The issue of price fixing and collusion is the big bugaboo for this listserve.  It is in fact legal to tell everyone what you charged for a particular job as long as it is 90+ days in the past. I think it is better to explain the methodology of doing it right and let people plug in the numbers they thing are good for them. The biggest unknown is how long does it take you to do the work, and is that time competitive?

It is well known that most academic science groups have little money to throw around, so they are going to be looking to get as much work done for as little as possible.  But you need to set a floor of some sort under which you can survive and not starve while doing what you love. A fully loaded salary (something that includes the indirect benefits, 401K, overhead and profit of your employer) for an senior person in the civil service or in industry in the DC are is going to be $120,000+/year. In some place $80K would meet the same needs.  So starting out, a younger person would need to see a fully loaded package of 55-65K.

These sites might be worth a look: 


Congratulations on your first gig, Stephen! I agree that the GAG handbook is a great reference.

There's probably an obvious and very reasonable answer for this, but why aren't we allowed to discuss specific prices on the list serve? When I was in school for science illustration we never mentioned actual numbers, which was pretty damaging to my business because it's taken the better part of ten years for me to figure out how much to charge. And I occasionally encounter other science illustrators who barely scrape by because they charge half of what I do, which really isn't helping anyone. Is it just a taboo subject, or are we worried about price fixing?


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