Calling all small businesses: What’s the most important thing on your agenda when looking for a design agency for your next big project? We’re willing to bet budgets and cost is right up there near the top, and so it should be – budgets are a big deal.
The problem is that there’s often a lot of misunderstanding between client and agency when it comes to budget. Who does the responsibility lie with? Does the client decide the budget or does the agency lead with costs?
The short answer is both. The long answer goes like this: It’s a joint effort.
It can never work any other way. Small businesses can’t simply ask an agency “how much will this new logo cost?” – though many still do – because most agencies don’t have set prices for tasks. Each client comes to the table with their own needs, criteria and aspirations, and so the time and research required for each project varies accordingly along with the cost.
Likewise, an agency can’t simply provide specific costs for a prospective client without any further input or information, as it’s highly likely this cost may not suit the client, and this means everybody’s time has been essentially wasted.
It’s all about the details. Design agencies need get to know you and your ambitions for your business before they even attempt to cost up your project.
Understanding the process
As a prospective client, try to have plenty of information about your business, your ideas and your potential budget availability to hand before you get in touch. The more detail you can give us right from the start, the more likely it is that an agency will be able to deliver the results you want for costs you’re happy with.
From there, the professionals can start working their creative magic. They'll put together a proposal for you, complete with costings based on how much time it will take, how much research and planning will go into it and the sorts of resources the project will require.
This is where the understanding comes in, as it can often be hard to explain creative costs to a non-creative. With this in mind, agencies will always provide clients with a complete break down of where money is being spent and how long each task will take.
A logo design, for example, might initially seem like a quick task until it is broken down into it’s component parts: research, initial experimentation, exploration and finalisation. This can take an entire day, and so the fee would naturally reflect this.
One big (and very unfortunate) misconception when it comes to negotiating budgets is that, if a client discloses the full amount of budget available to them, the agency will then invent ‘extra work’ to take advantage of the maximum budget. Whilst we’re sure this shady practice has been undertaken by lesser agencies, we can assure you this is absolutely not often the case. Respectable agencies will always tell you if you have too much budget for the project you have in mind.
Back to the process. Once your project has been mapped out in terms of timescale and resources, your agency will then create a bespoke, affordable payment plan so you know what’s being paid for and when.
If you’ve got a project in mind and you're looking for a design agency to work with, then by all means drop us an email, give us a call or pop into the studio for a chat – we have a cracking kettle and we can make a great cup of coffee.
And remember, there’s no need to let budget worries get in the way of a great idea. We provide affordable design and marketing communications services to suit all small business budgets.