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Re: I need advice on establishing VFX/Compositing rates

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Mark Suszko
Re: I need advice on establishing VFX/Compositing rates
on Aug 11, 2006 at 8:15:03 pm

If you charge a flat rate I can guarantee you this: you will be too high or too low. Neither is good business. I would go hourly, perhaps with a minimum base rate under that. A lower hourly for render time is up to you, but I would say this about that: can you use the machine for any other work while it is tied up rendering their job? No? Then there's opportunity cost to consider, so I would choose not to discount the "render time rate" much if at all.

The basic formula is: learn and calculate all your true costs of doing business, including the things you don't normally think about. The others here can list those for you, but it's been mentioned here many times before, in great detail. You could keyword seach the archives for rates, etc...

Divide annual costs/ money by annual hours (less vacation, manitenance downtime, etc.) to get the break-even. Add a markup for profit of whatever percent you think is fair and the market will bear. Now you have a figure below which it does not pay to take the job or turn the machine on, rather, you would be more productive cold-calling or drumming up new accounts or flipping burgers than doing the guy's job.

There's exceptions to every rule: some folks do pro-bono jobs for the love of the subject, or as personal favors, or to use as a calling card to get seen by the people associated with the charity who DO pay for projects. Or just because it's a particularly cool creative challenge. Or because they need to look like they are still in business during a bad time and are hiding the fact they are not charging. (That secret is very hard to keep)

Be careful though of giving it away for free because you are a fan, if they can truly afford to pay you anyway. You will lowball yourself into a corner.

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