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Price for this job?

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Krissy CarstensPrice for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 2:53:04 pm

Hello, I posted a question about a month ago, I sent out my proposal and feel I need more advice. Thanks in advance.

I'm a graphic designer but have done some small video projects in the past. I was approached by a potential client wanting 130-150 1 minute commercials for his custom pen website. I attached the following proposal, thinking my rates are fair and he's telling me to quote him lower (even though he won't get other quotes nor tell me a budget he has in mind!) Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you!!

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$225 per 1 minute commercial (10% discount based on 150+ commercials, anything under 150 is $250)

(includes script, filming, producing, directing, equipment, editing, rendering)

Minus $20 per commercial if script is provided.

I viewed a few videos from discountmugs.com and I could guarantee a higher production value than their commercials.

If the price fits into your budget, the next step would be to hire an actor/actress. Unless you have someone in mind you would like to be the spokesperson, I highly recommend that I hire a professional. I'm hoping to find one for $10 per commercial (based on 150 commercials is $1500 and I'm estimating 30 hours of filming required for this project.)






Sample of what he showed me he wants for 130-150 of his products.


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Steve BrameRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 3:25:34 pm

After being burned over and over again by the "give us a discount on this job because we've got many more down the line and you'll get them too" bug, our stock answer now is, we'll give you a discount on the 3rd video, how's that?".

Still, if you are actually getting a legal contract with them to do the full quoted quantity of videos, and you have a fixed shooting location where the 'talent' can just walk in, sit down and deliver, that amount may be OK. I mean, the total winds up being approximately what a firefighter makes in an entire year.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Krissy CarstensRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 3:45:19 pm

You think I'm quoting too high? I know the total adds up to be alot, but this project may take up to year depending on the shooting. He even mentioned to me that he wants his Sales rep to be the actress. Who knows the time it will take for her to deliver 150 commercials.


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Steve BrameRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 4:06:58 pm

"You think I'm quoting too high?"

Not at all! But you are asking a very subjective question. You could ask 100 video producers, and you'd probably get 100 different answers. Though the industry has some price 'norms', everyone's cost for doing a 1 minute video will be different, and everyone's expectation of their work's worth will be as well.

Having actually been a firefighter in another life, I always have that as a comparison. Some might scoff at that, and some will even deem their video production talents to be worth more than that. And that's OK. That's for everyone to decide on their own.

Some may laugh at $33,000+ for 150 1-minute spots, for many different reasons. Others may think - "Hey, there are those that risk death on a daily basis for that amount a year!".

Perspective is important.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Steve BrameRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 4:09:16 pm

Then again, there are those in the industry that still charge $25 for a C-47.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Gary HazenRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 6:01:12 pm

[Krissy Carstens] " He even mentioned to me that he wants his Sales rep to be the actress."

Based on this information I would make a new proposition. Give him a fair price for a one day shoot and a couple days of editing. Treat the project as a pilot to see how it works out. The sales rep may be able to knock out 2 presentations in a day or 20. Whatever it turns out to be use that for a benchmark for estimating the full job (150 videos).

I wouldn't bill them per video when using amateurs for on camera talent. Between the number of shooting days and the untold hours in the edit searching for a take that works you'll burn up any marginal profit you expected.


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Steve BrameRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 7:06:52 pm

We tend to charge a bit more if the client wants to use employees as 'talent', and once you've shot and edited quality talent as well as employees acting as 'talent', you'll understand why. The shoot itself can run MUCH longer than expected, and the edit generally ALWAYS will.

Having said that, it's only a minute spot and you might get lucky with his marketing rep. And hey, it's only 'pens'. ;>)

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions


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Krissy CarstensRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 7:10:48 pm

Haha true.. 150 videos on each pen!!


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Krissy CarstensRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 26, 2011 at 7:12:07 pm

Ok, Lets see how I could figure this out..


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Mark SuszkoRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 27, 2011 at 3:53:49 pm

Nice framing on the, um, pens. And it sounded like someone was making breakfast just off-camera. They chose to do a bad zoom instead of taking the time to cut to a decent close-up. And the read was weak. Other than that, the mug guy must be really happy with the quality he's getting for his money.

I would say don't race yourself to the bottom on rates. What you've proposed seems fair. That he's asking you to come down more means he's interested already. Play poker. Stay confident: "it costs what it costs". Really, you don't want to do these any cheaper, all that will do is eat up time you could spend on a more productive client, and damage your reputation for a quality work product.

I agree with the concept of him buying a day's worth of production for a fixed amount, and seeing how many GOOD spots you can get out of that one day, as a benchmark for the future relationship. He's nuts to turn that down, as when he averages the number of completed spots across the amount spent, it will have a unit cost about as much as one of the pens. Moreover, keeping the assignments to single days means you can bill more often and not be forced to wait forever to get paid. You don't move ahead until the single day has been paid for. You are a businesswoman.


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Krissy CarstensRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 27, 2011 at 4:24:10 pm

Thank you for the great advice. Since I'm new to making commercials, I have no clue what I would charge for a "pilot". Any suggestions? If not, I'll try my best to think of some number :) Thanks again.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 27, 2011 at 5:11:40 pm

It's one day of shooting, charge your day rate. Take your best guess on the editing, use your day rate there, too.


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Stephanie HubbardRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 28, 2011 at 4:51:06 am

Hey there - I think it's more like two days of shooting -

But the trick here is to define the parameters to the client - IF he provides the talent (sales rep) and IF he commits to having them ALL shot on two days - and having them otherwise look exactly the same -

And if he gives each item one take or one redo - THEN you can give him a lower price - Say $100 each.

Also make a sample make sure he approves the one before you do a bunch.

also put in your contract that if changes are made after the intial approval it will cost more - also if more products need to be added they could be $100 each - but with additional surcharge of $500.

It's all about defining the parameters to gain cost efficiencies on these.

Also don't forget to budget for transcoding to a web format - don't guarantee better quality - cause that sample video is fine quality - it's just the compresstion to fit it on the web that makes it less quality.

Good luck!

Stephanie Hubbard


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Gary HazenRe: Price for this job?
by on Oct 28, 2011 at 1:11:28 pm

[Stephanie Hubbard] "Say $100 each"

I disagree with the unit pricing strategy.

I don't know anyone that has been in business for more than 5 years that prices video production per minute or per finished piece. It's bad business. As Mark said, charge a day rate for shooting and estimate the editorial.


[Stephanie Hubbard] "also put in your contract that if changes are made after the intial approval it will cost more"

This is good advice - being up front and clear about the potential cost of major revisions can help in avoiding conflicts down the road.


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grinner hesterRe: Price for this job?
by on Nov 2, 2011 at 4:49:06 pm

Just multiply 225 by 150 if you agreed to do them for so little. It's not like your client will find a cheaper price.



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