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Freelancer in need of charging advice

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Chris Campbell
Freelancer in need of charging advice
on Jul 7, 2017 at 8:06:25 pm

Hello Creative Cow,

So I'm recently getting my toes wet in freelancing without my contract company and would love some tips on how to write a proper invoice for my client. Most recently I've got one I'm negotiating with currently for a 5 hour family reunion shoot and editing afterwards.

What the details are is day-of shooting, editing and burning 6 copies to blu-ray. After some researching online I read several articles on how much one should charge and to be honest, much of it is conflicting. Some say flat rate, others say hourly, some say it should be the total of all your equipment (my setup is nearly $3300), etc. My client's budget is between $2000-$5000 dollars.

Any advice at all would be greatly welcomed and appreciated!

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Mark Suszko
Re: Freelancer in need of charging advice
on Jul 13, 2017 at 6:31:05 pm

You should bill hourly or by day rate.... but if the client wants a flat price, it's not hard to convert the hourly into a "package price". The trick is in doing an accurate enough estimate that you don't under-charge or over-charge, and that comes with experience plus getting as much intel on the project up-front as possible. Post time can vary wildly, depending on how much added work you'll need to do, say, repairing bad audio, or adding-in graphics, and creating and mixing music.

Relative costs and time shift between production and post-production; for example, if you can live-switch a multicam feed of an event, you're basically done at the end of the event, except for cleaning up any little mistakes and adding in some titles, maybe color-correcting, and bam, you're burning DVD's or BluRays or sending out FTP's. But, to get there ,that means the shoot's more expensive, because you've got multiple camera operators, a diector, and the switcher to rent. But you shaved maybe six hours of post production over having to ingest, log, and line up a multicam edit. So the estimate on hours is dependent on variables like those, and others.

The safest path I think is to make your best estimate, based on time x rate, then add in a few percentage point's worth of contingency fees.

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