Should I charge extra for project files?


I've recently been offered a job designing a flyer for an event that a local organization is hosting. I was asked if I could also include the project files so they could easily alter the design for the next year of this event (it's a yearly competition).

This is no problem with me and I will be sending them the project files for the design. What I do wonder however is if it is good practice to charge a bit extra for doing this? And if so, how much (in relation to the original cost) extra should I charge?

Thanks for your input!

10/5/2012 7:07:00 PM

Accepted Answer

It is customary to include additional costs for native files. How much of a mark up is really up to you. It can range from 1/3 the project cost to 300% the project costs.

I, personally, price native files very high. The only rationale for any client wanting native files is to cut me out of the design loop. That in itself is fine. However using my work to do so is not fine. If they want native files, they must pay a hefty price for them. Often it's much better if, once they see the pricing, I explain that simple, quick, changes in the future will often result is a minimal cost and it's more cost effective to simply return to me when changes are needed.

10/5/2012 8:17:00 PM

Scott's answer being great, I'm just going to add on top it. Since you have mentioned that the client is a close friend, I think you need to talk to him/her and help him/her understand it comes with a price for various reasons.

  • First, as Scott has mentioned, cutting you out of the design loop means you just lost a potential job in the future. If the client is willing to pay a good amount for the original files, well that covers the future.
  • Second, every designer leaves a certain style on his/her designs. When the client alters the design, there are two possibilities:
    1. The client might take credit of the altered work and that is more future jobs lost for you. But this scenario is unlikely.
    2. The client might alter the design in the wrong way, give you credit for the design and when other designers look at your work ( modified work ), it might simply be unattractive and thus your reputation is at risk. Which means you might loose jobs in the future.

Under those considerations, I think you are better off following Scott's advice but also not to give only one design but a range of designs to chose from. It reduces the likelihood of the client insisting on the original files.
Finally to completely answer the original question: yes charge extra! But before, take into consideration the risks outlined above. How much? Well that is something that depends upon places and people, thus I think the best answer is to do it according to what suits you best. Also, you might want to ask other local designers!