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billing advice

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billing advice
on Jan 19, 2008 at 10:48:34 pm

Hi everyone,

I have an opportunity to shoot and edit a small(?) corporate project soon, and am looking to get advice and compare notes on billing.

I have hourly set rates determined. I think I really want to charge an hourly rate for scripting (if any), shooting and editing as I know how much longer projects can become than originally anticipated. Not so much from my end, but the client's. Recently, at my day job, we estimated a client $800, and they ended up with $2K in production! This was due to their many revisions and wasting shoot time. I also would like to give my corporate client some type of estimate in total costs, even though I want to charge hourly. I do not have much info about the project yet, but want to be prepared to write a proposal, as they are very interested in my services at this stage.

How do you all do this? What is your process? What do you put in your proposal? Do you charge hourly or flat rate per project? Do you get a retainer payment? How do you do an estimate if charging hourly?

I know I have much more info to get from them before writing a proposal, but I want to decide on a general process as I haven't done much corporate production on my own until now. (I'm a full time producer at a network affiliate tv station, and also have my own video company part time).

I'd appreciate your insights.

Thanks much,


p.s. my "determined" hourly rates are half of what the station charges for production services. Also wouldn't mind some feedback on that plan.

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walter biscardi
Re: billing advice
on Jan 21, 2008 at 12:30:19 am

[Moovies] "How do you all do this? What is your process?"

For me it's quite simple.

Talk to the client (multiple times if necessary) to determine exactly what it is they need from me.

I then plan out the amount of time needed for the following:
Pre-Production (Scripting, planning, anything else)
Production (Site Surveys, Rehearsals, Production)
Post Production (Editing, Graphics, Animation, Audio Post)

I also plan out the following:
Expendables and supplies.
Craft Services
Set Construction / Location Permits
Anything else that will cost money out of pocket for the job.

I then prepare a proposal that clearly lays out the amount of time for each and every part of the process. Generally everything is laid out in terms of days.

The client is given a total estimate for the entire job with the stipulation that any changes or delays by the client that causes the job to take more time than estimated will result in additional billing.

I always request a deposit equal to the Production costs so I can pay my crew and equipment rental immediately after we're done.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

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