How much are the designer's fees?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by SamM1234, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. SamM1234
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    SamM1234 Junior Member

    Hello everyone,

    I have a quick question. I'm trying to have a boat to be custom built and designed for me. Does anyone know how much I should expect to pay to the designer/naval architect for all of the design work that will be necessary from start to finish? I just need a very rough ball park figure as a dollar amount or a %% of the boat cost to plan my expenses. If you have any experience with this or are a designer yourself, your answer will be very much appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Here's what I'm trying to build:

    - A 40' power cruising catamaran
    - Design from scratch
    - Average designer (cost wise)
    - Need to include everything, building plans, cabin interiors, etc.
    - Typical materials (cored fiberglass), techniques, equipment
    - I want to buy the design outright, so I can do whatever I want with it
    - I might build more boats of the same design
     
  2. Jratte
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    Jratte Junior Member

    I'm sure others will chime in but I think you will see numbers in the ballpark of 5 % of the build cost.
     
  3. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    masalai masalai

    I am working towards that goal, have a look at text thread "masalai's model movie", which also has links to galery for base model, hull for ver2 is posted as a Delftship free drawing for consideration (hull only)
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Generally you will pay from 2 to 7 percent of the build for the design and I don't know any designer that will let you have the design outright. You'll be purchasing the rights to build one example of the yacht. You can work out an arrangement with the designer for production work, but it would be unlikely they would relinquish control of the design to the builder/owner of the original commission. This would be similar to an author releasing his book rights to the publisher after the first printing, which basically would deny him any additional fees on subsequent re-printings.
     
  5. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Well, the fact that you want to own the design so you can build other boats from it changes things quite a bit. A royalty for future units is more likely to be attractive to a designer. I expect most designers will not be interested.

    I see PAR got in while my slow finger were at work.
     
  6. SamM1234
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    SamM1234 Junior Member

    Thank you. That does give me a good ballpark figure. But, could you elaborate more on the royalty part? I don't think this is exactly like writing a book. If I paid for someone's work entirely, it seems fair that the work product belongs to me. A boat builder, for example, doesn't ask for royalties every time I use the boat that he built. Is this something that is customary and specific for the boat design work?
     
  7. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    No, he doesn't ask for royalties each time you use the boat. But see what he thinks if you try to pop a mold from your boat and start selling duplicates. According to that way of thinking, there would be no problem with sending your copy of the latest Tom Clancy novel to your local printer with instructions to reproduce several thousand copies with your name on them so you can sell them. No problem with rereading your book or using your boat 10,000 times. Just don't try to sell either one without written permission, preferably a contract giving the author, designer, or builder a mutually agreed financial interest.
     
  8. Verytricky
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Verytricky Large Member

    How long the piece of string!

    I will design you one for £100.

    Occe will charge IRO £15 000 for a single boat licence.
     
  9. eastcape
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    eastcape Senior Member

    A very interesting question you have raised.

    My opinion is that you run into real grey areas with a scenario like this. Designers sell new design based on ones in the water. There is a real good chance that a customer will come along and like your boat, but go to the designer asking for a very similar boat. A designer would only need to change the design by maybe 20% to overcome this "legal Copyright" problem, and make a sale. And you may have lost a sale.

    But if you buy the design and pay royalties to the designer, it is then in his best interest to send the customer to YOU, as he won't have to do any work.;) Probably a more favourable relationship, don't you think?
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Most designers are ethical enough to not buy a set of plans from someone else, modify it and repackage it as one of their own. I suppose someone could do this, but I suspect it's not a common issue.

    Regenerating drawings so they don't look like someone else's would present some significant problems. It wouldn't be as simple as changing some font types or moving a cleat or two, you'd have to redraw the individual sheets and remove common elements typical of most designers. I include difficult to remove elements, which makes reproduction and adjustment more difficult on my plans.

    There are no "gray areas" as far as I'm concerned. You are either in breach of contract or not, because you have to sign off on a plans set.
     
  11. eastcape
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    eastcape Senior Member

    I agree Par, ethics are a huge part of being professional.

    Maybe it was my wording, and I apologise, but I was referring to the original design work being done by the same designer. Not a designer ripping off another designer. I was also referring to the rights and copyright that would have assumed to be passed from the original designer to the customer in this case.

    The "Grey Area" I was referring to is aesthetics of the design. Some designers use very distinct window lines, sheerlines, and hull shapes. To a trained eye, you can pick them in a marina or on the water. If a client approached a designer with the above scenario, and lets say the designer did the work..then more than likely the design would feature some of his style. The customer can't purchase and own rights to the "Style" of a designer?

    If I sold plans with rights I would go out of business. A lot of my custom design work is based on a design in the water, but with small modification or variations to suit the new customers personal request. I find it quite common that customers will see a design I did exclusively for a builder and want some alterations done. Sometimes the builder is unable to make those modifications (by design) , so the customer will approach me. I try and see if I can make those alterations for the current production boat first. Then take things from there with the customer, and builder. A favourable relationship is something you build up with your customers and builders overtime. If a customer or builder pays the royalties, then a designer makes a little money on the side. It is in his interest to look after the builder and customer so he does not have to labour away at another full plan set to put food on his table. Is it just me, or is that not something that all designers would like to achieve?
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    We've all made a"accommodations" for client desires, Noah. One of my designs has seen a recent increase in popularity, but none of the completed boats look the same to the casual observer. Some have enclosed pilothouses, others more lobster boat style and one is a convertible. Yep, I can pick the hull out of a sea of boats, but I drew it and have built a few.

    Your right, taking care of "our own" is the goal and the prudent business decision.

    For what it's worth, yes, you can "protect" the look or style of a specific type. Harley has their exhaust sound protected and has successfully defended it.
     
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  13. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Actually, I think Harley lost their suit against Yamaha about copying the exhaust note of the Harley.
     
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  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    My understanding was that Yamaha changed the pitch of their exhaust note with a different muffler arrangement, as an out of court deal to resolve the case.

    If you can't protect Dolly's boobs, you can protect anything.
     

  15. Wynand N
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    Wynand N Retired Steelboatbuilder

    This is the very reason a designer wont sell you the design outright.
    To sell more boats from a mould you would have to mention the designers name to get clients interested. Now for instance, you start changing and chopping the design for whatever reason, and this affects the safety safety of the boat, and say for instance some sailor get injured or worse, dies because of this, who is liable:?: The designer I guess, and he don't have the "blueprints' to proves his innocence, as you had bought them outright....
     
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