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What Am I Worth?

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Jason Griffith
What Am I Worth?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:26:46 pm

Hello fellow cow members,
I was contacted about a couple of job offers in LA recently and need some quoting advice. I've done alot of charitable work in the past and would work for less because I wanted to help the various causes. However I need to get a better idea of what I'm worth in the freelance arena. Here's my portfolio. http://www.organicpixels.net. I've been in the biz for 6 years now and know my stuff pretty well. The freelance jobs are for a television show and a live event production house. I've also done some documentaries, commercials, corporate, and political stuff on the side.

What should I make hourly and daily?

I don't want to overbid and loose work as I need it now. However I don't want to be totally taken advantage of either.

Thanks,
Jason

"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates

http://www.organicpixels.net


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Vince Becquiot
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 7:57:18 pm

Jason,

No one is going to give you a specific rate here because they vary so much. Economy, market, your particular experience, and who you know will affect that number. Rates tend to be higher in heavy unionized area (SF Bay Area in our case). The easiest way to find out what to charge is to call competitors in your area and find out what they would charge.


Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Jason Griffith
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 8:15:43 pm

Vince, thanks for the input. Perhaps it would of been better if I worded my question like this - "What's the average going rate for someone of my skill set and experience in the LA area?"

"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates

http://www.organicpixels.net


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Scott Cumbo
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Feb 28, 2010 at 9:53:39 pm

Your worth what you can get someone to pay you.
I know that's not the answer your looking for, but it's the truth.
Dosen't matter what your skill set is. If you can get some to pay you $60/hour than thats what your worth. If you only manage to find
jobs for $15/hour than thats what your worth.

If you want $50/hour than ask for $50/hour. If clients walkaway laughing than your not worth it or you have to find new clients
who think you are.

Scott Cumbo
Editor
Broadway Video, NYC


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Mick Haensler
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 1:52:43 pm

[Jason Griffith] "What's the average going rate for someone of my skill set and experience in the LA area?" "

I personally don't know. With the industry in the state it is, rates are all over the board all over the country. It's bizzaro world, up is down, right is left. If it were me, LA would be the last place I would be going. A fella can't swing a dead cat without hittin a bartender or waiter who's an out of work production person. I lost my crew a few years back to LA, only one of them is working in his intended field right now.

I'd go into acting if I were you. Much more stable.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Jason Griffith
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 12:12:09 am

Thanks Grin. Hopefully I look like a million though ;P

"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates

http://www.organicpixels.net


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Steve Wargo
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 1:23:49 am

Your question should be "What will someone pay me for my skills as X?".

The value of any commodity is the amount that someone is willing to pay for it. Outside of union wages, it's pretty much a crapshoot. See today's housing market for an example.



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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Shane Ross
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 7:50:01 am

What are you trying to get a job for? Motion graphics? You need to ask "what is the AVERAGE rate for motion graphics work at this level in the Los Angeles area."

Too bad I don't do motion graphics.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jason Griffith
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 1:50:22 pm

Actually, I'd be doing both. Editing and probably logo treatments/thirds etc... When dealing with short commercials, There would be more Motion Graphics work so that would be a factor as well.

"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates

http://www.organicpixels.net


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Mark Suszko
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 2:54:27 pm

Some would say then that you are doing two jobs and so should get paid as if you were working two jobs. OTOH, I'm one of those people that considers "editing" to include all those things that some of you pros are lucky enough to make good money specializing in. I don't get to charge more for compositing, for color correction, for Foley, for motion graphics, for composing music and voicing spots. It all fits under one umbrella where I work, and whether I call myself an Editor, Producer, Director, Animator, Sound Designer, Colorist, etc. is based more on which app is open on my screen at the moment:-) I kind of like it that way since I like variety, but I only get paid for ONE job, no matter how many I actually do.

To take it 'round back to your original question, I think the trend is to expect all these other functions to be part of a good editor's bag of tricks anyway, as "added value". And when you pitch your rate to these folks, you frame it like that: "If you think this number seems high, its becasue you're not just getting an editor for that amount of money, you're getting someone who is doing multiple tasks, which is SAVING you money.


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Jason Griffith
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:16:11 pm

Good Points. I'll keep that in my pocket when discussing my rates. However. Does anyone know what the average going rate is in LA for what I do?

"An unexamined life is not worth living" ~ Socrates

http://www.organicpixels.net


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Shane Ross
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:51:38 pm

For broadcast work, around $400 - $500 per day for long term work. Short term, like 2-3 days, then the hourly rate is $100-$150, depending on skill level. Extra if you add your equipment.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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grinner hester
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:03:31 pm

$750 a day.



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Ron Lindeboom
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 4:15:19 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I don't get to charge more for compositing, for color correction, for Foley, for motion graphics, for composing music and voicing spots. It all fits under one umbrella where I work, and whether I call myself an Editor, Producer, Director, Animator, Sound Designer, Colorist, etc. is based more on which app is open on my screen at the moment. I kind of like it that way since I like variety, but I only get paid for ONE job, no matter how many I actually do."


I have watched this trend develop over the years and can remember back in the early days of our first site, back when we were in the formative years of the Media 100 Worldwide Users Group, that I regularly used the terms generalists and specialists to describe the phenomenon. As video became more and more ubiquitous as a means of communication, it broke down the walls between the disparate creative crafts and disciplines until today, in many job areas, you are expected to know everything from acquisition to delivery.

Many years back, I remember talking with Nick Griffin about all this, and we used the term "communications" to describe what we do. It is more than video, it is more than images, it is more than print, many of us do whatever is done to get the project out for the client. We help them communicate their message to their audience -- and it doesn't matter if it's a TV channel creating its new image package or creating a video for a band or building a magazine for this audience. In the end, we are communicating and are doing so as a generalist that uses all the brushes in the jar and the paints on the palette.

I admire the people that get to specialize in these days and times, but I am not one of them, and like you, Mark, I like the fact that I get to use so many areas of experience in my work.

In the end, working like this: what am I worth? Whatever I can get. (But don't hit me with a low-ball, because I won't play.)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
CEO, CreativeCOW.net

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi


Better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with the poor spirits who neither enjoy much, nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows no victory or defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt





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Mark Suszko
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 5:32:42 pm

I only get paid for one sig file, too Ron:-)

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 9:00:41 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I only get paid for one sig file, too Ron:-)"


And that is why I use a big one, Mark.

;o)

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
CEO, CreativeCOW.net

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry


First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi


Better is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with the poor spirits who neither enjoy much, nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows no victory or defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt





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Alan Okey
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:34:18 pm

[Shane Ross] "Too bad I don't do motion graphics. "

I hope you realize what a privileged position you are in!

;)

Lately it seems like everyone wants motion graphics, and it's hard to be "just" an editor anymore. It may be easier in LA where there's a glut of talent and you can't swing a stick without hitting a motion graphics designer, but in a lot of places they want people who can do editing, audio, color, motion graphics and even 3D - all from one person. Some places/clients even want you to do the shooting as well - and demand that you have a RED camera.

I'm not kidding.


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Shane Ross
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 1, 2010 at 11:52:55 pm

I do SOME. I might make a somewhat decent lower third, or open title graphic that any REAL motion graphics guy would look at and say "I did that stuff in 3rd grade!" But they do want us to do it more and more. Just got done with a job interview where they asked if I did. Oy...



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Suszko
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:06:32 am

You know what they say about being a "jack of all trades".
Or maybe it's like the old song lyric:
"I know a little 'bout love... and baby, I can guess the rest".

I am not ashamed to call myself a generalist; I know a little about a lot of things, because I do a lot of things. No doubt there are plenty of folks that can easily smoke me in any one specialization. Easily. But for what I am tasked to do, and the budget they have to do it with, I feel that I bring a lot of skill (for the money). And I'm learning all the time, thanks to you good folks here. You call it unspecialized, I call it being a renaissance man
:-)

Or... since Ron needs a BIG sig file, try one from Robert Heinlein:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

I'm getting there...:-)



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Herb Sevush
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 2:58:15 pm

Mark -


As a Heinlein fan, and what boy wasn't, with a quote as good as that, I need more than the author's name - what's the source.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Doug Collins
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 3, 2010 at 4:05:13 pm

As a Heinlein fan, and what boy wasn't, with a quote as good as that, I need more than the author's name - what's the source

Two that I know of: "Time enough for love" and "The notebook of Lazarus Long"

If you just want quotes, go for 'notebook'. If ya want a good (and long)read, go for 'time'.



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Herb Sevush
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 3, 2010 at 10:41:45 pm

Thanks. I'll definitely go for the novel

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Ron Lindeboom
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 3:12:13 pm

[Mark Suszko] "A human being should be able to ... pitch manure"


Growing up on a dairy, I did plenty of that. Came in handy in later life. ;o)

Ron Lindeboom

(Bereft of signature in fear of Mark's retort.)


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Alan Okey
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 2, 2010 at 12:13:47 am

[Shane Ross] "I might make a somewhat decent lower third, or open title graphic that any REAL motion graphics guy would look at and say "I did that stuff in 3rd grade!" But they do want us to do it more and more. "

I hear you. To be fair, I suspect that clients might be somewhat less demanding than I think they are. They're asking for us to be broad, not deep.

My problem is that if I practice a skill, I want to be able to execute it at a high level of proficiency. I resist the "jack of all trades, master of none" label, but often that's exactly what's called for. I look at the amazing stuff that real motion graphics artists can do and recognize the skill and talent it takes to do that kind of work. It's akin to the difference between someone who plays an instrument and someone who is a master musician. Same tools, completely different level of execution.

I have to remind myself that a lot of times, clients aren't that picky or aren't asking for a masterpiece - they want something kind of cool that adds interest, but they aren't nearly as critical of the results as I might be. Flying logos and lower thirds really aren't rocket science, and sometimes that's all the client really wants.


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Mick Haensler
Re: What Am I Worth?
on Mar 3, 2010 at 3:21:02 pm

[Alan Okey] "I suspect that clients might be somewhat less demanding than I think they are. They're asking for us to be broad, not deep. "

Well said. More and more my "breadth" of skill sets is landing me jobs versus my expertise in one particular area. I just landed a job doing a butt load of digital signage content that includes a ton of motion graphics and I am in no way shape or form a motion graphics "artist". However, the organization doesn't require nor can they afford a true artist. They are ecstatic at the quality of my work and more so my price. They get what they need and can afford and I get to immerse myself in this area and get paid some coin to boot. They also need a live event director and a systems consultant which is something else I do reasonably well. Bottom line is they don't need a Mercedes so why pay for one. There is some back end producing ad spots on the signage network which is something else I do. They also need some still photography which is another service I offer.

I compare myself to a buddy of mine who was a Nashville sideman or utility guy if you will. He plays more than 10 instruments proficiently but would never claim to be a virtuoso on anything. While he never made top dollar or rose to stardom, he was always busy and had a comfortable life. While I would love to focus on one area and really excel there, I just don't see that as a practicality in my market right now. Fortunately I also have outlets that are strictly creative endeavors that feed my artistic soul.



Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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