Episode #11: Which Pricing Strategy Should Graphic Designers Use?

(1:35 – 1:49)
I appreciate you letting me into your life to give you knowledge, and I really wanna make sure you understand. Today, we’re gonna be talking about a really cool subject. It’s how to identify which pricing strategy to use when clients are so different.

(1:50 – 2:24)
But I want you to understand something when you’re listening to my advice, when you’re listening to others’ advices, because everyone’s gonna be coming from their own standpoint. This is what I’m gonna talk about today is based on my own clients, what I’ve seen work, what I’ve seen not work, and what I’ve experienced with other designers and helped them to be able to increase prices, close clients, and what I’ve been able to do over the past eight years with my own business as well. So I want you to take what you hear today and see how it applies to you and your business.

(2:24 – 2:33)
If you see that this is different than somebody else that’s talking about pricing, that’s okay. See what works for you. Take something from them, take something from me.

(2:33 – 2:58)
Everybody comes from their own standpoint, and nobody is right or wrong. There are many different strategies, and I want you to go into this episode with that frame of mind. So regarding the different types of pricing strategies, I just wanna mention those to begin with, so we have a framework to work with when you’re thinking with which one to use for clients, because of course, clients are so different.

(2:59 – 3:19)
Every client is going to give you its own set of surprises, and that’s the fun of pricing, right? So when I work with clients, I go between three different pricing strategies. Number one is flat project base. Project base, that’s like you give them $4,500 for brand identity.

(3:19 – 3:27)
Flat base, that’s what you would use for every client, and you don’t have to do a lot of thinking. You don’t have to think about it. You already have that set price.

(3:27 – 3:39)
You probably have a proposal that’s already met with that specific type of client projects. You don’t have to customize it every single time for every client project. Next is package based.

(3:39 – 4:02)
This is when you have different services put together and bundled to appear more saving for the client, more exciting, and you can name them appropriately. So if I was doing package pricing, when I do it, it can be like the standout online package for e-commerce sellers or the launch package. So you can customize it instead of just package one, package two, package three.

(4:03 – 4:26)
It makes it more exciting and it gets them more attracted. And another niche, just as an example, let’s say you were in the medical profession and you were doing websites for medical, maybe healthcare, private practice, something of that nature. It could be that you have the healthy clients package or the successful appointment package or something of that nature.

(4:26 – 4:48)
It could be very tailored and customized to their specific industry to make it like, they really hear, they know you hear them. That’s what you wanna do with the packages. And then you do it based on like a three tier to give them three options because there’s this really important point that they’re gonna want to have something to compare the prices to.

(4:49 – 5:06)
And that’s why often you’ll see people go and get three different quotes for different things. And then they compare them and see which one has the most value, which person do they wanna work with the most. And that just, if you give them three different options, that reduces the need for them to go elsewhere to look for pricing.

(5:06 – 5:31)
I know that the talk of AI, the rising living expenses and increasing design competition can make things look more challenging for freelance designers. But these challenges should not stop you from your goal of making a good living with your design skills. And that’s why I want to invite you to a free live training, how to become a high earning freelance designer, the steps to get consistent high paying clients.

(5:31 – 5:49)
In this training, you’re gonna learn the essential steps to attract that steady high quality client base, engage in a fun and practical assessment to identify your strengths and areas for improvement. And you’re gonna also get a valuable pricing calculator custom coded for designers. And this is gonna be for those who show up live.

(5:49 – 6:08)
It’s gonna help you analyze your business profitability and make you understand how much you should price to be able to make a good living. Just go to forthecreators.com forward slash live to register today. So then the other one, and this is something, this is my version of value based.

(6:08 – 6:36)
So value based and this is called dynamic pricing and value based as you’ve probably heard a lot of people talk about, because this is maybe something that looks amazing on paper, maybe somebody has been able to do this in a really great way and they’re able to do it consistently with specific with clients. But I wanna say I have not been able to see this work for everyone. And that is because not everybody is really comfortable talking about pricing from the beginning.

(6:37 – 7:02)
Not everybody’s excited to go and start asking all the numbers from clients. And just so you understand what I’m referring to, value based pricing is when you price based on the value you’re providing to that specific client. So let’s say Disney hires you, you know that they have huge budgets and any marketing design help you’re gonna give them is going to give them back a lot of value.

(7:02 – 7:14)
It’s going to probably impact their sales if it’s done successfully. Let’s say you’re designing a packaging for them. That package has the potential to make them millions of dollars of revenue.

(7:14 – 7:41)
Whereas let’s say you’re working with a new seller on Amazon and they’re probably projected to make maybe a $50,000 with that packaging as opposed to a million with Disney. So you would be pricing yourself with a percentage based on the value you’re providing. You wouldn’t charge that e-commerce online new client the same price you would charge Disney.

(7:42 – 7:59)
It could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars that you’re of the difference. Some people I’ve even heard if they were doing that like a million dollars that they could see, they would charge them a hundred thousand whereas they could charge that new startup maybe a few thousand. So that’s just a range.

(7:59 – 8:18)
Obviously those are not exact accurate numbers but that’s just the concept of value-based pricing. So what I like to do instead is something called dynamic pricing. And that is a very similar concept but what it means is that you are changing based on the specific client.

(8:19 – 8:29)
So you’re dynamic. You’re not always at the static level of I’m always gonna be charging. This identities are always gonna be 4,500.

(8:30 – 8:49)
I’m not gonna go higher. I’m not gonna go lower because there are certain circumstances when you need to and you should be charging more. For example, you let’s say that there’s this big company that is a really strong healthcare or they’re selling online healthcare products for women.

(8:49 – 9:05)
And their revenue is, you know it’s in the hundred millions or more. And they’re a massive company and they need a rebrand. So you’re going to have to take more time to understand their current client base.

(9:05 – 9:16)
It’s going to be a bigger ask. I’m sure that they’re going to need from you a lot more assets across the entire company that need to be changed. There’s going to be a lot more deliverables on your end.

(9:16 – 9:39)
You’re probably going to have to have a lot more meetings. There’s gonna be much more invested from you that you have to think with as opposed to, we’ll go back to another, a new somebody who’s starting, let’s say a new product on Amazon. And they have five products they’re launching and you are five different variations of that main product.

(9:39 – 9:52)
You’re doing the branding and the packaging. You know exactly what is needed, the tangible aspects. It’s going to be meetings with just one person, not all these different levels of people that need to get approval on different aspects.

(9:52 – 10:08)
And it’s gonna be less work for you. While you’re still gonna show up and you’re still gonna give the same amount of energy, you’re still gonna give the same amount of your expertise and professionalism. You’re not gonna shortcut things.

(10:08 – 10:14)
It’s just, it’s a less ask of you. It’s a less deliverables. It’s less investment you have to have time-wise yourself.

(10:14 – 10:45)
So from that standpoint, you should know your base prices. That needs to be there for any of these specific types of packaging or pricing that you’re doing, whether that is the flat base, the package based or the dynamic pricing. You need to know how much are my expenses? How much do I have to make a year in order to cover those expenses and still have enough saved for taxes, for savings, for emergency fund and all those different aspects.

(10:45 – 11:04)
And for anybody who wants to, I just wanna remind you, I have a pricing download that is a price sheet that you can use that gives very basic understanding of what you should be charging if you’re a new designer, mid-range and gives you some guidelines to think with. So you can get that at the show notes. You can look at that link in the show notes.

(11:05 – 11:15)
And I hope you take me up on that because it’s really important to have some guidelines to think with. Back to what I was saying. For all of these points, you need to know your expenses and such.

(11:15 – 11:32)
So taking that point, if you were in this situation where you had this client that needed a rebrand, you got to stand back and you should know this before you go into a discovery call, by the way. You shouldn’t just go into a discovery call not knowing anything about the client. You should know they need a rebrand.

(11:32 – 11:39)
You should know the size of the company. You could go look that up on LinkedIn, see how many employees they have. Just get an estimate for how big.

(11:39 – 11:50)
And then you got to really, really think about the amount of work it’s going to take. And you should also be charging, not just because it’s the amount of work, but they are a bigger company. So there is more value you’re providing.

(11:51 – 12:13)
But if you start, let’s say 4,500, and you know this company’s gonna need a lot more deliverables, they’re gonna need a lot more time, you could be going up to 20,000 on this project. And there is nothing to feel shame about or that just because they’re a bigger company, you’re charging more and the other one you’re charging less. It’s a different level game.

(12:13 – 12:31)
It’s more, you just got to think of it differently. They’re able to invest more. And as long as you’re covering your expenses with these smaller clients, and you’re not just undercutting or undervaluing, you can still justify having those rates and then having the higher rates with this other type of client.

(12:31 – 12:44)
I’ve heard designers feel like they’re lying to the bigger clients because they’re charging more. Don’t think that way. As gone over, they have more to invest and there’s more at stake.

(12:44 – 13:06)
So they’re willing to have that investment and you should be the one to receive it. So additionally, when you’re just starting or you’re trying to prove to yourself that these prices are workable, you got to start at least at that baseline that is your expenses, that covers all those expenses. You’ve got to start there.

(13:06 – 13:32)
But then you should not also try and aim for doing a $10,000 project when you’ve never done any client work before. You’ve never talked about pricing before because you’re going to probably in your own mind, just eat yourself alive. So you’ve got to have the mindset, right? And that starts by getting somebody to pay you at that baseline price.

(13:32 – 13:45)
And then the next one, you feel more confident. You were able to deliver something great and you got paid for it in exchange. Now put it up a notch, go to the next level and then prove to yourself you can do it there.

(13:45 – 14:09)
You’re gonna get to that 10,000 price but you just got to start somewhere and you got to prove to yourself mentally that you can do it and you’re worth it. And I know I started, like I’ve told this story many times if you haven’t heard it, I started at that 150 price or even less. And I worked up from there to having much, much higher prices now.

(14:09 – 14:27)
I wouldn’t ever do something like that again. And I don’t advise starting that low but you got to start somewhere and work up from there. And that’s where, if you start with the baseline of what’s gonna cover your expenses, that’s at least, you know, you’re not working yourself into debt which is what you do not wanna do.

(14:28 – 14:44)
So that’s a different point. Another thing is that if you’re going into a discovery call and let’s say on the discovery call, they start talking about a bunch of different things that you did not expect. They start talking about different design assets that they’re gonna need on top of the usual, let’s say brand identity.

(14:45 – 15:33)
And then they give you all this, they bombard you with things that you were not thinking with. You gotta just on the fly know that baseline price of course but you’re gonna give them a range and had that range with a lot more, like maybe give it a few, if they think it’s gonna be about three to $5,000 more, don’t, you really want to make sure you communicate that and you’re not just giving that baseline price because then when you add on all that point, they’re gonna feel a little bit like, oh, well this is much more expensive than we talked about. So you wanna make sure that you go into the call with a range and then if they give you a bunch of unexpected points, you can either one pad it with an additional three to $5,000 depending obviously on what it is.

(15:33 – 15:54)
You can also ask them for their budget. When you’re completely flustered, you can always say, well, what is your budget? And that gives you at least a starting range. It’s always best for you to be the one that talks about the pricing because let’s say they come in and they say their budget is $1,000 and your prices are $5,000.

(15:54 – 16:12)
Well, that puts you in a tight spot and you obviously then have to say, listen, that’s much below my minimum level of engagement. I’m sorry, I don’t think that we’d be the right fit. Whereas if you come in with a price and you always wanna say the highest price first, that’s price anchoring.

(16:12 – 16:25)
So it gives them something to think with like $12,000 and then let’s say it’s $12,000 to $9,000. That’s the range. So then when the $9,000 comes, it sounds less.

(16:25 – 16:39)
It’s not as overbearing. So let’s say they come in and they’re like, oh, well, we also need this and this and this. You could say, well, generally that would be an additional $5,000 to $3,000.

(16:39 – 16:49)
I’ll need to give you a proper proposal and really go through the numbers myself after the call. And that’s totally okay. You don’t have to know everything right on the call.

(16:49 – 17:22)
You just need to not be flustered yourself. You need to know how to handle it in a way that just is professional, but also it gives you the grace to be able to go and figure it out yourself. So just to go full circle here, to identify the pricing strategy to use when clients are so different, if I would start by doing those flat-based pricing and package-based pricing for clients until you feel really comfortable with talking about numbers, talking about money, talking about things like that.

(17:22 – 17:48)
If you have these base where you know your pricing so well, you can talk about it really easily, you’re gonna be ready for the next level, which is that dynamic pricing. And that’s when you can start thinking with the value you provide, as well as the different circumstances, who’s gonna be involved, how much meeting, what’s the timeline, all these different aspects to inform that dynamic pricing. So I know this episode was jam-packed with a lot.

(17:48 – 17:59)
I hope that you’re able to digest those different points. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. You can always write to me at forthecreatives on Instagram.

(17:59 – 18:27)
I do prefer email, which is lauren4thecreatives.com. And as always, I appreciate you being here. I really do love to talk to you about these subjects. I know that it’s a lot sometimes to deal with all of the pricing world and everything that goes on in our minds regarding pricing, because you are doing something in this world to make other businesses grow.

(18:28 – 18:58)
And that’s something that’s so important for you to understand that you are not scamming people, you’re not stealing their money. You are a integral part of the economy to be there providing a service that nobody, not everybody can do. So don’t take that lightly, price yourself accordingly and go out there and make yourself a strong business that can sustain itself and can make a good income.

(18:59 – 19:15)
So thank you again for being here and I’ll see you next time. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Earning by Design. If you found value today, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a review on your favorite podcast platform.

(19:16 – 19:45)
Your feedback not only helps this podcast to grow, but it also helps to get in front of more designers who need help too. So thank you sincerely for being here and for more resources to help you succeed in the world of design, please visit forthecreatives.com. That’s the number four, thecreatives.com. We offer a variety of courses, programs and free resources all tailored to enhance your design skills and your business knowledge. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram at forthecreatives for more updates and tips.

(19:45 – 20:06)
And if you haven’t already joined my growing community of over 100,000 subscribers on the For the Creatives YouTube channel that has more content all designed to fuel your creativity and your professional growth. Until next time, keep creating, keep exploring and continue to push the boundaries of your own creative journey. I’ll be here to guide and inspire you every step of the way.

(20:10 – 20:19)
Thank you.

Listen to this podcast episode on…

These are the best graphic design pricing strategies you should use.

Choosing the right pricing strategy for clients can be complex, given their varied needs. In this episode, I share insights and experiences to simplify this task, discussing different pricing models and when to apply the most challenging one. We’ll cover the essentials of selecting a strategy that aligns with both your business goals and client expectations, aiming for mutual satisfaction. Join me to unlock the secrets to effective pricing, making it less daunting and more strategic.

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Pricing guide: https://4thecreatives.com/pricing

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Price for profit!

This free guide is designed to help you in determining the optimal pricing strategy for your needs.


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