Ask DN: Pricing a Freelance Project by Deliverables

over 6 years ago from , Developer + Designer

Hey hey DN,

I know there tend to be a lot of posts here asking "what should I charge" or "what should my salary be" for such and such, but I was hoping this one would be a little different in its specificity. I'm new at the business, but I've been doing odd design jobs on a freelance basis for a couple of years, and recently things have been picking up. I'm finding that I've needed to grow and learn more about the business side of things. I'm fairly comfortable with my hourly rate and how to price projects based on that rate, but today I got an inquiry that's asking me to price a project in a pretty unfamiliar way, and I'd like to hear how you all might outline a process for approaching this one. Here's the inquiry:

"We are thinking of bidding on a project that would require: 1. Development of a name, logo image, tagline, font family and color palette for the Initiative that reflects brand attributes ascertained via the input and feedback process (which we would manage with your input) 2. Development of a brand standards guide; 3. Provision of all versions of the brand’s digital graphics files in all commonly used formats, including but not limited to .jpg and .eps; 4. Design elements for a public-facing Initiative website that meets the objectives of the needs assessment developed in No 1, above; 5. Development of approximately 10 category and subject-matter icons to be used in various online and offline materials; 6. Development of a template for an email newsletter, to be housed in the Initiative's Constant Contact account."

The person is asking for an estimate here based on the above information and a reasonable timeline. Obviously, I think I need to ask more questions (eg "how many 'design elements' are we talking, here?"), but I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'd like to have a little "process document," as it were, about pricing this sort of branding project.


  • Richard BallermannRichard Ballermann, over 6 years ago

    Their #4 ask for "design elements for a public-facing initiative website" seems pretty vague. Asking them "how many 'design elements'" doesn't even begin to expose what they're really after, because they probably don't even know yet and you'll likely end up re-quoting when you get to that part of the job.

    I would personally break this project up into two parts. First, brand design and guidelines. You sort of know what you're getting into here. Then, once the visual direction is set, dig into the additional ask by getting them to outline deliverables and content for the site.

    This allows you to kick off the work with confidence, but also gives you time to assess if the client is a good fit before committing yourself to future work. If both you and the client are happy with the work done on the brand identity, then everyone will feel pretty good diving back in to tackle the website.

    1 point
    • Elizabeth Adams, over 6 years ago

      So after I posted this, I got an email from the org that said, "Haha! I forgot to include the part that says we also want you to do a website!"

      Uh. Right! Ok. That sort of responds to your point about the vagueness of that request, and I agree that it seemed totally vague/disconnected.

      Thanks for your input, and it makes a lot of sense to break this into two main stages (brand and web). What is weird about this is that the org that contacted me is actually bidding on the project, and they're subcontracting me to do the design pieces, but want to know approximately what I'd charge. There's a step removed in the "whether the client is a good fit" process that makes it a little difficult for me to go through my usual calculations.

      0 points
  • Elizabeth Adams, over 6 years ago

    Also, markdown really doesn't like me. Apologies.

    0 points