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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.