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What to charge?

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Christopher Hill
What to charge?
on Oct 5, 2009 at 5:41:31 pm

Hello everyone,

As a preface, I'm very new to the world of Freelance, and fairly new in general to a lot of post-production elements (read: Novice) except for Editing (which I'm fairly well versed in). I was curious if there is a resource out in cyberspace or if you fellow COW's have any advice on determining what one who lacks in experience should charge for various tasks. I realize that there's no real set-standard, but a place to start would help.

Lacking professional experience in most areas except editing, I obviously shouldn't expect to charge a professional rate for, say, rotoscoping or keying, but I am knowledgeable in those tasks and would like to be paid for work I do. Like I said though, I'm unaware of any baseline to start from. =/

Also, should one charge by the hour for everything? Should I set a specific price for different tasks? Does one estimate how many hours the overall job would take and charge a fee based around that?

Specifically, I'm curious about pricing for Editing footage (I haven't done freelance, I'm currently an in-house editor for a production company), Rotoscoping, Keying/Greenscreen, Footage cleanup and Line-Removal.

I'm sorry if this post is A. Long-winded or B. Confusing, but again, any help or constructive responses will be appreciated.

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David Roth Weiss
Re: What to charge?
on Oct 5, 2009 at 6:14:55 pm

Don't make it more complicated than it has to be. Don't charge different rates for different services, that's a sure way to the luny farm. Instead, establish a day rate for yourself that you feel is competitive in your area, and make that the median rate for everything you charge. Meaning, if they hire you for five consecutive days, you discount your day rate a bit, and if they hire you for just a few hours, you raise it enough to be noticeably higher.

So, if your day rate is $600/day, instead of charging $3000/week you lower it to $2500 or $2600. Likewise, although the $600/day translates to $60 per hour, instead of charging $60 you charge $100/hour for hourly work.

These are just rough examples, but I think you get the picture. You should create a rate card that reflects this strategy, with the idea being it should provide the client with a strong incentive to hire you by the day or week rather than by the hour. However, if they do hire you by the hour, then so be it, that works in your favor too.

Get the concept?

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.

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Mark Suszko
Re: What to charge?
on Oct 5, 2009 at 6:37:36 pm

David Roth Weiss (TM) is correct.

You don't want to have to run Drake's Equation every time they ask you what you charge. But remember to really KNOW YOUR COSTS - ALL OF THEM, before you set the rates. "Competitive" rates are useless if your rate is so low you're losing money.

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