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Lisa KozaQuote Today
by on Jan 24, 2008 at 11:57:57 pm

Hi there my name is Lisa and I read these boards often - it's a great place. Anyway, this is my first post, I'm new to the field, a recent college grad, but a 40 year old woman. :-) I'm a freelance video editor, shooter, voice actress, and do a little web-design.

I went on a job quote today for a little job. It was a small company who wanted to take a 7 min Power Point presentation and turn it into a movie for the web. However, they also wanted to add a voice over, which I would do, and they needed to lay down a music track (music they paid for). I had a very difficult time in trying to figure out how much I'd charge, and so I called one of my old professors who also owns his own production company. He suggested nothing lower than 1K, and said he can sometimes charge 15K for projects like that! I at first was thinking that I'd be happy with just around $500.

So, ok, I go in, I hit it off with the people, all is great, and then they want an idea of price, I say 1K, and I can deliver by monday. They say, wow, we can't go that high. Now, I'm really wanting this gig, so I go down to $700, and they still are like, hmmmmm. I left it at 700, but part of me wishes I went ahead with my first feel of $500, but then the other side says, no way, you deserve more! They said they'll get in touch with me.

Any help? What does something like that really go for? I really wasn't going to have much edting to deal with (I work in Final Cut Pro), just fine tune some of the slides, for the text was wacky, and then also record the 7 min script in my own home studio.


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Steve KownackiRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:33:11 am

You probably should have said $2500 and then the $1000 would have been a bargain... its all a game. Never lower your price, just reduce the number of hours to what they're willing to pay for and still produce some sort of presentation. Sometimes you will never be able to produce anything for what the client wants to pay.

The problem is its powerpoint. Sometimes easy, most times a bugger. Can you tell us how many slides (and are they building bullet points) and if there's lots of animated transitions that they want to keep in the finished movie. Are you working on MAC or PC? I can respond better with that info. Steve


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:54:23 am

Hi Steve, I'm workin on a Mac Book Pro. The client is on windows. I do have the files already believe it or not, because during the meeting we loaded them into my laptop. There's 26 slides, no bullets, and actually just one animation. I see 4 slides where pics are missing, even though they're there, and I do see some slipped text, no where it should be. So yes, I'm guessing PP will be problematic. But lets say I charge $50 an hour, in all honesty, I can't see a project like this actually taking 20 hours to complete. But then again, who knows. I find it hard to figure such out.



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Randall RaymondRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 1:48:28 am

[Steve Kownacki] "Never lower your price"

I'm with Steve on that - it's makes you look like a bandit.

I with David on saving the thing by his suggestion.

Depending on how good your voice work is - 7 minutes of narration might be worth $500 alone.



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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 2:22:15 am

Hey Randall. Here's a link to some of my demos, voice included. You tell me. Like I said, I'm new to this. http://www.kozamediaarts.com/videos.htm

Also, I had asked what their budget was, and they said they didn't have one, but that the "boss" only wanted to spend a few hundred. I then asked if they got any quotes, and they said only for the voice work, and that was $300 (from a local radio jock, but that of course was just an audio file, no placement). Having said that, and knowing such, I really don't believe my price is horrible, at all, but......BUT, I would've easily done it for $500 because it would've taken me very little time, and I've got lots of new equipment to pay off! :-)

Lisa



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Randall RaymondRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 2:43:15 am

[Lisa Koza] "Having said that, and knowing such, I really don't believe my price is horrible,"

I don't either. I think David pointed out the problem of not getting a read on what the budget was. Always try and get that read before ANY meeting.



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David Roth WeissRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 2:59:13 am

[Randall Raymond] "I think David pointed out the problem of not getting a read on what the budget was. Always try and get that read before ANY meeting."

In fact Randall, I'm in the process of writing an article on "qualifying the customer." That's the term salespeople use for determining the type of fish they're dealing with, the type of bait the customer's really looking for, and the price they're really looking to pay. All of which should happen before the sale even begins...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Randall RaymondRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 4:27:18 am

[David Roth Weiss] "In fact Randall, I'm in the process of writing an article on "qualifying the customer.""

Oh, that will be a great article! I look forward to reading it. I go into any meeting knowing they have a problem and are hoping that I have the solution. 'What's the solution cost?' That's their real question.

How does one answer that? One can't, without understanding the problem. So in the meeting, I'm the one asking the questions.



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David Roth WeissRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 5:52:28 am

[Randall Raymond] "So in the meeting, I'm the one asking the questions."

Randall,

I'm too am always digging, wanting to know more...

BTW, think of me as the director of this article rather than the writer, as I'm going to interview people, like yourself hopefully, who will hopefully provide many of the ideas and concepts in this peice. Are you okay with that? Wanna participate?

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Randall RaymondRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 2:27:28 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "BTW, think of me as the director of this article rather than the writer, as I'm going to interview people, like yourself hopefully, who will hopefully provide many of the ideas and concepts in this peice. Are you okay with that? Wanna participate?"

Count me in!



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David Roth WeissRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:55:10 am

Lisa,

This one is easy...

First, you should have closed the sale before leaving. As with any sale, now you're in a much tougher position, simply because the foot you had in the door is now back on the outside.

In the position you were in, I would have said something such as, "well, we don't really know each other yet and I really want to show you what I can do, so tell me what you have in mind for the budget. I'll see if I can do it for that number this time as a way to get to know you better."

Then, after hearing their number, I would have again mentioned my normal rate, and let them know that its the customary rate that I charge all of my clients, and if they like my work its what they should expect to pay on future jobs.

You could call them and do the same...

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 1:00:15 am

Hi Dave, thanks for your response. The 2 individuals that I met with today claimed from the get go that their "boss" was in a big meeting, and how they wished he could've joined us, and that the financial decision was his. So, I pretty much knew I'd have to wait. As far as your suggestion, a girl friend of mine today, one who is in sales, suggested that very same approach! I think I like it, and I guess I'll use it if I find I've been passed on. I'm guessing I can call in a day or two and ask of their decision, right?

Thanks.



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David Roth WeissRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 2:19:38 am

Why hesitate? Call them tomorrow and see what you can make out of it. Remember, one of the great things about being grown-up that separates you from the the twenty-somethings is that you can simply act secure even if you're not. It works for me...

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Steve KownackiRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 3:05:28 am

[David Roth Weiss] "being grown-up that separates you from the the twenty-somethings"

right on! AND if you've been reading the "recession" thread, just be honest and take care of them. I think you'll look more professional to go back and say "now that I've had time to review your file (that's billable too by the way, plus the initial meeting time) I can give you a scope of work and an accurate bid."

I'd price it this way:
meetings/reviews/producer stuff: 4/5 hours@90 = 360
adjust ppt problems(fonts/images): 1 hour @ $90 = 90
export using MAC Pages or MAC PPT (this is best)& batch in pshop with 50pxl border for video safe: 1 hour @$90 = 90
2 hour audio studio: $180
announcer: $150
FCP edit: 2 hours @150 = $300
Various web versions for approval ($15/min x7=$105per review): 3 reviews: $300
Archive all the stuff to a data DVD: $100.
SUBTOTAL : $1570.
profit: 15% $235.50
TOTAL: 1805.50 PLUS TAX

Obviously this is what it SHOULD be. You've got play room because you may have lower hourly rates, but be competitive. You're an expert. If you're not, at least you'd be paid like one while you learn this stuff. Even if you didn't charge them for your voice talent or the various approval versions, your price only comes down $450. But I wouldn't do that. This is about as bare bones as it gets. You could do really creative edits and add a few hours.

And don't forget to tell them that revisions are extra after things are approved. They will have spelling errors on slides they give you. Make sure the music they provide has proper rights. You could even pad your time another 20% and then "come in under budget!"

Hope this helps. Don't sell yourself short.
Steve


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Steve KownackiRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 3:29:50 am

you could even add some time as director during the edit too since you'll be wearing 2 hats.


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 3:36:44 am

Wow, that's one impressive breakdown. Now *this* is what I was needing, and while yes, I don't believe I'd rate myself at $90, nonetheless, it's a formula that I'm needing!

Today after I gave my quote, one of them asked me how I came up with my figure, yikes. I told her simply based upon the hours involved, but had I been smart, I coulda rattled off a list like that, and made her head spin.

I'm starting to realize a little bit of intimidation plays a major role here, in landing these jobs! :-)



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Steve WargoRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 7:09:32 am

[Lisa Koza] "yikes"

Whoa there Lisa. Because you're doing it as a side job, the answer should have been "We do those quite often and my price is about half of what it would have cost if you'd walked in the front door with it.

Something that I always say when I'm asked why my competitors are cheaper is "Because they're worth it".

By the way, of course the head guy wants to get it done for $300. That's probably where he's got all of his employees - working for nothing. After all, if they had any talent or skills at all, they would be doing it in-house. And don't forget, they will probably detail you to death. Small people make themselves look like big people by changing things unnecessarily. It's funny how you can be sitting at a meeting and everybody wants to change something until you start hanging price tags an the crappy things they want to do. Suddenly, it's just fine.

When people ask me on the phone "What can I get for around $200", my reply is "We're almost there right now". Most often, they hang up and go pedal their life problems to others.

If you concentrate on being positive, confident and professional, people will tend to treat you that way. Wear business clothing and don't look anxious. I can get 20% more on a job by wearing slacks or nice cargo pants instead of jeans. I also wear long sleeve shirts to cover my gang tattoos.


Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Steve KownackiRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 12:01:32 pm

[Steve Wargo] ""What can I get for around $200", my reply is "We're almost there right now"."

That Kills!!! I'm adding it to my list; usually I say "I can't even give you a referral for that much."

And while you can get fully-functioning software free as a demo, I still think you're not allowed to make a profit with it. I sure don't like it when I see our work on the tube that somebody ripped. Keep good ethics from the start.

The goal isn't to "make their heads spin" (although it usually does) You are simply a pro laying out the requirements of their job.

Steve


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Mick HaenslerRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 1:16:47 pm

[Steve Wargo] "Something that I always say when I'm asked why my competitors are cheaper is "Because they're worth it"."

I love it.

I tell you, the biggest gift this forum has given me is the sales tools to charge what I'm worth. As a new start up, it's tempting to lowball just to get business in the door. Fortunately I've structured my finances to where I don't have to bring in anything for the first six months. Funny thing is, I'm already pretty much booked for the first quarter.....AT MY PRICE!!! I had my first three jobs booked before I even had business cards.

Thanks Everyone!!

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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Steve WargoRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 9:29:29 am

[Mick Haensler] "before I even had business cards. "

You have business cards? i am jealous.





Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:11:01 am

Thanks Steve, you make a lot great points! And you're right, they are already being picky and needy. Still no definite answer on the job, but they wanted another voice sample from me, because they're not overly happy with my voice. They claim I sound "too sexy". lol The video is to sell theatre seating.

And Tempe? I love tempe! Nice place, with a few yummy breweries. I was just there in September. :-)





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Mick HaenslerRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 3:29:01 pm

[Steve Wargo] "I can get 20% more on a job by wearing slacks or nice cargo pants instead of jeans."


Oh Yeah!!

Nothin' turns a girl's head like a new shirt and a snappy pair o' trousers!!




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Pat FordRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 4:42:20 am

Remember, one of the great things about being grown-up that separates you from the the twenty-somethings is that you can simply act secure even if you're not. It works for me...

That is so good David. Yes, one of the few good things about getting old.

By the way: Corporate people always want to hand you a PowerPoint and assume that it's a simple thing to turn it into video. Scan converters work, but they produce muddy looking video. Had much better luck with Camtasia. It's a not inexpensive program about $300. However, you can get a fully functioning trial for 30 days. Assuming the safe area is ok and the font size is large enough, you can just run it through.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 4:52:21 pm

GOOD scan converters are not blurry, BTW. Ours cost six bills when it was new and the output looks very nice. And it is a time saver for us (we do a LOT of powerpoint conversions to video) because instead of tweaking the individual slides we can scale and zoom and position to our heart's content as if using a DVE, in real time. But there's more than one way to do many projects, and if Camtasia works for you, fine.

When you want to hold firm on a price for something like this project, the variable that slides up and down is the amount of time and quality applied. Fast-good-cheap, pick any TWO. But ONLY two. You could for example just export the powerpoints as-is to jpegs, throw them down on the FCP timeline and stretch each to fit the narration, done in one hour.

Or, you could re-build each slide from scratch in Photoshop or Live Type at higher, more lovely resolution, with nicer backgrounds, even looped motion backs, add apropriate and tasteful transitions where needed, spend some time and artistic ability to make the slides as clear and functional as possible. That could take two days or more. Dividing the time into the fixed price, on that project, you're LOSING money.

The question then becomes what quality level (for the price) is "good enough" for the client. Some of you guys that consider yourselves artisans and craftsmen and women would say without equivocation: "never anything but my absolute best." That's noble and if you can get away with that on every project, I admire you. In the real world, not everything always has to be performed at Olympian levels, and unless the client is Donald Trump, not every project needs to be gold-plated thruout.

This explains much about Microsoft (grin). The saying goes that Bill Gates never asked for or needed for Windows to be better than mac, just "good enough" at the price point that clients would buy it. A lot. And they did.

And this powerpoint job of yours is the same thing. We have to know is this just a play-it-once and throw-it-away thing for a small internal gathering of captive audience viewers, a "bic lighter" if you will, or is it going to be a sales tool that represents the company's public face for a long time in the marketplace, or something in-between?

When you know what the stakes are, the budget kind of creates itself. You can ask them for example: "Is this little project supposed to help seal a 20-million dollar multiyear sales deal in China? What percent of that profit are you willing to invest in the successful sale? One percent? Point oh-five percent?" Then if true, you are going to do the work very much differently.

So, for a fixed price of $500 or less, you would do well spending an hour on the thing, total. Would the quality be satisfactory, and do they UNDERSTAND the quality in this situation is set by what they are willing to pay and not by your level of talent? This is a big "if", to be sure. There is a real danger in being tagged with the "only does really cheap and low-end stuff" label. You have to have your own standards as well, and have thought this thru ahead of time. I hate giving fixed price quotes for anything, especially where there are many unknowns. You always wind up overcharging or undercharging, and neither is good.

Maybe you DO walk away now, saying, "I can deliver you a functional product at that price but it would be bad for my professional reputation to work below my normal quality level just to meet that price." and there is the chance they'll call you back or remember you later. It's happened to me a time or two in my career that I told a client "no, this is not a good or effective project for a video, your money would be better spent doing this as a web page or PDF file", and they respected me for it, indeed, called me back later to fix what someone else had done at the lower quality level and price.

This powerpoint sounds like one that is low stakes and low expectations, so they want to keep the expense low to match. Maybe your counter-proposal is to charge the $500 you wanted to charge, but tell them that includes your voice-over for free this time, and next time you will have to bill extra for that. You also stipulate that changes will be billed separately after the initial review, so they can't keep holding off payment while they make you tweak the thing forever and ever. And if you're going for the fixed price, below a grand, that will be paid in advance, not negotiable. They have that much in the petty cash/rainy day emergency fund.


Finally, two axioms you should have tattooed on the inside of your eyelids so you always have them in front of you during negotiations:

1)"You have to be willing and able to walk away if the deal is not good enough, and really mean it. Even if you are starving. Break this rule, just once, and they forever own you."

2)"The first person to say a number loses." Talk first about every dimension of the project BUT the rate, don't be afraid to hold off on the quote until you can crunch the numbers; this is being professional about it. You are getting to a consensus about the values and scope of the project and making sure everybody has the same expectations. Then see rule 1 again.



Best of luck, do tell us how this turns out.

Mark Suszko


"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"


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Pat FordRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 25, 2008 at 8:12:55 pm

Don't want to go on about the scan converter/PowerPoint issue since this forum ain't the right place. But I will note that the converter we used was a Sony orginally costing several thousand dollars. It was my camera operator's gear...maybe it was not set-up properly. Dunno. I have noticed the muddiness both times we have used a scan converter on Power Point.


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:21:08 am

Thank you Mark! Once again, some great advice. Right now we are waiting on the decision on the voice, that needs to be decided upon before they can "seal the deal". No talk of lowering prices, which is good, so it'd be $700. I'm already considering rebuilding slides, and I know it'll be lots more work for me, but I'd rather put out a good product, than just get it done, to get it done. I'm new, and I believe this is how it has to be. :-)



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Steve WargoRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 9:35:26 am

it's up to you, Lisa. You have to be comfortable with with the outcome and, after all, you are just getting started. Don't forget to advise them that they are getting the "Get Acquainted Price". We just want to help you be successful and most of us have learned the hard way.




Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
Sony EX-1 has arrived and it's fascinating.


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Lisa KozaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:13:06 am

When I looked into using Camtasia, I found it wasn't for Macs?

And I agree, being older is just fine.



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walter biscardiRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:26:11 am

[Lisa Koza] "When I looked into using Camtasia, I found it wasn't for Macs?"

Look up iShowU. Outstanding screen recorder for the Mac and I think it's $30 or less.

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

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR
The new Color Training DVD now available from the Creative Cow!

Read my Blog!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:46:48 am

On the mac side, you would want to consider the screen grabbing product from Ambrosia, it's really popular and works similarly to Camtesia.

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"


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David Roth WeissRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 2:59:47 am

[Mark Suszko] "On the mac side, you would want to consider the screen grabbing product from Ambrosia, it's really popular and works similarly to Camtesia."

Actually, for $20 you can't beat iShowu.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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George SockaRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:27:46 am

And that is just the start of the list ;-)

George Socka
BeachDigital
http://www.beachdigital.com


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Brendan CootsRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 26, 2008 at 5:18:53 am

There is a very easy answer for this. Don't play the "for you my friend..." method of pricing. Figure out an hourly rate for each aspect of your service offering, basing it on real-world things like:

- What is your annual salary requirement? How many hours can you realistically be working per year? Do the math to get the hourly rate for your personal time
- Equipment fees - how much did your gear cost, and how long can it be used? Figure out how many useful hours you'll get out of it and again, do the math to figure out your recouping costs
- How much will you spend on expendables, rent etc.?

Good pricing should be based on a formula that represents real-world costs and needs. This way, you always know your pricing is fair, repeatable and competitive. In this regard, I disagree with some of the other posters here who say "charge high, you're worth it!" Until you do the math, you won't KNOW how much you're worth.


Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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Christian GlaweRe: Quote Today
by on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:47:19 pm



There is a very easy answer for this. Don't play the "for you my friend..." method of pricing.

I completely agree with this. I know some folks have said to stress that this is you "Intro Price" or "Get to Know You Price"...

The thing is, and say it to yourself now because it's important: "You Will Never Get More Than What You Get For The First Job. Never." It never works this way. There is no "intro" price, or "prove myself" price. There is price. Plain and simple. You can never ask for more money from a client.

If you want to do "value added service" for your clients - it's in the little things: Professionally printed media labels, no "little" charges (shipping's on me!), go the extra mile to help a client with a crushing deadline, etc.

But Never On Price!

The Steak and Eggs Theorum: You and I are co-workers at a post-house. One Friday morning you come in to find that I'm cooking up steak and eggs in the kitchen:

YOU: Whacha doin'?

ME: I'm making some steak and eggs for you - I had extra at home, and thought you'd appreciate it!

YOU: Oh, man.. that's awesome! You're the best.

Fast-forward to Next Friday. I'm making steak and eggs for you... again!

YOU: Aw... you makin' me steak and eggs again? Thanks.

ME: Sure thing.

And it goes that way for a couple more Fridays. Now we fast-forward a few weeks. Now, it's Friday morning, and I'm not in the kitchen. You come find me in my office.

YOU: Dude... where the &@()! are my steak and eggs??


Yes... this is how it works.


Christian Glawe
editor/compositor
http://www.christianglawe.com
Read my blog: http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/111
Pain is temporary... film is forever.


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