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Scott CarnegieQuote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 6:59:24 pm

When you give a quote for a project, how detailed do you make it? Do you just put

Production - $X
Post Production - $X

I tend to give more details

Camera package - $X
camer Operator - $X
Tape Stock - $X

Transfer to DVD - $X
Transcription - $X
Editor - $X


Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Nick GriffinRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:15:18 pm

This has been discussed here several times. Here's one of my recent posts on the subject from January 2nd.

For me I typically want to "black box" the estimate to avoid having a client try to pick them apart. For example, "Hey, I see that you're charging us $7 each for 50 DVDs. We'll take just one and duplicate the rest ourselves."

So rather than sharing the spreadsheet with all of its individual costs my estimate will be divided into categories. For example, for a 5 minute finished show:

Pre-Production & Field Production
- Scriptwriting (based on existing printed materials)
- Location set-up & site coordination
- 1 Day shoot incl. Director/Cameraman incl. all lighting and support equipment,
- Producer, Grip, Recording Media

Post Production
- AFTRA voiceover actor & union fees,
- Voice-over recording session,
- Licensed Production music,
- Scene transfer & shot logging,
- Non- linear editing (Suite & Editor/Director),
- Off-line EFX & titling (Opens/Closes/etc),
- Master to QT Files
- Downsample & Compress for web delivery

DVD Authoring
- Compression / Mastering,
- Title Design,
- Messenger/ FedEx to Dupe House,
- 50 DVD duplicates with printed label

Total Cost:
$X,XXX.00 (plus TBD travel expenses)

This is showing the client that there's more to the production than they typically have thought of and helps create the impression that there's sound reasoning behind the final cost.

What's the exception? It's really a play it by ear thing, but on occasion there are clients who fancy themselves as the producer and feel the need to be involved in all of the cost decisions. Many times it's also useful to have the spreadsheet available as a way to demonstrate how changes the client makes will affect the final cost.

My two cents. Everybody's different. Hope this helps.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 7:28:36 pm

Nick is shy, he's worth much more than 2 cents. His advice is darned good here. Some things should be "proprietary info".

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Scott CarnegieRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 8:43:22 pm

I haven't had the issue of a client picking apart a detailed quote, though I think that it may be more information than they need when it's simply at the quote stage. I think I'll be changing to this "catch all" type of quoting.

Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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grinner hesterRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 8:47:38 pm

I list the days of production and estimated number of post days only to assure we are on the same page date and deadline-wise.
I also list any fullfillment details, just as part of a confirmation.
Ine the end, they just need to know how much but in listing these things, it can help keep things clear al the way to the invoice stage.

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John BaumchenRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:49:23 pm

I used to quote much like Nick does but I'd add in a set number of hours at x amount/hr for on site taping and post production.

That way if they wanted more time, it was easy to do up a change request with the additional time and charge accordingly.

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Steve KownackiRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 11:44:03 pm

I too pretty much quote like Nick and put time constraints on what is provided. I also attach a production calendar to hold them accountable to along with links to online samples if they need to be educated to a specific style of animation or lighting for instance. My spreadsheet (not shared with client) also includes a 10% contingency and 15% profit line. Client only sees one bottom-line number from me based on descriptions of the above.

You also have to decide when you are just a tech and when you are a problem solver/soulution provider. One justifies more money than the other.


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Ned MillerRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 6, 2010 at 12:05:50 am

Nick is right on, except I have a twist that works well regarding the VO. In the old days, of which I am a member, one had to hire union VO talent because all the best people were union. Nowadays most of my clients are worried about the word "union" because there are so many ways they now want to use the video: powerpoint, trade show, internet, etc., and they are worried about keeping track of the union fees for all these versions. As a marketing tool I now have the line item (similar to Nick's) but it says: Professional Voice Over Talent: Non-Union, Royalty Free Total Buy Out. Client's love this compared to the word "union". They want the freedom of usage.

Thanks to the lowered price of technology many narrators now have their own "home" studio, some better than others. This allows me a bigger mark up because I no longer have to meet them at a recording studio which would add a few hundred more at least. Money stays in my pocket or gives me room to come down if the client compares about price. 90% of the time I am not present. I pay 50/50 over PayPal.

Word of advice: make sure they send you the files uncompressed and they cut out the breaths with an edit system, not software. Most of these VO guys are audio geeks anyway and invest in a real good mic and know the recording programs. Since the biz is so much more competitive now having VO several hundred less is a good idea.

Try and lately I found

And as far as line items other than VO, I have found the more detailed the better because your typical exec is used to breakdowns from other industries that are very detailed. I always keep wiggle room in terms of: Fed Ex, messengers, parking are in addition. That's very important since we have no idea what they may cost and they can run into a few hundred.

Since the recession started I bury lunch costs where it is not it's own item. A separate line will say what OT will be after 10 hrs from time of arrival. All these things are important in case the client complains about the final bill.

Lastly, (and most of my tricks are borrowed from the pros I have worked for over the years), I list all the lines and there is padding in each, and my last line is Ned Miller's Producing Fee (fancy name for profit) and it will say a %. In this way my estimate looks more similar to estimates they receive from vendors outside our industry that they will be accustomed to.

And if it's over around $6-7,000 I go to Kinkos and pimp up the covers to make it look more official.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer

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Kai CheongRe: Quote Details
by on Feb 7, 2010 at 4:11:27 pm

What we have is something quite similar to Nick's.

Basically, include as many details as you think is needed to protect both you [and your clients], so that there won't be any misunderstanding when it comes to certain expectations and assumptions. Plus, details can sometimes be useful in helping your direct client justify to their upper management the budget needed.

For us, that includes numbers of script drafts, shoot days and deliverables.

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