Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm sorry, how much?

The other day, I got a phone call from the president of a company to come in and discuss the opportunity to create a corporate identity package for them. I researched the company beforehand and it turns out that they are a multi-million dollar company, with offices in other cities.

We sat down in her fancy office and she told me what she was looking for…a logo, stationery in the form of business cards and letterhead, and a company website.
I wrote down all of the details and then while still looking down, asked the most important of questions “what is your budget?”
She answered immediately, matter-of-factly “$500”.
I continued writing, still looking down at my pad of paper, and with a chuckle asked “no, really?”


I stopped writing, I looked up. She wasn’t smiling. She was serious.
I capped my pen, I told her what she would be looking at for just the logo, her mouth dropped open, and with that the meeting was basically over.
Now, this was not somebody that was trying to get me to work for pennies, this was simply another client that had absolutely no idea what something like this should cost.

$500 to create all that material. For hours of concepts and endless revisions. For a web presence and a card they will be proud of, to hand out to investors worldwide. This same person probably dropped more than that this week on their Mercedes’ oil change and tire rotation yet for some reason, my time, experience, and the entire look of the business that is their very livelihood is worth less. I have never understood this rationale.

Do they really think that we simply push a button and out everything comes?
To my knowledge, computers do not yet come with magical buttons on the keyboard that read “logo”, “make it pretty” and “this instant”.

I often hear the same thing in these meetings...”my friend’s neighbour’s kid has a computer and can do this for $500 so why are you asking much more than that?”
I always answer with the same story. It is a favourite of mine...

One day, a man is strolling through the park. He spots a famous artist sitting on a bench busy sketching.
He comes over, introduces himself and tells the artist he is a big fan of his work and asks if he could please quickly sketch him? The artist agrees and sketches the man. It takes about two minutes. He hands the man the drawing and the man is pleased. It is a perfect likeness. He then asks the artist “how much?” to which the artist answers “$8,000”.
The man is furious...”$8,000?, but that only took you two minutes”.
The artist looks at the man and answers “no sir, in order to produce that in two minutes, it took me a lifetime”.

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