How much should I charge?

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    • #43311

      VIDEOMAKER EDIT (4/22/13): We have created a online calculator to help address this question. Try our Video Rate Calculator here.

      Hello, I'm a video editor/videographer I have no idea how much to charge by the hour. So far i just charge my clients depending on how long and how much effects they want on there video. I us:

      – FCP (Final Cut Pro Studio)
      – Mac Dual Core.
      – Canon XL1s
      – Adobe Master Collection CS4

      Here's a sample of my work:

      Hope to get s response.

    • #181662

      Some questions:

      1) Charge for what – Wedding package? TV Commercial? Corporate Video? Nusic Video?

      2) Where are you? Different places have higher costs than others. Sometimes it works in the opposite way of what you’d think (some larger markets have more competition, driving prices lower).

      The equipment and software you use is irrelevant to the price you charge – If your final product is worth $5000, you should charge $5000 regardless of actual cost of production.

    • #181663

      Hey birdcat, WTF??? You didn’t say a thing to help with Bruce’s dilemma. You sound like a politician. Lot’s of verbiage with no substance. If you have nothing meaningful to say, don’t say anything.

      Sorry I can’t help you Bruce. I have the same problem, but I like your demo. You might try the politician’s way of doing things. When asked how much the project will cost, reply by asking how much he intended to spend. It works for me more often than you might think.

    • #181664

      Wizard, watch your mouth. It’s OK to have an opinion and to express yourself in an professionally courteous manner, but there’s no reason to “go off” on a poster or moderator just because you’re emotionally invested in the topic. And to come onboard and pop off then say you can’t help well, seems a similar non-service IMHO.

      Bruce asked valid questions as there are often different rates for different projects and productions, not to mention dealing with the competition. AND, depending on where filmer is located, what market he is pursuing (entertainment, commercial, events, self-marketing, etc.) there are a LOT of unavailable FACTS that need to be known in order to provide a more specific line of response.

      And WHAT might I ask is so “political” about a TRUE statement that equipment and software has NOTHING to do with pricing, and that if a person values his time or production or experience at $5,000 even if it is from a cellphone and moviemaker on a PC, then $5K should be the price.

      And then you come along with “ask what” the potential client intends to spend. While this might give somebody a basis for what they’re willing to do, or accept for the project, it still doesn’t always provide the magic number necessary to conduct a valid business agreement for services.

      I ALWAYS ask what their budget is for a project, but they either have worked with me before, done their research and know my general rates, or they’re flying by the seat of their pants. $200 per hour for shooting (generally speaking) and $100 per hour for editing (generally speaking) might be too big or too small of a “ballpark” but it is close to a valid response for somebody who is just fishing.

      Serious people will tell you up front what their budget is and ask what you can do for that amount of money. This is what actually works more often than you might think.

      Just remember, keep your posts a little less intense and treat fellow professionals the same way you’d treat your favored clients and the world, and this forum, will continue to be a pleasant place for society. 🙂

    • #181665

      Another question: Why is it that I get the message “USER NOT FOUND” when I click on Ronzig’s avatar. Is this the result of somebody who is dinking around with the forums, and not actually a member? Would seem most legitimate (non hacker) types here are actually providing valid information regarding who they are, when they joined and how many posts/responses they’ve made over the years, or if they JUST CAME ON. Curious, that.

    • #181666

      Ronzig –

      A few things.

      1) My name is Bruce – I don’t know what Filmer77’s name is.

      2) Earl was polite – I don’t know if I would be as genteel in framing a response were I not a moderator here.

      3) I liked Filmer77’s video but my questions still remain – What you are producing, where you are and what the competition look like have a direct bearing on the prices you can charge (ask some of our more successful contributors like Earl Chessher,, Grinner Hester, Jay Micheals, Wolf Porter, etc… their opinions about what can be charged in their particular markets).

      4) I will say that based on your work on Vimeo, I think you should be concentrating on your skills – as a videographer and/or editor – before you think about competing for paying gigs in a major market like Toronto.

      5) I am not a politician, nor do I play one on TV.

    • #181667

      LOL! Ronzig, all those questions that Bruce asked are completely valid in determining how much to charge.

      I sorta disagree about equipment being irrelevant though. If I had a RED camera and a HPX170, I would absolutely charge more if the client insisted on shooting with RED. If I have a bangin edit bay, I will charge more than someone who doesn’t, but then again, that’s because I can offer you more.

      I’d say you’re worth about $15 an hour.

    • #181668

      Ho Hum. seems I ruffled some feathers on some delicate egos. Well parrrrrdon me for living! Oh boo hoo, can’t find user and that’s MY FAULT I suppose. I’ve been a paid member for several months and avidly read the articles here. I’ve also extolled the quality of the Videomaker site to several of my friends who shoot video too. Seems to me if there’s an error, it’s at the Videomaker end.

      I did add some detail to my profile though and here’s my YouTube page.

      Didn’t realize toes were so sensitive though. Soooooo sorry. I really do try to learn and improve, but as for the competing for paying gigs comment, I’ve had several that have earned me anywhere from $20/hr to $100/hr

      I realized my limitations as a beginner and charge accordingly. Perhaps someday I’ll earn the big bucks , but I doubt it. I do my work primarily for the joy it brings me and my viewers. But then again I didn’t solicit any of my paying clients, they sought me out! And like Bruce, I have to do a lot of guessing since helpful advice on the topic is difficult to come by. I think I tend to under charge because I appreciate each opportunity to practice and treat each as a learning experience since I DON’T KNOW IT ALL and don’t expect I ever will.

      In the mean time, if the effort that has been put into chastising me had been directed towards answering Bruce’s question, we’d all be much further ahead.

    • #181669

      Ronzig, there is a difference between “ruffling the feathers” of someone with a “delicate ego” and showing such disrespect. Granted there are certainly arrogant people in this industry, but not nearly as arrogant as you, and they at least have skills to back it up. Judging by your Youtube, you are not worth $100/hr. Not even $20/hr. You’d be lucky to get a non-paying internship.

      “I think I tend to under charge because I appreciate each opportunity to practice and treat each as a learning experience”

      Exactly why you fail to see why Bruce’s questions were relevant. Providing your skills and expertise is WORK, not just a learning experience. Clearly you’re an amateur who doesn’t understand the industry.

      “if the effort that has been put into chastising me had been directed towards answering Bruce’s question, we’d all be much further ahead.”

      Nope. He didn’t give us enough information to answer the question. And I don’t know why you still think the original poster’s name is Bruce.

    • #181670

      As to who the original poster is, Youtube list the uploader as kdydk. The reel is listed as that of Juan Martinez. Don’t know if they are one in the same. Quiznos and Red Bull stand out in the video so there was some serious work there.

      As the others have said, the questions asked in response were help form a more appropriate answer for the original request.


      As for ruffled feathers? Moderators were doing there job. Being a free spirit does not allow one to treat others with disrespect. This greatly reduces the respect others would return to you. It seems you are the one that had the feathers tussled. Consequences are the reaction of choices so choose wisely.

    • #181671

      Professional courtesy and respect are key to a successful Videomaker forum experience. Learn to tone down the disrespect and show a modicum of maturity (age and maturity are not always relevant) and you can say pretty much whatever you will. Overdo it and find yourself in further jeopardy.

      Please, I urge you, keep further posts in line with the quality and consideration that the vast majority here maintain and focus on the actual originating post and/or subject. It would absolutely be in your best interest. Attitude doesn’t always work out, trust me.

      That duck feeding footage, hand-held, right?

    • #181672


      You will find the usual ‘Dodge City’ style of posting doesn’t fly around here. Strong opinions are welcomed and expected. However, we keep it very civil around on these forums and give noob’s, hobbyists, intermediate and professional videographers the respect they deserve. The gentlemen who have given their responses have all given solid advice. Take it or leave it.


      If you are in the US the best place to start for determining the base hourly wage for your profession (i.e. videographer, editor, cameraman) is to go to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and look up the average wage for those jobs in your state. Yes, you must take your equipment in mind but that’s just one factor. You must also include your current level of expertise and what is the maximum amount your area of operation will bear. That means if you live in California where production is common and the expectation is higher, you may be able to charge more than say a mid-sized town in rural Mississippi. The price you charge will initially be what you expect will compensate you for your equipment usage, time, labor and what will render a profit after all the bills get paid.

      When you have built a solid reputation as a proven production professional, you will be able to increase your fees. But in the current economy, you’ll have to be worth the expense yet affordable at the same time. That’s a fine and strange line many of us who’ve been at this a while are walking as well.

      Bureau of Labor Statistics

    • #181673
      Grinner Hester

      Just stick to your hourly rate. If offering flat bids per project, just do the math… multiply your hourly rate by how long you think it’ll take you, rounding up a bit for revisions and such.

      If you don’t know what you are worth per hour yet, you are not ready to freelence. Staff until ready to freelance then freelance until ready to own a business. Strangers on the internet can only guess at your worth. You know the average rates in your market and you know know if you are above or below average. You are the only one that knows your overhead and your clients’ budgets.

    • #181674

      “Hey birdcat, WTF??? You didn’t say a thing to help with Bruce’s dilemma. You sound like a politician. Lot’s of verbiage with no substance. If you have nothing meaningful to say, don’t say anything.
      followed immediately by:
      “Sorry I can’t help you Bruce. I have the same problem”
      says a lot.
      So, to quote the person I’d nominate for @#$%%$ of the month:
      “If you have nothing meaningful to say, don’t say anything.
      If you don’t know what to charge, I’d suggest you write a business plan. There are resources in your area that can assist. The best shooter does not always come out on top in the business world, but the guy with the best business plan usually does well.

    • #181675

      filmer77, enjoyed watching your video. There was a number of different types of video workshown, commercial, ultimate sports, wedding, music etc. plus lots of video effects. Ifound all the different parts entertaining.I assume that this is designed to be a promo for your video work. Before deciding what to charge a customer, you must first get a customer. How you promote yourself and your work should be designed with the type of customer in mind. If you are targeting corporate busines, your video should exemplify this type of video. A promo for wedding work should show wedding/love/romance etc. Perhaps separate videos for each division of your work, although it involves additional effort, couldproduce the opportunities formore work.Targeting your customer can produce additional work, revenue and therepeat business that allows you to increase revenue/hour. If you search these forums you will findmore information about a targetedapproach to find business. I know that EarlC and other experienced videomakers have posted on this subject. As for your original question about what to charge, everyone on this forum has wrestled with this and come to their own conclusion. The more video that you sell the more confident that you will become andthe more comfortable you will become charging more. Unfortunately you probably won’t get an exact dollar per hour figure answer to your question buthopefully all of our posts will head you in the right direction with your decision on how much to charge. Keep shooting.

    • #210026

      Hey Earl,


      Really liked what you had to say here, and your post actually gave me a better idea of what I should charge for a project that I am doing for someone. This topic piqued my interest because if the client likes what I produce, he offered to hire me to edit full time. What I have, though wouldn't really be considered full editing, I am simply adding subtitles, and sequencing some video segments. Nothing fancy, but finding a reasonable number to charge was pretty improtant to me because showing that I researched the topic a bit will make it more justified. Thanks for your post.



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