Really small and At-Home businesses can tend to have unprofessional, uninspired logos. No, it’s not always the case, but it’s easily in the majority. Looking around, compare the logos of at-home businesses to those of small to large businesses you find online or in a mall. More often than not you notice the differences.
Whether the owner(s) paid for the logo or did it themselves, the reality was, and still is, that small and at-home businesses tend not to have the funds available to pay a designer a lot of money to help them create a powerful, professional image they can be proud of.
Let’s say there is a local design agency offering logos to small businesses. On their website, the agency lists their rates, and the at-home businesswoman sees a starting rate of $1,000 for a logo. That rate includes one concept with only one revision, and one full-color file of the final logo is presented to the client.
Especially for a start-up or young at-home business–for example, a young mother of 3 making cloth diapers at home and selling them through Facebook and Big Cartel–that $1,000 rate can be very scary. In all honesty, though, it’s simply impossible. There is no way that young lady is going to afford $1,000 for a logo. It’s not that the logo isn’t important; it’s simply not a possibility to shell out that much money.
So, she turns to friends and social media to see if there are any designers out there who could create the logo for her. Several names pop up, and the rates are more in the $400-600 range. For most of these small businesses, that is still high. So, they look around some more and find designers who are willing to do logos for $100 or less. At that point, they decide either to go with the inexpensive designer or create the logo themselves.
Either way, they settle. They know they need a logo: some image to present their business among all the others out there. They don’t really know what a logo is or how to make one (they’re not alone, as they join the designers out there who also don’t know what a logo is). They know they need one, and they can’t spend money to have one.
It’s a difficult situation that I can appreciate. In the end, they have a logo that they have settled on, and in all likelihood aren’t all that proud of. They want something different, but know they can’t afford the rates of good designers out there. They hope one day in the future they can either afford a better quality logo, or will get better themselves and make a good one.
As a freelancer, I’m constantly looking for opportunities to work. As I look around, I see ample opportunities to create logos for small and at-home businesses, but the reality is I know they likely can’t afford to pay what I would ask. As I look around, I recognize that while some of them don’t even think about their logo or branding, plenty of them do. And plenty of them are not happy with what they have. They want more, they want the professional, powerful presence so they can stand out and grow their business. But they can’t afford it. So what are they to do? Continue to settle?
Settling on the logo can be a sign of settling for less than high-quality work when it comes to the product or service their business provides. A logo is usually the first thing a potential client or customer sees, and if that first image is unprofessional or sloppy or lazy, it’s more difficult to gain their trust and business. I can tell when a logo was made in 5-10 minutes in Microsoft Word. Does that mean corners were cut, shortcuts were made, or cheap ingredients went into the creation of that cloth diaper? Is it going to thread and separate? Is it going to wear out after a few washes? Are the snaps going to break when the baby keeps taking it off?
What is a small or at-home business, with a low-to-no marketing budget, to do to help them get something that will really help? What are some viable options? Is it possible to break out of the typical business model, where money must be exchanged for a good or service? Can we be more creative with our business practices?
Of course I hope they get in touch with us at « Schleitheim Designs ». We can have some conversations, find out what they need, and figure out some possibilities and roads to go down. Above all we want to help. Money is not the most important thing in the world.
Is barter an option? Could they offer some of their products in exchange for the logo or branding work? If local, could they offer time or some other service, like babysitting, some house cleaning or chores?
As long as there are debts to be paid with money (e.g. student loans, cell phone bills, car payments, getting gas), money will be necessary. But, there are a lot of avenues to earn money. Not all transactions need to be modeled that way. Not all relationships need to involve money.
We can be creative and come to possible solutions. For example, are they willing to work with the idea of a payment plan, or percentage of sales until a certain dollar amount is reached?
All in all, I hope that a small or at-home business doesn’t settle for an unprofessional, uncreative logo they they are not happy with because they think they can’t afford anything better. There are plenty of designers out there who are willing to dialogue and come to a non-standard, creative solution that will help small businesses grow.
If the business can afford it–perhaps they weren’t aware they could, but after some dialogues with a designer they find they can…and ought to–then they should pay for the work. Most freelance designers and small and at-home businesses as well. They face the same struggles as other small and at-home businesses. The more we work together, the more we help each other succeed.