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How much should I charge?

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Serge Z-LeninHow much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 5:57:46 pm

Hello community. I'm relatively new to the business of video editing and I'm seeking for you professional opinion.
How much would you charge for editing of 20 HD video segments which run 7min each. No graphic or sound effects. Just the editing part. Would you charge per project or per each video? Please help

Thank you


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Shane RossRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 7:30:28 pm

Hourly. I charge hourly. $175/hour...but those are LA rates. If I was in say Indiana, I might go $75-$100 an hour. That's for my time and my equipment time.

Unless the project goes longer than 2 weeks, then I charge daily. $750/day. If it goes 5 weeks or more, I charge weekly.

HOW LONG will it take to edit those? Dunno. How much source footage are we talking about? What was it shot on (ingest time)? How many notes does the client get to give on the edit? 7 min might take me a day (10 hours), or it might take me two days...depending on ingest time (which I could cut down on by using Premiere Pro), and how long it takes me to watch all the footage...if there is a script or if I need to do the creative editing decisions on my end.

Many many factors. But don't get locked into something like $500 per video. Because there might be a lot of footage, or the client might give feedback, and feedback, and more feedback, and with every hour spent on these, you earn less money.

Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Nick GriffinRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 7:33:49 pm

Short answer: (which you're not going to like) As much as I can and still have them want to come back for more. And that's the hard part: determining where that line is.

Better answer: You're not giving us much to work with here. What KIND of editing? Cutting run and gun news where repetition is OK, length is everything and aesthetics just good enough? Or a complex storyline where you have to dig through hours of footage and multiple takes to weave a well constructed narrative? Or a stylized music video kind of edit where you're working to blend multiple cameras, styles, backstories (for example the lost girlfriend the song is about) with logical hits against the music? Or… you get the idea. Hard for anyone to answer such an open ended question, Serge.

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Serge Z-LeninRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 7:50:12 pm

Thank you for your reply.
Each video will be a presentation of a particular business. 7-10 min video business card sort of. Shot in HD. I'm not sure how much raw footage I will get per video. Should my rate be based on the amount of raw footage?

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Nick GriffinRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 8:49:41 pm

Your rate should be based primarily on how much of your time the project will take. I think Shane's post addressed the variables quite well. And, as he points out, location is a primary factor, too. Big markets command higher rates than small towns.

If at all possible offer a price for the first one that can be re-negotiated for the others based on what your learn from what is supplied, how organized it is, etc.

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Ned MillerRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 10:52:58 pm

Although Shane has a great answer I have found clients want to know a range if not a bottom line cost, so they probably won't want to go into post with a blank check. They will want a figure or at least a ball park.

Here's an alternative I have often used that has helped me to not shoot myself in the foot. I am referring to NOT giving them a figure below what they have in mind. Here's the technique:

"May I ask what you wanted to keep the editing costs under?"

There is a good chance, if they are a decent size or profitable company, that they may give you a figure that is way above what you were considering, especially since you're a noobie. So figure out what you feel you need to do a good job and be profitable, ask them the question and keep from showing your enthusiasm when they give a higher number than what you had in mind.

And if they give a lower figure than you wanted, you can just walk away from the gig.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer

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Shane RossRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 9, 2012 at 11:02:27 pm

Yeah, clients want ballpark answers...close guesstimates. They want a number. You can't go in with a blank check. What I was trying to say was that you need to gage what you think your time is worth, given your experience, and your geographic location. Then calculate how long you think it will take you to edit the projects. Multiply the hours by your hourly'll get a number.

But stipulate that it is an estimate, and that it will include say two passes of build that into the cost...a few hours to deal with notes. And that anything over that will incur an hourly cost. Otherwise you'll get clients who might become GRINDERS (search that term in this forum) who will come back with change after change after change...nitpick you to death, and not want to pay because you agreed on a flat rate for the videos.

Don't do a flat rate. You can say "I can do this for $XX.XX, and that will include X amount of notes. Further changes will be billed at $XX.XX per hour."

It's very tough to come up with these numbers. This all comes from experience. Experience in knowing what type of client they are, what their budgets might be, how you can accommodate those budgets and still get paid a decent amount. How much to bill yourself long it might take to edit something like that.

It's tough. Especially for beginners. You might bill yourself out of a job, or underbill so much that you work very hard for very little pay. You might get repeat business because you are so cheap...but then you are working even more for little pay. It's a very delicate balance.

If I have a potential client that I know cannot afford my going rate, I always tell them "I charge XX for a job of this nature. But I don't think that will fall within your budget range, so let's see how I can work out a discount for you on this project." This way they know that you normally charge a certain rate...and that you might be good enough to demand that rate. But they also feel special because, hey, you are giving them a deal. Willing to bargain with their needs. On this ONE project. If they like your work, and have a better budget next time...they'll come back.

It's all so damn arbitrary.

Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Eddie JustoRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 10, 2012 at 1:43:15 am

I normally charge £50 an hour and £250 daily for my services and equipment hire if it will require me to work for a week i may charge £750 but it depends on the project and the amount of work I am putting in. How long do you think you will take to edit each video?

Benefits and advantages of corporate video production

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Tom SeftonRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 10, 2012 at 8:41:02 pm

Eddie-if a job will take 9 hours do you charge £450 or a day rate...?

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Rich RubaschRe: How much should I charge?
by on Oct 13, 2012 at 2:59:00 am

I'm going to say charge between $100 and $300 per finished minute of video. So that is between $14,000 and $42,000 for the job.

Conversely, show them how to construct the same message in, say, 3 minute videos (have an example ready that totally rocks) and show how a shorter video saves them tons of money. Well, some money.

With 3 minute videos you charge between $6000 and $18,000 for the 20 videos.

Looking at these numbers you should not charge less than $12,000 for the job. If you are qualified, have samples to show that are similar to this project and have good references I'd go for closer to the $18k and say it is only an estimate. And convince them that you can do it in 3-5 minute videos and if you get anywhere near $20k you'll do just fine.

Write up a contract if you get it because gambling with $20k without a contract is bad business.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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