How much to charge on Video & Motion Graphics

daxalain5's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 09/20/2011 - 7:24pm

Hello there! I am just starting to build my own business and started to invest on some equipment for video production. I have a potential client that wants me to do a couple of interviews (5-6 people) and have one of them speak while walking and showing the venue. They are a business group that has been here in my area for a long time now.

I will be bringing my lighting kit, audio (wireless senheisser lavs), steadicam, tripod & dslr for this shoot. Also, I will be asking them if they want me to do the graphics and/or animations for the project but the question is... How (much) should I charge them? This is my first professional gig outside my other work as an in-house videographer/editor.

Any advice are greatly appreciated!

Woody Sanford's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: 10/19/2010 - 7:33am

Nobody knows how long this job is going to take or what is really involved. So, its hard to just put a price on things.

You can "Estimate" how many hours it will take and price it down to the hour and come up with a cost. I would follow the advice to "Under promise and over deliver" I would also take in consideration that this a local gig that could possibly be a long term relationship (steady money).

You have to figure out what YOU are putting into this and then decide on what you want for a wage after that. Sometimes being "Competitive" in your market isn't all that.

Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 4 years 12 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

One thing to consider when starting out is you will have to save some of it for taxes, replacement cost of equipment and insurance. I usually charge an hourly rate of at least $75 per hour, that includes creating graphics and animating them. I would also change your terminology from first pro gig to first freelance gig, you are already a pro if you do it in-house for another company. Just saying.

Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 3 hours 43 min ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

To the advice from WSanford and Charles, with both of whom I agree, I suggest that you break down your charges into two categories: shooting and editing. I'd charge a minimum -- in our market $225 to cover your travel, setup and tear down, and up to two hours of shooting, and $75-80 for every hour after that. Have this paid at the conclusion of your shoot.

From that point on, the tape belongs to the client. If they want you to edit it, and they probably will, charge $75-80 per hour for that. Make sure you receive full payment for editing before any of your work leaves your studio. If the client wants to preview your work, have them come to you. Don't send a DVD "for approval" unless it is water marked and unusable to them. This may sound paranoid, but many a client has taken the approval DVD and never paid the videographer for the editorial work.

Finally, I'd make a point of giving the client your best-guess estimate for the cost of the project, but explain that there's no guarantee that the project will come in at the estimated cost. Assure the client that you'll let them know if it looks like the estimate is going to be exceeded by much.


daxalain5's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 09/20/2011 - 7:24pm

@Wsanford: I really like the "Under promise and over deliver" part that you said. I couldn't agree more! Thank you for the insight!

@Charles: Thanks for the advice! The reason why I said that is I just started as an in-house videographer and I guess I am transitioning from a hobbyist to a pro. But I think I need to call myself a pro now since I am making a living out of making videos. Thanks for that.

@Jack: This is a good piece of advice that I can use when I meet with the client next week. I will update you guys on how the deal ended up!

Thank you very much!

saltlakestudio's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 05/28/2012 - 5:38am

In my own opinion, it depends on what video will you make for your client. For example like video shooting and editing the minimum rate of that project is $225 plus your transportation and everything that's good enough to start with.

Yvon Robert's picture
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: 10/17/2010 - 1:35am


I found with time that each minute of a video project consume about 1 hour time for shooting and making montage plus rendering. Charge your travel expense, renting plus $75 per hour and if you submit for approbation insert or mark your project with avisible watermarkthat is impossible to cover or hide if the customer want to use it.