IxD302 – Research – How should designers charge for their work?

IxD302 – Research

How should designers charge for their work?

During our week 6 lecture with Daniel, we briefly discussed how we as designers should be charging for our work/services. I found this to be a really interesting topic for discussion and decided to do a lot more research on it. It interested me not only because it will apply to the field of work I want to go into, but also is relevant to me even now, as I sell my own personalised illustrations part-time and one of the main struggles I have, is dealing with how much I should charge and how much my work is worth. The diagrams above were included on the slides and I think this is a very useful method to go by. Never sell yourself short, but let the client decide how much they’re willing to pay and then base your time upon that. For designers… time is money💰💶💸💵 you Can’t spend countless hours on a project that a client is not willing to pay out for. Daniel also gave us a method for working out how much we should be charging as an hourly rate. This will prove very useful for me.

Realising that I also have to formulate a price and invoice for the proposal project, I decided to research what other designers do. I found a great website by David Airey

Airey Interviewed over 20 designers, asking how they charged for their work. A lot of them seemed to either use a flat fee…

Here’s one designers perspective….

Jonathan Selikoff, of Selikoff+Company

How do you charge clients?

Depends on the client and the relationship, but initially, all projects are on a flat fee, per project basis, with a defined scope. I usually ask for a third or 50% upfront, depending on the size of the fees. Hourly rates never benefit anyone. The client doesn’t get a true idea of the value of the work and risks getting overcharged. I prefer to deliver a desired outcome, not work for X amount of hours and hope for the best. If it takes too long to achieve the goal, then I underpriced it or didn’t work efficiently enough, but that’s not something I feel the client should suffer.

Another’s was completely different…

Antonio Carusone, of AisleOne

How do you charge clients?

Mostly by an hourly rate. I try to estimate how many hours I will work on the project that way I can ask for a percentage of the charge upfront before I begin work.

A few of the designers mentioned retainers, which I had previously never heard of, so I googled it and found out…

A retainer is typically a regular payment by a client to a service provider or an individual to be on ‘stand-by’. That payment then enables the client to access the skills and experience of that worker or service provider on demand, or for a set period of time.


From reading many other designer’s preferred methods, it’s clear to see that everyone has a different preference, due to the different varieties of clients, pace of work and personal methods. For me personally, to begin with I think I am going to use an hourly rate, just because I think that is the best way for a junior to start, as I would be unfamiliar with how to charge for very specific parts of the projects.


Payment methods…

A lot of the designers said the best way to work was with cheques. Others thought PayPal, which also didn’t work for some. Some stated that they thought it was very unprofessional to ask for cash, while others stated that’s what they preferred. The integrated payment system with freshBooks invoicing app, was another method I found out about, which also allows online invoice payments via PayPal, which can be handy in streamlining the process, immediately marking the invoice as paid.


FreshBooks is accounting software operated by 2ndSite Inc. primarily for small and medium-sized businesses. It is a web-based software as a service model, that can be accessed through a desktop or mobile device. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Toronto, Canada.


For my own invoice firstly, I am going to ask for a cheque payment, just as I find it to be the most straightforward and official. However I recognise that it is vital to be flexible to other methods as some might not suit certain clients.


How to write an invoice…

What is an invoice?

An invoice is a bill that businesses send to customers or clients, asking for payment for goods or services. Invoices usually include a description of the items you’re charging for along with payment terms, amongst other information.

Invoices are an important part of bookkeeping, as businesses need to keep information about sales and income for tax and accounting.

Invoices are different to receipts (which acknowledge payment) and purchase orders (which notify intent to buy goods and services).


Now I have a basic knowledge of where to start I will begin doing up my own charging system and invoice in the next couple of days, keep your eyes peeled for the blog post☺️☺️

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