Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Open Forum › How much to charge on Video Projects (Freelance)
February 25, 2012 at 11:30 PM #44525
Hello there! I’ve been reading a lot of posts here on how to charge for video work but I still haven’t figured out what my rates are. I am not sure if I should charge per hour, per project, half a day rate or a whole day rate. I am working for a company for almost a year now and I do their in-house stuff like ads, videos, highlights, commercials, motion graphics etc.. Now my question again is, how much should I charge potential clients if I want to do freelancing?
I a DSLR user and I have a Canon t2i, a tripod, glidetrack, Steadicam, Zoom H4n, Canon 24-70 L, 50mm, 55-250 but I don’t have any lighting gear yet. I live in Reno, Nevada and I can say that there’s not a lot of competition here regarding this kind of business.
Any comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Thanks and have a good day!
February 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM #186458vid-e-o-manParticipant
daxalain5, there have been a number of threads on this forum about this subject, some just recently. If you enter ‘What should I charge?’ or ‘Charge for travel?’ into the search box (upper right of screen), some links will direct you to previous discussions. This will give you some discussion of how working videomakers charge. Keep shooting.
February 26, 2012 at 9:19 PM #186459EarlCMember
Check out THIS THREAD. It’s not so much the GEAR you have, but how well you can utilize it and the final production that results. IMHO the best way to price my services and products is based on hourly rates, based on my experience and expertise, the scope of the project and/or flat fees using a formula that experience tells me how long the project will likely take times my hourly rates. While equipment does matter in factoring in my costs and other elements that generate my hourly rate, it isn’t always THAT important to the client.
February 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM #186460
@EarlC: I have been reading lots of posts for the past 3 hours and I keep seeing you provide good advice/explanations to everyone. I saw that thread earlier and I am still unsure of what to charge. I saw that you charge $70 per hour, is there any breakdown on how you came up with that number? I was thinking of coming up with a flat fee too but when I read some of the posts here going for the hourly rate is the best way to go. But anyways, any advice from you will be appreciated and I thank you again for responding! 🙂
February 26, 2012 at 9:48 PM #186461
Also, I wanted to say that doing some research like calling video production companies around here will give me an idea on what/how I am going to charge. I just started doing this and I was thinking of building my connections/network first and charge not as high and not too low and adjust accordingly. It’s been hard to come up with a price that I will be comfortable with based on my experience, skills, equipments etc. I am thinking of going above $60 dollars per hour (not sure if I should charge a diff rate for editing) but at the same time I want to explain the clients on how I came up with that number etc.
February 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM #186462EarlCMember
daxalain, see the OTHER post, I responded to you extensively there.
Also, as I noted previously, my FLAT FEE and most everybody’s is based on what their experience tells them as far as how long a project might take, then taking THAT estimated number of hours and multiplying by my hourly fee. Same rate, different approach. Also, I don’t HAVE to justify to my clients HOW I came up with what I charge, I just need to think I’m worth it, be realistic about it and provide them with as fair a price as possible, TO BOTH OF US.
There IS a certain truth to “whatever the market will bear” as well.
February 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM #186463JackWolcottParticipant
Daxalain, you might find this article — http://www.videoccasions-nw.com/cost_analysis.html — which I published several years ago, to be of some help.
At its core is the notion that before you can set your fee schedule you better know what your costs are.
EarlC’s advice, as always, is excellent and his point that your clients don’t ever need to know why you charge what you do is very well taken.
I strongly advise that you charge for everything you do by the hour and that you separate charges for shoot from those for editing. Especially in corporate work it’s quite common for the client to abandon a job after it has been shot and before it has been edited, or to decide to do the editing in-house. If you’re paid up front for the shoot you haven’t wasted your time.
February 27, 2012 at 2:11 AM #186464
@Jack: I saw the article that you did hours ago and even saved the link. 🙂 Anyways, thanks for the advice and I might do that in the future when I freelance. Question tho, how much should be an in-house videographer worth if he does concert highlights, promo vids, special events vids, motion graphics? I use my own equipment and recently they gave me a 3k budget to my some of the equipments that I need. I work hourly for them but I think my job should be salaried. I have an evaluation in 2 wks and any advice from you guys would be greatly appreciated!
December 22, 2015 at 7:01 PM #213193Bobby_LinMember
Hi! It really depends on what type of video projects you’re working on, your time availability and among other factors. If most of your projects are done for commercial business organization, the usual rates that works for this type of project is the fixed rates. Most business organizations want to see how much it will cost for the entire project to be done. Try to read this article for a step by step guide in charging your clients for your video editing services rendered. https://valoso.com/blog/how-much-should-i-charge-for-my-video-editing-services/
May 14, 2017 at 10:40 PM #215571
May 15, 2017 at 10:32 AM #215576paulearsParticipant
In the UK, the advice for a self-employed freelancer is to NEVER charge by the hour. A number of reasons, but our current tax system – run my Her Majesties Revenue and Customs, uses hourly pay as an indication that you are NOT self-employed and it really impacts on your tax liability. So here, hourly pay for the creative industries is a no no.
However – for me, there is also a better reason. Clients have NO understanding of how much things cost, or the time taken to do it. Let’s say your project involves the modest request of ten DVDs. I’ve got a number of duplicators here, but printing for me means one at a time, so I tend to do it when I’m in the edit suite working on something, and can reload a blank ever minute or so. To duplicate that ten DVDs could take quite a while if you have to fire up photoshop design the DVD and then print it – so how much is an hour of sheer boredom and little technical input worth? If you load up the vehicle, go off to shoot, then you should be thinking about the job, not clock watching and recording the times. I charge by the day. I occasionally charge for a half day, but most half days take a day start to finish, and you cannot do anything else. I have a day rate, a long day rate and a VERY long day rate. In UK money – my cheapest day rate is £140. A long day rate is £180 and a very long day £240. I decide and do not publicise where the break between day and long day comes. The reality is that a 10am start and 4pm finish is a full day – which is usually 5 hours with time off for eating. I’ll move to the long day if the start gets brought forward or the end moved later. Clients understand the concept of days but they don’t know how long things take – so I’ll give them the rates and then an estimate of time – shooting is likely to be 2 days for two people, and then three days editing – depending on the project. I don’t detail the hours. If the shoot is disorganised on the clients behalf, as so many are, then the 2 days for 2 people is going to be at the higher rate. If on the other hand we turn up shoot and are out early each day, I’ll charge them the lower rate. Hours only come into it when using certain union people where their agreed pay rates are based on X hours minimum call – so they might be 4 hour blocks and we go into the next one, then stop one hour in – I get billed for 8 hours. My billing needs to take this into account for bumping up a bit and passing on. I don’t mark up much – if I am going to charge £240 – then I’ll usually pay out about £200 to whoever I use, the extra covers waiting 30-60 days for payment.
This also makes it work better when a client sits in on the edit. Pressing a button and doing a render looks like you are doing nothing – so wandering off for a coffee appears to be you taking a long break and charging for it. I realise it’s probably different in other countries, but this is how I do it here.
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