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  • Does anyone charge for proofs?

  • Jamie Kimp

    April 4, 2008 at 12:43 am

    I normally design a proof for free then once the customer is satisfied then give them a proforma invoice for 50% upfront. How do other people do it?

  • Kimberley Edwards

    April 4, 2008 at 3:34 am

    That’s exactly how I do it – sort of. When I give them the price, the half hour or hour that it took me to come up with the design is figured into the quote. Of course I only get paid for it if they accept my bid – if anyone knows a way around that, I’d like to know what it is.

  • Jason Xuereb

    April 4, 2008 at 3:55 am

    We used to give out proofs. We don’t anymore simply because we found the type of clients that wanted to see something before they even committed to the job weren’t the clients we wanted. We’ve found these are the clients that usually think design is free, designs magically get downloaded off the Internet or they believe you designing their logo and then putting in on a sign is classified in the price of producing a sign.

    When we first started we’d give proofs without even getting the job but now we’ve got a good portfolio and good recommendations we don’t need to do this anymore.

    Most of our work now is 100% payment upfront to approve the job.

    If its a larger job we do a 50% deposit with the other 50% on completion.

    We’ve only got a few clients on account.

    Hope this helps.

  • Kimberley Edwards

    April 4, 2008 at 6:44 am
    quote :

    When we first started we’d give proofs without even getting the job but now we’ve got a good portfolio and good recommendations we don’t need to do this anymore.

    Jason, how do you show them what their sign is going to look like? Most people want to see something don’t they?

  • Jason Xuereb

    April 4, 2008 at 6:49 am

    Sorry I probably came across as we don’t do proofs period. I meant we don’t do proofs unless we have the job approved. Thats what I was trying to say by using ‘give’.

    Proofs are provided when design is being charged for and only after a deposit or payment in full for the sign and design.

    We won’t do a proof give it to the client without having the job anymore.

  • Dave Harrison

    April 4, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Same here. . . Any potential new customer gets a written quote detailing work to be carried out including costs, this quote does not include artwork or a proof. I clearly state that quotations are based on the customer supplying artwork, however a design service is available at a reasonable rate. Like Jason I feel if after seeing my portfolio, the customer still has doubts about my abilities in designing and fabricating signs, then maybe he/she might need to look for another solution !

    I feel this is the only way to weed out the messers. . .

    Of course expections to the rule are repeat/account customers.

    I sometimes find myself drawing up a quick visualisation or 3d models to help sell a proposal, however this is entirely at my discretion and mainly depends on the nature and value of the work.

  • Mike Fear

    April 4, 2008 at 7:55 am

    It tends to depend on what the job is, generally we wont provide a proof, but will send one out after payment up front, then make any changes that the customer wants before making up the order.

    If it is something fairly simple like just manipulating fonts that only takes 5 minutes then we do sometimes do them, but anything that is going to take time to make up needs to be paid for.

    As a lot of our work is repeat business, or from reccomendations customers are usually happy that they are going to get what they want from seeing work we have done for others.

    I do think if you are a new business though and trying to build your reputation that it can be a good idea ( especially if you havent got much work coming in and would just be twiddling you thumbs otherwise ! ) to do the proofs first.

  • David Rowland

    April 4, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Proofs are free… Artwork is charged…

    Anything up to £250 is payment upfront.
    Anything over that is 50% first.
    Account is account customers.

  • Simon Strom

    April 4, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    We’ve had problems with doing free artwork on spec for customers and they then take what we’ve drawn for them (without paying for them of course) and sending them off to another sign company. I agree if it’s quick it’s probably not a big deal, but if it takes any amount of time I say avoid working on spec unless it’s a steady trusted customer that you know will pay and / or you will still be getting actual sign work out of.

  • Jamie Kimp

    April 7, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    That’s good help there. If I have only been in business a year with a smallish portfolio, then can I still charge up-front, do you think?

  • Dave Harrison

    April 8, 2008 at 7:22 am

    you have too mate, or you’ll end up either getting stung or running out of money !
    You don’t need a massive portfolio you just need to be able to show examples of work.
    Take a deposit on everything, even if its only a £20 for a van you are going to do the following day !
    At the very least you want a deposit that is going to cover all the material costs, you wouldn’t expect a builder to build an extension on the side of your house without asking for money to cover materials !

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