I was caught off guard last week when a client assumed that the cost of stock photos was included in my proposal.
This, despite the very explicit text in the section about stock photos that says:
For photos or illustration artwork to be purchased: I do all of the design/layout work using the free watermarked comps from the stock photo library websites, and then when the client approves the photos, I purchase them on my account and invoice the client for the cost.
Note: This time estimate is for all of my work, including designing the site and building all of the pages, launching the site, testing, etc. Actual purchased items are not included (hosting, stock photos, etc.). If I buy something on your behalf, I’ll just add it to the invoice – and you would always know about it before that happens.
During the design of his site, we eventually used 11 stock photos, and discussed more than once that I would use the watermarked comps until we made the final section. After his approval, I would buy the final versions, re-format, and re-install. And he did give his approval when I asked – but somehow didn’t think that the cost of the photos should be in addition to the cost of my work.
I should also mention that if the client were to buy the photos on his own, they would cost more. I buy photo credits in large quantity, and get a lower price per credit, which I pass along to the client.
It seems obvious to me that I can’t include the cost of photos in the price for my work, because I have no idea how many photos will be used, and which ones the client will select (as not all photos are the same price). The total cost of the photos was $190. This client is a criminal defense attorney; that’s about 20 minutes’ worth of billable time for him (and much more for me). For $10, I would not argue with a client, but for something at this level, I had to insist that he pay the cost of the photos. Had he really read the proposal, he would have been aware that this cost was coming.