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Industry Rate Card

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Paul Kondo
Industry Rate Card
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:28:08 pm

I've never used this particular COW forum. But it seems like it's more relevant as it deals with the industry as a whole (not just editors in the FCP forum).

Is there a document that gives an industry rate card for multimedia production personnel? I know diff parts of the country can be significantly diff than others and there probably is no true commonality but wondering if any organization has attempted to put something together as a 'general' guide, maybe for its members. Maybe it's just an average but I'm willing to start somewhere.

We're in the NYC area creating different types of multimedia deliverables (web, dvd, etc.). We do print but not really concerned with that aspect for this question.

Sorry for the really big and general question but maybe someone can steer me in the right place.

Thanks in advance,

Paul


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cowcowcowcowcow
Mike Cohen
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:57:36 pm

Don't take this the wrong way, but "you are in NYC doing multimedia and you don't know what you should be charging?!?!?"

People often come to this forum asking one of a few things:

1 - I am doing XYZ - what would you charge?

2 - I am getting screwed - what should I do?

3 - I am getting paid X to do Y and I think I should be getting Z - what do I do?

4 - What are standard rates for X, Y and Z?


The common answers are as follows:

1 - What would I charge? I would charge a rate that incorporates my costs, overhead and profit. If you don't know those numbers you need to find out.

2 - How to avoid 2? Have a contract and spell out what you need to and get a signature. And get some money up front. If you are already up to your neck in number 2, then ask a specific question.

3 - Once you commit to a price, it is hard to go back for more unless your contract has such a clause. Be honest if you are in over your head.

4 - Standard rates do not exist. I recently got three quotes for the same job in the same city and they were very different. Rates are based upon experience, skills, costs and what the market will bear. If you are in NY, the market will bear more than in Kansas City.

The point of being in business is to get a decent rate for 1, not to find yourself doing number 2, to know the Z in 3 so as to avoid the X, and to know the X,the Y and the Z of 4 so you can get your number 1.

Mike Cohen

PS - It is worth reiterating - try to avoid number 2.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:11:52 pm

LOL Cohen, you killed me with that very true double-entendre line:

"If you are already up to your neck in number 2, then ask a specific question. "


"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"


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Paul Kondo
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:34:56 pm

I edited my original post so some of it became unclear. I'm basically re-evaluating my rate after a few years of the same rate.

But your point is well-taken. Thanks for the reply.

Paul


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Bob Zelin
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:51:05 pm

Hi Paul,
if I was an employer, (or if you were doing a production or post production for someone and had to hire someone else), and there was an "official" rate card - maybe even a "Creative Cow official Rate Card" - this is what freelance graphics/editors/creatives/Smoke/AVID/FCP/Audio/Colorists get -

woudln't your first question be "well, can you do it for about $100 less than the rate card". This is the #1 primary concern of employers - "I can't pay you that, I can get XYZ from Creative Cow, and he is THE BEST - but if you can do it for $100 cheaper, I will hire you".

They say there are no stupid questions, but yours is a stupid question. When I moved to Florida, I used my NY rate. And you know what - I didn't get any work. It took 3 months to figure out what Florida would pay for my services, (dropping my rate by 50 bucks everytime a company was desperate to hire me - but "not that desperate") and this is my current day rate.

Bob Zelin




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Steve Wargo
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:56:50 am

Join a peer group in New York and once you get friendly with some of the members, ask this question. "So, how much do you charge"? If you're really good at what you both do, charge more. If you aren't that good, charge less.

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
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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walter biscardi
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 1:29:14 pm

As you've seen in this thread, there is no "industry rate card" out there. Call around to various production houses in your area and run a project by them for a quote. That will tell you where your rates fall.

In my case our rates are much lower than some of my competition but my overhead is kept low (even with the new construction) and we focus on long term bookings like 6 to 12 months. So we can do the lower rates and still earn a nice profit.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

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Paul Kondo
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 3:16:42 pm

Thanks for all the help. Much appreciated (even as I was being called dumb and stupid). I can go back to the powers that be and tell them no such thing exists.

Paul


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Mike Cohen
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:15:14 pm

Paul,

I don't think any of us were calling you "dumb and stupid" - we like to have a good time on this forum. But we also don't like to see people taken advantage of nor let themselves be in situations that are beyond their own control.

You got responses from Zelin, Biscardi and Wargo, IMHO the three guys from whom you want to take advice in this business.

The standard rates are what you charge for your own services. That's the simple answer.

When calculating your rate, make sure you take into account your actual cost (labor), your overhead (heat, lights, computers, accountant, gumball machine) and profit (money to reinvest in the company).

Mike Cohen


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Steve Wargo
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:19:24 pm

Paul. No one was calling you "Dumb and Stupid". They were just being sarcastic and rude. Some people have posted questions and actually been sent away.

Next time, blame it on someone else and direct the responses to a dead person or maybe someone in prison. Like this:

Hello to the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the entire world. Hey, a dumb ass friend of main asked me a very stupid question and I thought I'd bring it up here so we can all get a laugh. Here it is: "Is there an industry rate card for "X"?" Let me know what you think so I can win $10 from my IDIOT friend. LOL. Thanks and Happy Bashing.

Signed Paul Kondo
(No where near as dumb as my friend)


That will work but don't over do it. Watch out for Zelin though. He uses that all the time.


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
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards


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Richard Herd
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 6:34:24 pm

"[R]ebels turned self-conscious drones...adopt a mask of cynicism that cannot hide their more or less paranoiac sense of having been betrayed by life" (John Fowles, The Magus, p. 519).


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Bob Zelin
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:23:13 pm

R]ebels turned self-conscious drones

REPLY -
this sums up my life ! I was a "rebel", but I bow down to my clients, and so, because I cannot take it out on my clients, I take it out on you Richard ! The client says "do this" and I "do this".
I just want to keep collecting those checks, so I say "yes master" just like a drone. see - even when you are self employed - you have to answer to the boss (your clients).

Bob Zelin






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Richard Herd
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 24, 2010 at 1:59:28 am

Thought you might like that one. It's a great novel, too, if you haven't read it!


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Mick Haensler
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 24, 2010 at 3:03:06 pm

[Bob Zelin] "because I cannot take it out on my clients, I take it out on you Richard"

Terminal constipation is an ugly thing. And please, change your Avatar, your scarin' the children...


Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Richard Herd
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Feb 24, 2010 at 10:16:18 pm

Might I offer another literary reference with regard to Bob's personality? Lilliputian. AND there's a particular satirical point with regard to Little Endian and Big Endian. The Lilliputians quarreled whether to break an egg from the little end or the big end, and audio engineers do a similar thing!!

tongue-wholly-in-cheek
RMH


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Milton Hockman
Re: Industry Rate Card
on Mar 17, 2010 at 2:30:04 pm

When I started going full-service freelance I did what a previous poster advised..."Call around to various production houses in your area and run a project by them for a quote. That will tell you where your rates fall."

Its very important that you determine what your base costs of operations are. You need to charge a rate that incorporates costs, overhead and profit. If you don't know those numbers you need to find out. There's a good book out there about it, but basically you add up your rents, insurances, machine costs, salaries, etc. and divide by estimated billable hours worked in a week. This gives you your base cost to pay bills. Anything above that is profit.

Tip...as full-time freelancer or small studio, doing the math, you'll have to charge at least $75 an hour.... and that's for a one person designer working from home!



Freelancer Designer Virginia
Find out more about me, see my portfolio, and read my blog

Web, Video, Graphic Design Info Blog
My blog updated weekly with industry tips, tricks, and news


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