Understanding a Designer’s Availability
We now live in a world where folks expect to have everything in their grasp immediately. Suddenly you have that OMG moment where you realize you need/want a new logo, brochure or website for your business. And want it done ASAP!
Good intentions aside, the truth is, depending on a designer’s availability, it may not coincide with your project’s completion timeframe.
Yes, things do pop-up. But as the saying goes, “your poor planning is not someone else’s problem” – especially in the case of the designer you may want to work with. This may sound like a harsh truth, or a little tough luv, but an explanation of matters is in order…
Designer’s ARE Business Owners
First and foremost, what many folks don’t seem to realize is most designer’s ARE actual business owners. This means actual business hours and policies. Independent creatives or studio owners may have different business hours than say a bank – but we’re not at it 24/7 even if the Internet is. What that means to you is that just because you have an idea of when you want something completed, it may be in conflict with a designer’s availability. This may also depend on projects already in their queue with existing clients. So it behooves you to ask about a designer’s availability.
Want it ASAP? Well ASAP = rush charges and can vary depending on the urgency of the project. They can average from 50% up to 200%. Much like FedX, 2 Day Air or Urgent Care, it’s like expedited design at a premium. Needing to bump someone else’s project or burning the midnight oil for your project deadline means you gotta pay a bit extra – which is totally legit.
Think: “Mission Critical” vs. “Nice to Have”
Initial Consultations, Project Contracts, Retainers
If you reach out to a designer you have never worked with before, understand that there will likely be a necessary initial consultation before any new project may commence. This helps to get a sense of your project and your level of commitment – among other factors – and to see if there may be a good fit moving forward. It still does not mean the designer will be able to take on your project as there may be other scheduling time constraints.
Also all legitimate creative professionals execute projects with a contract in place BEFORE and work is done. This WILL require an initial deposit (which is non-refundable) that can vary depending on the project estimate but is generally 30%-50% of the project. Balances are due upon project completion. These ARE standard industry practices which protect both the client and the designer or creative professional.
Becoming an established client via a retainer may be something to consider. It can have its benefits/privileges. Retainers still have protocols which need to be adhered too. But as an existing client, a business relationship is already in place between you and said designer or creative professional. You’ve reflected a commitment along with being consistent with communication and timely payments (yes this matters too).
Good Things ARE Worth Waiting For
Yes, in our world of immediate gratification you can comb the globe for someone who may do it faster, cheaper etc. That can bring its own host of challenges. But good things are worth waiting for. It can reflect a business (or designer’s services) are sought after and in demand with the quality and value they deliver — and that’s a good thing! It also allows you to plan better in the future 🙂
Case in point: As a Subaru owner who is particular about who works on my car, I favor independent Subaru mechanics over going to a dealership. Very often these smaller shops are booked out weeks in advance. To me this is a good sign. The dealership may have more availability, but hands down, the indie guys are well worth the wait 🙂
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Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. From creating your business identity, designing and maintaining your print/digital assets to the importance of SEO for your website.
Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.