Client ownership change, they want their files

hello all:

i have a regular client that recently underwent an ownership change. the new owners are a larger company with it’s own in-house designers. the work they send me had slowed to a trickle and they’ve told me they won’t be sending me much work anymore because of this. they’ve been a very good client for years and that’s fine, things happen.

here’s the issue: they now want their source files. i’ve been storing and maintaining their files on my hard drive since 2014. I didn’t mind doing this as long as they were a regular client in good standing but things have obviously changed. i had a conversation with the marketing manager with the new ownership company and explained to her that it would take some time to transfer the files (34GB worth) and i would charge my hourly rate for this. i also told them that i expected to be compensated for storing and maintaining the files for the past 6 years, and she was amenable to that. i’ve been careful to not seem as if i’m holding their files hostage, but in essence if they don’t fork over some money for my time and disk space i’m not bothering to send them all their files.

my question is, how should i calculate what to charge them?

thanks in advance for any help or suggestions.

First you might need to define “all” of the files.
Unless supplied by them, you can’t give them font files.
Nor can you give them any images you may have licensed in your own company name.
Sorting that all out could take a lot of billable time.
But if they supplied it all and you just have to plop em onto a file transfer service, then figure your hourly. That’s what we do. Actually we post em to an onsite FTP server and make them download them. That way you aren’t wasting time and bandwidth on the upload. But if you don’t have that option, a terabyte drive and Fedex/courier could be an option. Bill for the drive and kiss it goodbye. :slight_smile:

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thanks but my question was about how to calculate a lump sum for storing and maintaining their files for the past 6 years.

My contract stipulates that I keep their files for one year. Whether I keep them longer or not, the contract says one year.

You’re attempting to retroactively charge them for something that you’ve been doing for free for six years?

I’m surprised they agreed to that, but maybe it shows they’re willing to end things on good terms. So to answer your question directly, unless it was agreed upon in advance (which it wasn’t), I wouldn’t charge them anything for past storage.

What I would do is charge them an hourly fee for assembling things and an even larger fee for the files themselves (maybe my hourly fee for assembling everything x 3). Personally, I’d be reluctant to turn over my files to a client with new ownership that was saying good-bye. It would depend, though.

And as PrintDriver mentioned, you likely can’t just turn over fonts and artwork that you only have a license to use. The (former) client would need to buy a license themselves from the owner. Even though clients often want the files, more often than not, they don’t have the knowledge nor the software to use the files, even if they buy the font and images licenses.

For what it’s worth, since this is an old client with a new set of people (essentially, a new client). I’d as for the money up front.

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