Let me know if you think this adds up.
You need a logo for your business. You find a place to do it cheaply, and here's what they will do for you.
First, you fill out a "creative brief" to inform them about your business. Their project managers will "contact you by phone...get additional details and review ideas."
They will put together some ideas, and several of their designers will, from the info gathered so far, each design a logo in their own personal style. The manager will review all the logos to make sure the proposed concepts all communicate the ideas you've outlined in your brief, and then you get to check them all out, choosing the one you like best. If you want, you can choose elements from all of them and request to have those incorporated into an even more awesome logo. You can do this as many times as you like until you are completely, 100% satisfied.
If you don't like the look of those initial designs at all, they will have a new set of designers create a new set for you to look at.
When all is said and done, you get a logo that is, well, it's something.
All for the low cost of $149.
This is a direct quote from the website:
"Because we take the time to get to know you and your business, our designers understand your needs and translate that into a distinctive logo design that uniquely reflects your business identity."
Say that they have five graphic designers work up designs for you. They also have an administrative team that you deal with when filling out the forms and connecting with the business. There is a project manager who reviews everything and connects with you as often as it takes to get things right.
They all need to read the brief or at least be briefed about the brief, so they have a sense of what they are trying to communicate. They need to formulate some ideas, do some research, and actually create a design. A manager has to review everything and okay everything, connect with you, and ensure that you are happy. If everything goes perfectly, then they have to do it up so that they can give you all the necessary files for you to use this in all your communication. They need a support team to store all this info, back up all this info, and disseminate all this stuff to you. They need to bill you, and they need to collect, and they need to pay employees. You know, the manager, the designers, the front end staff and the back end staff. They need to do a bit of advertising, and since they are doing all this through the Costco website, they probably pay some kind of fee to Costco. They likely have someone who cleans their offices and do their books too.
How many hours might all this take?
Let's assume they are billing at $50 an hour to cover everyone's time: designers, managers, overhead, reception, computers, software, network, cleaners, etc etc. That has to be the bare minimum they can do it at if there is a team of people. So what does this mean? It means you get three hours of their time.
They are going to get to know you and your business, give you several iterations of a logo that suits your business. They are going to keep doing it until they get it right. 100% satisfaction.
So those designers and managers (six people? Seven?) are each going to have about a half hour to forty-five minutes to get to know you, understand your business, and produce a distinctive logo that uniquely reflects your business.
A logo is the face of a business to the outside world, the first point of contact with a new customer. I think it's probably worth more than forty-five minutes of someone else's time.
UPDATE: After a conversation last night, we were thinking that this may be one of those things where the designers are freelancers who are only paid if their design is chosen. Oh, what a relief. So now someone might actually be spending an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes on your design. And how much might they get paid for this? Fifty bucks? But what about all the times their design doesn't get chosen? Isn't this a bit like a casino, except, for actual wages?