HOW TO AVOID FRIGHTFUL SURPRISES ON DESIGNER INVOICES



Has this ever happened to you? Your design project has gone smoothly, you’re delighted with the final product, but then you get the invoice. Whoa – wait! What are all these unexpected charges?


While you may enjoy a good scare at this spooky time of year, a frightful surprise on your graphic designer’s invoice probably isn’t what you had in mind. That’s especially true if you’re watching your budget—and who isn’t these days?


Personally, I’m not a big fan of surprises, especially for my clients. Which is why I always start my proposal process with a conversation. Details about objectives, deliverables, costs, and timelines all play a part in determining pricing. So the more I know, the better I can provide a thorough, accurate proposal, meaning there will be thrills rather than chills when the invoice arrives.


Want to avoid unexpected charges at the end of your next design project? Here are some tips on what to look for before you even begin.


1. Did the designer listen to or ghost your project goals and objectives?

A good proposal provides a detailed narrative of what must be done to complete the project successfully, considering factors such as project complexity, how fast you’ll need it, and how many decision-makers will be involved. If the project’s goals, deadlines, and deliverables are clearly defined and match your expressed needs and requirements, then the designer clearly listened, and surprise charges will likely be avoided.


2. Are there any hidden fees that could haunt you later?

Sometimes a project requires extra work beyond the original project scope, so make sure it’s clear what additional charges could incur should this happen. For example, are there limits on the number of revisions included and a fee structure for changes beyond that? And when is a revision actually a significant design change, and how are those charges handled? Also, keep in mind that besides increasing costs, extra revisions can increase turnaround time, which could be a problem if your project is time-sensitive.


3. What else could go bump in the night?

Will images be needed? Graphics created? Will your text need some editing help? If you discussed any extra services like these that could increase the project’s cost, make sure they are included in the proposal.


Would you prefer thrills, not chills, the next time an invoice arrives?


If you want to avoid the surprise of unexpected charges on your next design project, be sure your design proposal is transparent and thorough. And if you need mission-driven, engaging print and digital design that inspires action and delivers results—let’s connect!


Infinite Blue Creative provides creative design services to busy nonprofit, education, and small business marketing and communications professionals.