A logo is a brilliant thing - literally. The idea that the essence of your business can be represented in a concise visual format and sent luminous and radiant into the world is one hell of a construct. Which is why you can't afford to get it wrong.
Here's how to get it right
Think about how much time you would need to explain to a designer what your business is really about, who you are, what you stand for, who your customers are, where you've come from and where you're going (If you haven't gone through a branding process this might take a while!)
Now imagine being the designer, sitting at the workstation, playing with shapes and colors and fonts in order to find several distinct concepts that encapsulate the ideas behind the business. How much time before you have something that is good enough to show the client?
Now imagine the discussions during the review process as ideas are evaluated, concepts explained and expanded upon. Imagine returning to the workstation and revising and honing and then repeating the review process until finally an idea stands above everything else, complete and beautiful and representative of your future. How much time would that take?
Add everything up and what do you have, 10 hours, 15 hours, 20 hours, more?
Now Imagine that the designer is you, with the same amount of experience and competency as you have running your own business.
Think about how much you might charge an hour for your time: $50, $100, $250, more?
Multiply the estimated hours by your hourly rate and you'll have a ballpark figure of what you should be spending on getting your logo created.
For me and my business that figure is around $3,000.
Now here's the kicker
If you don't have that in your budget right now, DON"T get a logo produced.
Most people on this list don't have a logo, they use their business name where a logo would typically be, I do too. In a world experienced through a screen, no logo is infinitely preferable to a bad logo.