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Did I screw up???

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Michael SchockerDid I screw up???
by on Feb 23, 2008 at 8:01:19 pm

I shot and edited a 60sec commercial for a local business for $150. It's going to go on a new search engine called Yodle.
Here is the question. While I was there they asked me if I could update there 5 year old 10min consult video. I of course said sure. The next question was how much?
I shoot video in the military. Have been doing now for about 4 years. I just bought the XH-A1 HD camera.
This was my first "real good paying" job.
So I said $500
They said that's a good price....
A day or two later I was thinking about it. I'll probably put about 60-80 hrs into it. I also thought about my equipment costs and all that.
So I e-mailed them and said that my new price would be $2000. It's been 3 days and I haven't heard from him.
The $2000 would give him all the rights to the video and footage. I would also give him a copy for their website.
I'm going to wait until Monday to call and see what they think.
In everybody's opinion what should I do?
Thanks in advance for all your time.

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Greg BallRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 24, 2008 at 12:02:14 am

First of all $150 for a :60 spot is way too cheap. How long did that take you? You are basically working for about $6.00 per hour. Why not get a job at your local Burger King?

You need to figure out what your hourly editing rate is and STICK TO IT!!! You need to figure out what your Daily shooting rate is and STICK TO IT!! Some folks have a 1/2 day rate, but I always contend that I can't go and find another 1/2 day shoot, so I only charge a day rate.

Once you quote a price, that's your price. You can't go back to your client and tell them no, it's no longer $500 it's $2,000. You've lost all credibility. Consider this a lesson learned. You've most likely lost this client. Imagine shopping for a used car, you get a good price of $10,000. The next day the car seller tells you it's now $18,000. Would you want the car?

By the way, how did you arrive at $2,000 price? Based on what? You need to figure out your rates and guess what?...STICK TO THEM!! In my opinion $2,000 was too low as well.

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michael schockerRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 24, 2008 at 2:22:00 am

The 60sec one took me a total of 10hrs. Most of that was waiting on talent.
Thanks for being honest.
The $2,000 was based on $500 for the equipment and $15/hr based on this job taking 100 to complete.
But like you said before I accept another job I need to really sit down and crunch some numbers and get some good rates.
Just curious, what would you charge for a 10min video consisting of a few graphics, interviews and b-roll?

Thanks again.

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Zane BarkerRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 24, 2008 at 6:59:09 am

[michael schocker] "Most of that was waiting on talent. "

That is still taking up your time, keeping you from other work.

$14 is WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY to low to be charging an hour. As a freelancer you are not just making money to eat and pay rent, you need to be charging enough money to cover all your other business expenses, cover health insurance, equipment insurance, retirement savings, etc etc. ALL the things that are covered by an employer, YOU now have to cover.

Give this site a look over.

Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!

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michael schockerRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 24, 2008 at 2:36:04 pm

Thanks Zane,
I guess I need to charge like a real video business would charge. Right now this is a side job. I have a full time job in the military. But, a full time video business would charge for all those expenses you brought up.
I think I'm going to tell them I'll do it for $500. But they have no legal rights to do anything but play the video in the stores.
That way I should be able to get them to buy a version for the internet and maybe a commercial or two for tv.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 25, 2008 at 5:56:03 pm

I don't think that's going to work for you either; what you're talking about for this gig is really a work-for-hire, they are going to own everything once its done, you get paid just once, so make it for a reasonable amount. A big number for the quote can intimidate folks, but one of the things you have to get across to them is that the number is not all profit to you, but reflects mostly expenses, expenses that anybody would have to pay, just the same. The car salesman does not make $20K on selling a Taurus, does he? No, he's making maybe a few hundred bucks in commission, selling you $19K worth of car, get it? So do not be afraid to quote a number that seems "too big". "It costs what it costs", and they can either afford it or they can't.

I agree with the others that I think you pretty much killed this deal and client forever. You have zero bargaining power. Maybe if you say it was a misunderstanding and it was $500 for the shoot you were quoting, but a separate rate for the edit... still, I think it's blown.

Consider it tuition in the school of life. And consider yourself lucky, because some folks pay WAY more. The business amd marketing section of the COW has a ton of threads related to rates, how to set them, how to negotiate, etc. You could do worse than spend a few hours browsing the archives, because those guys are very smart and experienced. Figure your rates. Think thru the hours of the project in all aspects next time, and add some markup for profit, not just break-even. Then you'll be much better prepared for all the following opportunities. And keep your chin up; everybody starts where you are now, it can get better.

Best of luck to you.

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Greg BallRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 25, 2008 at 6:59:41 pm

No knowing all of the particulars, it's tough to say how much I would charge. I have over 25 years of experience in comparison to you, and I know what my expenses are and what I need to make on an hourly basis and as a daily rate. Some also depends on where you work, and what the going rate is in your area. $15 per hour is even too low for some highschool kid to charge, let alone someone doing "professional" work.

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George SockaRe: Did I screw up???
by on Feb 28, 2008 at 2:31:13 am

Just had my sewer roto-rooted. CAN$175 for 1/2 hour. Time to change careers

George Socka

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Steven DumalaRe: Did I screw up???
by on Mar 1, 2008 at 5:10:18 pm

One thing that i have learned from this forum is to never give someone a price, when they ask how much for....., You will want to get all the details of the project before giving any kind of price.

"While I was there they asked me if I could update there 5 year old 10min consult video. I of course said sure. The next question was how much?"

You were good to say sure, but when they say how much, you would want to meet with them and see what the old video is and what they would like to do to update it. Could they have just wanted to put it on DVD from VHS, maybe use the original tape and just update some of the graphics, or to re-shoot and edit a whole new video. As you can see there can be many varables.

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frank johnsonRe: Did I screw up???
by on Mar 15, 2008 at 12:06:45 am


Try to put yourself in a position to lead your client. Ten minutes is WAY to long for most corporate videos. A 3-5 minute video is much more watchable but not necessarily any cheaper to produce.

How are the going to use the video? Perhaps breaking it up into four 1.5 minute segments will serve them better for web use.

Leave yourself room to outsource. What if you decide you'd like to add an animation or logo fly? You'll probably have to hire an animator. Sometimes it works better to sell your client on your ideas instead of just reacting to there requests

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