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A serious problem with the services required forum.

Discussion in 'GDF Feedback & Help:' started by bigdave, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    I wasn't sure where this should be posted so I stuck it here:

    Obviously I'm just a forum member with no moderation powers but I feel someone has to say something before the reaction to what seem like genuine requests for work, damage the reputation of the forum and it's members. I know we all feel under valued and a bit p**sed when we hear the words "I'm on a tight budget...." but if a prospective client browses the forum at the moment, I'd be amazed if they'd post their requirements for fear of quite a nasty attack. Equally, I'm pretty sure anyone who's posted a brief wont be coming back again.

    I'm fairly sure that most of the threads posted here are honest and the OP isn't intending trying to get something for nothing but genuinely doesn't know the going rate for proper design by real designers. These negative responses achieve nothing but to make the forum (and it's users) appear unfriendly, elitist & greedy. We all know thats not really the case and I'm sure some people would be quite hurt that anyone would think that of them. So isn't it about time something was done to fix it?

    With all of this in mind, would it not be possible to have a template for perspective posters to follow, listing their requirements but clearly stating that a projects budget must not be posted & should be discussed with individual designers.

    Another possible solution to prevent this kind of breakdown in communication would be to lock posts and require reply via direct message or email.

    I welcome your thoughts.

  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Good thread Dave, been meaning to sort that section for ages but just couldn't think of a way to make it fair for everyone. I have noticed some of the responses and I agree with everything said, but then also agree that if somebody has a budget then that's their budget...even if they are taking the p*ss.

    I did initially put this page up

    ...but that was mainly to cover the FREE requests which have since stopped.

    If the threads are locked nobody can ask questions if needed...and how do we stop users posting their budget and members from quoting openly on the forum?

    What's definitely needed is a page to educate people so at least they can see a professionals point of view before requesting, any takers to write this?

    Hopefully others will give their opinion and we will sort something from there.


  3. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I've read both comments and agree with you in some cases but I also have to say that on a personal level, what I charge NOW is half the rate I should be charging. I don't see myself as greedy, I just want to be paid what I am worth and my hourly rate is being driven down because people are asking for work for nothing and getting it.

    We work because we have to. I'm sure that if we didn't need to pay bills, mortgage, etc, and look after a family we wouldn't worry about it. What makes me angry is that there are A LOT of posters that come on these forums and think that it is more important to save money for themselves than pay us what we are worth. Why is that the case?

    I think I said in a post a few days ago that there is nothing that makes my bills any less important than theirs, but they seem to think they are. Why should they be allowed to come into a forum, say 'I'm on a limited budget' and expect us to be grateful they are offering us very low paid work?

    I understand it is a hard one to moderate but I also there are a few taking us for a ride BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN. They don't want to go to a budget design shop because they know the quality isn't there, but they feel they can squeeze the life out of designers on here.

    I don't ask for concessions. I don't tell my printers I've got limited budgets, or my accountant. I don't buy my supplies and ask for money off. If I can afford it, I don't buy it. That is part of business.

    I'm sorry if I sound like the old grouch but I think thats the reason we are having this problem now in design is because people haven't said anything.

    It's not an easy one to deal with and I wouldn't like to be in your shoes Damon... :icon_wink:
  4. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    If you need a contribution on this I'll be more than happy. :icon_smile:
  5. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    Not a popular view, but my preference is for a free market. Some clients will negotiate hard, some will open negotiations pleading poverty - the skill is to qualify the prospective client and sell yourself. Reputation, previous work, experience, etc.Build relationships.

    Life is tough - if you believe it's tough.

    If a client wishes to detail budget they can, if they want to plead poverty they can.

    Asking for freebies - no.

    I think some people suffer from inexperience in business / relationship building / selling. Some of the biggest clients we work with from forums (five figure sums) had 'no budget'. It was true - they didn't have a 'Graphic design budget' - but they found the money at cost to other areas.

    Think half full.
  6. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I agree that you have to sell yourself as a business to the client, of course you do, but I also believe that sometimes you really are flogging a dead horse by pretending it means something to someone that is already complaining that you are giving them your experience and skill for at least 50% your expected rates.

    Life is tough. It's a fact. I love my career but it is taking a battering at the moment, especially with the free pitch debate, lowering of rates, etc. Why should we lower our rates AGAIN just to please clients who tell us they are finding it hard? Aren't we all?!

    My opinion is if you can't afford us, or you believe you can get better service for your money elsewhere, please feel free to shop around and look elsewhere. It might even help the client to do this occasionally to see the difference in quality between a professional graphic designer and a budget designer. If you find we are what you are looking for, and you DO want to work with us then by all means come and talk to us, but please, PLEASE don't insult us by asking us to drop our rates even further to accommodate your 'limited budget'.

    We do need to build relationships, that is spot on, but it's also insulting for a client to tell an experienced graphic designer that they are 'too expensive'. Maybe what they really mean is we are not what they require.
  7. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    I think the main problem as you all know is that there is always someone willing to do the job, if somebody says they have a £20 logo budget they will get 2 or 3 users all prepared to do this for them....someone with a dodgy copy of Photoshop, someone just out of Uni looking to build up their portfolio, someone who could just do with the £20 etc...

    Forums in my experience are mainly frequented by start-ups and businesses with limited budgets, hence they are always looking for a deal. What they don't seem to understand though is what is a fair price and what is taking the p*ss and what they may actually end up with for so little money.

    You obviously get what you pay for in most instances and something costing so little is not going to get the time needed spent on it, for £20 I would work for around 30 the time I have powered up my computer and read the brief I am left with probably 20 minutes design time lol, what do people expect in 20 minutes?

    Educating these people is what's needed more than anything, but I feel this is a losing battle.
  8. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    Yeah you are exactly right but again, I can only speak about my own situation, and I am a start up. I have worked for years in studios, repro and print houses. Now I need to produce these clients for myself (and I'm not asking for sympathy here. We are all in the same boat.) I like most of the posters on here have an amount I need every month to keep my finances ticking over, I have a daughter that lives 250 miles away, etc, etc. Why should I help these people again when I've already lowered my rates?

    It is tough as a startup, no-one said it would be easy, but some of the posters on here are plain insulting. I don't ask for concessions, neither should they. I sometimes think they are like the people that make their emails 'high priority'. It's not urgent, but it's important. Their budgets can do with concessions, but it wont close them down if they have to pay the going rate. I'm sorry but thats business. Come back next month if you cant afford it.

    As I say, I would be more than happy to contribute to a thread if it educates them in any way.
  9. pcbranding

    pcbranding Member

    I think that the 'open/free market' thing is important and that someone's budget IS their budget regardless of whether it fits in with what we designers want to earn/charge. By the client posting how much their budget is helps us to decide if we wish to discuss the request further and not waste time in replying if we feel that the budget is too low.
    (At this point disgruntled designers should NOT then post aggressive/negative comments in response. The post should be left open for those designers who ARE interested in working at the mentioned budget.)

    There will always be someone who is willing to work for £1 less than someone else and there will always be clients who will think they have a bargain...

    I get requests for Rolls Royce work at Skoda prices all the time and have learned that it is my choice whether I take on the work or not depending upon my work load/need to earn pennies.

    Not sure if that's helped or not?
  10. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    But lets face it, if a forum was opened called 'Posters with limited budgets' you know as well as I do they would ALL post their requests in there. That's my point.

    I can understand there are people / businesses that have limited budgets as I said before, but you look at the requests on here and at a rough guess I would say that 8 out of 10 say they have a limited budget. It's rare now that it's not mentioned. My argument is that these people are in the wrong place. They can find people to accommodate them in their local High Street.

    You say the designers that aren't interested should let the designers that are get on with it, but surely you can recognise that whether we get involved or not it has a knock on effect to what we are all doing! It affects me and what I'm charging. It affects EVERYONE and I don't accept that I should just keep my mouth shut when in the long run it is affecting how much I get paid.

    If that means we have to take time out and educate these people then so be it. If it DID work I'm sure all the people saying we shouldn't complain wouldn't have a problem with it.
  11. DougBarned

    DougBarned Member

    I agree, it is annoying. But:

    There will always be posters asking for the world at a rate of £10. I think the type of clients you're after aren't these posters. Is it not simpler just to ignore them, tell them you won't lower your budget, leave them to the less skilled / less expensive?

    I've lost out on projects here because my prices have been deemed too high. Whilst it would of been nice to do the project and get paid my rate, life goes on. I didn't have have to charge less than I'm worth and they didn't get the job done as well as they could have.

    Some designers (or people with photoshop) will accept lower fees because they need to or want to. It doesn't have to be you.

    Is there really a problem here?

    Let those clients not willing to pay higher prices get worse services.

    Let clients who see the value in your service find you and pay you fairly for the work you do.

    Though I do think it's important to offer to do the work at your rate, despite what they say they want to spend. This will highlight what they could get if they were willing to pay a little more and they might see that when they go for lower cost, they get less service/quality.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  12. DougBarned

    DougBarned Member

    Maybe we can have three forums: Low budget (expect lower quality), Reasonable budget (good service and quality), and High budget (For those who want nothing but the best)
  13. Minuteman Press

    Minuteman Press Moderator

    Very few forums contain posts from prospective clients stating unlimited budget / money not an object (and if they do - alarm bells should ring / get a deposit).

    I was a graphic design / print / exhibition / advertising buyer for Herman Miller Inc for a number of years - to enter negotiations with an advertised large budget would not have been in the interest of shareholders. The client wants the right solution, if they can possibly afford it (and they think you are capable, motivated and fit well) they will buy.

    Toughen up. If you want to believe that every time a prospect did not buy from you, instead they purchased a cheap option - you're very wrong.

    The sales side of Graphic Design can be fun; but it's essential and a reality to your success.

    Do not think this phenomenon is unique to graphic design - law, architecture, fine art, surgery, etc etc. Tough reality.
  14. dedwardp

    dedwardp Member


    I'm sure I said it the other day but as you say, someone's budget is their budget and it will either interest you as a designer or not.

    If I wanted to buy a new car and I only had £1,000 then Mercedes wouldn't chase me up, I'd go to the second hand dealer and pick up an old Ford Fiesta.

    Just because you might feel that your service is worth more, someone else may be happy to earn less. There was a post on here the other day about graduate salaries of which around £16,000 was suggested - that's just under £9 an hour - so if someone just starting out can put together a business card in two hours then why can't they charge £20?

    For every Marks & Spencer there is an Aldi, for your Topshop there is a Primark. Markets have different rates to suit different budgets and if someone can only afford less than you would charge then that's fine, no one is saying that you have to go for it, leave it to someone who will be happy with it.
  15. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    What I'm getting from the last couple posts is that it's considered bad form on the part of the forum member who has no intention of bidding for the job, to publicly slate a post because it states a low budget?

    I feel that prevention is better than a cure and as Boss Hog & Ian Bonner have already discussed, a 'professionals view' for prospective clients is vital to help guide them when setting a budget.
  16. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    Ok. it seems like everyone is missing my point here. I am simply saying that if designers keep lowering prices it DOES have an adverse effect on professional designers trying to earn their way. I get the impression that we should be issued with a gagging order because we speak out.

    I would not pitch for any of the jobs on here or any other forum for that reason. If they want to come on here and ask for work for peanuts thats their call, I'm not interested in clients like that. I keep away from them. My point is that when other 'designers' succumb to this it affects how potential clients assess and then consider the rates of a professional. I'm not influencing what they do, in any way shape or form, but I and people like me are suffering for it.

    I charge friends and people who know me EXACTLY the same as what I would any other client. I am experienced in what I do and that dictates what I charge. But I am finding it harder and harder to bring in clients that pay anywhere near the going rate because there are 'designers' giving their work away and THAT is sending these people elsewhere.

    Sorry but I find it hard to understand why I am seen as the bad guy in all this? lol
  17. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    I think its a great idea. Maybe before posting they could be pointed towards a 'read me' that links to this outlining issues before they post a request. I feel that the clients on here are a million miles away from knowing what goes into a design project and it would help to educate them.
  18. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

    Yes I think I agree with the above, all we can do really is create a post/guide giving a professionals view to educate business owners. I will make it a sticky on the Tenders & Services forum for prospective posters to read.

    It is then down to them to make the decision as to their budget, if they still want a £20 logo then obviously members are free to take them up on it should they wish to do so.

    What do you think?

    If Ian/Big Dave and any others want to put something together on this thread? Once finished I will post it up in the correct place...this is also greatly appreciated.
  19. Ian Bonner

    Ian Bonner Member

    No problem Boss. Thats a good move. I think they have to know the ins-and-outs. I'll be more than happy to do that.

  20. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

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