What should I charge?

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    • #43364

      Hello! I found this forum on Google and I’ve seen lots of experienced people giving their advice here, so I thought I would try it out!

      I usually charge $100/min of edited footage when I make promo or recap videos. (So a 5 min video = $500). That’s perfect for my target audience and the kind of videos I make. However, I was recently approached with a project that I am unsure how to price. Here are the details:

      8 to 10 videos at 15-20 minutes each. The content is educational lecture. We’ll probably spend a day (8 hours) filming all the videos, then my guess is that it will take about 60 hours of editing to get everything put together within the next 3 months (I’m a college student with classes so yes, it will take that long). With my *usual* pricing formula, the quote could be like $15,000!!! And that’s way out of my client’s budget. I understand that the editing for these videos will actually be minimal compared to my usual work :::::: https://vimeo.com/17085389 ::::: so it will cost less. But I also don’t want to be taken advantage of.

      If you need to know anything else, please let me know! Other than that any advice is very appreciated πŸ™‚


    • #181969
      Mike WilhelmMike Wilhelm

      Have you considered coming up with an hourly rate as opposed to a per-minute finished rate? Check out this rate calculator:http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

      I’d say $50-$100 /hour would be a reasonable rate, depending of course on what equipment you’re using.

    • #181970

      @Mike, That’s a brilliant website! Thanks for the link! I’ve always been slightly opposed to hourly rates only because I was living in a college dorm and my hours would often be interrupted by roommates or other things. But now that I have my own office space I think you’re right, I should consider that! I think $50/hour sounds reasonable… here’s my equipment list:

      Panasonic GH1 with multiple lenses

      Canon 550D with multiple lenses

      Tripods, monopods, etc.

      Boom mic, lapel mic, hand-held mic + Zoom H4n Recorder

      LED lighting

      Adobe CS5.5 on my 27″ iMac (I also have FCPX, but I prefer Adobe…).

    • #181971

      I’m kinda impressed with the amount of gear you have for a beginner, so to speak. That’s more than what most people use unless you’re borrowing or renting all that. All I can tell you is what I charge, which is the best way to come up with prices. Try and find people who do w the kind of work you do and see what they charge. I’m at 125 hour for shooting and 85 an hour for editing. So far no one complains πŸ˜‰

    • #181972

      I have so much equipment because it’s all I ask for on christmas lists, birthday lists, etc. and all the money I make from video production goes right back to buy more equipment πŸ™‚ You could say video is my life… because it is at the moment.

      Oaken Beeson, where are you located? That might make a difference. I feel like if I charge that much people might not take me seriously. But then again I’ve never tried. Also I’m only 21. I’m located in Milwaukee WI.

      I decided to charge $2500 for the entire project.

    • #181973

      You have to ask yourself, too…Do you want to do this work at these rates?  Word gets out and you will probably get referrals that you may or may not want to commit to.  Can you sub the work out (supervise it) and then mark it up X% ?

      I think your price is reasonable for the time you estimated.  This project will add to your portfolio so you can show the next potential client what they will get for their money and your time.

    • #181974

      i have recently came into a simular problem not an over all pricing but pricing for greenscreen editing

      I noticed its starting to hit my pockets but its not doing that when i do shoots in natual locations it when i do a green screen, between the rendering and editing green screen footage it makes the edit process brutal. i charged 400 for a 5 minute music video but i was editing green screen fotage on both of my macs for about a total of 18 hours in doing that pushed back a couple of my other projects i was working on baically what im asking is does anyone have advice about the editing of greenscreen and should i charge a put up and tear down fee

      i have a big arsonel of equipment also that is all paid off becasue of military duties

      equipment i have

      canon T2I mulitple lenses

      Canon xha1

      steadicam with vest and spring arm

      8-12 foot crane



      tripod dollies

      green screen set up




      a 20 inch imac with fcp7 and 13 inch macbookpro with fcp7and pc with sony vegas and sony music studio

    • #181975

      @Kolyssa: We almost have the same equipment but I am still lacking the lighting, lapel, and boom mic. But I do have a question though, I work and in company and I do their in-house stuff like video commercials, concert highlights, special events etc. and now somebody outside of work ask me if I can freelance with them. I don’t know how or what to charge them and I don’t know yet what kind of videos they want me to do. But anyways, is there any good breakdown on how you guys charge your clients? Like for the equipment that you are using, your time shooting, editing, skills, etc..

    • #181976

      To be honest I think its best for me that I charge each client differently based on the difficulty of a project. It’s good to meet with the client and determine the length of the project, how much special effects or titles and editing that will be required, etc. I would charge as little as $12/hour if the project just is taking some footage and slapping it together without a sweat. But once you get into green screen, color correction, music, titles, etc. then I can charge up to $100 an hour max. It’s easy to determine once you ask yourself, if I get paid $___.__ total for this project, would it be worth it? If clients’ eyes are popping out of their heads at your price, then you’re probably charging a bit too high πŸ˜‰

      But I just make an invoice and list two or three things: Charge for shooting, charge for editing, and sometimes charge for DVD authoring if they want it. For shooting I charge per camera.

      I’ve only been doing this for 3 years, and I’m sure you could get much better advice from a more experienced entrepreneur!

    • #181977

      Ironically, clients CAN and often do compare notes. They might not ALWAYS know each other but many do, and if one starts thinking I’m gouging HER while giving favors to another, bad news. It’s better for me to remain pretty consistent with my fees and charges, rather than trying to “customize” things individually. Sure, there are exceptions, but essentially my clients have a right to expect fairly equal treatment on the basic charges and fees.

    • #181978

      I had an idea to call different video companies here and ask for their prices (be it hourly or flat rate) to get an idea how the market in my place is. I love the idea that you just have an hourly rate for shooting and editing but my question is how do you come up with that number? If I am going to talk with future clients I want to be consistent just like what Earl said and probably adjust accordingly when I get more business coming in and I get better. I think I need to eat and rest for now coz I’ve been reading non stop in this forum and been bombarded with tons of info haha ; )

    • #181979

      This may be oversimplified daxalain but essentially you have to do the following:

      LOG all costs, payments, expenses, insurances, licenses, permit fees … ANYTHING that you spend money on in order to produce video commercially.

      THIS INCLUDES lunches, fuel, pens, pencils, software, hardware, office space rent, utilities, phones (cell AND land, either dedicated to business or your CPA figures on the percentage used for business), dinner, client samples, demos, paper, inks.

      THIS INCLUDES a percentage you’d set aside for investment and maintenance of your equipment, the SALARY you pay yourself … ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you spend in connection with doing video as a business.

      THAT total, divided by the total hours, on average, you plan to work video … say 40 hours a week x 50 weeks a year = 2,000 hours. So if your TOTAL expenses, ALL of them, came to $30K per year, realistically you’d want to earn $15 per hour.

      THEN you need to ask yourself if you need to make MORE than $30K a year (provided THAT figure covers EVERYTHING … costs, salary, investment, maintenance, essentials and more: probably NOT) You must be realistic about your salary and expenses, equipment investment, maintenance and repairs.

      SO, let’s say you come up with $60K a year, so you’d need to bill a minimum of $30 per hour.

      ALSO, you need to realize that you’ll not always be making money EVERY hour of that 40 hours a week 2,000 a year. Feast and famine, my friend. You’d probably WANT your average to be higher to make up for the hours you AREN’T generating income. So, you should probably DOUBLE the figure to $60 per hour.

      THEN I’d check area competition’s websites and rates and adjust up or down as necessary to be in the ballpark, but it isn’t necessary to be CHEAPER than everyone else … you cannot compete on PRICE ALONE. Set yourself apart by specializing, emphasizing and marketing your strengths, and charge accordingly.

      Realistically, you probably cannot charge $200 per hour if everybody else within your service/marketing area is at $60 or less, but you COULD possibly justify charging $70 to $80 per hour. If business falls off entirely, adjust down but if you manage to generate business and make money on a fairly consistent basis, then charge $70 or more.

      Confirm your expenses, including your salary and operating expenses.

      Average out your expenses divided by the number of hours you’ll work.

      Compare to your area’s economic levels and competition price guides.

      Adjust accordingly.

    • #181980

      @Earl: I think you covered everything. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    • #181981

      I agree, Earl, that is exactly what I needed to learn!!! Thank you!!!

    • #210085
      AvatarAviv Vana

      Kolyssa – just a general tip. I recommend slowly raising your rates every 6months to a year. Your experience grows and your value does as well. 

    • #210648

      I charge by the hour. However I also charge the first hour at an increased price. For example, I might charge $400 for the first hour of shooting then $150 for every hour after that.

      For editing I usually charge $75ph unless there is a lot of GFX then I will increase it.

      A good way to figure out how much to charge to figure out all of your overheads per year and break it down. Make sure your covering all your over heads, what you wnat to get paid and at least a 20% profit. Spend half a day really digging in to all this and you will soon have a clear understanding of what you need to be earning. Then you have to decide if the quality of your work is worth the amount you come up with. If its not, then dont go into it full time, build on your skills untill you feel confident about the price you knwo you need to charge. πŸ™‚


    • #213107

      It is also interesting to keep track of the time it takes to fulfill a project. Even if you do not charge per time.

      I recommend to use a time tracking app for that. As an example, this one called primaERP:https://www.primaerp.com

      It also generates reports and bills.

    • #213192

      For video projects like this, it’s safe to quote your client by an hour. That way you can control the time you will be working on with your project and guarantee that you are being paid by your hours rendered. It won’t also interfere with your school work and study hours. To know more about determining the proper rates to charge your clients, you can view this one: https://valoso.com/blog/how-much-should-i-charge-for-my-video-editing-services/ Hope this helps!

    • #213812

      I feel pretty out of place here among all you bigshots, then, since I do a lot of video production work for people at below minimum wage. My pattern is to claim a certain number of hours and a minimum-wage rate, but actually work a bit more than the hours I’m stating, which effectively reduces the rate to approx. $4.50 or $5/hour. I’m happy with that and the people who hire me are pretty happy with it too. BTW, I use Adobe software too – CC (Creative Cloud) plus Lightwave & 3ds max for 3d animation, and a bunch of other tools/equipment. I paid for the software, BTW, it’s all legal. It took a while to cover all of it, as you can imagine.

      In my experience everybody expects video editors to work for free or nearly free, and [also] expects the work to be done in a much shorter time than the work actually takes. I once did a job for free where I pulled an all-nighter trying to turn around the 15 VFX shots by the next morning, when the customer needed them. They got mad at me being ‘tired’ when I showed up on time looking exhausted. I said that I was tired because it took me all night to do the 3d animation, motion tracking, rotoscoping, etc. They said I was lying, that it couldn’t possibly have been that hard to do it. This from a client who had no clue how to do the shots themselves. I smiled and apologized for being slow at my work.

      That is typical of my experience. I sort of wonder what other planet all of you guys come from, where video/VFX artists are in such demand that people will pay $85/hour for that work. Here in Houston, Texas, the nice, high-paying employers have not been my experience. My experience is struggling to land jobs where I was not paid anything, followed by slowly assembling a positive reputation, getting paid $2 per hour and gradually climbing to $4 or at best $5/hour. I recently spent the better part of a week (about 20 hours) working on an architectural previz project in Unity 5, for which I was paid a whopping $64.00, and that was one of the best jobs I’ve had in recent memory. Seriously, it was great. I sincerely mean that, I say that without sarcasm, the employer was nice, friendly, good communication, great guy, patient with my taking five days to get everything just right, and they actually paid me the amount I asked for! I can’t really expect anything much better than that. I’m very grateful for these $3 or $4 an hour gigs because they are way better than the unpaid work which often is all I end up landing.

      I know what you may say – you’ll probably be angry with me for ‘dragging down the value of video editing’ and causing a ‘race to the bottom’. And I’m sorry if my work has had that effect. But I’m trying to build a career here and pay the bills, and doing this stuff is the best option I’ve got at this time. It’s the only way I can sustain my life. And yeah, I’m in the United States, I’m ‘unemployed’ officially even though I work 12 hrs/day most days, and I have a strong work ethic, a lot of enthusiasm for this type of work. It’s exciting. I just wish there were more gigs that I could land.

      If anyone wants to hire me, contact me at matthornb@gmail.com, we can discuss your project and maybe I can assist a bit. I’ve been editing videos for over a decade now and I’m getting pretty good at it.

    • #213826

      Hourly rates work for clients who understand the process, but for those that don’t, I use a day rate, or what I call a long day rate – as our typical work can easily be 12 hours for what we do. We don’t use hourly charging because we often have long breaks because we’re waiting for setups, and new clients rarely understand why they pay us lots of money to do nothing for a couple of hours – so with these, a day rate works better.

    • #214716

      What about an hour long exercise video? Single camera. What would you recommend to charge for something like this?

    • #214842

      This is all great advise. I have same question but different situation. I have a YouTube channel and a company came to me and wants me to do a live streaming show once a month and talk about their products. The show will be 1 hr long. What should I charge for this?

    • #215663

      I have the same question, how much should I charge? I have a client who wants a video look book and photos. I am mostly amateur right now in terms of gear and experience, but eventually want to be professional.

      My gear right now is:

      A Canon T5, a Nikon D3200, and an Iphone 6

      The Nikon and the T5 both have video capability, and I have used the iPhone 6 before for video

    • #215672

      I guess the real question is about how good you are vs what you are intending charging – vs what the client is expecting. The iPhone is a phone, it doesn’t impact on your pricing structure apart from cheapening it! How long will it take you? How much is a day, two days or a week actually worth? If it is going to take three days. How much would your client pay for the cleaner to work those hours? How much would his accountant charge for those hours – and you should be somewhere between the two.

    • #278535

      Just signed up to this and came across this forum. I've filmed look books before. They're quite simple. How much did you end up charging? I would say between filming and editing at least $100-$200 depending on how many outfits are being worm, which in turn determins how long the project will take.

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