How Much Does Product Design Cost & What Are Prices for Freelance Design Firms?

How Much Does Product Design Cost & What Are Prices for Freelance Design Firms_

Nearly everyone has had a brilliant idea to solve one of life’s pressing problems. Whether this was adding crimps into a bobby pin to help it stay in your hair or creating a car with better fuel economy, new ideas for product designs are everywhere.

What separates these ideas from becoming real products ready for customers to buy is product design. While you have probably had an idea or two to improve on an old product or make an entirely new one, bringing that product into reality is a lot harder.

That’s why businesses hire freelance product design firms to help them create the new products they want to sell. Hiring a product designer is a necessary step to getting a project closer to completion, but the lack of information on the going rates for freelance designers can slow down the process.

Without knowing the rate, you can let great product designers slip through your fingers by offering too low or end up paying more than you should for mediocre service.

This guideline is designed to help you understand the rates for various projects so you can know what to expect when seeking a product designer for your business needs.

About Product Design

A lot more goes into product design than just an idea. Beyond figuring out how to solve a problem the world is facing is a whole range of other problems, from making sure the product meets safety guidelines and any applicable laws to making sure it is an ergonomic design that fits with your brand.

A 3D product demo service seeks not only to create a design for your product, but to make sure that all these other conditions are met. Examples of great product design include not just the unique flavor of Coca Cola, but the iconic glass bottle designed by Andy Warhol.

dresser table 3D model

At the time, Coca Cola was having a real problem with imitators usurping sales. In order to resolve the problem, Coca Cola hired Andy Warhol to design a glass bottle that would be recognizable as a Coca Cola bottle even if the customer were to feel for it in the dark, or the bottle itself broke. The result is the curvy glass bottle still in use today.

RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Produce a New Product Design?

Product design can help in many different situations, from the branding problem that Coca Cola struggled with to simply getting an idea off the ground and ready to be made into a valid product. Product designers are an essential part of the process and one many businesses recognize as a tool they can’t live without.

Why Companies Outsource for Product Design Services

With product design being such an essential step in product creation, one would think every business would have a team of them on staff. While it is true that many large companies do keep product designers on board year-round, many more opt to hire a team of freelance industrial design services to do the work instead.

This is in part due to cost savings. Product designers are not needed all of the time. Once a product has been designed, it may be months or years before a product designer is needed again. It makes little sense to maintain the salary of a product designer year-round when they are not needed.

Even if a freelance concept design service charges more upfront, the overall savings is still quite large due to not having to pay for downtime and also not having to pay the cost of hiring and training them to fit in as a team member.

It also takes more time to hire a team member than it does to hire a freelancer. The position needs to be advertised, resumes need to be taken, interviews need to be conducted, and sometimes a hiring agent needs to be procured at great expense to find the right person. Even after a person is found, there is no guarantee that the person will fit in with the company.

A 3D product modeling service often already has a team in place and can begin work quickly. Since they have chosen product design as their firm, they come with a passion for design already in place and are ready to work.

Freelance product designers are a great choice and more companies are choosing them over someone who is permanently on the payroll.

Different Types of Services

Now that we understand the need for product designers, it’s time to take a close look at your project. The price of a product design can vary greatly depending on the complexity of what you’re designing. The product design for a new type of can opener is going to cost much less than a design for a motorcycle because there are fewer parts.

In general, anything that uses electronics, mechanical parts, or needs firmware or software is going to cost more than something that doesn’t. What stage the product is in also matters in terms of how much an end product will cost. If the product is in the preliminary stages, it will cost more to get it to completion than if it has already been somewhat developed.

Concept Design

The first stage of product design is the concept stage, often where CAD drawing takes place. This is where a product goes from merely an idea to an actual example of what the product might look like. It may include sketches, a 3D model, or even a list of preliminary materials.

concept design coffee mug

A concept design is not enough on its own to take to a manufacturer, but it will give you and investors a clear idea of what is to come.

Design Development

Once the product design has been created, it’s time to turn it into a real product that is ready to be manufactured. That means a 3D model that shows every panel and screw, attention to branding and ergonomics need to be paid, and final details.

3D models can even test products from huge buildings all the way down to a child’s toy for safety. When the 3D design service has completed development, it can finally move on to prototyping.

Prototype Construction

Prototyping is the phase where the product goes from a design to a physical object that can be shown to investors. A prototype is an example of the actual project but is often made out of cheaper materials. A prototype paves the way for testing and gives prototype design services a chance to physically hold and manipulate the product to see if it works the way it should.

A prototype is essential not just to show investors or the sales department, but also to ensure that there are no obvious or embarrassing mistakes before it is sent to production. It is also used to test the product to make sure it works as it should.

All of these phases are different parts of product design and are seldom rolled into one price tag. Each phase will come with its own pricing.

How Much Does Product Design Cost?

If you’ve been asking yourself, “What are product design prices in my area?” you’re not alone. There is a large variation in product design costs and these depend a lot on the project and the unique specialization. Here’s a break down of the different payment methods and what the average starting point is for each product.

Average Pricing for Different Types of Product Design

Project TypeHourlyPer Project
Concept Design$45–$105 per hour$100.00 and up
Product Design$45–$105 per hour$100.00 and up
Mechanical Design$45–$125$5,000–$10,000
Industrial Design$45–$150$5,000–$10,000
Prototyping$50–$120$2,000 and up
Electronics Design$100–$150$10,000 and up
Architectural Design$35–$7510% of total building cost

What Are Product Design Hourly Rates?

As you can see from the chart above, flat fees aren’t the only way to hire a product designer. If it’s a small project that just needs a few hours of their time or you think it will cost less to do so, paying hourly is also an option.

Before agreeing to hourly rates, it’s helpful to ask a product designer or 3D furniture modeling service what counts as a working hour. Some designers have software that tracks the work they do, helping to ensure you’re not paying for Facebook time or small talk while also making sure they get paid a fair wage for their work.

Hourly and fee-based services are the two major payment methods for product designers, but one isn’t necessarily better than the other. When searching for a product designer, you should be focused mostly on the quality of the product designer and how closely they fit your needs, rather than the payment method.

What Does a Company Charge for Product Design Services?

A product design company or firm will likely have the same prices as a pet product and toy design service or perhaps be a little higher if an individual has a slightly lower price to be more competitive. The advantage of a company, however, is that you have access to more expertise and can often get the project done faster as more people are available to get it done.

3D product prototype

What you need ultimately boils down to who you like to work with, how fast you need it done, and what quality you are expecting. If you need a large team to help you get a project completed, a firm may be a better choice as opposed to a single product designer.

Successfully Outsourcing Your Project

Although there is a lot to gain from outsourcing your project, there are also a lot of things you can do to make a project more likely to be successful. Finding the right project designer can help the process along and also help with future projects because you’ve already laid the groundwork for a great relationship.

RElATED: Why Freelance Engineers and Architectural Design Firms Need to Use 3D Building Models

In order to find the right person, however, you need to interview potential firms and individual product designers to make sure they are the right person for you. Although you may only need the product designer temporarily, you will still be working with them for some months and their work will stay with you for as long as the product is in production. That means a big impact overall.

If you want to make sure the product designer is the right choice for you and your business, here are a few tips for a speedy and smooth project.

Use the Right Platform to Find a Product Designer

There are hundreds of product designers out there waiting to help you from all over the world. Freelance product design can be done from anywhere, which means you have a vast pool of product designers available to search through. The problem is that they come with a varying amount of talent and that their claims can’t always be trusted.

Luckily, there are a few high-quality places you can look to find a professional product designer who can get the job done. Here are just a couple of them:

Cad Crowd

Cad Crowd was born out of the need for high-quality computer augmented design, which includes product design. Their designers are already carefully screened to ensure that they are of a high quality, so you won’t end up paying for work you can’t use.

ford thunderbird 3D model

They can also help by hand-selecting the best designer for your purposes, making it easier to narrow down your selection from hundreds of potential candidates to a few that are the most likely to serve your needs.


Upwork has a large selection of freelance electronic product design services available, with hourly rates available if that is how you prefer to pay. The candidates are not curated, but they do offer paid monthly plans that give you project managers to help source the people you need.

While there are lots of other places you can find product designers, these two sources are your best bet for finding a good quality candidate.

Know What You Want

As you have seen throughout this article, there are a great many specializations within the product design field. Knowing what you need will help you narrow down the candidates to the people with the most relative experience.

You may know you need a product designer or that it will need some mechanical engineering service, but other details are also important. Will you need illustrations to go with it? Do you want a 3D model built? Will you need an industrial design as well?

This can also help speed the design process up. While you may have sensitive information you can’t share with every candidate, being able to provide as many specific details as possible can aid the project process once you have selected someone.

If you know the product must be red for branding purposes, or that it will have to operate in a certain fashion, letting the product designer know these limitations in advance can really help.

Look at Portfolios

Every designer will have a slightly different artistic style, which will show up in the work. Some product designers are also specialized in specific areas, such as automotive design services or toys. A quick glance at the portfolio is a great way to see what they focus on and if that will match your company’s needs.

This is also a way you can gauge the quality of work, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience yet.

Test Your Product Designer with a Smaller Project First

Although recommendations from other companies, reviews, and a portfolio can tell you a lot about a potential product designer. The fastest way to learn whether they will work for your project or not is to test the product designer with a smaller project first.

This will show you a lot more than whether or not they have the skills needed. It will also show you how timely they are, if they can handle the workload, how pleasant they are to deal with, and other important factors.

Ask for Recommendations

If you are looking for a new freelance exercise equipment designer because your current one can’t keep up with the work or because they are unfamiliar with the particular area you need work done in, you can also ask them for recommendations.

A recommendation from a fellow freelancer is very useful because they already know what you want, and who you will work well with.

Talk to References

Call any references your candidate offers and ask them about the project. In particular, how did the freelancer handle it when things didn’t go wrong? Did they face challenges well? Did they finish in a timely manner? Were they satisfied with the quality of the work?

chair 3D model

A freelancer who can handle problems that crop up well can make a project go much more smoothly, as every project inevitably faces some kind of challenge.

Communicate Clearly

Freelancing is generally conducted online and there is little in the way of face to face communication. This means that the ability to communicate effectively is possibly the most important skill your product designer can have.

When speaking with your homeware product designer, make sure you understand completely and regularly keep tabs on what they are doing. The end design is going to be your product, so it is also important to keep your own hands on the project at all times.

By communicating back and forth effectively, you are helping to make sure the product is close to what you and your company envisioned as possible.

A lot goes into a successful product design project, but the good news is that you can take steps to make your project go as smoothly as possible. Through carefully selecting your product designer, having all the data needed before you begin working with them, and understanding what the pricing will be, you can ensure that your project will be successful.

Cad Crowd’s Expert Freelance Help Is at Your Disposal

At Cad Crowd, we have the privilege of working with some of the best freelance CAD designers in the world. If you’re looking for help having your product designed, contact us today for a free quote.