Very often, I am asked if a creative professional I recommend is “reasonably priced.” I don’t know what that means. In the current market, for example, logo design can cost you anywhere from $5 to $50,000 (or more–the new Rhode Island tourism logo, which is universally hated by Rhode Islanders, cost $1 million. Yet it was designed by the guy who came up with I♥NY, so who knows? Maybe it will be a sleeper hit.) What, exactly, is “reasonable”?
The definition of professional is someone who gets paid to do what others do for free. It actually has nothing to do with experience or expertise, although a good professional will have miles and miles of both. The definition of an amateur is someone who does something for free that professionals get paid to do. In the wonderful world of creative services, the difference between the results you receive from professionals and amateurs is vast. I do not exaggerate when I say that choosing an amateur over a professional could cost you time, money, and brain cells that you cannot afford to lose.
So here’s what I think is reasonable:
- I think it is reasonable to expect that if you are a professional running a business, and you make money at that business, and you want to promote that business through a website or social media, you will be hiring professionals who also run businesses and make money doing what they do, so there will be a cost associated.
- I think it is reasonable that a professional who has a high level of experience and expertise, to charge what the market will bear for his or her services and quality of experience.
- I think it is reasonable for you to walk away if the professional is not a good fit or their pricing is too high for your budget (although if it’s the latter, I would propose that you ask yourself what you thought you were going to pay for a professional to do work for you and then talk to that professional about your budget constraints and see what can be done. And by that I mean, see if there is another package that would fit your budget, or if you can do with less services for less money. I DO NOT mean, ask for a discount. This isn’t a flea market.) After all, you are the one doing the hiring. No one’s holding a gun to your head–if the deal isn’t right for you, negotiate or walk away.
Somewhere between $5 and $50,000 ($1 million) lies your perfect professional, your comfortable budget, and your desired result. Don’t get hung up on the idea of “reasonable.” Do your homework and find the professional that fits your needs, and your project will be a success for all involved.