Three factors, basically,


Three factors, basically, have an effect on your pricing decisions, Matthew:

1. ALL costs to do business (EVERYTHING from pencils and pencil sharpeners, to cameras, lenses, software, paper, envelopes, insurance, food, percentage of area of your home used strictly for business, portion of the phone used for same, dining with potential clients, gas, materials, supplies, the kitchen sink) That list sounded cute, weird, a bit over the top, but actually THAT and more gets left out of many expense calculations by independent businesspeople. But all these things and a million more reflect the REAL cost of doing business. I didn’t touch on advertising, marketing, maintenance, salary, etc.

2. Local pricing, what the market will bear, what your competition charges, the rate reference Wolfgang provided a link to.

3. What you need to pay the bills and survive in a highly competitive marketing environment/area.

OK, 4. What you want or need to make, whether it includes a salary, profit or even comes close to paying the bills for living, as well as the expenses for doing business. So, not only what the market will bear, but what you can bear.

That being said. It isn’t really rocket science. As all who have replied here have added factors and thoughts, realities and corrections, the IMAGE thing is important, but not always or necessarily, as Wolfgang “sort of” alluded to, etc. etc.

Initially your equipment and presence, air of confidence, take command attitude (with moderation ;-), the way you look, dress, conduct yourself and what you drive, how your website, business cards, equipment and teeth (I’m missing a couple and I’ve no doubt that sometimes plays against me, but I’m still not totally ugly πŸ˜‰ all have a bearing on your initial contact with potential clients. As the clich goes, You only have one chance to make a good first impression.

That quickly goes by the wayside if you do not produce, perform or deliver for a bounty of reasons, or excuses.

BOTTOM LINE! Don’t get into a habit of giving your work away; Do charge something. Don’t be the the local K-Mart Blue Light Special; Do offer reasonable prices based on what others in your marketing/service area are charging (unless, of course, YOU, YOUR EQUIPMENT and PRODUCT are all demonstrably superior); Don’t try to charge premium prices for mediocre work with consumer equipment and inappropriate or unprofessional behavior.

I would suggest that you have the confidence to set a day rate (regardless of your equipment) of no less than $500 with a half-day rate of no less than $300, for shooting/acquisition. But then that also has to factor in any additional expenses YOU experience, hiring for sound, grip, equipment rental, etc.) So, rate plus estimated/anticipated expenses.

I would suggest sticking with a $50 per hour editing rate, but get to the $100 level as soon as you can deliver ALL THREE, even though THAT clich says you can’t have all three: GOOD, FAST & CHEAP. At least be good, fast and affordable. I would add a fourth, dependable.

I would suggest dropping a consultation fee, or reducing it to $25 per hour. I mean how much consultation are you really experienced enough to offer at this time? Just saying. Also, subtract your consultation fee from the final bill … credit your client with that fee against the total bill when you’re hired for the job.

There are other considerations but first you need and want to get some work. You’ve been given a HUGE amount of information and seriously GOOD resources here. Enough to RUN with. Jump past the basic insecurities and go for it. Just do it. Get ‘er done. Try and fly. Stop beating the matter, and yourself up. Essentially you’re frustrated and a bit worried about going over the edge too much or not enough, screwing yourself or others. Mostly, OTHERS aren’t going to LET you screw them, so just accept that what choices you make and GO FOR NOW will also be invaluable learning and experience.

It NEVER gets perfect, but it does get a wee bit easier … sometimes πŸ˜‰

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