Graphic Design Rates: Why a Graphic Designer needs to charge $75/hour minimum!!

Design ImageA professional freelance designer has to charge at least $75/hour for their services. You’re not only paying for their time, but their expertise in helping you market your business, design your publication or sell your product. As a freelancer, the designer has to account for their overhead expenses such as rent, power and water, phone services (land and cell) and internet services.

Even if they work from home, these expenses have to be accounted for. Equipment expenses include the most up to date software for design as well as bookeeping software, computer, a color printer as well as black laserwriter for business printing and miscellaneous office supplies, books and trade publications. It’s expected that we are up to date with the latest technology and trends in design. Not only do we have to own the latest design applications, but we have to know how to use them, so there’s the expense of online classes and workshops. All of this is overhead, we haven’t even gotten to the hourly wage yet. Not to mention other expenses such as car, gas, parking, health insurance, home insurance, 401(k) funding, and vacation. Yes, you need to account for a paid vacation.

If you’re a designer charging $25/hour, you’re not only doing yourself a disservice, but you are bringing down the market value for all designers in the marketplace. If you have a full time job and take freelance jobs on the side, while you may do the work at your employers office, you are still bringing down the market value of our services and only hurting yourself, especially if you loose your full time job.

Designers should be purchasing a new computer every 2-3 years. Updates to design software come out every 12-18 months. The Adobe Creative Suite Upgrade can start at $699.00. So if you think you can make it freelancing for less that $75/hour, think again, you’re going to get stuck in a position where you can’t upgrade or purchase necessary equipment.

Sometimes a per project price is better, but you still need to assess the hourly rate and if it takes you less time, then great — you come out ahead, but as you know, most of the time we come up on the short end of this scenario. Clients can be impossible to reach for response and comments or request an enormous amount of changes. I recently did a project in which we ended up with 15 rounds of revisions. I’m so happy this wasn’t a flat fee project. So my suggestion is to choose your flat fee projects carefully. Do the math and figure out what your overhead is and how much you really need to make per hour, just to stay afloat.

If you’re a client, this is why our rates should be $75/hour minimum.

The Grid

The Grid, All about the world of designIf you’re looking for the Grid, you’re in the right place. I just consolidated my SZ Studio website to my blog. I’m still working out a lot of the details, and will post again soon. I’d love to know what you think, please leave a comment, thanks.