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Is it fair to ask for a Deposit to come up with a design?
Yes
93%
 93%  [ 61 ]
No
6%
 6%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 65

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Michael Pikula
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject: Design Deposit/Fee? yes or no?         Reply with quote

I wanted to start a little poll to please bear with me.

If a customer approaches a maker with an general idea of what they are looking for, and have invested the time to show drawings or reference finds, I don't think that there is any need to charge for putting together a final drawing and some research.

However, if someone asks for a general type of sword or general style of fittings, and multiple concepts are needed and research must be done, do you think that it is fair to ask for a $50 deposit/design fee that would come out of the total price?

Also makers please feel free to leave your thoughts as well!

Thanks,
Michael
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Scott Kowalski




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

MIchael,
I think you should be able to ask for some form of deposit for doing a drawing of an item for a customer. I actually think that you might be entitled to it either way. The main reason I say this is that you have invested so much time to do the drawings. Obviously more of your time is used up when you have to do the research and come up with drawings from scratch then if you get reference drawings and pictures. No matter what though, this is still time that you could have been working on something else that could be bringing money in.

I know I would be willing to pay a deposit for the time you put into doing it especially if it will come out of the final price.

Of course these are just my thoughts as a consumer.

Scott

Chris Landwehr 10/10/49-1/1/09 My Mom
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Michael S. Rivet





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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Makes perfect sense to me. In fact, I just paid a deposit just like that to another smith. He requires a $100 deposit on the project before he'll sit down and draw up plans. I was surprised when he asked for that not because it was unreasonable but the very opposite. I was surprised other smiths weren't doing it.

The skull sweat that goes into the design is a big part of any custom job, and reflects the (unpaid) time the smith has spent doing research. A design deposit not only makes sure that the client is committed to making the project go (or provides a little remuneration if the client pulls the plug during the design phase), but also helps assure that a customer doesn't use a smith for his design ideas, then take the project somewhere else. I suppose someone could still do that, but I think most people will be disinclined to pay someone a deposit if they don't really want him to do the work.
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Makes sense to me. If you are spending time drawing concept art, you should be paid for it. Otherwise, you are losing money by doing work for someone who isn't necessarily even going to be commissioning you to do the project, when you could be forging for a paying customer.
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J Anstey





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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good question,

My business is design (graphic) I wont do design up front for free - no way. A potential client may approach me based on either referral or having seen my body of work - if they like my style then we have a match and work begins once a cost is agreed upon.

I think the same holds true for you and other craftsmen. Someone likes your work the asks you if you can do it? If you think that there is a match with this project. You then agree to take on the job. In your particular case I would be 1. Get the detailed brief from the customer. After discussions and agreeing that you both understand the project, get one third before you start design.
2. When the drawings/design is agreed upon - ask for the next third of total cost.
3. Balance on completion.

Anyway that's my thoughts anyway

Cheers

Jason
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a customer, I have no problem paying a non-refundable design fee for a new custom design. Especially if I end up with a drawing. Double especially if its treated as a deposit/payment if the project is commissioned.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
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Josh MacNeil




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An extra 50 bucks is kind of a small fee when you're commissioning a sword. I would have no problem paying that price as the concept art will help make the final design more satisfying for the customer. As a professional smith doing this to make your livelihood, then there's nothing wrong with a design fee like that. Tattoo artists do it, so I don't see why this is any different.
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OlliNSword made a Polish Hussar Saber for me and they worked from a
full-sized design. The $ 100 fee, which could be applied to the total for the project,
seemed fair to me. I liked the fact that I could look at the proposed concept and,
using a bit of tape and patches of paper, modify the first attempt, mail it back, then
recieve the corrected design -- with their own corrections to my modifications. It
took only two tries to agree upon the design ...

Of course, Mr. Pikula, I would think after paying a fee for the design a customer is
going to expect relatively professional " draftsman " like skill. If you follow me ...

But yes, a fee for a design is a good and fair idea.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't see a problem with the concept. If nothing else it would help you avoid wasting time with non-committed people, who back out after a few days of back and forth time that would have been better spent in the shop.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 11:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your time has value. My job involves me creating assets. This generally has four phases: concept, design, production, delivery. Each of these phases requires my time and each has a price attached to it. Why should yours not? It has nothing to do with a deposit. It's all about paying for work being completed. If somebody wants you to design something, you should be paid for the design process. If the person decides to take it to production, you will be paid for that. It's really nothing more complex than that.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J Anstey wrote:
My business is design (graphic) I wont do design up front for free - no way.


Exactly. The only people who do work "on spec" are students. Happy

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J Anstey





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PostPosted: Wed 02 Sep, 2009 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
J Anstey wrote:
My business is design (graphic) I wont do design up front for free - no way.


Exactly. The only people who do work "on spec" are students. Happy


... and that's why the industry is up poop creek Big Grin
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well there is designing and then there is " DESIGNING : By this I mean that a quick sketch following an e-mail or an on the phone discussion might not merit a fee if the client already had a fair idea of what he wanted and it doesn't take too much of your time before actually ordering the piece.

But if you have to put in multiple hours of work or have to go through numerous drafts before the client makes the decision to accept the design it becomes a job in itself as opposed to only the first stage in the making of something.

Difficult clients/people who are very demanding and can't make up their minds are best avoided before the mutual frustrations become a problem ..... but if they have made you do a lot of design work they should expect to pay for it even if they don't order the design.

Oh, if they have paid for your time designing something then maybe they have the right to have it made by someone else although I don't think they should expect the design to be " exclusive " to them unless they paid a lot more for the drawings than $50.

So I don't think it should be a " deposit " but it should be a stand alone design charge: If you do end up making it then maybe you can factor the design costs as part of the total cost but it is still part of the final price.

I think the best thing is to consider a request for you to design and research for a project as a " commission " in itself and charge it as such: Once a design is agreed about then it's a separate contract when it comes to making it.

Oh and a design process taking a couple of hours should cost a lot less than weeks of works or research and multiple drafts ! 2 hours job not being the same as 40 hours as far as price is concerned. ( A lot depends on why a design job is taking so long ? is it a problem on your end finding the information, a problem getting an idea(s) or is it because the client is very demanding or keeps changing the parameters or can't make up their mind ).

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R D Moore




PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm for this. You certainly should be paid for your knowledge and skill. I have no problem with paying a deposit, and as mentioned earlier, especially when it's included in the total due for the project. It sounds like a win-win situation to me.
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Brian K.
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I charge a deposit fee for a position in my queue, at that point it becomes an official order. I then incorporate a labor rate into any design as part of my 'tooling' fee's.

If I don't have anything paid upfront, as in I don't have a commitment from the customer, then it's all talk. If it becomes too laborious beyond attentive customer service, then I try to swing the conversation into a commitment.

Brian Kunz
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Ben Potter
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am going to start charging for designs, not as a deposit but as a separate commission. I have lost far too much time from people who want sketches and designs but then don't comission the piece. If I charge for the design then even if they don't order it we are both happy and end up with somthing.

Great thread Michael.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

It's not that I would trade my lot
For any other man's,
Nor that I will be ashamed
Of my work torn hands-

For I have chosen the path I tread
Knowing it would be steep,
And I will take the joys thereof
And the consequences reap.
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Time is money. Though I apperciate my customers, I abhor people that want to talk all day about how they love your work and they can't wait to get their custom scabbard from you some day - yet strangely, they never want to pay for anything to actually be commissioned. On a business level, I try to be a professional, not some mate around the corner that you can call when you're bored and want to talk about swords. That's what forums are for!

Don't waste any time on these types. Have them pay you for it.

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

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Mike Capanelli




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PostPosted: Thu 03 Sep, 2009 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's certainly fair. I tend to agree with Jean though. If it's just a sketch and a phone call then maybe it doesn't warrant a charge. But if your investing time in a design that you have to research then you should absolutely be compensated for your labor. I'd also play it by ear. If you have someone that's a repeat customer then a deposit may not be needed as you already have a knowledge as to where this is going to end up. With a new customer though you never know if you'll see the commission started, especially in these tough times. So a non refundable deposit to compensate you for your invested time in case they don't follow through on the commission is more then fair. Most of all seeing as it's being applied to the total cost if they follow through. At the end of the day though it's really about what your comfortable asking for and what impact you think it'll have on your business. You can ask 100 of us and you'll probably get 200 opinions but you have to just follow your heart. Only you really know what would work for you and help your business grow.
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Sep, 2009 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's not only fair that you should charge for design, I think it's unfair(and unrealistic) of a customer to expect that you or anyone else wouldn't! As has been stated many times above, your time is worth money. Designing swords, drawing swords, even corresponding with customers about swords is part of what you do for a living and all of it takes time. If someone is serious about having the piece made, the deposit counts towards the cost of the finished product anyway. If they are not serious about having it made, you have not lost your time creating the design. By doing a design for free you are paying a customer to send them a drawing when it should be the other way around!!!!!
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Joel Minturn





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PostPosted: Fri 04 Sep, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a potential customer I have been thinking about this question since it was posted. I was somewhat surprised to find out you guys where doing real work and time with out first taking money.
As a customer I wouldn't want to pay a fee (deposit or what ever it is called) just for a quote and a couple of quick sketches but anymore than that I would think it is only fair to put a deposit down. Just be upfront about it. Tell me that there is a $50 design deposit than half down (or what ever) for the work and the rest on completion - figuring in the time spent designing as hours spent on the project.

but I will add that if there is a design deposit then, as a customer, I would expect the drawings to be of a better quality. Hmm that could a nice selling point, giving the customer a nice set of drawings to go with the commission. And if I have my own design, i.e. make 'this" poleaxe, than i wouldn't want to pay the design deposit but hopefully my design should be close enough that the artist won't have to spend long tweaking it. But it sounds like we are on the same wavelength regarding this.

Sounds like I am in agreement with most people. But I may be somewhat biased as I do design work and drawings for a living so I understand that they take time and cost money.
If a customer is wondering what you can do for them, instead of doing free design work, have a nice porfolio of previous work to show them. If they don't like that work then them won't like the work you do for them. And make it more than just a catalog of previous work. Make it a sales presentation, maybe have prices (todays price not the price the piece was commissioned for), that really highlights the diversity or specialty of your work. Ok that my rant for the day.
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