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Pricing by project or per minute

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Nathan AbbottPricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 7:44:45 pm

I've decided to start my own small business and need advice on how much to charge/pricing.

The main focus will be hospitals and private practices. I'll be putting together "informational" videos on procedures patients are about to undergo.

Other events will include weddings and some recreational events.

I'm not a professional editor, nor am I a professional videographer. However, I've spent the last 6 years using FCP and the HVX200, while working on commercial or indie film sets, so my experience isn't limited either.

How do you choose what to charge? $500 a minute? $2000 per project? What?

I know weddings will have a separate price tag ranging from $200-$30,000. I have a friend who is a photographer who does the $30,000 weddings--wouldn't that be nice to have a piece of that... But how do you choose...?

Thank you.


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Matt TownleyRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 8:29:20 pm

The only thing I price by the minute is compression/transcoding/encoding.


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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 9:29:13 pm

So I probably will need to stick to project rates and daily rates?

These videos will likely be between 5-15 minutes--give or take depending upon the procedure--with visuals as well as graphics for illustrating and possibly small staged procedures.


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grinner hesterRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 8:35:14 pm

You should be a professional videographer and editor first. You'll hone skills, know what it takes to make these projects, and know what they are worth. Our telling you to charge 5 grand a video is not going to help you.



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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 7, 2010 at 9:25:07 pm

I understand your reply, however, what one may constitute as "professional" knowledge may be to someone else "beginner" and vise-verse. An example, I and three others edited a blockbuster feature as well as a few casino commercials. I don't think that constitutes me as a "professional" but I can hold my own when editing. Maybe I'm just cutting myself short or maybe I'm right.

I'd still like help with my query, though. I'd like to know how other people are charging so I have an idea of what I need to look at. I understand that it depends upon my quality of work and I will take that into consideration when deciding my own rates.


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Craig SeemanRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 12:23:36 am

One thing experience would tell you is that a 5 minute video could take you a day or it could take you weeks. If you don't want to charge a client hourly than you should be very good at estimated the time it takes to do a job. A minute of multilayered graphics is not the same as a minute of talking head interview.

If you plan remaining in business rather than going bankrupt you have to meet all your business and life expenses every month. My estimate is you should be able to cover all those expenses on 20-25 hours of paid work a week. You'll likely going to have to spend a lot of unpaid hours marketing, maintaining gear, doing paperwork, improving your skills. As you get better you may raise your rates to cover additional business growth and profit. If you develop repeat clients you may spend less time marketing but you'll always have a fair amount of unpaid work.

Since you have done editing you should have an idea of how fast you work. You'll need to learn how to estimate how much time it'll take to do a job. In some cases you may charge hourly. In some cases you'll be constrained by a budget and you'll have to stick to a number of hours for a given job. Alway include revisions in your estimate or they can be endless.

Based on your own self awareness you can charge hourly, day, project estimate, budget constrained but you should always have a set or at least a close approximate number of hours to do a job.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 6:25:00 am

I've decided I'd like to be in the Polynesian Restaurant business. What should I charge for a Puu-Puu Platter?


That is kind of how you framed the question.



Can you tell me the name of this blockbuster you worked on, so I can see your work?


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Mike CohenRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 4:57:15 pm

[Mark Suszko] "What should I charge for a Puu-Puu Platter?"

Mark - can I substitute Chicken Fingers for Chicken Wings? And can I get extra spare ribs?

Don't forget the fortune cookies.

Mike Cohen

PS - There was a restaurant in Lenox, MA called Luau Hale - actually it is still there, but in the 70's and early 80's it still has the outrageous decor of a tiki bar, complete with painted murals of the South Pacific, piped in music, mood lighting and the occasional hula show. It was such a special treat to go there, the whole family went. Puu puu platters were fun to eat.

Way off topic, but they say never to shop while hungry - same goes for the COW - never read forum posts while hungry. I gotta get me some takeout!


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grinner hesterRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 1:24:05 pm

Again, experience will give this answer, as well as the other knowledge you'll require to succeed.



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walter biscardiRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 2:14:07 pm

[Nathan Abbott] "I don't think that constitutes me as a "professional" but I can hold my own when editing. Maybe I'm just cutting myself short or maybe I'm right."

Well then, if you consider yourself as "holding your own" then you should be able to figure out this answer for yourself.

The formula is quite simple for pricing a project.

PreProduction + Production + Post Production = Estimate.

Based on your skill set and those you plan to work with, you come up with the price based on that. How many days of PreProduction + How many days of Production / size of crew / talent required / + how many days of Post Production / music rights / animation / voice talent / dvd / bluray / master / web compression = total estimate.

None of us can answer your question except I will say I RARELY offer a project price and only to clients I have worked with in the past. The only two things I price by the minute are video compression and animation. Actually animation we price by the second.

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

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

Blog Twitter Facebook


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walter biscardiRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 2:37:19 pm

And to add to what I already wrote in my previous response, I do have a three part series here on the Cow (working on Part 4 finally!) for starting and running your own business. Might be some useful information in there for you.

http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/273/your-own-business-part-1-are-you-read...

http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/277/your-own-business-part-2-setting-up-s...

http://blogs.creativecow.net/blog/300/your-own-business-part-3-running-buil...

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

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" featuring Sigourney Weaver coming soon.

Blog Twitter Facebook


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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 3:07:40 pm

How many days of PreProduction + How many days of Production / size of crew / talent required / + how many days of Post Production / music rights / animation / voice talent / dvd / bluray / master / web compression = total estimate.

This is something that I can understand and work with by adding or subtracting for my own work flow list.

As for the three part series, I started reading them and found them very informative. I've already put those pages offline so I can read it on my upcoming business trip.

Thank you.


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Martin CurtisRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 11:42:26 am

[Nathan Abbott] "The main focus will be hospitals and private practices. I'll be putting together "informational" videos on procedures patients are about to undergo.
"

Have you done these before? They are quite different to anything else (note: I work for a state Health Department, in a public hospital. I make these sorts of videos. I have been in the health game for 20 years, as a videographer for the last 3.)

Informational videos can be easy pieces (video a mocked-up procedure while off-camera person reads out what on-camera person should be doing, edit with consultation, dub voice in afterwards, put in circles and arrows) to quite complex (animations, voice-over artists). Being a poor government employee, we usually do the former. The other types include narrative which should mean actors and a script written by a pro, or working in theatre which is quite time consuming and you have to know in advance what to capture and have a good relationship with the surgeon, or grab everything and have a lot of stuff to edit.

This is a great game to get into, but it's a fairly wide-ranging area.

From what I have heard - and remember I get paid just for turning up everyday and all my equipment (and coffee) is supplied - the hardest part to learn about running a business is the business things: quotes, invoices, tax, insurance.

To give you something to be going on with, if someone has their act together, I can shoot, edit (with their input) and deliver a 15 minute video of a mocked up procedure (as above) in around 2 days.


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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 3:27:35 pm

Have you done these before?

I have not. But, I have my first client, an optometrist, and I've already spoken to other private practices in the area and many have already given interest and their office manager numbers.


I can shoot, edit (with their input) and deliver a 15 minute video of a mocked up procedure (as above) in around 2 days.


Okay, I was pretty close. I had estimated 3 days depending on the situation. But I can definitely see most of the projects happening in 2 days, like you said, if I have my act together.


Thanks for the insight. Your reply has made me even more excited to get started on my next project in the medical world!


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Martin CurtisRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 10:37:39 pm

[Nathan Abbott] "But I can definitely see most of the projects happening in 2 days, like you said, if I have my act together."

I said if they have their act together. Big difference :-)

I am in a unique position where I can force (well, strongly recommend) people to actually have an idea of what they really want and make them do some work to achieve this (after all, they know their subject best). Many people think that all they have to do is make a phone call, I hit the big red "make a video" button and it happens magically without any further input from them. Kind of how like guys think babies happen :-)

You may have to be more diplomatic - a template or even an explanatory video might help.


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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.Re: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 3:59:06 pm

I think the best practice is to determine what you are worth+capable and reverse engineer you price from there.

For example; if you think you are with $50 an hour shooting and same editing, meet the client and learn about the project.

From there based on your "capabilities" you can determine how long it take you to plan, set-up and shoot the event.

Than you can again estimate how long it will take you to edit the segment and multiply that by your decided hourly rate. Add additional caost when needed like voice over, duplication...etc. You have a quote.

Be careful to make sure your client understands the contract you have him sign states out clearly that any alternations to the production schedule may increase the cost. Also that they get a pre-determined hours to make any changes to the show and anything beyond that is calculated on an hourly fee.

Please allow me to politely write the next segment all capital:

MAKE A CONTRACT!!!!

Otherwise you will find out if the client wants more hours, pay you less or not at all you wont have a leg to stand on.

Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 4:40:26 pm

I think the best practice is to determine what you are worth+capable and reverse engineer you price from there.

Now that is interesting. Along with Walter's post, I think I can now put the first steady foot forward in deciding on rates.

Be careful to make sure your client understands the contract you have him sign...

I actually made this mistake when I first started. I agreed--verbally--with a client about prices and production schedule. Spent around $300 of my own money (said to be refunded) and hired 2 friends to make this promo video.

When I turned it in, he ended up not wanting to pay the $300 and wanted to cut our original agreed payment in half. I felt so stupid. That was the last time I have worked WITHOUT a contract.

Once you're burned--even if it was your own stupidity that got you there--you'll never make that same mistake twice. If a lesson is what is needed to learn, I'd rather have it learned sooner than later.

Thanks for your post.


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Emre Tufekci S.O.A.Re: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 5:05:05 pm

And read this article:

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/12-things-i-know-about-business-at-...

One of the most important topics in the article is discounts being permanent. If you choose to do a discount for a first time client make sure the contract lists like this:

Item a: $1000
Item b: $1000
Item c: $1000

Total: $3000

First time client discount: 10%

Total: $2700

That will know your worth and you can demand full rate for returning customers.

Emre Tufekci
http://www.productionpit.com



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Mike CohenRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 5:07:23 pm

[Nathan Abbott] "I'm not a professional editor, nor am I a professional videographer. However, I've spent the last 6 years using FCP and the HVX200, while working on commercial or indie film sets, so my experience isn't limited either."

I don't know, that sounds like professional experience, but the word "professional" has various interpretations. If you can deliver work and get paid well enough to do it that the client is happy, continues to pay you and you are making a living, then in the most basic sense of the word, you are a professional.

Don't sell yourself short - if you think you can do the job, do it. But don't project self-doubt because others will pick up on this.



[Nathan Abbott] "How do you choose what to charge? $500 a minute? $2000 per project? What?"

As the others have told you, and as you can find in hundreds of posts on this forum, you need to know your costs, your labor rate and how much profit you need to make to support your business. We cannot tell you those numbers. You charge what you need to charge to A) not go hungry, B) support your business, C) invest in the company, D) have a salary that allows you to live in a house/condo/apartment/cardboard box (your choice), E) cover your costs.



[Nathan Abbott] "I know weddings will have a separate price tag ranging from $200-$30,000."

Really, a $30,000 wedding? I would not want to meet that bride's mother.

Good luck.

Mike Cohen


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Ned MillerRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:43:09 am

I come here because I think Creativecow is for Pros. Nathan, no offense, try an entry level forum for such beginner questions.

But...my three cents, feel out what your client is willing to spend and come in right under it. There are no formulas. Your question is too vague.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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Nathan AbbottRe: Pricing by project or per minute
by on Aug 11, 2010 at 5:46:51 pm

Ned,

Now that I've read all the articles posted on this thread and have done some other outside research, I agree, my original question was way too vague. I now understand. Though I am glad I posted here to get all this information where I found the solution to my question. Also, thank you for the forum suggestion, I haven't checked one out yet, but I will when time permits.


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