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How much should i charge for a 160 page mag

hi all, its been a while since i was on, i hope you can make me feel a bit better about a quote i gave someone.

the client is in america

they want a design / technology magazine

first issue is free at 60 pages to promote the mage etc

second is 148 - 160 pages

first of all they wanted me to do the first mag for free as they would be launching the magazine at a loss, i said i couldn't do that and all things considered i offered to do it for £400

the pricing on the 2nd edition (this is never exact and always so hard to gauge) but for the 160 pages i thought the minimum amount of time to do the mag would be around the 90 hours mark (to keep cost down for the client)

im fully aware that it would most likely run over that with changes etc

but is £900 to cheap or too much to charge for a 160 page magazine, the more i think about it the more i think its too cheap

would love your opinions?


Senior Member
My opinion is that all situations are different and you'd have to make your decisions based on the situation.

However if you feel it is too cheap, it probably is.

Also 90 hours... £900 is £10/hour, this is lower than most freelancers I know charge. Remembering there are admin hours which need to be covered by charges etc.


Active Member
I'd say you should think about a per page rate. Work out approx time per page and your rate for that time. Then £ = per page price x no. of pages.

Then its consistent, you can your client both know where you stand. Obviously on some pages you'll spend more time but hopefully make it up on others.


Senior Member
I'm not gonna meddle with any hard numbers, but just make sure — and this might be a little obvious — that you get some payment in advance because for all you know they decide to not order a second magazine after you deliver the first one for free.
£900 is way low. Like Andy says work out a rough page rate and go from there. A lot of time and therefore cost will be guided by the content. It's worth considering what % of pages will be more or less the same from issue to issue; IE a postbag page or review section etc is likely to (and should) have a very similar layout issue to issue.

If the content contains lots of feature articles the amount of design time will go up. Also find out of the 160 pages how many are they allowing for advertising, as if they have 40 full page ads thats only 120 pages you have to worry about!
Watch out my friend... this sounds a lot like a bait and hook scheme. They may have the best intentions, but have them back it up with cold hard cash. Don't do anything for free... unless you really want to. Magazines can eat up a lot of time in creating as well as seeing it through to the final printed product.

I would get money up front and if they have a problem with that, then you're best off letting them go find another designer. I have had a lot of experience in the magazine business and it's volatile. There's a lot out there that are only interested in selling the ads and don't care about the distribution. Once they get their money, they can close up shop in a minute. Sorry to be so negative... but don't undersell yourself. It hurts the industry and really makes your job less enjoyable.

all the best,
I've just finished a 16 page, A4 folded to A5 leaflet/brochure (call it what you will) for a well known (in the South East, anyway) furniture restoration company. Barring the front cover, inside front and back cover, all the pages were the same formula. 2 product images per page, with between 2 and 10 supplementary images with each and covering copy and caption. All the main images needed to be cut out and colour balanced as all the supplementary images (square-ups) also needed to be colour corrected. In all, I was quite lucky on this one as although there were probably 6 or 7 waves of amends, they weren't too comprehensive (apart from the first lot).

In terms of hours spent, it totaled approximately 40 hours, all done over the space of a week and a half. Regardless of your hourly rate, a publication such as the one you describe is going to be a whole lot of work. 60 pages on your own is a massive undertaking, let alone 160. Be more than sure of what your client is going to be asking you to do, including:

How many pages are editorial;
how many pages are going to contain supplied artwork;
how is supplied artwork going to be supplied and how easy would you deem any file conversions or alterations to be;
how many images are going to be used, will they be raw images that need to be converted into another format, will they need colour correction, cutting out, retouching;
is there any original artwork/design/illustration work to be done;
is it required to be done in certain software (you'll be amazed how many people I have ask me for artwork to be done using a complete InDesign workflow, although the exact same results could have been achieved using Quark and printed from Photoshop!);
are finished PDFs required (allow time for producing hi-res PDFs from hi-res files)?
it goes on...

Also one thing to bear in mind, is that if you're going to need help on this, you're going to need to allow for freelancer charges.

In these cases, no such thing as too much information. If it's possible to work to a formula, you can quote per page - just ensure you break it down bit by bit when detailing your charges.

In answer to your question - yes, £400 is way too cheap and if they haven't bitten off both you arms and legs and made a start on your privates, then they are effectively branding you worthless!

You might have an hourly rate, but if you're spending more hours doing this than you've quoted, that rate no longer applies - you've set your bar, you stick to it.

For a relatively basic design, I'd allow 15 mins per page (that's 10 hours basic - importing and placing pics, placing and styling copy, gridding and checking spelling/cropping pics, liaison with client...) Then on top of that, client amends and the more involved items such as pic retouching etc. Don't be afraid if the price mounts up - you know what you're worth and if the client thinks they can get it done elsewhere, once you've entered into *reasonable* negotiation, if it's still too high, walk away. Hours of work for little profit just isn't worth it - unless you really feel in your heart of hearts it is.

From experience, the amends can add up to half the extra time spent (particularly on such a large publication) and the graphic involvement will add to that even more.

Your call, but should they go with it, get some of the fee up front - if they are serious, 50% should be acceptable. Detail your time spent to the max. Here endeth the lesson - hope that helps...


Active Member
Whoooooooaah, I'd run a mile from that one! Sounds an awful lot of work for next to nothing.
Don't do anything for nothing. This is business.
On average may agency would quote for simillar work @a minimum of £50 a page design/artwork/photoshop/ammends/proofing etc etc. and set that as a flat fee.
A single freelancer with low overheads I would assume should be @£25 per page
I wouldn't do anything unless they gave you at least 50% in advance.

900 quid is way too cheap. I would be charging a page rate of at least 1/2hr to 1 hr per page at whatever the going rate for freelancing is where you are.