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Fees for custom designs vs master models


#1

Assuming the work took the same amount of time and resources, does
one charge the same fee (to the trade) to do a one-off custom wax as
to make a master model for production? I have been doing custom
waxes for a while, and am not sure what the correct fee should be for
a master model that the end user will keep using and making money
from… Thanks for any advice and opinions!

Jenny from Mardon Jewelers


#2
Assuming the work took the same amount of time and resources, does
one charge the same fee (to the trade) to do a one-off custom wax
as to make a master model for production? 

Ultimately the answer lies between the two people making the deal -
there is no objective answer.

But - thats quite an assumption, that they will take the same time
and effort. Id say most models take 3-20 times as long to make,
depending on the complexity. Thats why I quit making contract models,
because people dont want to pay for them. “But its just a silver
ring…” If its your design, then you are selling the design,
too, and the rights to it… If its their design, then you are selling
labor and materials. That is unless you make a deal for royalties or
some such. Thats all between you and the buyer. Good models arent
just jewelry, they are models. An entirely different thing from
special order work.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

Jenny, if someone hands you a design and asks you to make a master
model, it really is no business of yours if they sell one piece or a
million of them. You should charge what you charge- a rate that pays
yourself, your overhead, and a profit. If you design a piece for
them, you should charge for that time as well. This is called work
for hire- to you it is work, to your client it is a risk to produce a
new product. The model fee is only a fraction of the cost to produce
samples of live goods for their customers. If the model you make is a
success, you will probably get a return customer.

Rick Hamilton


#4
if someone hands you a design and asks you to make a master model,
it really is no business of yours if they sell one piece or a
million of them. You should charge what you charge- a rate that
pays yourself, your overhead, and a profit. If you design a piece
for them, you should charge for that time as well. This is called
work for hire- to you it is work, to your client it is a risk to
produce a new product. The model fee is only a fraction of the cost
to produce samples of live goods for their customers. If the model
you make is a success, you will probably get a return customer. 

I have to disagree, Rick. “Work for hire” normally refers to the
work of a full-time employee, not an independent contractor. While
you can agree contractually to give away your copyright to the person
commissioning work from you, that’s more than you’re giving an
ordinary customer who orders a custom ring from you. They would not
expect to be able to create copies of the piece you made them and
sell them to others. They should receive your base rate - the one
that pays salary, overhead and profit. If someone wants something
over and above that, which could potentially net them a lot more than
your regular customer would get by selling her single ring, they
should, in all fairness, pay more for that. In either case, doing a
good job should bring you repeat business. The additional fee you
charge for the copyright is a small part of what it costs to produce
a line of jewelry, it’s true, but it’s money you deserve, and are
guaranteed by law, unless you waive your rights to what you’ve done.
If you didn’t have much creative input, maybe that’s no big deal. But
if the client gave you a wavering sketch on the back of a napkin and
you’ve produced a reproducible work of art, then you’re
short-changing yourself if you don’t charge for the copyright.

Andrew Werby
www.computersculpture.com