How to save money running a graphic design business

Work from home

Use of house as business means that you can put some of the cost of home improvements and numerous other things to offset your profit and therefore pay less tax. Meet clients in swanky cafés. Try to get them to pay(!)

Don’t do colour lasers.

Get your client to proofread from PDFs. They’re faster, look better and, of course, cheaper. If they need to see something on paper get a printer to do it as a sample. Buy a simple inkjet desktop printer that has a scanner, photocopier and fax (for under £100). If anyone needs to see proof of ID or certificate of incorporation you can scan it and send it by email. Email your invoices, estimates and contracts – everything – to save on ink, paper and postage.

Don’t buy Apple monitors.

OK, they’re pretty but there are others that are just as good and half the price.

Don’t buy anything new.

Secondhand computers are like secondhand cars – much better value. I’m running everything on a couple of souped up G4’s I got for £200 each. If one breaks down I can use the other. Work is backed-up off site by my website host. No need to spend money on the latest software. Wait for them to patch up the bugs. Use old versions of software as long as it’s compatible with the system you are using.

Don’t use Getty.

Buy monthly subscriptions to shutterstock.com or other royalty free photo libraries. Download as many images as you can.

Remember the CS versions of Adobe Illustrator have a live trace tool which can re-draw any image in vector form which you can present as an illustration negating the need to commission.

Get webspace

I have secured thousands of pounds worth of business from my website, host many more and store all my work – all for under £100 a year!

The only other thing I’d spend money on is Christmas or birthday cards for clients. It’s the single best way to ensure repeat business.

Don’t get greedy.

Reflect all these savings in the price you charge your client. It’ll be worth it in the long run, trust me.


© Rob Cubbon 2007 Freelance designer and artworker in London.


 

20th March 2007

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