonna actually begin to list prices beside those things. So in this case, as I have just spoken about the idea of time first task, I want you to really start. Think about what's one price. I could give two T shirts. What's one price? I could give toe logos. I know this is kind of hard, and maybe they might fluctuate a little bit as you're working with each client. Maybe you really want to work with a client, and they just they have, you know, 75% of your quote or they have 80% or 90%. You know, that's cool. If you really want to bend you can I advise you a six year prices, however, sometimes toe work with a dream client or to work in a new circle of people you won't work with? You may or may not need Teoh slightly adjust your prices. But this way, if you have a standard list of prices, you can actually just tack this up on like a bulletin board in your studio. And that way, when somebody calls in and says, Hey, I need a logo design, how much you charge you can say I charge, you know, I charge $500 for logo, you know, or whatever it might be. Maybe a charge 1 50 or whatever you're comfortable with, depending on your again your experience of the different type of work that you provide the quality that you're offering. So I want you to go ahead and I want you to write down some things that you are getting asked to do and some prices that you can assign to those things, so it may take some time to fill out this sheet. But the entire purpose of this course is for you to really develop a list that you're comfortable with as far as prices. 8. 7. The Power Of Deposits: now the next step when it comes to pricing your job and to begin working with a client is deposits. I am a stickler for of deposits. I am so, so stiff necked when it comes to that, I do not miss around. If somebody doesn't want to pay a deposit, I literally do not work with that person. I have been on not paid properly by several clients in the very beginning, and honestly, it really burns. When you do design work and client work, and then you don't get paid or you just don't get paid on time, you have to kind of chase after the person for like, your payment is just so awkward and then you like. See that person later? I wouldn't like a party, and you're like, Oh, great, there's that guy who didn't pay me for the design job, and it's just so awkward. And so I want to encourage you guys, please take a deposit. I always, always, always request 50% deposit under no circumstances, will I. But on that if they're not able to pay 50% then there won't be able to pay the full 100% either So I encourage you take 50% deposit upfront. That way they've got some skin in the game, so to speak. And they are invested and that they're not going to just bail or not going to just say, Oh, you know what? We decided to just go in a different direction and, um, not need this design at all. So that's happened me before, too, and it sucks. It's just such a terrible feeling. You just spent like, an evening or ah day designing for a client. And then they say, Oh, yeah, we decided to just not do that part of project anymore. So I want to encourage you if they've paid 50% deposit, which, by the way, is nonrefundable. That means you've have the authorization to begin doing design. So I don't even start nothing pen to paper. Nothing until I get 50% deposit. Now, some of you might think, Wow, this girl is really tough. She's kind of being a bit, you know, tough about this. But I've just seen it happen so many times in creative, you know, friends and people that are just brilliant in their design, and they should be getting paid really well and they go through the entire project and sometimes it could be months of work, and then they don't get paid our they don't get paid properly. So I'm really passionate about artists getting paid really well and and getting paid on time, so 50% no matter what. 9. 8. How To Quote A Job Over Email : guys in this section. I want to show you how to actually send a proper email submitting a quote. Now there is a way of doing it, and I think it's really important to know how to communicate that over email in a way that's respectful, professional and in a way that will give the client all the information they're going to require. Um, and I want to just show you that in this next section. So I'm gonna actually go on my computer and allow you to see how I would send an email and actually write an email in front of you that you know exactly what I would say when I'm submitting a quote. Hi, guys, as promised. Here's an example of the way I would respond when somebody asks for a quote. So say somebody by the name of Jane, who has a bakery. Is requesting a logo design. And she's asked me, You know, how much do you charge? I would respond. Hello, Jane. Thank you for your interest. I love to work with you on a logo design for your bakery. I charge $400 for a local design and I request 50% deposit before I begin the creative process, see invoice attached. So obviously out. Attach an invoice requesting the deposit amount, which would be obviously $200 in this case to this invoice and are sorry to this email. And then I would say something along the lines of Let me know if this pricing works for you . I look forward to getting started. Cheers, Melania Vision City. So that's basically the way that I would respond. It's really short. It's really quick. It's not a lot of words, and it doesn't really overdo it as faras, giving her too much information. Ah, lot of times people need the information like, What do you charge and how do you work? That's all they want to know. So that's all I would say in this email and looking forward to working with you, and that's it. So that's basically a structure of how I do it now. Not everyone does it the same way, but this is the way that I find works the best for me. So I hope this really helps you guys as you're setting up your emails to send up to clients 10. 9. Invoicing Design Clients: now invoices air extremely important when it comes to professionalism, especially working in the corporate world. When you're working with corporate clients, they need an invoice needed invoice number. The date on the invoice. In this next section, I'm actually to take you on my computer and show you how I invoice and go through the invoice with you. You're always gonna design yours your own way. But these are just some technical things that you're not gonna want to miss out on when it comes to invoicing. So you're gonna send an invoice at the time of deposit request. So say the jobs already like, you know, they've agreed on the pricing. You're gonna email them and say, OK, here's my invoice. This shows the deposit request Ah, 50%. And once this invoices paid, then I will begin initiating design. Now, the second invoice, which is basically the same one that's been edited, you're going to send it back to them at the end of the job, and it's going to say something like, here is the invoice showing the deposit was paid on such and such date. Here is now the balance owing, which is obviously gonna be 50%. There may, in a lot of cases, depending where you are in the world, have a tax that's also added on top of that. So the balance is going to be 50% plus the tax of the entire amount. So, in my case, I live in Canada, and so we have 13% HST tax on everything. So I actually have to charge that to my clients. So I'm gonna go through all of these things with you in this next section. I hope this really helps you when you're doing your invoices. The final invoice, obviously, will be the invoice marked paid that they will need for their accounts payable so that they can write basically right off. Our service has designed for their taxes. So once again join me in this next section, we're gonna go through the invoice process. Hi, guys. In this section, I'm gonna show you how I said at my invoices. Now, right here. I've got my logo and my company description. I've also got my contact information, my phone number, my email and my website clearly marked with the very kind of central top areas that's really clear. And easy to find for people. Now, accounts payable departments are gonna need us to have an invoice number. So you can't just say invoice for a certain design job or project, you have to have a number. This is going to be what they refer to in the accounts payable department, especially when you're working on larger jobs. Now, date and the client name obviously is really important. And as you scroll down, you're gonna see invoice description. So in this case for this example, I have said this is an invoice for a logo design and a business Carly out. Now I've charged a total price over here of $700. What I've outlined in this invoice is the deposit I've made that bold, darker color its $350. Now, when I'm starting a design job, I will send this invoice to my client and I will say to them before I began, you're a design and logo design on your business card. Lay out. What I will need from you is a deposit of $350. At that time, they will pay me that, and then I will be able to begin the project, but not until they pay this invoice. Once they finally do, pay the invoice, then I will start initiating the design, and I will be able Teoh. Once that's completed, I will be able to then send them the follow up invoice. So when the job is completed, the next step will be to send a follow up invoice requesting the final payment. So in this case, the final payment will be $350 plus tax. And as you can see, I've already written on here. The deposit was paid on in the date that it was paid on. That's really important to include on your invoice of that. They know that they were ready to pay a deposit because sometimes they might be making many payments, a different people offering services, and they don't remember whether they've given you a deposit or not. So it's not only good for your own records, but it's good for their records as well as clients. Now, as you go down here, you're going to see that the balance owing is 3 50 The tax in my country is $91 so that the total listed and the total final balance owing is 4 41 As you can see, everything here is bold ID. I think it's really clever and clear to make it really bold ID so that the client knows exactly what's going. And then what you're gonna do down here is you're gonna list the payment options. So how you can get get your payment. Ah, In my case, I receive payments over papal or over check. So I've outlined those things right here as well as my mailing address so that people know where to send things if they're gonna send a check. So that's basically it, guys. That's how you're going to set up your invoices. Obviously design it the way you would like to to design it, how you want to present your company. However, I would keep it really clean and simple for the most part, if you can, um, just so that it's really easy to process and also easy to print out. As you can see, I don't use a lot of color or any color on this because in most cases people don't want us to use up all their their ink when they're going to print out invoice within their back end kind of paperwork. Um, life people may not even print anymore because of the no paper technique nowadays with the environment, but just so that it's easier for people to view as well as print out if they need to. There you have it. That's the way I would set up my invoice. 11. 10. Project and Encouragement: now, this is a really, really important part of your service as an artist, as a freelancer, and I find it to be something that's really worth while to spend a little bit of time to just tighten it up and get it really, really strong. Because ultimately, if we're not getting paid on time, knocking paid properly for our work, what's gonna happen is and what will burn out. We don't want to burn out. We want to be creative. And number two, we may just run out of money and then have to work in a job or in a in a way, that we may not really be as excited about. So I want to encourage artists to be artists. So whatever you make whatever style you are, whatever illustrations design, um, him lettering, a graffiti art. Maybe you're cartoonist. Whatever you do, I want you to be able to do that, um, to the fullest and to really enjoy it and to make it a career and to become recognized as a professional in your field of art. So I want to encourage you. I hope that this course will help you and serve. You feel free to go through it again and continue to work on your worksheet and to get those key things that you really want to become known for working on and so that you have prices for each of those things. So I hope that this course has served you and will eliminate all the heartache and all the stress associated with pricing and with taking deposits and doing invoices and all the things that we need to do on the back end of our design business in the financial realm. So although it's a bit of a technical side of our business, and it may not be as cool and creative, it's something that we want to focus on. So I want to encourage you to continue, develop your list and feel free to post your prices. If you want on our project section, that's gonna be a really bold step for some of you. It's kind of like putting a stake in the ground and saying these air my prices and I'm sticking to it so I would encourage you to create your price list and to really go with it . Try not to really waiver from it if somebody really? You really wanna work with Has, you know, 90% of the price that you're offering are that you're requesting That's your choice. But I encourage you to stick with your price list and to move forward and to make money, creating the art that you love. I wish you much success.