April 16, 2009

Get What You Want

So, we've been really busy. Not overwhelmed or anything, but I've had work to do all day, every day, for a few weeks without any time off. Sean's gotten off easy, since most of the work has been for custom design orders, which means that I do the drawing and communicate with customers through email a lot.

I love doing the custom work, because it means I'm creating something special for someone, which is exactly what they want. It's magical to work together with someone and make their vision a reality. It also keeps me from getting bored of seeing the same designs over and over. The only problem with this is that it's so time-consuming that I'm not getting a lot of time off every day, and I'm getting behind with normal operating activities.

Currently, you only have to pay $5 for each custom design you'd like me to design and etch for you. This policy was developed before I had a lot of custom designs to do, and I was just happy to have something to occupy me when there was a request. Now, the fee isn't even enough to cover the amount of time I spend emailing back and forth, not to mention the materials cost for printing a new stencil for each piece. Some orders can take 3 hrs (or more) of sketching, inking, and vectorizing, plus the time to actually mask and sandblast, just for a single pint glass.

I'm trying to figure out a way to keep prices reasonable, but still compensate me for the extra time that's being taken up with all these projects. I could charge an hourly fee for designing, but that may be too high for some people to pay. I could double the artwork fee (to $10), and offer a discount if you provide me with finished artwork to use, which would help a lot. I could require a minimum order for custom pieces (like 4 items), which would make the time and effort really worth it for me without raising the fee.

I really want everyone to be able to get exactly the design they want, but I won't be able to keep this up when business picks up in the summer. I'd love to hear what you think!


sockstar April 16, 2009 at 6:28 PM  

couple of thoughts.
1. $5 does not seem fair at all in regards to you getting paid for your time.
2. I have had custom design work done for me, and it came to $15. I've used this designer twice and she hasn't changed the price. however, if someone sends me something to alter (I work w/ socks), then I will give them a discount, which is typically $10 off a custom order.
3. in my shop a Custom Order is about $10 more than an order I just sit down to make. b/c I am factoring in my extra time to take emailing and shopping for supplies.
4. my tattoo artist charges $100/hr. go figure.

you are right on track. I bought 2 bottles from you (Rocket & Robot) and you discounted the pair. and I thought that $40 was reasonable. I would pay $10-15 for a custom design for sure!

Adrienne April 16, 2009 at 6:32 PM  

I think both of those ideas are good. If I were going to order custom glasses I'd want at least 4 anyway. ($10 bucks seems pretty inexpensive to me)

LeaKarts April 16, 2009 at 7:42 PM  

I always expect to spend more on custom work. What about an hourly rate to create the artwork, and then a discount on the glasses if they order a minimum number of them?

Anonymous,  April 16, 2009 at 8:24 PM  

You definitely need to charge more. I would pay more than $5 extra for a custom item. You could charge by the hour for the design service but I agree that may be too high for some people,especially if the design takes you a long time. If you think you'd have enough customers willing to pay that much it's a good solution. Otherwise, I'd say charge more and give a slight discount if they provide the artwork.

autumn April 17, 2009 at 7:06 AM  

I think $10, maybe even $15 or a 4 glass minimum seems very fair. Anytime you can requested a custom item I think the average person would expert at least that.

Mary Kelly April 17, 2009 at 10:32 AM  

I think $10 is very reasonable. You were giving them such a deal!

I agree, if you order a set like 4 pieces, that $10 goes a long way. I don't think people will have a problem paying it. Shipping alone is so expensive, I think your customers know what they are getting into. The ones that complain you don't want to deal with anyways, it will only bring the really serious ones to you.

Your line art and vectorizing is so nice and clean. I LOVE the astronauts you did and this mug up here? awesome! I need a custom work mug.. haha.

Cloth Paper Stitches April 20, 2009 at 10:28 AM  

Wow! I can't believe you are doing custom work for such an affordable price!! I would think customers should expect that if they are getting a custom pc that there would be some kind of design fee included, right?

I think it's great though, that you keep your customer's wallet in mind. So, if having a 4 glass minimum covers your time-- that with a $10 design fee sounds very reasonable to me. You always want to respect the fact that your work and time is valuable.

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