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LEGO Commissions - Insights & Suggestions Required

AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,582
I started a small number of freelance commissions last year and I appreciate the idea and would like to pursue the concept further. It would improve my creativity, working in a constrained time frame, collaborating with others and building a portfolio of designs towards my main ambition of becoming a product designer.

I'm currently struggling on what is a reasonable rate for each commission. I was thinking of 0.50p / 0.75p per LEGO element (postage NOT included in quoted price.) The price will cover the labour and time in designing the concept and service; additionally the cost of the LEGO elements themselves.

NB: I'm not taking any commissions yet; these are just early concepts.

Insights and suggestions would be appreciated.


  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,522
    edited March 2016
    I think I would want to include a base rate, much like a workman's call out charge. As what if a person asks for a commission that is no more than 100 pieces, but it takes you two days to design (which is probably huge underestimate). You'll have done two days work for £75. Or am I misunderstanding something?
  • nexandernexander Glasgow Member Posts: 732
    ^ well 100 pieces would be £75 :) A minimum piece count might work, say a few hundred pieces, possibly with a reduction in piece rate after 1000?
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,600
    edited March 2016
    I agree with the suggestion of building in a base rate. It can be difficult to get your time respected as a freelancer (my experience is in writing rather than Lego commissions, but I've heard the same thing from friends working in visual arts), and you want to be very sure that it's worth your while in itself, apart from serving your larger goal of becoming a designer. 
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 979
    edited March 2016

    I do regular commissioned work, both in LEGO and also in other art projects. I have tried out different methods through the years (everything from charging per project to taking donations), and I have found that charging an hourly rate works best for commissioned work. I believe this is because that's the method most people are familiar with.

    If I charge per project, people have nothing to compare it to, so they don't know if they are getting a reasonable deal or not. If I charge per piece (like in the case of LEGO), people will immediately compare the project to the standard price of LEGO sets, and they feel it's too much. However almost anyone in any profession can relate to an hourly rate, and they have an idea about how much per hour people make in different professions.

    So I say, okay, this project is going to take me 12 hours, including designing and building the piece, as well as sourcing the needed materials. And I'm charging $10 an hour for my work, and I charge the exact amount for whatever materials (in the case of artwork it would be paint, brushes, etc., in the case of LEGO it would be the pieces).

    As soon as people hear $10 an hour, they know right away that is a very reasonable fee. For materials and for other expenses (in my case I often travel to the location so I also get reimbursed for airfare and such), I simply present the receipts and get reimbursed. Ironically, I make far more this way that when I was charging per project for the exact same type of work. 

    For years I have been timing myself to see how much a project takes, and I'm good at giving a very accurate estimate even for week-long work. I don't sell my clients short, and when I'm "on the clock" I fully focus on working on their project. But I also don't sell myself short, and include everything related to the project within those work hours.

    This is mostly with individual clients. If you are doing commissioned work for companies, then a project-based fee structure may work better. The point is to present your fees in such a way the client can understand and relate to. Oh, and also build up a book of your previous work with testimonials that you can show to new clients. That really helps too. :)

  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 496
    I have a friend who, the last I knew, charges double the cost of parts for commissioned works. She's done several large and numerous small commissioned works. I started with this method when pricing Christmas ornaments for a school fundraiser, but used a higher rate for ornaments built using PAB pieces. I used Bricklink to determine the replacement cost for pieces when I used bricks already in my collection. 

    Also, I found this video a few days ago and thought it informative:

  • ricecakericecake Maryland, USAMember Posts: 788
    edited March 2016
  • AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,582
    I apologise for the late reply, I'm working the final details out this week. Thanks everyone for the input. I think I'll go with an hourly rate with a set day rate as it's more relatable outside of LEGO enthusiasts.

    I think £25 per hour is the way to go or £250 day rate (10 hours.) Being a student I find my time to be quite valuable.
  • AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,582

    0.75p per LEGO element (Minimum 100 LEGO elements)*

    *Postage NOT included in quoted price.

    (With a rough estimate I would guess every 100 pieces will cover 3 hours of work.)


    -Mini / Ploybag (100 pieces) - £75 (3 hours.)

    -Creator, Large Scale Vehicle (1500 pieces) - £1125 (45 hours.)

    - Modular Building (2500 pieces) - £1875 (75 hours.)

    Does that seem right? Am I missing something? Someone help me out!

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