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Design Consult Fee

Shayla

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We give free frame design estimates. This week, an artist came in saying that he'll do the framing himself, but wants to pay me for my idea time. It feels awkward, saying, 'Okay, that hour was sixty bucks.' I'm fine with charging it for work on projects, but not sure how to handle this. Do you ever charge for design consults where they don't frame?

And while we're here. Is sixty dollars an hour still a good general shop fee to charge, or should it go up?
 

Ylva

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Only you can determine your shop rate.

Calculate all your overhead cost, including salaries (not what you pay yourself now, but what you think you should get paid)
Insurances, rent, utilities etc egc
Divide that by the amount of hours you’re open.
That is your shop rate
 

Prospero

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That's weird turnaround. Usually artists have all the big ideas but no capabilities to build them. 😆

I would be a bit wary of this arrangement. Before you know it they will return with little requests like
"How do you do this?" and "Can you just do that?" and "where do you get those from?". You can end
up doing the whole job and taking twice as long and only having charged for the design.

Experience has taught me to do the whole job or not at all. 😉
 

Jim Miller

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When asked to create a design, such as a cutting file in Corel Draw for a shape or logo a fellow framer needs to cut on a CMC, or offer advice that requires an investment of my time, the fee is based on an hourly rate for the time required. That's often a fair and affordable way to handle special work.
 

wpfay

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You're in the running for the Can-O-Worms Award in this year's Grumble Superlatives, Shayla. And the year is young.

Another way to figure your hourly rate is to see what others are charging, and not just other frame shops. I look at other service related businesses that require specialized skill sets and tools, and factor that into my rate along with the points Ylva made. You might even bump the final figure a bit to cover those minutes that accumulate into hours that you give away doing research here on the G and elsewhere.

I employ a graphic designer and take tips from their business model. I had my logo redesigned a few years back. There was an agreement that for $X fixed price the designer would provide a handful of rough ideas, and help in the winnowing down and polishing process for the final product. For that I got a digital file of the new logo. I opted to order a package of business cards, stickers for the backs of frames, and stationary from the designer at additional cost.

Most of the services I use have a flat rate for the first 30 minutes, then a quarterly hour charge from there out. The plumber, for example, is $120.00 for the first 1/2 hour and $110/hr after that. That's without a helper. A helper adds about 60% to the overall bill. Last time I had to call them for a clogged sewer line they cleared it in less than 30 minutes and the bill was $190.00.

To dodge the trap Peter described establish a minimum time billed including "innocent" phone calls for established "design only" customers. If they know that they are having to pay for answers, they will be more careful with their questions. Establish an account and keep one of their charge cards on file to pay yourself. A contract would be helpful.

A successful interior designer I work with requires a binder before meeting with a potential client. The binder allows for X amount of design time and can be applied in part towards any work done. or items purchased through the designer. The binder can also be replenished should the client desire additional design services only. If the client is going to be buying through the designer, the binder and additional funds go into an escrow account.

I agree with Jim, but would add that the initial minimum time should be established much like charging for answering questions on the phone. When I call an attorney or a CPA, I expect to be billed for a minimum of 15 minutes. Sometimes I do, sometimes not. The point being that you can't do it if you don't establish it up front.

One more point, your published hourly rate should be the most you will charge, leaving it to your discretion to lower the rate if you think the client warrants it. There's no real way of charging more than your published rate should you have remorse about selling an hourly job too cheap.

This is way too complex for a one-off situation, but a good exercise for looking at the value of your time. Option 2, play it by ear.
 
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Gilder

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I would not charge him anything.
 

Jim Miller

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And while we're here. Is sixty dollars an hour still a good general shop fee to charge, or should it go up?
Calculating the shop labor rate is an important exercise for labor intensive businesses like framing, and it should be reviewed a couple of times a year. Here is a free video on Pricing and Profit (about 18:45 in the video) that outlines the basics of figuring a suitable shop labor rate. Using this sort of calculation would help you determine the minimum rate, and then you can decide how much higher it should be.

As noted in the video, if the calculated shop labor rate is higher than the market will bear, then business practices need to be modified.
 

Larry Peterson

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Should this discussion be in the non-searchable Business section?
 

Shayla

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You're in the running for the Can-O-Worms Award in this year's Grumble Superlatives, Shayla. And the year is young.

Dad once gave me a small can of ****ake mushrooms, which I should have stir-fried, but instead ate straight. Right when I had a mouthful of slimy mushrooms, I saw a photo Randy Parrish had posted. It was a picture of a can of worms, and it put me off cold canned mushrooms forever. lol...

As for this thread, I'm happy to bring up topics that spark conversation. Also, fine with asking questions that sound daft.
Life is so much better when we're relaxed and open to learning. Thank you for your great note.. :beer:
 
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Ylva

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Don’t think that is necessary Larry.

Nothing secretive discussed here. Hourly rates for services is common knowledge, just as it is for plumbers, electricians etc.
 

Shayla

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Larry Peterson

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Nothing secretive discussed here. Hourly rates for services is common knowledge, just as it is for plumbers, electricians etc.

I know but it the topic just seems like something I wouldn't want my customers to read. If they know how many variables go into pricing this, I think they may be more inclined to bargain for a low-ball rate.
 

Ylva

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I understand that, on the other hand, a customer might understand a bit better why we charge what we charge. It is not just our pay, it is the tremendous overhead cost that we all have.

I doubt any of my customers will visit here, but if they do, I hope they do learn something about cost of being and staying in business.
 

CB Art & Framing

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I would have tried to get a little more info. Like are they planning to use ready mades? do they have equipment? account with supplier? & so on.
That way you'd get a better understanding of their plans.
In any case, I would design to the art & as always with artist/photographers, encourage them to do a few pieces "well'" rather than a whole bunch "budget".
 
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Rick Granick

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Yes, I wondered too how they thought they would obtain the materials you suggest in your designs.
:icon9: Rick
 

artfolio

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Yes, I wondered too how they thought they would obtain the materials you suggest in your designs.
:icon9: Rick

Sadly here in Australia some of our suppliers had a reputation for selling materials to backyarders for cash. The same thing probably happens everywhere.
 

Shayla

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Yes, I wondered too how they thought they would obtain the materials you suggest in your designs.
:icon9: Rick

Right? He was up front about seeking design help and buying a couple of prototypes from us, then switching to scaled up production on his own. I told him that whatever we design is available for purchase through us, but not necessarily to him. Or to the cruise lines that sell the work. I think he likes to bounce ideas around, and since he's used to working with a completely different medium, just heads somewhere to start with. I sent him a price estimate this morning, along with some helpful suggestions from this and another thread. Sure do love being able to chat here.
 

Joe B

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I charge $1.00 a minute (my hourly rate is $60.00 with a minimum of $20.00) it is time I would use for framing stuff I get paid for, why should I give away time to someone that won't use my services otherwise?
 

Prospero

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A chap I knew did a valuation on a necklace for a lady. Turned out it wasn't as valuable as she imagined.
He took one look at the stones though his loop and said "About twelve pounds".
He still charged her £50 valuation fee. Although it took him seconds, it took him years to acquire the knowledge,
so maybe some of us ought to value ourselves more highly. 🙄
 
W.D Quinn Saw Co. - US Made Picture Frame Blades
Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System
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Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding
FrameReady Special Offer - Call 888-281-2202
Advertise on the G, a forum for framers only
LifeSaver Cloud from LifeSaver Software, Inc.
Hoffmann Dovetail Joining System
W.D Quinn Saw Co. - US Made Picture Frame Blades
Advertise on the G, a forum for framers only
Beauty, Brawn, and Brains: Wizard Z1 CMC
Vermont Hardwoods solid wood picture frame molding
FrameReady Special Offer - Call 888-281-2202
Rian Fabrication Services  www.rianfabrication.com
LifeSaver Cloud from LifeSaver Software, Inc.
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