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Day rates. How do they work?

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Rick Turners
Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 6:15:20 am

Concerning a freelancer on a day rate. Day rate is based on 10 hour day.

If the freelancer completes the days task (creating and getting approval on a project) in 4-5 hours.
Is it right for the freelancer to get his full days rate? Or does it then break down into an hourly rate?


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 12:28:48 pm

Freelance for.......
Shooting?
Editing?
Grfx?
PA?

Depends on the agreement, and the parties involved.
What about a 1/2 day rate?

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Bob Zelin
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 1:59:36 pm

I work on a half day rate, and full day rate. I use this at my discression - not the clients. So if it's a good client, and I work 5 hours, I may do it for 1/2 day. But if I work 3 hours, the client has to pay the 1/2 day. And if I work 6 hours, it's a full day. Of course, if I work beyond a full day, and it's up to 2 hours more, I will usually just throw that in as the day rate. IT's important that YOU make this decision, and not your client. The minute you do a job that takes 3 hours, and you bil for a 1/2 day and your client says "hey, you only worked 3 hours, you owe me one hour" - that is a problem client. If you work 5 hours (no lunch), and you only bill them for 1/2 day, that shows that you are not trying to screw your client, and they usually love that. Same if you work an extra hour to complete the job at no additional billing. But in the same example, if you work 6 - 7 hours, that is a full day, and you bill for a full day. If they "nickel and dime you" because you are done 2 hours early, then they will always drive you crazy.


When you hire a low skilled painter to paint your home, they do not charge by the hour.

Bob Zelin



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Mark Suszko
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:17:02 pm

Don't forget as well the "opportunity cost". Meaning, you took that gig and blocked out a day for it, and even if you only worked a half day on the project, it means you were unable to work for anybody else for a full day, either.

Billing on a day rate simplifies a lot of things. It means you're going to bring every skill, every tool you own to bear on the project, in whatever proportions it takes to get the job done. If you try something else like a la carte pricing, separate rates for each function you do, then time-keeping for each separately, that's madness.

I think what happened here is that somebody over-estimated the amount of work there was to do. Or, maybe you just ARE that darn good:-)


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 2:28:55 pm

I have a half-day and a full-day rate. If I quote a full day (5-10) but only work half (1-5) then I only bill for half, to do otherewise seems dishonest.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Greg Ball
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 6:21:47 pm

The thought that some here consider charging a day rate as dishonest or immoral is preposterous. We run a totally honest company with integrity. Yet we do not provide half-day rates. We inform our clients up front and they understand. Those who prefer not to hire us certainly have that right to go elsewhere. We don't mislead anyone. Now of course if we have a long term client with a limited budget, we will work for a lower rate. They too understand that it's not our usual policy, but we value their continued business.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 8:31:45 pm

"that some here consider charging a day rate as dishonest or immoral is preposterous"

No need to be coy, it was me that said it :)

"We inform our clients up front"

That's all you need to do.

In my business, I could not ethically charge a full day (5+) hours for something that took 1 hour to do, I just couldn't, that's why I have a half day and full day rate. If you don't offer a half day and the client knows that and you can get paid for a full day then that is fine. I don't have clients like that.


http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Greg Ball
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 23, 2011 at 1:04:16 am

Scott, now you're accusing me of being coy? FYI, there was a second poster who also talked about this as a matter of morals. I would suggest that if you're getting 1-hour gigs, that you may wish to take a long look at your business model.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 23, 2011 at 6:21:27 pm

"I would suggest that if you're getting 1-hour gigs, that you may wish to take a long look at your business model."

I had phone call one day where a client from Toronto needed some shots in Winnipeg a few days later at a store of a surpirse prize winner. Get the shots of the celebration, some b-roll, quick talkie with a few people and out the door, send off the tape.

One hours work for a half day rate plus charge for equipment, nothing wrong with that business model.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 11:13:59 pm

Scott,
"I have a half-day and a full-day rate. If I quote a full day (5-10) but only work half (1-5) then I only bill for half, to do otherewise(sic) seems dishonest."

I have to object to the pejorative use of "seems dishonest".
Are you implying that those of us that choose not to bow to the demand of low wages that are destroying this industry are dishonest?
How do you come to that conclusion?
Do what you want on your gigs, but please don't throw out inflammatory remarks in a public forum about how others choose to set their rates. It seems like a blatant attempt to drive business to your company, rather than answer the question. If you quote a full day rate, and the client knows that, and accepts it there is nothing dishonest about that at all. What are you going to do with the unused half of your day to earn a living?
Go and try to rent a car for a half a day.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Richard Herd
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:25:30 pm

My wife's a vegetarian. Even when she orders her meals without the beef, we still pay for the beef.


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Rick Turners
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 21, 2011 at 8:03:15 pm

It's not for anything in particular, it's just so I know the lay of the land concerning day rates.

Although I like the idea of always charging a full day rate when it only takes 4 hours, because, after all, they did block out my day for other clients who could've potentially paid/had work for the entire day.. but.. in reality.. I think charging for a half day seems moral.

what sucks is when you work 14 hours and they go "wow wow wow.. now your on a day rate here..." I guess 1 day is technically 24 hours?


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Bob Zelin
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:23:29 pm

Rick writes -
what sucks is when you work 14 hours and they go "wow wow wow.. now your on a day rate here..." I guess 1 day is technically 24 hours?


REPLY - if you have an employer or client that actually says that, this is what you do - you use every 4 letter word in the book at them, and then take a trash can, filled with todays old lunch, and throw it on them, and then walk out. When you work a 14 hour day, when you were booked for 8 - 10 hours, the client should go "wow, this guy really worked his ass off for me, instead of my usual lazy employees - I am going to hire him over and over again". If in fact, they say "we expect a full 24 hours for your day rate", then you spit on them, and post their name on Creative Cow, where we will plague them with harassing phone calls. I am sure you are exadurating about this, as with all the difficult clients I have ever dealt with, NO ONE expects anyone to work for 24 hours on a "day rate".

bob Zelin



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Scott Carnegie
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 3:54:50 pm

I cap it at 10 hours, anything over that is $100/hour extra, gives the client incentive to have a shorter day; I don't work those 14 hour film crew days for a good reason.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 4:52:03 pm

In the Star Trek "Mirror-Mirror" universe, Bob is actually Dale Carnegie... with a Van Dyke beard.:-)


His hyperbole aside, Bob is as usual correct; never ever let anybody rip you off like that.


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moody glasgow
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 6:29:58 pm

You know, sometimes I scan threads just to read Bob's response! Gotta love em!

moody glasgow
smoke/flame


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Patrick Ortman
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:17:11 pm

>>where we will plague them with harassing phone calls

Bob is my hero.

----------------------------
PatrickOrtman, Inc.
Los Angeles Digital Agency and Video Production Company


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walter biscardi
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:29:04 pm

[Rick Turners] "what sucks is when you work 14 hours and they go "wow wow wow.. now your on a day rate here..." I guess 1 day is technically 24 hours?"

Not a chance. A day rate is generally 10 hours in Post. Anything beyond that reverts to a predetermined hourly rate.

This is something that must be clear to the client prior to booking along with the hourly rate that kicks in at 10 hours.

As for taking a day rate for only 5 hours of work, if the client books you for a day, then you get paid for the day. I personally do not do half day rates because it's not worth it. If they want to go "half day" then I just run it hourly.

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

Blog Twitter Facebook


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Martin Curtis
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 9:54:19 pm

Not my area at all so the interest is academic, but if you advertise as having a half-day rate, does that imply a start time of sometime in the morning and finishing mid-day-ish (or starting mid-day-ish and finishing afternoon-ish) or is it generally any block of up to 5 hours at any time of day?


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John Davidson
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 10:00:04 pm

The danger with day rates is that if you're fast, you're going to be punished for it. This could lead to someone milking the clock and working slow just for the full day rate, which is lame. For that reason, we rarely do half-days to our freelancers. The exception being if they have a doctor's appointment or something that actually prevents them from being available.

My theory is that if you rock it in 5 hours when somebody else would take 8 or 9, you get the whole day. You shouldn't be punished for being fast and good.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 10:09:21 pm

1/2 day rate = 5 hour block - could be anytime of the day.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 22, 2011 at 10:26:21 pm

My take on this.

For post.
Day rate, which is based on 10 hours, or hourly if you have something quick and easy. Your choice. On a full day booking, you can either roll it over to a second day for the day rate, a second day for an hourly rate, or go for more hours on the first day at a bonus rate if your project has to get done now. Your choice based on what works best for you.

For shooting, lighting etc.
Day rate only. No half days.
My day rate is reasonable enough that if your shoot ends early, you have still gotten your monies worth. It is almost impossible to do two half-day shoots on the same day. Doing a half-day means I can't book a better paying full day on that day. The exception to this is if I shoot and post the project. I will usually work something out if I get the entire project, since the post is effectively the other 'half' of the day.

The big difference here is it's possible to do two post sessions on the same day since there is no travel, set-up/tear down.
And lets say you can book two half-day shoots on the same day, and number one runs long. What are you going to do bust down and leave unfinished? Part of what they are paying for is the 'what if' factor if the shoot takes longer.
If your post session runs out of time, and the next client arrives, it is relatively easy to stop where you're at with client one, and pick up again at a later date.

Half-day rates for field work is a bad, bad idea.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

I have a system, it has stuff in it, and stuff hooked to it. I have a camera, it can record stuff. I read the manuals, and know how to use this stuff and lots of other stuff too.
You should be suitably impressed...


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 23, 2011 at 12:44:52 am

Hey, if it only took you an hour or three hours, you're out a days' work for someone else. And if the client thinks they can pick which five hours in a day constitute a half day, well, they're yellin' for a Zelin'.

How about this: if you feel guilt for being too efficient, you could always tell the client you're crediting their NEXT job with you by x hours. This encourages them to give YOU the next gig at least, without giving up any of the money you got TODAY.


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Chad Tingle
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 23, 2011 at 2:59:57 am

Half days set a bad precedence.. because the clients will begin to expect it. It didn't take you a half day to acquire the skills that set you apart to obtain business from a client so why would anyone short change themselves. I always give the client an estimate and strive to maximize my time by finishing the project early and under budget. It's called profit.

Chad Tingle
Producer/Editor


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Ed Cilley
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Mar 24, 2011 at 6:18:02 pm

[John Davidson] " My theory is that if you rock it in 5 hours when somebody else would take 8 or 9, you get the whole day. You shouldn't be punished for being fast and good."

Amen!

Good clients will quickly learn how much you accomplish in a given amount of time.

In response to Rick's original question ...

[Rick Turners] "If the freelancer completes the days task in 4-5 hours...Is it right for the freelancer to get his full days rate?"

That's the clients problem, not yours. If they only have 4 hours of work and book you for the day - you were booked for the day. Yes, it is right for you to get a full day rate. If they constantly overestimate (or underestimate) the number of hours needed, and don't learn for their misspending of dollars, and ask you to change your rate, then you will be the one who takes the hit. Money is a great teacher.

Ed


_________________________________________________
Anything worth doing at all, is worth doing well.
- Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield


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Stan Parker
Re: Day rates. How do they work?
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:43:20 pm

As someone who's just getting started in the industry, it's really helpful for me to get a lot of different perspectives on how things work, (although I could do without so much of this bickering).

I work in a small city as a one-man operation. I handle the clients, shoot, edit, and deliver. For me, an hourly rate has worked out pretty well. Sometimes clients want a lot of small changes, and as they add changes, your hourly rate keeps them valuing your time. And some edits or revisions only take me 3 minutes to complete.

I also saw the question asked: "If something takes me 4 hours to complete that would have taken someone else 8, then is it okay to charge a full day rate?" To me, I don't think it's that big of a deal if you and your client are both on the same page as to how your billing system works. I don't think there's any degree of "dishonesty" there. However, I think I would just prefer to increase my rates as I get faster and better, so that at some point my half-day rate is the same as the other guy's full-day rate, and they'll know that I'm worth it.

Thanks everyone for all the thoughts.


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