Editing "Rate Cards"
I have worked for years straight hourly. Lately I have been asked for my "rate card" and need guidance on how to set this up.
Does "day rate" simply mean multiplying my hourly by ten? Or is there some special discount applied?
When does that day rate kick in, as opposed to straight hourly?
When I am considering an editor I may ask him or her what their rate is, which is actually totally meaningless to me as the producer. It merely tells me how they value their services, because only a fool, or someone incredibly wealthy, would hire an editor for a project and not have a good idea what the final bill would be. I wouldn't hire a carpenter to make a new deck if he only told me his hourly wage, right? So if they quote an hourly rate that is too high or too low from the usual, that's a red flag to me.
Assuming they quoted an hourly rate that was in the limits of normal rates for our market, (naturally high end TV commercials and other styles may be higher), assuming they quote a normal range rate, I would then describe the parameters of the project, graphics needed, music, what level of PITA the client may be, how many rounds or "reasonable" revisions there may be, etc., and then ask him or her what the "range will be", best case and worse case price they will charge. I need to know this range so I can do the bid, I'll take the worst case figure and add my mark up. If I feel it is too high for me to win the bid, or make a reasonable profit, I then need to shop it around to other capable editors who are comparable to the one I just got the range from.
I advise my clients who are DIY to never enter an edit situation where they don't know the final cost. I know this because I am soooooo old, I used to have to sit with the editors back in the day to supervise, which is now unheard of, and I can attest that editors come in different speeds, and who knows how long they need to render, or visit Facebook. So in today's world, where you don't sit with the editor, what kind of fool would accept "an hourly rate"? Perhaps if my brother was editing I could trust him. When I first started to do a lot of international traveling my mentor taught me to never get in a cab that did not have a meter. This is the same thing. The editor's hourly rate is meaningless because I have no idea if they are fast or slow. I've seen great and horrible editors who have both speeds.
So in sum, you can provide this rate card, which I find to be an anachronism, but to gain work from these prospects I think it's better if you include a few sentences that state you can provide an estimate range based on the post parameters of their email of X date. To protect yourself I'd say you should state limits, such as once certain things are approved, such as fonts, colors, IDs, backgrounds, music tracks, etc., and then the clients want changes, that is naturally an additional charge. I find this very necessary with my non-profit clients who have to committee all decisions to death. Or if my corporate client is low level, we do an edit to their approval, and then some higher ups want massive changes, if you spell out the revisions charges in advance, you will be OK. I know of no one nowadays who goes into post and is willing to be charged an hourly rate with no cap. That's business suicide.
I absolutely get all this, and is pretty much how I have always operated.
I have always quoted a range and specifics when requested.
Suicide indeed, not to do so.
The rate card request does seem a bit anachronistic, and I was only recently
asked to provide one by a large corporate client. Probably how they did it
for decades! My question again is how to calculate day rates
based on a basic hourly, and when that day rate kicks in
as opposed to straight hourly. My understanding
is there is some benefit day vs. hourly. Looking for clarification there
and how it is all calculated.
Yes, I too am confused as to what they are looking for. Perhaps if you were to provide an hourly rate, and then they guesstimate it should take X amount of hours, they will contact you and ask you to come in at that price? Also, I don't know what they mean by day rate because you can edit for as long as you want, until fatigued, or do an all-niter to meet a deadline, so that is a question mark.
However...I am mainly a DP and just the fact that they contacted you is worth salivating over. It means someone there thinks highly enough of you to ask for prices. So maybe it's best to quote a slightly lower hourly rate than normal, you can make it up on a future project, to get that first gig, then reel them in. That's how my cameraman mind would look at it. Get my foot in the door. Get them addicted to you.
I'd do research on them, their YT channel, and cut a quick sizzle reel of relevant samples and send to them. Tickle them up periodically. For them to reach out may imply that their present post service is on the bubble? Missed a deadline? Overcharged? Flirted with the boss's wife at the Christmas party? We never know. But a request for rates is like when I'm fishing and I see the bobber twitch. Gotta set the hook!
Sounds to me like they may have repeating work for you, and they want to know if there's a billing method that's cheaper or discounted for them. Everybody always wants to "commoditize" what we do as if what we do is the same as buying pallets of new tires or boxes of printer cartridges, etc.
You can just multiply your hourly rate by ten to get the day rate. As a sort of "discount" you can offer to charge the hourly rate on stuff that's less than a day's work, however, remember, there's an "opportunity cost" to work that takes up enough of your day that there's no other projects you can work on to fill the rest of the time.
There's also a typical discount in equipment rental that renting for the week comes with a free 1 or 2 days.
If this is a repeating weekly or monthly assignment, if you feel like it, you can offer ten percent off the normal day rate, AFTER the first three gigs. NEVER on the first gig.
Never EVER on the first gig.
Thanks for the responses.
BTW this was a gig I had already gotten, so the request for a formalized rate card was odd.
Per Mark's reply, they may indeed have been looking for a discount. Which they got anyway
after I figured that out ;-)