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Fee and turnaround time questions

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Hi all,
I was wondering what the typical fee and turnaround time is for conventional freelance cartographic assignments? I've been working on fictional maps for WOTC/Hasbro and typically put in 10-40 hours of Photoshop work for fairly detailed artistic maps. Just wondering if the time would translate to a more traditional real-world map.

A few maps made in 8-30 hours: Samples

Mike Schley
Illustration & Design
Twitter – @schley



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that's a broad question

some things to consider:

-data compilation sources
-data usability/scrubbing
-analysis, if necessary
-amount of text
-included relief?

I'm sure others can add to this quick list.



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I think that one of the primary considerations when coming up with project estimates is to consider how detailed and specific the end product(s) are described in the contract. If it is a "work in progress" type project with the client offering opinions as the project proceeds, then it is more than likely that you will be spending more time working and re-working the intracacies of the final product(s). If that is the case, I usually place a "minimum amount" clause in the contract and add language that any additional work beyond that minimum amount will be billed on an hourly basis.

If your end product is clear, all the data is there and you know precisely how you are going to complete the project, it should be a simple estimate of hours based upon your ability, organization, and efficiency of work flow. I usually add a bit of a fudge factor for client-driven changes to the final draft of the product, since someone always finds things they want changed at the last minute :blink:

Hope that helps,

P.S. Other issues related to accurate quotes:
  • Availability of data (you may have to purchase or create data)
  • Size and medium of end product
  • Density of data
  • Density of annotation
  • Amount of data
  • Timeline for completion
  • Copies or physical deliverables
  • Delivery costs

Michael Scisco

Albuquerque, NM




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I wouldn't make it too complex.

Since you are starting out, charge a fixed price per map or project based on 'what the effort is worth to you'.
Then thru trial and error you will determine what price range works best for your clients.



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That is a big question.
As someone who delivers maps that involve a lot of Photoshop time, I always (and still after many years) underestimate the time it takes. If you start to offer illustrative-type maps, and that may be what your clients will expect seeing your gaming maps ,you may find that the big unpredictable time factor is getting the reference you need to illustrate landscape and buildings. As a general rule. the 'nicer' your layout is, the more expectation there is in your details.
I would love to go deeper into this time question with others
Jean-Louis Rheault

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