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Proof Warning Script

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by rosedani, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. rosedani

    rosedani Member

    Hi all,

    Haven't posted on here for a while but all my previous questions have been answered very quickly and successfully so thought I would give it another go! :)

    I'm in the process of streamlining my working practices, part of which is to be more transparent with my clients so they know when additional charges will be added to my initial quote.

    What I'm after is some sort of InDesign plug-in/OSX script that warns me when proof 5 has been reached on certain projects so I can email my client to say that the allocated artwork time has been reached and they will be charged extra for any additional amends.

    Sounds strange I know because each job is different and I might not have reached the allocated time by proof 5 but I have found that with certain clients, proof 5 seems to be the right point when I need to put the warning out!

    Any help will be greatly appreciated!

    Kind regards
    Dan
     
  2. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I'm assuming that by proof 5 you simply mean your 5th proof of a piece of work. You mention the desire to want to switch to a more transparent style of pricing, have you considered charging clients by the project instead of by the hour? If you're in the position where you know how long it takes you to do certain tasks it could be of great benefit to your new found appreciation to transparency.

    It will allow you to provide a consistent service as well as allowing you to operate more transparently by be being able to provide ball park figures up front. So for example, you might have come to realise that it takes you approximately 10 hours to run through your logo design process for most clients. By working out a fair rate for yourself and the client on an averaged basis means that you minimise the chances of unpaid or reduced rate project creep.

    If done correctly you will also notice an increase in efficiency and will allow your business as a whole to grow much more quickly. If you've got two designers of equal skill, both of which charge £10 an hour. One designer produces an excellent logo in 5 hours, the other produces an excellent logo in 10 hours - I'm sure I don't need to do the maths for you. Another point to consider is that the faster designer priced per project, he'd earn the same as the slower designer for one project, but he'd also have excess time in which to complete another project. By adopting a price per project method you will no longer be punishing yourself for working efficiently.

    If you look at that from another perspective, if it took you 10 hours, on average, to create a logo 3 years ago, but now due to refined processes and increased experience it now takes you 6 hours and you maintain a by the hour pricing strategy you are again punishing yourself for becoming more proficient. That's not good for growth.

    Back to your initial point though, by following this pricing strategy you can provide package deals to your clients, which makes everything easier.I don't know about you but I find it frustrating to have to email or phone up someone to find out how much something will cost and I have noted that a lack of pricing information can often mean that they are going to be highly priced. It just makes things easier and more transparent for the client. You also then wouldn't have to worry about finding a proof warning script as the pricing would have been dealt with a long time ago - for which you could have also taken a % of as a deposit.
     
  3. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    I think you missed the point there a bit Squiddy! The amount of amends are always tricky and really down to the individuals/companies approach. Some types of projects are easier to define an amount of amends than others. If we were to take a logo design - You'd outline the amount of amends they get at the start of the project for each stage, then for anything more will be charged at £x hourly rate. You can put this in your quote or terms and conditions for the job.

    There is always the issue of what is the clients niggly amends and what is part of the design process... This is also a little subjective to the individuals/companies process.

    It can be a tricky subject, asking a client for more money - so I agree that you have to be open about this, but maybe having it in the small print is enough for you to fall back on.
     
  4. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Admittedly my work is slightly different but I have a set point where any additional alterations will cost more money.

    In my case I send out a 'test render' (basically a smaller, poorer quality image) to get the green light for the final image. They can have 5 test renders per pre-agreed render (ie each render is a different viewing angle for example), very rare I need more than 3 mind :)

    At this point they can say such and such needs changing but once that's been given the ok then it's 'finished' and a final render is produced and supplied as required.
    If it needs redoing after that then it's a new job unless it's a clear screw up (very very rare) by me or a really simple and easy render (ie very quick render time) which I'd do for free to save on paperwork, good will etc.

    As storage space is cheap now I usually store my files in stages too, each major amendment (charged for if not part of original brief or requires rework of files sent to me) gets it's own sub folder (given date time if needed etc) and then any subsequent minor amendments get their own file. This allows me to keep check of any major amendments and roll back if needed. I class a simple change of material, camera angle etc as a minor amendment.

    So my work is stored like this, not only is it useful if I need to roll back to an earlier file but it also allows the client to see all the work that has been done if necessary :)

    Client Project Reference Code
    -- Client Files (Files sent to me)

    -- Imported Files (I sometimes work with other people initial cad files so these are the conversions if needed)

    -- Revisions (can be more than 1 sub folder)
    -- -- Major1(Development work etc)
    -- -- -- Minor 1
    -- -- -- Minor 2 ....
    -- -- Major2 (Development work etc)
    -- -- -- Minor
    and so on

    -- Final Files

    -- Additional Files (such as textures)

    -- Documents (such as brief, agreement, invoice)

    -- ISO files (ie dvd images ready to burn if needed)

    -- = a new folder

    Obviously all work is backed up to dvd too just in case :)
     
  5. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    He mentioned streamlining, I gave him some advice which I thought was relevant :)
     
  6. Chris Lord

    Chris Lord Senior Member

    True, I'd hope that he would practice this anyway! The trick is charging additionals and how best to approach them.
     
  7. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    I agree, I like to think of it as charging per project with the option of paying for additional service modules, such as extra proof stages/drafts, revisions and increased number of alternative colour schemes. A lot of people still charge per hour because it involves less effort to work with, initially at least.
     
  8. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I don't know how you would use a script for this. What happens if its amend 1.2 or 1.5 i.e if your half way through one set of amends on the same draft - how would a script know? Can you not write somewhere on the document or save it as V2.0 on the end of the file name (or V2.0.1 , V2.0.2 if there are several versions the same script). Then when it gets to V5.0 you know you are on draft 5? For me that totally solve your problem in the most easy to use and logical way. You could also colour code the project folder in OSX for instance when a project folder is marked red then it is at the last stage of amends so you know if you revisit it then any charges are extra..?
     
  9. rosedani

    rosedani Member

    Thanks as always for the advice guys... it's really helpful hearing from people who have been there...done that!

    It's only really needed for certain clients who I do a regular amount of work for each month and the work is pretty routine so I might look into it further and invest in some sort of invoicing software that flags up when a certain amount of proofs has been reached. I'm sure I've seen something in Billings that will do this.

    With my other clients I will charge per project up to the first draft and then make it clear to them that additional charges will be billed at my hourly rate. I've used this system for years now and none of my clients have been put off by it.

    Not sure about quoting a ball park figure and charging that even if it didn't work out that much! A lot of my clients are public sector so have tight budgets already so it works in my favour if i can show them I'm trying to save them money!

    Saying that, it's always nice when they come back to me at the end of the financial year and say "we have X amount left in our budget... can you put a leaflet together for us and charge us X amount so the government doesn't take it off our budget for next year"!

    Cheers again guys!
     

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