Advice please? Magazine rates


New Member
Hi All,

I have been a freelancer for four years now, after working in a busy Studio. I enjoy being a freelancer but am getting increasingly frustrated by a client who wants a full-on design job, plus working on weekends and evenings for a low rate. This was brought about by my client being approached by 'designers' offering ridiculously low rates, and by her comparing prices with other franchisee magazine editors.

When I first started working for this client a couple of years ago, we agreed on a page rate of £6.25 for two magazines ranging from 48 - 64 pages. This did not include advertisement design as she already had a rate scale for these. She came to me initially because she liked my designs and wanted a more designed magazine than the previous plain layout she was getting. Also she wanted more flexibility as the previous designer had only worked Monday-Friday 9-5pm. I have greatly improved the look of her magazines and work very flexible hours to get the work done.

Last Summer this client asked me to reduce my fees to approximately £5.20 per page, with a further discount for the second and third magazines and to include four free advert designs. In return she promised to simplify the magazines, get more organised herself and reduce my amount of work. As I was not in a (financial) position to lose this work, I agreed, with the provision of reviewing this situation in September. Since then, the work per magazine has actually increased rather than decreased and then, in October she decided to amalgamate her (then three) magazines into one.

I have now asked to review the situation, stating that the work has increased, not decreased. She states that she has done a 'straw poll' of designers (not sure who or where!) and that the rates she is getting now are average or above.

I would love to hear from any designers out there as to what they would charge for an A5 magazine design on a page rate. This is a small local magazine, mainly ad based, but includes editorial which I design and includes cut-out images, design headlines etc., plus tables and lists of local events, clubs etc., a heavily formatted ad index and many other elements which are very time-consuming. The way she works also causes extra work in that flat plans are often changed quite a few times after the magazine is put together and her lack of organisation causes many problems.

Advice comments from anyone would be much appreciated. How do you think I should deal with this? :icon_eek:

Many thanks
Personally I think you are being taken for a ride by this client. Your fees are far too low (£250 for a 48-page A5 magazine!).

If I were in your position, I would renegotiate with your client and agree on a fee for designing a complete 48-page document. Anything over 48 pages could then be charged on a per-page basis. I would also point out to your client how long it takes you to sort out her organisational problems and that you'll also be charging her extra for this work.

You don't mention how long it takes you to design a 48-page magazine but I'm sure you're working below minimum wage levels.