I think you need to be more prepared in advance. Make sure your customer has aproved the design before you even create it. In most cases an image mockup of the site will be enough to let them see how the site will appear.
If you have simply created a design without the customer having approvied it, then you realy are leaving yourself open to this sort of situation.
Yours could be the best design for the job, but if the client doesn't like it you are sunk.
As Mack implied, I believe that listening to the clients needs (desires) is very important when you put forward the first draft design for comment (approval).
Mack's right, you need to show a diagram of the site layout before you start coding it.
As long as you are sure of course that the client understands the difference between a mock up and the finished article. We have problems with in house projects that the business users really do think that having produced a couple of demo screens then we have finished and do not need funding for another x man-weeks to build the back end.
|In most cases an image mockup of the site will be enough to let them see how the site will appear. |
What if they don't like the mock up?
Or worse yet, one I've encountered, they bring you a mock up, down to specific colors and fonts, you recreate it precisely, and you get "Sorry, this is just not what we're looking for, we're going with Mr. $20 per hour."
You have to be paid for your time. They've seen your portfolio, they start the fire and ask you to move forward, you need to take a more proactive position on "your time."
Every hour should be billable, but don't do anything they didn't ask for - I.E., they ask to see a design, don't lay out the entire site. Do a comp (mock-up:) a single image loaded on a page representing the basic design. Go from there.
But every cent should be billable to that point. Unless you enjoy working for free.
A grain of advice on this field, it doesn't matter how good your work is, as mentioned, if the customer doesn't like it it may not be an actual issue of "good design." Saying goes, they who have the gold make the rules. I can't count the ugly web sites I've developed over this very point. :-(
Guys thanks for the help.
But can i charge anything for the mock up? Designing to html... will be once the mock up is liked by them. So how shud i charge them or will it be at my expense?
Thanks for you tremendous inputs.
i know some designers may charge for mockup but i dont. i have a list of questions to ask before i even start on the mockup. what color scheme do they like, what others site that they have seen...yada yada ya.
but like i said i dont charge for mockups, but when they approve the mockup/layout thats when i require 30% down before moving on and building out the site.
ive had some clients that didnt like some my designs. but guess what...i dont scrap that... because the next client may like that desgin for them...
In this type of scenario, an invoice generated at acceptance of proposal may have been in order. That invoice would indicate that 50% of the amount is due on receipt and the balance is due on delivery. Be sure to cover your costs in that initial 50% or you may end up in the red when that second 50% isn't forthcoming. I do believe this has probably happened to many of us over the years. Its a given and something you learn to prepare for.
|I know some designers may charge for mockup but i dont. |
With many of the designs I've worked with over the years, the bulk of the costs is in mockup. That's where the real talent is at work. And then of course come the production costs afterwards. It can get quite expensive depending on the requirements.
|What if they don't like the mock up? |
The key is to talk directly with the client, make sure you know exactly what they want. mock-ups are there to basicaly show the client what the design will look like. Canges can be made based on the clients oppinion of the mockup.
Make sure you have approval before you go ahead.
The best design in the world is terrible if it isn't what the client wants.
From a client perspective, in the past I've asked for 2-3 mockups. I've already seen their portfolio so I know I like their work in general. I then get to pick one from those three for coding and customization, they keep the rights to the other two. And we work under the premise that I'm paying for the mockups to be done even if I decide I don't want to take one.
In other words, sell them on your portfolio in general,the work to do a mockup is paid work and one of the first steps in the design process.
Otherwise you're working for free, and probably the client is scraping your design and getting someone cheap to code it.
Yes, wheel you are absolutely correct. 1-2 of my client had done like that. They did not like the mock ups we made.
So I had to bear for that tooo. But it gave me something to learn that get paid for the things worked on. So I think charging say 10% of the amount for the mock ups would be appropriate and the rest as per the details mentioned in the contract.
This makes sure that the client is not bullyin with us and the time for which we work. Though this looks a small when taken from 1 clients perspective but if it happens with many then its a sheer loss of money.
So according to me charging a minimal amount for mock ups shud be the best thing.
Wat u guys have 2 say abt 10% of the total project cost.
See pageone's comment, which gets my vote in this regard,
|With many of the designs I've worked with over the years, the bulk of the costs is in mockup. |
This is really the most precarious, and often most time consuming part. I don't think 10% is going to cover your pain. :-) It's more than just a quick sketch, you're thinking through the entire navigation, future expansion, every detail is being considered even if the mock up doesn't "show" it. Basically at this stage you're building the entire site in your mind. After this it's like a coloring book, just fill in the blanks and stay between the lines to make it a reality.
It's often the stage at which a customer will prompt for the most re-do's and wrangle with all the what if's. This stage can be trivial or monumental depending on the customer.
I say hourly rate, stick to your guns. :-)
You should always make your terms in advance of doing ANY work.
I get paid to think, to create, for my advice and guidance. The time I spend creating the comps (nothing more than big image files) is creative time and typically consumes about 20-30% of the budget. Anyone can sit down with a copy of Dreamweaver and build a site. What makes a professional different is that we have knowledge, experience, creativity, and we can put them together to produce a quality finished product. Don't give away your time by doing mockups and design comps free.
Great help, thanks.
lorax, u r absoultely right bcoz all the things like thinking process, fitting ideas into image and look n feel comes right at the beginning which is the core of design.
So 10% is very less as compared to that.
Thanks once again for all ur insights.
working for free is a great way to go out of business.
|I say hourly rate, stick to your guns. :-) |
There are a few this you can do to pin things down a bit.
I have some screenshots of various layouts - and a few pre-fab templates to show clients so they can choose navigation options and media and such.
I also carry a designer's colourway book so they can decide on colours based on their own mood and image.
I charge nothing for the 1 hour consult then a fixed fee for the mock-up. At that point, it is "No signature, no mock-up" I'm afraid. That way they know what they are getting into financially and I can do more or less work on the mock up based on the fee and what time I have.
My problem is that I do the SEO type prep before I build and nobody appreciates how much time that takes. They'd rather have a quick design and pay a fortune for SEO after a year without traffic.
I will do 3 designs for a fixed rate - usually a home page and an secondary page for a fee. Once that's approved, I charge an hourly rate and give them an idea of based on what they want and an "estimate" of what it will cost. I give them and estimate in writing that includes a description of what they have asked for and exactly what my hourly rate is. Often I will give them a guaranteed max rate as long as the work is according to their original specifications. That way there is no room for a client not wanting to pay for a design they've approved in advance. I give them 3 ideas so they will hopefully see something we can spring board off of and have a site we both can be happy with. Some designers also ask for 25-50% down before work begins but I rarely do this. Hope this helps. If this client is someone who you think will bring you more work and it's something you want to do then work with them. If not, then insist on the money. If you want to work with them in the future, consider it a lesson learned, bite the bullet, make them happy and move on. Best of luck.