* This rate is the standard rate for all "new" clients who have smaller projects that will obviously take less than 20 hours to complete and a deposit may be required. This higher introductory rate helps cover the costs of working with a new client such as setting up a billing account for invoicing, initial consulting, coordinating work-flows, establishing file transfer protocols, obtaining any tax exemption certificates, emails/phone calls, etc.
**Once a particular client reaches a total of 20 cumulative hours or more (either on a single invoice or multiple invoices), then the hourly rate drops to $90/hr, If a new client consumes 20 or more hours of work within the first 30 days, then the $90/hr rate is applied retroactive to the beginning of all work ordered.
The lowest hourly rate of $80/hr is reserved for "Contract Clients" that are purchasing bulk-hours of 15 or more hours/month on an ongoing basis.
Depending on the type of work requested, there "may" be an up-front deposit required (especially if out-of-house custom printing is in the mix). Payment terms are usually determined and communicated during initial project discussions. In any case, payment is due upon receipt of invoice after any work is preformed. Invoices gerenally go out the last day of every month (or sooner if the total reaches between $500 and $1,000).
Building a Web Site falls into it's own unique separate category. Part of what makes it unique is that based on experience in building so many custom web sites over the years. We know for sure it will consume a minimum of 2 days work to get virtually anything up and running after all is said and done. There are a number of somewhat common steps and up-front costs incurred by ChoreoGraphics with each new site. There can be many variations in custom requirements and levels of client revisions and interactions at every stage. While we have examples of some basic "Presentation" sites that were completed for the minimum charge, the average "Presentation" site will usually run between $2,500 - $4,000 to complete. Once we discuss the scope of the project we will have a better idea of what a projected cost might be, but mission-creep from the client-side is usually the biggest cost factor.
The $1,500 deposit covers about the first 17 hours of work toward building a new site. Since we know that a new website will take at least 17 hours to complete and go "live", a reduced $90/hr rate is applied from the beginning and also applies to any future revisions requested over time without any subsequent minimum invoice amount required.
Example: You pay the $1,500 minimum up-front deposit and let's say your site takes a total of 28 hours to complete. At $90/hr the total cost of the web site would end up $2,520. Your entire $1,500 deposit would be applied to that total and you would be invoiced for the balance due of $1,020 (plus any applicable State Sales Tax for Texas residents).
Unlike most web designers/developers, CHOREOGRAPHICS DOES NOT CHARGE ANY MONTHLY OR ONGOING CHARGES ONCE YOUR SITE IS LIVE ONLINE. Only if/when you contact ChoreoGraphics with subsequent requests for revisions/additions will you be charged at the same $90/hr rate. However, if your site includes Videos or certain Submission Forms we are serving from a 3rd Party source (like Vimeo or JotForm) - there will be a small maintenance fee charged each December to cover the costs that those services charge us.
ChoreoGraphics breaks down websites into several categories:
Any additional assets purchased by ChoreoGraphics on behalf of and requested by the client are included on invoicing at cost (i.e. Stock Photos, SSL Certificates , Domain Registration, Hosting, etc.).
NOTE: If you do not already have a Domain registered and/or a Hosting company account, we should discuss that in advance before you take those steps on your own (could save you some time and money).
This category is broken out separately as it applies to "Professional Corporate/Business Set Logo Design". Having designed hundreds of logos over the years for small businesses to large corporations, it is possibly one of the most taxing services that ChoreoGraphics offers. This category does not apply to what we term "pack-logos". Pack-logos are what some clients request which are not part of their primary brand identity or in general, just not that important to a client - they don't need multiple formats, full-color and layout specifications, etc. You have probably seen them offered Online for a few dollars where they type out a name in a computer-installed font, add a circle or some clip-art next to it and "done". If that is what you are in the market for, you could probably do it yourself for "free" (just your time).
The $350 deposit covers up to the first half-day of work - "average" logo project is usually in the $500-range to complete, just depends on complexity and client revisions (some logo designs have exceeded $10,000 based mostly on client revisions following initial design(s) submitted). Professional Logo Design generally includes the following:
Like any design firm, by law ChoreoGraphics as the 'creator" holds the copyright to all designs regardless of who is paying for the work (unless a legal copyright transfer agreement is drafted and agreed upon). Unless specified otherwise by contract, ChoreoGraphics grants it's client's full unlimited "rights-of-reproduction" for any logos it designs for its clients. The only restrictions are, clients are not allowed to resell a logo design without written permission.
ChoreoGraphics primarily specializes in high-end "In-Studio" Commercial Product Photography and Retouching. From time-to-time we sometimes do outdoor or on-location photography (usually as part of a larger project), but it is rare as local weather is so unpredictable and dust and weather are the enemy of high-end/precision equipment like we maintain in the studio. Also, most high-end on-location shoots require a trained support "crew" or staff of one or more assistants as well as a "sacrificial" vehicle in West Texas! Most On-Location shoots are best handled by a Full-Time Professional Photographer that is either less specialized or specializes in that specific type of work. This is true for any genre of photography - portrait, beauty, fashion, wedding, event, real-estate, landscape, etc. - all have similarities, but you will usually get far better results from someone who specializes in one area of photography - and those "specialists" will probably cost more than what a general practitioner charges. The same is true for Commercial Product Photography - it is highly specialized.
When it comes to high-end portrait or beauty for instance - we know how to do it, have been extensively trained on how to do it, have all the equipment to do it, but otherwise are really not set-up to do it on a walk-in basis as we are specifically set-up for "products", not "people" in an isolated environment where we have total control of the lighting and modifiers and can easily work tethered, Unlike most Full-Time Professional Photographers (i.e. "photography" is pretty much all they do), ChoreoGraphics offers too wide an array of services to too many clients to characterize itself as a Photography Studio open to the public.
We have invested tens-of-thousands of dollars in precision photographic studio equipment and on-going education in an attempt to perfect that one area of focus. Most Professional Photographers have more "broad experience" in shooting a wide array of subjects under different conditions. Commercial Product Photography is a narrow market (but when you need heart surgery you probably would not use your family doctor!). On the plus side it is the one area of photography that we can offer to ALL our clients - even our out-of-area and international clients - since most products can be shipped to us for staging and shooting where we have total control of the studio environment and post-processing. It also many times is a natural extension of the other non-photographic services we provide.
Why are the "photography" rates generally higher than other categories?
The rates are "slightly" higher on the surface because of the additional work, planning and expensive equipment/software required surrounding a photo shoot - prep in advance/tear-down time, setting up and configuring lighting/props, scheduling, lost-time, re-scheduling, etc. - even a seemingly simple single shot can sometimes kill off an entire day or more to get a professional result! Since everyone today is in-essence a walking-camera with their mobile devices, they know that it only takes a "second" to snap a photo. The same is true for high-end studio photography. The act of pressing the shutter button - even 50 times in a shoot - takes less than a minute, and yet a single world-class advertising product photo (or even portrait or fashion shoot) may take hours or days to complete - not to mention the post-processing time developing and re-touching/compositing the digital RAW files. We only shoot in RAW format and we only deliver final retouched files to clients (i.e. we do not release the RAW files).
We are not going to accept a photography assignment unless we are convinced we can do an equal or better job than anyone else in our price range.
Clients are subject to additional RUSH CHARGES (agreed to in advance) if a project is so important that it interrupts standard scheduling of other clients' work or if it results in a disruption of the Standard Hours of Operation resulting in lost sleep and productivity. Rush charges are calculated based upon what ChoreoGraphics stands to lose as a consequence of accepting such requests. Rush jobs equate to "cutting in line" (unless someone is out of business and has no "line"). Pushing in a simple $100-$200 job in front of a large job in progress can cost ChoreoGraphics not only thousands of dollars, but the permanent loss of a long-term client with larger needs. If we can work smaller jobs in without it affecting larger projects in-progress, then we will do so as a matter of course. The one exception is for "Contract Clients" - they always take precedent.
In reality, we have rarely charged anyone a rush charge as really nothing we do is generally "that" time critical. In all but one case since we have been in business did any client have what we considered to be an "emergency" that was beyond their control. Usually it just represents poor planning and procrastination on behalf of the client in question. We can cite one case in particular where a corporate client was charged over $100,000 in a single year for work we performed and 50% of those charges were FedEx reimbursements to get those custom printed items shipped overnight - everything for that client HAD to be shipped "overnight"! Not one of those jobs came up at the last minute and in some cases we could see those overnight boxes of printed materials sitting in the client's office still unopened weeks later.
We are often asked "How much does Page Layout cost? The general rule-of-thumb in the industry is $125/page, but that is an unrealistic number. That is really sort of a minimum-charge if someone were to only need a single-page layout done regardless of content or size. When it comes to page layout - "size" really does not matter much. Designing a postage stamp could actually take longer than designing a 40-foot Billboard! $125 might actually cover the cost of designing and getting press-ready a letterhead for a client or a simple magazine ad, but there are many factors to consider.
For instance if we were formatting a 300-page "novel" for publishing and the customer already had all their text copy semi-formatted and ready to flow, that may only cost a few hundred dollars to do the entire job. However, a 100-page product catalog could actually cost $12,500 or more! We have done many technical catalogs where we had to create custom illustrations, orthographic views, complex tables, shoot custom studio photos, etc. which could very well exceed $125/page in the end, but the page-layout portion itself is not what would drive the cost up. In other words if a client had ALL their assets in the correct formats up front, then that would reduce the cost of large multi-page documents considerably. Once we see what you have and can discuss your particular project, it is easier to quote a page average in most cases, but for small projects like flyers, ads, tri-folds, etc. $125/page minimum is a fairly good estimating rule for the layout and pre-press portion of the job.
Except in the case of "logos" that we design for clients, ChoreoGraphics does not provide clients with any "core", "layered" or "editable" original files. The same practice also applies to our "photography" - we shoot everything in digital-RAW and we never supply clients with RAW data or any post-processed layered files (some photos may have over 200+ proprietary layers!). This is the "common" accepted practice for virtually all design firms, ad agencies, photographers, etc.
The editable core files (usually created in software like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Capture One, Blender, etc.) contain a lot of information; that is, a person can see exactly how something is put together and deconstruct the recipes. For a novice designer, accessing a layered file is a goldmine, a detailed roadmap of how a product was made†.
We don’t like telling clients that we will not give them a working or editable file, as they inevitably reply that they have “paid for the work.” The truth is they have paid for a product, a brochure, a website, a photograph, etc., not for the instruction manual and tools to replicate the product. There is a vast difference.† By law, all design firms, photographers, (creators) etc., own the copyright to what they create regardless of who (if anyone) pays for the work.
There are many reasons (including legal reasons) that providing editable files may really get the provider of such files in trouble (license issues with fonts, stock images, etc.). Also the majority of files we create use a number of 3rd party plugins, etc. that a client would usually not have access to. Rather than get into a lengthy discussion here on the issue, we recommend that you click the link below to read Kona Impact's well written/concise document regarding Intellectual Property. Another issue is "Tech Support" - by providing files that the receiver may have trouble with, they usually expect "free" support for life! So, "No", we do not provide editable files unless it is negotiated separately and it is usually cost prohibitive.
If you are interest in reading more about "Intellectual Property", "Work for Hire" and "Copyrights", we encourage you to check out this link as well, or do an Internet search to see many articles on the subject:
† Paraphrase from Kona Impact website
ChoreoGraphics specializes in "custom" solutions. Anyone that has ever been involved in custom projects before knows the drill. There are TWO primary pricing models that are used for any custom work (or some combination of the two):
(1) Fixed Fee
(2) Hourly Billing
The Fixed Fee model is great for somewhat repetitive tasks where it is generally known how much time on average an activity will take. For instance, it is easy for a Lubrication Center to quote you a fixed fee for changing the oil in your car - sometimes it may take more or less time than they anticipate, but that is already figured in to the fixed price. Another Lubrication Center down the street may charge more or less for the same basic activity and they may do a better or worse job depending on many factors. Consumers are very familiar with this model because it is easy to budget for a project up front. Unfortunately, "custom" work is not a good candidate for the Fixed Fee Model. There are only three possible outcomes:
(1) The service provider under-estimates what is involved in a project and takes a beating or goes out of business altogether as a result of taking on a job (bottom line BOTH customer and provider are angry and lose in the end)
(2) The service provider over-estimates a job cost (provider laughs all the way to the bank and the customer may or may not be satisfied with results). We have seen design firms Online that quote fixed-fee only and we have attended seminars where they openly share their pricing formula - many figure what they think a job will actually cost them, multiply that by a factor of (3), and then in fine print add on an hourly rate above a certain number of hours (i.e. not really a fixed-fee at all, but rather a minimum-fee). Only a fool would promise someone a set-fee up front for a project not yet fully defined - either that or he is able to collect such a high fee that he ends up a rich fool! (Note: "Rich fool" is what we refer to as someone obviously smarter than us).
(3) The service provider nails the estimate up front (what are the chances of that where "custom" work is involved)?
How can someone quote a fixed price for a "custom" project up front if they have no idea how many hours it will take to complete to a clients satisfaction? Over the years we have had numerous potential clients ask "How much is a website?", "How much is a logo?", "How much are business cards?" and so on. These are reasonable questions from someone that views those activities as something on a "checklist" of things to get done, but some websites cost over one million dollars up front, some customers have spent hundreds-of-thousands of dollars on a single logo design and even ChoreoGraphics has provided business cards that range from 5¢ each up to over $10 EACH! The biggest factors that affect cost are not being covered in those generalized questions. It would be like going to an architect and asking "How much would you charge to build my Dream House?" - how would he know what the meaning of "Dream House" is to you?
ChoreoGraphics has managed to stay in business for over 25 years by utilizing the Hourly Billing model only. It is the only method that ensures that a client is getting exactly what they pay for (in terms of effort) and also gives the client the most control over final costs as it is primarily their client-generated revisions over the course of a project that determine the total hours required. If this were not working for clients to their advantage, we would not have experienced over a 98% repeat-business rate and so many referrals over the years. From experience, we can quote a "minimum" for most activities and in some cases "averages", but each custom project is unique and open-ended at the outset.
EXCEPTION: If a client said to ChoreoGraphics "How much is a website, logo, etc." AND they said, "we will take whatever you give us with no changes or other input on our part"... then "YES", in that case, we could quote a job fixed fee, but that has never happened so far!
As of 2018, ChoreoGraphics no longer offers this as a service category. Years of experience has revealed that we were never qualified to offer this as an area of expertise to begin with. We find ourselves woefully ill equipped to decipher a torrent of 10-word unintelligible text messages tapped out on a mobile device with one hand while flying off an exit ramp at 80mph and eating a hamburger with the other hand... having an animated cat's head deliver instructions followed by a string of emogis just adds insult to injury!
We have no idea what you want if you do not tell us or offer examples. If we have to "guess", that can get real expensive, real quick... especially if we have to satisfy the "anonymous authority" on Social Media now that did not even exist a few years ago as well! If you are hiring us in a design capacity to do what we specialize in and accept the results with few changes that will keep costs to a minimum, but many people that are looking to spend a few hundred dollars on a custom project are not satisfied until they receive a few thousand dollars worth of revisions for free - even if it degrades the final product! They somehow feel like they are "refining" something adding revision cycles, but that is rarely the case (that has probably already been done in the background).
If you give us free-reign, we will come up with something that other trusted individuals in the design community will praise, but that does not mean you or a 3rd party opinion you confide in will agree! If your cardiologist says you need surgery, but your best friend you trust says to just take an aspirin and you will be fine - who's advice do you take? Satisfying your friend, could kill you! If people were not familiar with the touted value of the Mona Lisa, at least 4 out of 5 would throw it in their next garage sale for $2 if they found it in their attic! There is a fine line between priceless and worthless when it comes to art and design and it is all in the eye of the beholder. People tend to place their confidence in two polar opposites when it comes to design opinions/decisions - someone that charges an astronomical amount for a design and those that offer solutions for "free. If you hire Gucci to design a logo for $250,000, you will learn to love it by telling everyone how much you paid for it and at $10,000 per revision you probably will not be requesting too many changes. However, if the "exact same logo" was offered for a few hundred dollars you may tend to critique it to death based upon the opinions of strangers you ask because it is so affordable.
That said, we try to "please". We purposely added some examples on this site that reflect some of our original designs that got butchered by the revision phase and bear little resemblance to our initial recommendation - just so we can discuss those projects with new clients to explain what happened! We do our best to deliver whatever makes "you" happy!