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How would you price this?

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Patrick Sheppard
How would you price this?
on Jul 6, 2017 at 5:24:11 pm

Hi all! I've been on this website many times now, and am now posting for the first time to ask a question.

An extended family member reached out to me asking what the going rate is for video editing. Having only done that on an amateur basis thus far, I wasn't exactly sure how to answer that question and thought it best to ask the experts.

Here's the information I have so far:

There is about 40-ish minutes of existing (and I'm assuming digital) footage to go through, to be distilled down into a presentation of approximately 10-15 minutes with a "ticker text intro". I'm assuming that means scrolling credits of some kind...?

This relative and her husband are missionaries who currently live outside the U.S., so I suspect that this piece is for non-profit use.

I have no idea what the nature of the footage is, whether or not there is any (or needs to be any) b-roll, effects of any kind, or background music. When I asked, those questions were not answered, but I could ask again if necessary.

The market in which this presentation would be used is likely either their current country of residence (Honduras), or the U.S., or both. But that's just an educated guess.

So, how would you price this? Hourly? As a project? And at what monetary rate?

If more information is needed, please let me know. I'd really appreciate any help you all can give. Thanks so much! :)

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Mark Suszko
Re: How would you price this?
on Jul 10, 2017 at 4:51:15 pm

If I had to guess, just based on the description, this is at least a three-day job, i.e. 21 hours, billed hourly, because there are so many unknowns that could rack up wasted time. Since it's for charity, and family is involved, you might elect to do it for free, which gives you a lot more freedom and fewer "issues" later), but even if you do it "pro bono", you MUST track the hours and compute and deliver a bill using your day rate. (If you have not yet established your hourly and day rate, there are a million threads in this forum that go into excruciating detail - well worth reading on your own time, so I'll not repeat them here).

Why go to the bother of making up a bill for a Pro Bono job?

So you can mark the bottom of it "comped" or "No charge".

This has several benefits to you: first, it puts a dollar value on your time and talent. People don't value our work product if it's free ("un-earned" in some way), but if they feel like they got a "special deal" on something that ordinarily costs, now they will treat the work product with respect and value it. It's bizarre, true, but it's human nature, and you can count on it.

The second benefit is, you are off the hook for change orders and revisions and follow-on work; the delivery with the "virtual" bill represents a completed package with no "strings attached". You can submit the work as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, with a clear conscience. If they keep insisting they want more, it's now your choice to bill actual dollars for the follow-on work, or refuse it. This gets you off the hook with the "family" as well, as there remains no attached obligation for follow-up, which they would also expect to be free, ordinarily.

The third benefit is, others will not be coming to you insisting on the same "freebie" rate. They will know what your time is worth, at the beginning of the negotiations, and that while you have a heart, you're still a businessperson.

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Patrick Sheppard
Re: How would you price this?
on Jul 11, 2017 at 2:37:35 pm

Thanks for your reply Mark! As it turns out, she was only looking for pricing information at this time.

I gave her an hourly rate based on data from for video editing, using my local market (on the state level and the city level), averaging those state and city figures and accounting for an editor with entry-level experience (1-4 years). I did this because I considered the possibility that the next thing might that she would ask me to do it (and I only have entry-level experience so far).

I have since clarified that the pricing will depend on an individual's experience, the market that they are in, and how they choose to bill (i.e. by the hour, by the day, or as a flat rate for the whole project).

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