Why we don't charge an hourly rate.

There can be a lot of debate on pricing with design jobs. Certain designers and agencies charge an hourly rate for their clients and others charge a set fee for the project. You can also get a mix of both but it generally tends to be one or the other.

Here at Squawk Creative, any project we quote for we charge a set fixed fee. We do this for a number of reasons. It's clear to everyone involved what the cost is up front and any overruns and amendments etc are laid out clearly. It also ensures that each project is priced fairly depending on the client and the work being undertaken. This becomes more clear when we look at the reasons why we don't price by the hour.

1. There's no incentive to work faster.

For arguments sake, say a designer works for €50 an hour. When working on a project there is obviously a deadline to be met, but working by the hour gives the designer no reason to work faster - working faster and more efficiently means they actually get paid less. Now, most in the industry are very ethical and it doesn't do a designer's reputation any good to be stalling a project to increase their earnings but there's no need for them to blitz through a project as fast a possible when their reward for efficient work is less pay.

2. Arguments and confusion

As soon as you put a figure on your hourly rate, a lot of the time clients will question it. This is completely understandable, they want to know why a designer is charging X amount per hour. Where this can get tricky is when a client gets overly involved in checking up on the progress of the project because they are counting the hours themselves and seeing the cost go up.

Providing updates on the project is no big deal and it's an essential part of the process. Regular feedback and updates is a must for any half decent designer, but the more time a designer spends addressing other issues and not working on the design, the longer the project takes and when an hourly rate is involved it becomes a vicious circle.

3. Potential for overcharging

There are a lot of clients who are unfamiliar with the design industry and especially with the processes and technology involved in it. This again comes down to trust and transparency and making sure that you won't get ripped off when you get charged 10 hours for 20 minutes work setting up a new email account for example and the client hasn't a clue.

So what's the best way?

Now there are some pros to charging by the hour and it can be a very successful method for designer's and other industries to run their business. It just doesn't work for us.

For us here at Squawk Creative, to avoid all of the above issues we sit down with each client before a project begins and talk through everything. We get a list of all the requirements and everything they want and need to achieve from the project and draw up a quote. We use our experience and knowledge to draft a competitive and fair price for our work - a price which values our services but is also respectful of the clients budget. This quote covers everything that's needed for the work undertaken in a set figure price. That's what it costs, no matter what.

Any delays, overruns or errors from our end - we just suck it up. For bigger or more complex projects we can provide over run estimates if we think there might be a delay with the client providing feedback or content or anything which causes the project to go over the deadline that's not our fault but that's used only as a backup, and the client sees exactly what the costs are, up front, before signing off.

If you have a project or query on branding, logo design or web design, simply get in touch with us and we can help you out. Talking is always free and we're happy to advise at the very least.