Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are your professional business practices?
After over 45 years of doing business in graphic and web design and development, I have discovered (sometimes the hard way) the wisdom of following standard business practices, including using contracts. I try to spell everything out up front so there are no misunderstandings.
You are paying for my professional expertise in web and graphic design. Something that might be a good idea in print might be difficult or ill-advised on the web, and not be worth the extra money you’d pay to make it happen. I’ll let you know. If I can make it happen, I will.
The initial consultation (maximum of 1 hour, including travel) and any research or preparation work I do for the first meeting is free. My report after this is for you to keep, even if you choose to go with someone else. Follow up is at my hourly rate of $120, in 15-minute increments. I charge for all my services, including marketing, travel, and tech support, like helping you set up email on your computers and devices. Errors I’ve made are corrected at no charge to you. I only start charging when it’s applied to the project. However, I will charge the full fee if the work has been signed off (see What is your payment policy?).
Small websites generally start at $2,500. I’m no longer doing new ecommerce sites or intranet/extranet sites. Some web services, like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace are cheaper, but are nearly impossible to import into WordPress on your own server if your business outgrows it. Those services can also cause problems with your search performance. We can discuss those, if you wish.
With my extensive experience, I have a pretty good idea of how long something will take to do. You get two rounds of changes in your price. Subsequent changes will require a change order and, depending on the degree of change, will be charged either at a pre-set fee (think of it as a “mini-project-fee”) or at my hourly rate. Stock or custom images or custom web coding/plugins/themes will cost more. I have to take into account designing and coding for a site that adjusts to a large variety of device sizes (this is called “responsive design”), which means a lot of testing. I give you a highly customized site.
I don’t work on speculation (“on spec”). It’s considered an unfair business practice for a variety of reasons. The designer may put in several hours’ worth of work and possibly not get paid for it, and the client will usually not receive the best design for their project, because no time or money for adequate research has been allowed. And, paying work always takes priority over spec work. You could be waiting awhile.
My work is included on this site to give you an idea of what I can do. I will also give you a list of references on request.
I require a nonrefundable deposit of 50% of the project fee, per the statement of work, a signed contract, and content (including images) before work begins.The initial deposit is applied to the first charges. The balance is due before launch. If you are an established client, I’ll bill you monthly, net 15. The invoice for hourly clients will have a breakdown of time spent. I prefer to be paid by check or PayPal.
I abide by United States Copyright Law in all matters. I won’t knowingly use an image or text that doesn’t belong to the client or designer. This is nonnegotiable; I may ask for proof of ownership of or license to use materials.
Current copyright law states that original works of authorship are copyrighted from the moment they are created. A request for copyright does not have to be filed with the Office in order for the copyright to be effective, and once I release available copyright to the client (in writing), the client is responsible for obtaining an official copyright from the copyright office. Computer code can’t be copyrighted, because I use Open Source Software. Design can be copyrighted.
A filed and paid-for copyright helps you enforce your rights in court. “Fair use” — the ability to use someone else’s work without their permission, has fairly sketchy/strict guidelines. If you believe your work might fall under the “fair use” provision of copyright law, please discuss it with me and probably an attorney first.
This also means that if you find an image on Google/Bing or someone else’s website, you are not allowed to use it. The image is not in the public domain just because it’s in Google Images. Google and Bing index images found on other websites the same way they index websites.
Many “free image” sites exist, and images are protected under a Creative Commons license. The problem is, these images are not always completely vetted, and you might be liable for licensing fees anyway.
The fee will include any rights available to be released to the client, and those rights will be stated in the contract. In cases where I don’t wish to retain any rights (such as graphic design), the agreed-upon and available rights are automatically released to the client upon final payment. This section of the agreement gives me legal recourse if the client uses my materials without making final payment or without adequate rights. I retain the right to enter the final work in creative competitions (with due credit to the client) and display a digital image or photograph in my marketing materials, including my website.
If you are an advertising or marketing agency, those terms are negotiable.
I may not be able to release rights to licenses or computer code. If a client terminates my services, they may need to obtain separate licenses to use images, fonts, and WordPress premium frameworks/themes, plugins, and services of their own.
All other issues will be addressed in my contract and statement of work. The information above may be changed or amended at any time, without notice.