Hourly? or Set Prices for projects/programs? What are the best practices for creative agencies pricing models?

What are some considerations and feedback for setting prices in an industry that is constantly changing processes and clients have a lot of feedback in the development process of a web-site or marketing campaign, what works vs. what doesn't work? Should you go fix with set scope? or just go hourly with high-level estimates?


Bill for the project and set clear expectations of the number of revisions, etc. Extra changes are charged at a pre-determined rate (hourly, per change, etc).

The idea is to keep the objective of the project in the forefront. Rather than "designing a website", you are improving the website the meet the goal of the client (perhaps to improve their conversion rate, for example).

It gets very muddy when a client who doesn't know what they want starts getting involved in the design; "what if we change this from black to blue? Can we add a little more space between these lines? I like that picture, but can it have more pop?"

These types of changes dilute the primary reason the client chose you -- for your design abilities. That is a main reason you charge for the project: a website that (we can all assume it will be fully functional, attractive, and in line with best industry practices) meets their goal of conversion.

If you have done your due diligence, you will produce something that captures the "voice" of the client brand and the back and forth design changes will be avoided (in truth, they don't add or take away from the primary function or objective).

This approach *only* works with clear communication and expectations upfront. Have wireframes approved early. Have mock-ups/colors/photos/text approved early. Explain that, once approved, any changes fall outside the scope and will be charged at XYZ rate.

We don't go to auto manufacturers and ask that they change the size of the radio dial nobs or change the pitch of the seats. We are buying a product.

Custom work can be spec'd out accordingly, with the appropriate price figure.

Clients should not expect budget prices and unlimited revisions.

Let me know if you have other questions -- happy to help.

Answered 7 years ago

Hourly billing incentivizes slow delivery and overcharges. Knowing this, people like me are very reluctant to hire someone who bills hourly.

Customers have more security when the scope of the project, its timeline, and budget are outlined clearly in advance. Doing this also protects the contractor from those dreaded never-ending jobs.

Answered 7 years ago

This is one of those classic "it depends" questions. There are a lot of variables. I would suggest it's best to look at it through the lens of your billing and cash flow. Happy to discuss. I work extensively in this space.

Answered 7 years ago

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