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Thread: Help! Been offered work and I have no idea what to charge.

  1. #1

    Default Help! Been offered work and I have no idea what to charge.

    So I create videos online. I created one and sent it to the person who it was about, and he contacted me offering me money to make videos for him and his business.

    I have no idea what to charge. Do I charge hourly, daily etc?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by JP1234 View Post
    So I create videos online. I created one and sent it to the person who it was about, and he contacted me offering me money to make videos for him and his business.

    I have no idea what to charge. Do I charge hourly, daily etc?
    Where do you live - Country, region.
    What are the prices there.
    Call some of your competitors who make video on a similar level to you and pretend you are a client - ask them how much they would charge for that work.

    How many video are we talking about here? Is it regular work? One video per week? Per month? Less / more ?

    What equipment do you use for those videos, how much did it cost? That will determine how much the gear cost per video or day / week / month will be.

    Seriously - i could go on and on. There is no easy answer to a question like that!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by RL_Sensei View Post
    There is no easy answer to a question like that!
    It's as easy as you make it. Set an hourly rate (r), estimate how many hours the work takes (h), multiply the two together (r)x(h). Apply a discount as appropriate.

    If the client doesn't like your estimate, you need to consider whether you want the work.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    It's as easy as you make it. Set an hourly rate (r), estimate how many hours the work takes (h), multiply the two together (r)x(h). Apply a discount as appropriate.

    If the client doesn't like your estimate, you need to consider whether you want the work.
    It's not that easy if you are producing a video.
    It's one thing to be a camera operator or anything else for hire and set your hourly / day rate for a producer who will hire you as a crew member, it's something entirely different to quote a video production and then to take in to account multiple guaranteed jobs from that client if specified in a contract.

    First of all - hourly rates are a bad idea (horrible actually) for video production, always set a day rate even if the job is for 2 or 3 hours. It doesn't matter if the client wants / needs you to film for only a couple of hours, you will spend the whole day anyway with gear prep, getting to location, setting up gear, prepping the shoot, prepping talent (if you have it), dealing with other stuff... then you will shoot for 2 hours and then pack everything up again, get back to your home or office and then unpack gear again.
    And then what? Get payed for 2 hours if you spent 8-10 hours working? That makes no sense and that's how freelancers struggle!

    Also, no client will want to give you multiple jobs if you calculate every job with an hourly rate, because the hourly rate will always exceed the day rate. Also - multiple jobs over time always get a discount of 20% or so.

    More importantly, you did not mention gear cost at all.
    That's the most important aspect of a video production and it all depends on the clients needs and budget.

    If it's a multiple day shoot, then gear gets a HEAVY discount.
    Long term shoots range from 50% - 80% in gear discounts.

    If you have a day rate of lets say $200 for your work (filming) and another $200 for editing. Then NO - the video will NOT cost $400.
    Where is the gear cost? The $200 is for your work. Out of which you have to pay your business expenses and then also make a living for your self! And then save up more money to buy new gear or repair the old one? Yeah - that will never work in reality.

    Even if you have some crappy DSLR and a couple of lenses, mic, lights, etc... all of that COST money. It is an investment in your business.
    Same way a taxi driver buys a Car to actually drive people around with. The cost for the car has to be included in the price other-way's whoever is doing that business is an idiot and will go bankrupt.


    So when a client asks for a video - first you need to figure out how many days of work that will be with your day rate, but then you need to calculate what gear you will need to actually make the video and then calculate the day rate for all of that gear.
    Some clients will be okay with a DSLR level production, others will want a RED or ARRI. So... what... you will just go with your $400 that the client will pay you for the job and rent out a RED? Good luck with that!
    A decent camera rig alone can go for $500 - $1500 a day.

    I could go on here, but NO - it is NOT a simple answer if you are doing it professionally.
    I am obviously not talking about hobby level side gigs after your actual 9-5 work is done.

    Because the by far biggest trap freelancers have is underselling yourself - trust me, you will spend years trying to dig yourself out of that rabbithole.
    If you start making video for $250 then word will go around that your the guy who makes videos for 250. Try to ask a new client 500 for the same thing after you are already known as the 250 guy!

    So because of that - a more proffessional approach is needed where you present a client with your day rates, the days you need to work, gear cost, any additional costs (music licences, rentals, insurance, etc) and then explain to the client the WHY, the HOW and so on.
    Half of your job is managing clients and their expectations anyway.

    Hope this helps in any way.
    P.s. i am super charged today, so pardon the semi aggressive tone. It's not meant to be offensive, just hitting hard today.

  5. #5
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    I'm sure there's a lot of truth in what you say RL_Sensei, and should be taken on board when developing a business. But this is the OPs first offer of a paid gig. They are clearly not (yet) doing this professionally, rather they are being given an opportunity to dip their toe in the water. There's no guarantee that they'll even want to do it again after this.

    Having said that:
    Quote Originally Posted by RL_Sensei View Post
    Half of your job is managing clients and their expectations anyway.
    This is important - actually moreso with a casual gig than a professional job. Make it as clear as possible what is included - especially when it comes to re-edit requests or the client (especially an inexperienced one) will keep coming back requesting tweaks.The internet is ittered with stoires of people who've made videos for friends on the cheap but friendships have broken down because of differing expectations.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by RL_Sensei View Post
    Hope this helps in any way.
    P.s. i am super charged today, so pardon the semi aggressive tone. It's not meant to be offensive, just hitting hard today.
    It doesnít help our OP, which is the main point, isnít it? His costs are minimal, heís doing it for the LOLs and might not do it again. Time / cost basis is a simple solution thatís used by most people in these situations.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    It doesn’t help our OP, which is the main point, isn’t it? His costs are minimal, he’s doing it for the LOLs and might not do it again. Time / cost basis is a simple solution that’s used by most people in these situations.
    I agree with that, but i am also a firm believer that if you do something you should do it right from the get go.
    Especially when it comes to money for service trades.

    You never want to come of to a potential client as a complete noob who has no clue or idea how to present yourself in a business environment. That does NOT give any confidence to the client that hiring you is the right choice for them.
    And as soon as you are getting paid for work, you are by definition a "professional". And i don't mean professional skill wise (in this case), i mean technically someone is hiring a profession to do a job.

    You don't go on the street to hire a random homeless person to come build your house. You go to a professional for that and you expect quality for your money, not just in the final result, but also the approach.
    In this case, a client wants to hire the OP - so the very least you can do is do a crash course and research / learn whatever you can in order to present at least the look of a professional.

    Going to a client with a proposition like this: "well, i think it will take 2 hours to shoot and 4 hours to edit, so with my X hourly rate that will be Y amount for the video" is the most amateurish thing any beginner can do. Might as well hold a sign - i have no idea what i am saying or doing here, because there is so much more to it then that. It's like mentioning 2 out of 20 things that go in to a video production.

    So in the end - what would be better for a beginner in the long run?!

    I am supper happy for the OP that he/she got such an offer, but as soon as there is a money transfer involved - the OP will face a truckload of challenges and expectations from the client that he/she has no idea about yet, because he/she had no idea to talk about those things with the client BEFORE the job got accepted!
    And then what - it will turn in to a nightmare job with, as Tim said, dozens of re-edits, changes to the video, maybe even forced re-shoots, didn't sign a contract - good luck getting your money and i could go on.

    This is a business if there is money involved, period!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    This is important - actually moreso with a casual gig than a professional job. Make it as clear as possible what is included - especially when it comes to re-edit requests or the client (especially an inexperienced one) will keep coming back requesting tweaks.The internet is ittered with stoires of people who've made videos for friends on the cheap but friendships have broken down because of differing expectations.
    Exactly - beginner clients have always insanely grand expectations for zero money and they actually believe that for their pocket money of a few hundred $$$ the filmmaker will spend days or weeks changing every little aspect to their ever changing ideas about a video.

    I'v had first time clients ask for a complete video re-edit, throwing out the previously accepted script by them, and they actually have the nerve to think that doing 3x more work should be for free!

    Professional clients never pull a stunt like that, they know what to expect, they know the process, they know what costs what and they know what they want in the end - beginner clients are very hard to deal with (not all obviously, but many).

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by RL_Sensei View Post

    Going to a client with a proposition like this: "well, i think it will take 2 hours to shoot and 4 hours to edit, so with my X hourly rate that will be Y amount for the video" is the most amateurish thing any beginner can do. Might as well hold a sign - i have no idea what i am saying or doing here, because there is so much more to it then that. It's like mentioning 2 out of 20 things that go in to a video production.

    This is a business if there is money involved, period!
    Iíve worked for global financial services firms my entire life and using rate cards are the bread and butter of setting fees. Iíve often been asked to break down my fees in that exact way. If it ainít broke, donít fix it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Peters View Post
    Iíve worked for global financial services firms my entire life and using rate cards are the bread and butter of setting fees. Iíve often been asked to break down my fees in that exact way. If it ainít broke, donít fix it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I get that.
    And you or anyone else would never disregard some fees when setting up a price right?
    So why should the OP disregard gear cost per day? Or any other expenses during a video production?
    That was basically my whole point i was trying to make.

    Work rate is not the only thing that he needs to charge. And you NEVER in a million years put gear costs under your work rate in video / film production. Then you might as well give the client money from your own pocket to make a video for them.
    Unless you are a steadycam operator and you come as a package deal (gear + work per day).

    But this is a video production not a crew hire.
    Last edited by RL_Sensei; 07-14-2019 at 03:41 PM.

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