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what should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?

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Bre Snitchlerwhat should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?
by on Sep 3, 2015 at 8:06:24 am

Hello!

I realize there are multiple threads that somewhat answer my question, which is how I decided on my base rate. I just want some reassurance that my rate is reasonable.

I've been doing freelance design work in my spare time for about three years now. The passed few months, work has been picking up tremendously and it is now my sole source of income. Most of my work has been overflow from other companies.

I'm currently working on a fairly basic after effects animation. It will end up being anywhere from 3-5 minutes long, and I expect to spend about a week total on the project.

The company I'm freelancing for does a lot of motion graphics work for automotive companies. I've done work with them before, but My previous jobs have all been photoshop, illustrator, or InDesign based. I have experience with After Effects, but I've kind of been re-teaching myself along the way, which the company understands 100% and they've been helping me out along the way. I work out of their office, on their computers, and drink their coffee/eat their snacks. I can come and go as I please as long as I get the job done.

We never discussed a rate or anything. They usually just give me a job, and I send them an invoice. They've never had any questions so far! I overheard them discussing that the budget for this particular portion of the job is $5,000, and it's for a pretty big company. They keep telling me I need to do more after effects work for them because that's where the moneys at. I'm slightly embarrassed to ask how much they intended on paying me because I don't want to look inexperienced or unsure of myself.

I have a very detailed chart of my hours/task I'm working on. Mind you, I have a different rate for each task.

Research/development: $15/hr
Ideas/sketches: $20/hr
Photoshop/illustrator/InDesign: $25/hr
After effects: $30/hr

This comes up to about $200 per day, give or take.

These rates are for this specific client. They are based in Detroit and as I stated before, they've been very helpful and encouraging. They are essentially grooming me so they can start giving me more complex projects.

SO: my question is: Am I charging too much? Not enough? Should I charge per day or per hour or for the project as a whole? Everything else I've done for this company has been per hour but it's been smaller projects.

Thanks a bunch!!


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Todd TerryRe: what should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?
by on Sep 3, 2015 at 3:29:16 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Sep 3, 2015 at 3:30:09 pm

[Bre Snitchler] " I'm slightly embarrassed to ask how much they intended on paying me..."

Get over the slight embarrassment, and ask them.

You don't have to phrase it like "How much are you going to pay me?" but something softer like "What's your motion graphics budget on this project?" might be an easier way to ask.

Numbers are always hard, because we don't know your exact skill level, the company's expectations, or general budget levels, so the best I can do is guess.

Based on your $200/day, that rate would be $52,000 a year for a full-time real employee. That might be ok (considering they would also pay a lot of benefits, probably), but they should expect to pay a heckuva lot higher rate for a freelancer... since they hire you only as needed, aren't laying out anything for vacation, benefits, insurance, and (likely) certain taxes. That's why freelancers' rates are a lot higher (and there is the expectation that a freelancer is working at a higher level and can do better work than someone on staff).

I don't really have any experience with a situation like that where you are woking in someone else's shop, on all their own gear, and using their resources. If you were working in your own company in your own facility with all your own stuff, and at a very high skill/proficiency level... then that rate would be ridiculously low (it's right at a tenth of what we charge for those things, and we're a mid-level company in a small market). But as a pure freelancer working out of their place, my only slightly-educated guess is that your rates are about half what they should be.

Of course on the flip side, you don't want to price yourself out of a job... so tread lightly. But don't give your work away, either.

Just my guesses of course... your mileage may vary.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: what should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?
by on Sep 3, 2015 at 8:32:48 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Sep 3, 2015 at 9:53:55 pm

Another way to think about it is: their total budget for the project is five grand. I'm guessing that is without figuring any time buys or placements, that would be separate.

The AE work is going to comprise the bulk of the finished thing, but let's be fair to the audio team, music provider, writer, vocal talent, producer. Say half the project relies on the AE work you do. Shouldn't that be worth half the budget? So, $2,500 complete? Or is that a crazy way to look at it?


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Jason JenkinsRe: what should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?
by on Sep 4, 2015 at 8:48:32 pm

[Bre Snitchler] "Research/development: $15/hr
Ideas/sketches: $20/hr
Photoshop/illustrator/InDesign: $25/hr
After effects: $30/hr"


Forget about the different rates. Your time is your time. Make it $40 per hour for everything and call it good.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Ned MillerRe: what should I charge for a 3-5 minute After Effects animation? Am I under-selling, or overselling myself?
by on Sep 5, 2015 at 12:25:20 pm

In 2015 there are 251 working week days. You wrote you get $200 a day, and If you work every day (which you won't) that's $50200. After taxes and living expenses, for your skill set, that is peanuts.

Keep charging more until there is a push back. No one is indispensable but if their clients come to appreciate and rely on your work and style, you will become close to being indispensable. On the other hand, if you notice an intern with a foreign accent following you around and digging into your file structure, you'll know you've charged too much:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/04/us/last-task-after-layoff-at-disney-train...

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


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