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Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?

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Grant WilberBilling/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 19, 2013 at 3:45:01 pm

I thought I saw this thread somewhere but couldn't find it. Feel free to redirect me.

How much detail do you include on your invoices? For both a project that has one single budget, and for something you are doing hourly?

Do you include how many hours you worked on color correction, audio mixing, looking for music, revision 1, revision 2, etc?

Or if you had a $2000 project and $1000 was for editing, you just bill $1000 under post and leave it at that?


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Matt GeierRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 19, 2013 at 5:21:27 pm

Hi Grant,

Personally I like to invoice a breakout by line.
I also like to "bundle" my prices together in some way as to offer a value
Package too.

I think people tend to be more picky on final cost on the quotes vs already expecting an invoice.

You're doing great with your idea.

Let me know if you want to collaborate more on the subject.

Matt Geier
(Video Networking Solutions Expert)
(Creative Design Workflow Consultant)
(Social Media Networks Consultant)
(Technical Video Industry Sales Consultant)


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Grant WilberRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 19, 2013 at 10:28:32 pm

What I don't want to be doing is have clients thinking why the heck it took me an hour to look for music or three hours to make titles which they think are simple. I'm trying to stay away from clients that get nitpicky about things, but wondering if there is anyone that goes go into detail for their invoices - if you feel people question it or you don't have people return.


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Scott SheriffRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 20, 2013 at 8:15:55 pm

[Grant Wilber] "What I don't want to be doing is have clients thinking why the heck it took me an hour to look for music or three hours to make titles which they think are simple. I'm trying to stay away from clients that get nitpicky about things, but wondering if there is anyone that goes go into detail for their invoices - if you feel people question it or you don't have people return."

Since I mostly charge on a sliding scale, or a la carte, I just put the number of hours (up to the next 1/4) doing work associated with the major job categories within a project. On flat rate jobs, I still break out the time spent on the major production categories.
Shooting, Logging, VO recording, Editing, VFX, etc.
So, if a client comes in with a large amount of still or negs I have to scan for a post session, I put down the hours for that because it's less per hour than editing. Now if I have to scan a pic or two during an edit session, I wouldn't break that out, it's just editing. A quick VO, or some quick dust busting on a few frames, or anything else incidental would work the same way. I usually make the call at about a half hours worth of work. Anything less than a half hour just goes into the category for similar type work, as it's not worth the effort to keep track of it.
If it were me, doing needle drops would probably be lumped in with logging, or possibly audio production, and not broken out separately, no matter the time it takes since it's basically logging or a production function.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 21, 2013 at 8:52:55 pm

My own experience has been that often clients don't understand things, and their accounting departments will hold things up indefinitely if you give TOO much detail. I, too, tend to break major things out, and usually have a "catchall" admin/expenses line item as well. But I always, always keep a much more detailed log for our internal use- good to know where one's time is going, etc.

I shoot people.
http://www.patrickortman.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 22, 2013 at 4:48:57 pm

Another reason not to get too granular in the detail breakouts is that you're potentially revealing rate information and proprietary shop practices that could be used to a competitor's advantage. At minimum, some know it all in accounting will start trying to apply commodity pricing to your invoice specs as a way to start negotiating your rates downwards. "What do you mean, charging us for gold DVD masters, I can get econo-brand DVD-R's at the Staples down the street for ten cents each." They don't want to hear about the coaster production (failure) rate with the commodity-priced media.

Or next time they will farm out pars of your project to somebody else that charges less for that kind of work, say, prepping the still images. Now that person may do it right, or they may not, but you not only lose your say in HOW they do it, you lose control over WHEN it gets done and who can approve the work - will they only approve your part of it, or all of it, and if there's a problem that pops up in those stills, ora change order, who eats the bill for that? See how complicated it can get?

Keep the hourly breakdowns of each project aspect to yourself and bill for generic hourly services, unless there is a extraordinary reason like a change order or substandard materials imposed by the client/situation, like a bad audio read they are unwilling tp re-record, so you need to massage the audio more than planned.


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Grant WilberRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 23, 2013 at 12:46:48 pm

Thanks for the advice guys. Kinda mirrors my thoughts and good to know how others normally do things.


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Patrick OrtmanRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 23, 2013 at 4:21:33 pm

:-) cool!

Gotta echo Mark (once again). At one time I thought things like what he mentioned would never happen. Sadly, it does. I had an invoice held up over 3 months while some jackass accountant went through and did an internal vetting study to see if our price for certain line items were in line with "industry standards". They were, but damn.

P

I shoot people.
http://www.patrickortman.com


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Scott SheriffRe: Billing/Invoice for Post Production - get specific?
by on Jan 28, 2013 at 8:38:08 am

[Patrick Ortman] "I had an invoice held up over 3 months while some jackass accountant went through and did an internal vetting study to see if our price for certain line items were in line with "industry standards"."

This is a good case for not releasing the final product until you get paid. I agree that to much minutia can be bad, but they could have just as easily held up payment for lack of detail.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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