Guidelines to help us achieve your project goals efficiently.
I welcome new customers, value you highly, and always strive to have a friendly, informal relationship with you that stretches into the future. This page is designed to make that process easier, based on my ongoing experience with other customers.
The articles visible on this site are, of course, those that are not under non-disclosure agreements. However, I also do a variety of advertising, future concepts, visualization, and training-oriented projects for various aviation/aerospace customers, which cannot be shown here. Feel free to contact me with any 3D project you may have in mind, and we can determine very quickly if I'm the right person for your needs.
Why work with me?
I handle every step of your project personally. I'm equipped with great, modern tools to work quickly, and there are no 3rd-party individuals involved, to slow the process or cause problems. I handle every email, request, modification, etc., myself, and respond to you personally, from beginning to end, to ensure that you get what you want. This approach also allows me to complete most jobs faster, and for a lower cost than you would pay a larger company. For a brief summary of my background, as well as a list of some of projects and customers not under NDA, see my Services and History page.
What do these things cost?
It's not unusual for potential customers to write to me and ask something like, "What would it cost to build a model of a (insert name here) ?" I obviously can't answer that without more information... Does it need to be precision scale? Do you need a simple exterior model, or a more detailed model with many separate, possibly animated parts? Does it need to be textured with a particular color scheme? Does it need to include an interior? What file format do the deliverable files need to be? When do you need it? Etc., etc.. In the past, this has meant a large number of initial emails between potential customers and me, including a lot of time and information exchanged, which I'm not paid for if they choose not to proceed. Since this is hugely impractical, I now have a much more efficient way for us to start.
An organized plan for both us, which I offer for a flat fee of $500.
- First we set up a time for a Skype call, so you and I can speak interactively, and also share our screens, which is hugely helpful. You can include other members of your team in that call, if you like.
- You outline what you have in mind, and together, we refine the details, (short and long-term) creating an initial proposal.
- With this proposal in mind, I will create some sample images, illustrating your concept in a simple draft mode, along with a video, outlining what I can do for you, how long different processes take, and what they cost. I'll deliver this to you via a direct download from my server, within 48 hours.
- You can then review this material and decide how you'd like to proceed.
- Once we're moving into the actual project, you can choose your payment terms from the options below.
This plan is simple, gets to the heart of what you need quickly, and allows me to explain clearly how we can proceed. I know you'll find it much more useful than the lengthy series of question/answer emails which would be the alternative. If this makes sense to you, simply email me, and we can begin.
- Mike James
My terms are simple and fair, with two ways to work. Regardless of the method you choose below, no intellectual property transfers to you until I've been completely paid. At that point, you own it. If you'd rather not wait, perhaps because you need to use the work as it is delivered in sections, you can pay the full amount in advance, thus owning the work as it is delivered. My rate is variable, depending on the complexity of your project, the precision required, whether the product is destined for machining, etc.. Typically, this is approximately $60 per hour, but I usually prefer to agree on the deliverables, and then provide a discounted flat rate for the entire project. In most cases, this saves you money, and avoids any surprises later in the project. (See below.)
For anything other than short-term projects, I'll generally create a private page on my site for you, invisible to my site visitors, and invisible to search engines, where I can provide images, animations, and text, showing my progress. This is more efficient than sending the same information via email, where file size is often a consideration. And, it also gives you the option of sharing the link with other members of your team, if you like. The other advantage of this is that often, any items that need to be changed can be discovered by you, early in the process. As models grow in complexity, editing obviously becomes more difficult.
1. Short-term projects (60 days or less)
First, I'll send you an outline describing what the project will cost at my hourly rate, based on my experience. If the goals of your project are very clear, I will usually offer to do the job for a flat fee. We'll agree on exactly what I'll deliver to you before I begin work. One half of our agreed cost is required in advance, as a deposit, before I begin work, with the balance being paid incrementally over the course of the project. This deposit is not refundable, if you should cancel the project. If we've agreed on a flat fee, you can rest assured that the price will not change during the project, even if we encounter problems. I never surprise customers with "cost overruns".
2. Longer-term projects (More than 60 days)
If you have a complex, longer-term project in mind, we can divide it into "phases", based on a weekly rate, with each week paid in advance. These weekly deposits are not refundable, but there is no cancellation fee, should the project be cancelled or delayed. At each phase of your project, I will send you an invoice, describing that part of your project, it's cost, and what remains, in clear detail. This ends up being the most fair method for both you and I, because since the work is delivered to you incrementally, and payments are made to me incrementally, neither of us has much at risk. I have a PayPal account to make all of this easy, or you can pay via check or money order.