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To preface, I'm an occasional freelancer (it's not my main income by far) and still fairly new to working with clients.

I created a business card design for a client and am showing this design on my portfolio. Now I got a request from someone in the same line of business to purchase this design, with their info on it. I am wondering how I would handle something like this?

I feel like, if I agree, then I can't charge them a lot because it's not much effort to change the contact info, but this also feels very unfair to the first client who paid in full for creating the custom design. And charging the full price feels unfair to the second client.

Or is resale like this not done at all, even if the second client feels the existing design would be perfect for them?

(The first client is a friend and there was no contract involved, so everything's open to negotiation.)

I'd love some input on this, thank you!

  • Hi Caleris, Welcome to GraphicDesign StackExchange. We hope you enjoy sharing knowledge and experience. – Stan May 11 at 15:06
  • You paid a tailor to design a unique outfit for yourself for an event very significant to you. You find out that the tailor turned-around and made one just like it for someone going to the same special event. – Stan May 11 at 15:10
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  • @Stan, thanks! Yes, that would be true if they were 'going to the same event', however, while both people are in the same line of business, they operate in different countries and would never be in competition with each other (it's a language thing). I do lean towards turning them down, just hoping to hear other's opinions as well. – Caleris May 11 at 16:33
  • @Scott Thanks for those links, there are some insightful comments there though not exactly the same situation. I tried googling before posting but I was clearly not using the right search terms. – Caleris May 11 at 16:34
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In general, clients are paying any skilled laborer for their skills, not primarily their time. So I would consider it fine to charge the second client full price, ignoring all else. But if that goes against your conscience then don't do it.

Now with that being said in this situation you mention that they are in the same field. If them using the same business card could harm your original client in any way I would argue it's wrong to resell it as is, regardless of the cost. I would suggest in that case to say that to the second client and ask them to consider another similar design that you would make.

  • Thank you for your input! While both people are in the same line of business, they operate in different countries and would never be in competition with each other (it's a language thing). I've checked with my first client and they were okay with me reselling, so I made a proposal to the second client. (Who did not take it, but that's life I guess. I feel I can stand behind my decision :P) – Caleris Jun 6 at 19:44
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I have a rule to charge friends twice as much as my business clients for the same work.

I was told this by the accountant at one of the first places where I ever worked.
Here's how it played out.

"Louis," I asked, "Will you do my taxes for me? You're an accountant and we're friends."

"Sure." He said, "I will because we're friends. Money isn't really that important between friends. Don't you agree?"

"Yes, Louis, I agree."

"Good. I'm going to charge you double for what I charge a stranger — since we're friends and money isn't really important between friends."

He continued.

"I'm glad you agree that a person would want their friend to have more than a complete stranger. Why would you want your friend to have any less than a stranger?"

He was right. It was an important life lesson.

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    A fun anecdote, but what does this have to do with my question? The first client who is a good friend did pay in full. I don't know the second client personally at all. – Caleris May 11 at 16:36

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