Paying the Price for a Professional PowerPoint Presentation


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Why professional PowerPoint presentation design costs what it costs...and how to justify the presentation prices and expenses by focusing on your Return on Investment and Value.

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  • Why professional PowerPoint presentation design costs what it costs...and how to justify the expense by focusing on your Return on Investment. 
  • Sometime around 400 B.C. the Greek physician Hippocrates declared, "Art is Long...Life is Short.“Nearly 2,500 years later, the aphorism still resonates to anyone who is committed to their craft, spending countless hours committed to their skill and practicing their profession.
  • Michelangelo toiled for four years painting the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling.J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter for seven years.And the New World Trade Center will be completed in 2014; over 12 years since the terror attacks of 9/11 (although construction on the New Freedom Tower started in 2006).
  • As a presentation design professional and trainer, I am keenly aware of the time and related costs involved in creating professional PowerPoint presentations.  But when I share my price estimates with business prospects, they are often surprised and struck with sticker shock.
  • A design colleague once asked me, "How would you like it? good?  Pick two.“The presentation process parallels the creative design process, but with the added component of writing, editing, and assimilating textual content & key messages.  To most people, PowerPoint is one of the fastest and easiest programs; almost anybody can create a presentation.  But using this powerful presentation program properly takes a rare blend of time, testing, and years of refinedexperience.
  • Creating a high-end graphical presentation can be a time-intensive task.  Sometimes the creative juices just flow perfectly and it comes together fast and bright.  Other times, it can be a black hole of wasted time, endless edits, and mind-numbing wheel-spinning.  Working among others- presentation by committee- can be even more laborious, as most people tend to "talk about it" rather than "act on it."  Applying effective Presentation Time Management techniques can help produce quality presentations that are balanced among time, quality, and budget.
  • Working from scratch, this project would take 40 hours!  And that's assuming everything came together fast and easy.  At $100/hour, the cost would be $4,000.Even at a race pace of 45 minutes average per slide (some faster/some slower), this 30 page deck would take 22.5 hours...or $2,250.Heck...simply spending 1 minute per page reviewing and looking at this 30 pager will take half-an-hour.
  • According to HR specialists, the average hourly pay rate for an experienced presentation designer or freelancer (skilled in Photoshop, business presentation writing/editing), is $50 to $60 per hour.  Less experienced designers are available for $30 to $50 per hour.
  • Creative staffing agencies like Aquent and Creative Circle often bill-out their clients $75/hour to $80/hour.
  • Most presentation design agencies prefer to bill by the project, but calculate their costs using hourly rates starting at $125/hour. Some agencies' top designers or consultants are billed at a rate of over $200/hour.  Presentation design agencies often have the advantage of a pool of experienced talent, and large graphics libraries for fore efficient and creative design.
  • The Presentation Team has several pricing models.  Companies wanting ongoing presentation support can save money using a retained-services / contractual working model.
  • "Why do we need to pay this much for a PowerPoint presentation?"  That question- typically asked by upper management to a middle manager- has killed numerous potential presentation projects at my firm.  Executives often don't realize the time involved in creating presentations.  They are either too detached from the behind-the-scenes development of presentations...or simply don't recognize the importance of a quality presentation.
  • To many executives, the "Presentation" deck is viewed as just another document or report. But presentation visuals are often seen by more people- internally and externally- than the average report.  From quarterly stock earnings reports, to training presentations, to investor pitch decks...the PowerPoint presentation is often on the front-line of corporate communications.  
  • But all too often, the development of these essential presentations are handled internally by administrative assistants or the employee directly.  The result: a mosh pit of tremendous text, boatloads of bullets, gregarious graphs, and irrelevant information.  Weak presentations subconsciously effect a viewer's perception a company.  Presentations should reflect the highest standards of any company.
  • Indeed, companies who have recognized the importance of "The Presentation" and its reflection on their brand and image (not to mention its effectiveness as a critical communications medium) have a solid edge over the competition.  Many Fortune 500 firms have a presentation design department, often working alongside the marketing, PR, and/or meeting & events departments.  They often have established guidelines for their presentation visuals (usage, colors, spacing, fonts, etc.) and a well-developed presentation template/theme.  
  • To a presentation project champion or manager trying to sell the value of a professional presentation to management, its vital to underscore the value that a well-written and well-designed presentation can have on the company's image.  A $10K investment in a professionally-designed analyst or investor presentation is a small price to pay for a communications tool that will generate exponentially higher revenue.
  • And even if the presentation never gets shown to an outside audience, its design should be no-less compelling.  Make it Great From the Start.Often, the content that is created for a small internal "discussion presentation" can be repurposed for a more important company presentation.  
  • Outsourcing a PowerPoint presentation to a professional presentation design firm can actually help companies save time and money, by allowing them to focus on their core competencies rather than relying on internal resources.  Marketing experts and graphics designers- skilled as they might be- do not have the same competencies as a presentation specialist.
  • And many presentations can live-on, long after the show is over.  More companies are uploading their key presentations to their websites, or sharing them on  Indeed, The Presentation is more visible than ever, and should be given the same level of respect and budget as Sales & Marketing collateral, websites, and corporate videos.
  • Presentation development is a blend of art and science.  If the good doctor Hippocrates was around today and tasked to deliver a PowerPoint presentation at a local college, I'm sure he would recognize the artistry, science, and time involved...and wouldn't think twice about partnering with and paying for a true presentation professional to get the job done right.
  • For more on this topic, check out 5 Strategies to Reduce Time & Costs.
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