Another rate question!
Does anyone have a ballpark figure for a freelance FCP, on-line editor; with great skills and experience, in NYC?
Based on NYC Craigslist, it's lunch and good karma if you provide the gear. It's less if you don't.
No offense...and I hope you were kidding...but I don't think Craisglist is where professionals turn when they need a good freelance editor.
I have no idea what NYC editors get, but in the midwest, anywhere from $350-$500/day is standard, depending on the project budget and how complex the project is.
When we've used freelancers, they have to be more than just technicians...they have to understand how to tell stories and understand how to structure a piece. A lot of editors out there are technically amazing, but have no clue how to edit for the story.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Most craigslist ads can't be taken seriously by professionals.
I will say that some MAJOR local NYC employers such a Major League Baseball for example do hire and pay good wages from craigslist.
The point is that wages are all over the place in NYC from "nothing" (and some of these are very much for profit businesses, not self produced creative projects) to "very high" if you have credentials and the project has high demands.
One has to determine what one NEEDS and then see how closely it matches a changing market.
Factor the "real world" cost of living in NYC and you'll know what a "living wage" is. The hard part is the challenge in finding jobs that meet or exceed that. Another challenge is when you're barely meeting that but not charging as much as others for the same quality work.
If you're new to NYC I can throw out some "cost of living" numbers. A typical Studio Apt. in Manhattan will cost you about $2000/month. In the outer boroughs it might be 25% less depending on where and far out. Factor in food, utilities, transportation (and car costs are expensive) you could be looking at close to $4000 a month. There are certainly corners to cut though. This means at around $1000 a week you're meeting expenses (not really making enough to SAVE anything). Figure only working half a work week (you'll have hot and cold periods) you'd need about $50/hr JUST TO SURVIVE. So it wouldn't be unreasonable to ask for $100/hr as a somewhat experienced "journeyman." You can certainly get more but you'll certainly find some "apparently upright businesses" offering less.
My important message is that "what does one get" is really only part (and maybe not the most important part) of the question. It's "what does one NEED" and then figuring out the likelihood of getting it and or a strategy to get that and beyond.
It's really difficult to anecdotally answer your question. Accurate freelance salary surveys may not be available (but I believe some trade publications try to gather than from their members). Personally I think knowing the cost of living and how to set the bar higher is easier to figure. You KNOW your objective, and that of all other freelancers, is to pay the bills and make enough to have some creature comforts. Getting there is a combination of skills and marketing (and that may not be an equal balance).
Knowing what you NEED is really the first step IMHO.
The freelancers we use are about $60-$80 /hour. This is editor only rates. However I have seen some real incredible editors negotiate $100-$120 for specific jobs. Some of these included remotes which also included a per diem, so big money on that.
I have a friend currently getting $4000 /week doing only about 38 hours/week. He got this all upfront too. But he's hot property in NY at the moment and can get away with that. Also, he's lightning fast so if the work gets done he can go. The editor doing this gig last year got the same pay but was taking 60 hours/week, so obviously his rate was less.
These prices though are for higher end Network and Cable stuff work, just so you know.
Finally, I have seen the whole "work out your costs" approach, but I believe in taking that always with a grain of salt. If I want to work 1 day a week, I need to charge an hourly of $200... New York is a market that you can only dictate your rate based on client base and TALENT. If you are no good you can not ask top dollar. You won't last a second. Also, if you have no client base you might need to suck it up and take less, even if that rate doesn't meet your "Survival" rate. Because at times, working for less is better than not working at all, especially at the moment.
New York City
[Rory Brennan] "The freelancers we use are about $60-$80 /hour."
That's the rate I get for demo reels, low budge cable spot and clients from craigslist.
[Rory Brennan] "These prices though are for higher end Network and Cable stuff work, just so you know. "
I hope not for the above rate. Honestly. Maybe that's why I don't do that stuff. Of course if you're working near 40 hours a week with a regular client you can discount your rate but more realistic in my opinion is to expect 20 hours a week and many hours "marketing" your services.
[Rory Brennan] "New York is a market that you can only dictate your rate based on client base and TALENT"
All markets unless you're a "monopoly" which just isn't possible these days.
[Rory Brennan] "Also, if you have no client base you might need to suck it up and take less, even if that rate doesn't meet your "Survival" rate. Because at times, working for less is better than not working at all, especially at the moment. "
If you can't meet survival rate the options are cut living expenses or move, unless you know of a way to survive if you can't pay rent, utilities, food each month. If you can't make survival rate as freelance then one might consider a staff position. Keep in mind if want health insurance and are self employed your survival rate goes up and if you get sick your income can be zero and if you have medical bills you're bankrupt.
One's base goal, even for a newbie, is survival. Lanlord's basically won't let you slide on the rent "for a time."
Are you guys talking about freelancers at their own editing suite or freelancers using the hiring company's systems?
Paul Del Vecchio - Director
Lots of variables to consider like who the client is and what kind of project will you be working on. No matter how good you are, some clients just will not be able or willing to pay the same rate as a well known high end post facility. Also take into consideration if the project is long-term or just a couple of days.
But...you're searching for actual numbers here...so I'll give you my experience. Having worked as an editor in NYC for 7 years (I'm in LA now) I was typically finding cable network clients paid in the $500-$600/day range.