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How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]

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Andy Hart
How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 14, 2005 at 8:09:56 pm

I know this is a question I have to answer myself, and that it is difficult for someone to decide what a fair price is on someone else's work, but here's my situation:

A health care software company wants a "prototype" for a 45-minute recruitment DVD authored by the 28th of this month. Supposedly all the footage is edited and all I would have to do is assemble it - except they need to film/edit a 4 minute intro from the CEO still and then can send that to me by the 21st (next Friday).

I think I would need to see samples of the footage to see if it's REALLY ready to author before agreeing to do the project or setting a price. Does this sound right? What's the best way to do this if I'm a five and a half hour drive away?

I have my own equipment. I know my stuff. Even if everything falls in to place I know I'll have to spend a lot of time on this project to get it done within their self imposed time frame. What else should I be sure of before I set a price? - And what kind of a price is appropriate?

THANKS!



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David Roth Weiss
Re: How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 14, 2005 at 9:46:16 pm

Andy,

Simple answer... Charge them a day rate and multiply by the number of days you think it will take. Add a half day as a contingency if you want and credit it back to them if you don't need it. They'll love you for that...

DRW


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Andy Hart
Re: How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 16, 2005 at 2:01:28 am

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it, I like its conciseness, and I read your profile David -so your experience adds further weight to your words- but as I am still extremely new in the field I want to hear more. So: Anyone else who'd like to take a shot at any or all of the questions in my earlier post should feel more than welcome to. Thanks again.



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David Roth Weiss
Re: How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 16, 2005 at 5:53:22 pm

Andy,

You asked for advice about what you should charge... I answered with the single most efficient cost estimation technique there is, based upon the age old axiom, "time equals money." As you noticed, that advice does come with many years of experience behind it.

If you want to know what to put on an invoice for the client, i.e. a partial or complete "breakdown," that's a completly different question. You can make that as simple or as complicated as you desire, but, keep in mind, that can be a lot of wasted time and effort. Nomally, so long as you make it clear to the client that you are providing all necessary services, equipment, and expertise, most will simply want to know what thats going to cost.

DRW



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Andy Hart
Re: How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 17, 2005 at 2:30:17 am

David, you answered my primary question deftly by replacing "what to charge" (a dollar amount of some type) with "how to charge" (use a day-rate); I already know more-or-less what I need to charge to make it worthwhile. Thanks for explaining that a simple invoice/breakdown works best (again using the day-rate idea) because I would've been bound to ask later. My next question - the best way for me to get their footage - is obviously via overnight mail, I just wanted reassurance that there wasn't an online file-service that would be user-friendly and reliable enough for both parties to use. I doubt it.

My only concern still to be addressed is this: Is it appropriate for me to ask to see the footage they have before saying "I'll do it for eight hundred a day and it will be done in ten days," (or something like that). What if they don't have any idea about editing and think their footage is fine, but it still needs tons of little adjustments made? If the footage is in bad shape I could end up in a position where I agree to complete a project MUCH larger than I can possibly finish in such a short time frame, OR they end up with an ugly DVD and I get booed.

I should have titled the post: "Is asking for a sample OK?" or

"Is getting the footage from a client before agreeing on a price bad freelance-DVD-authoring practice?"

When I call Monday morning and ask them to overnight their materials I would like to say:

"I would be happy to do this project for x dollars in x days if everything is edited correctly or y dollars in y days if it needs additional editing where there are major problems with the footage that would hinder authoring this project as we previously discussed. I'll let you know "x or y" immediately upon receipt of the footage, and that is the last point at which either party can cancel or change this contract."

Would that be inappropriate?

-Andy




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David Roth Weiss
Re: How Much Should I Charge? [First Corperate Freelance Gig]
on Oct 17, 2005 at 4:23:26 am

Andy,

All very good questions...

It is very professional to tell the client that you can't give them a final estimate until you've actually "reviewed" the material. I wouldn't be quite as specific, such as mentioning the words "additional editing," that could freak some people out. Just tell them that its always your practice to make certain that all technical considerations have been taken into account, so they can be assured that their final product will be as good as it can be. And yes, give them an estimate with a range that covers what you believe to be customary, and tell them you'll give them a firm price when you're certain of what's actually required to complete the job.

Hope this helps...

Good luck,
DRW


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