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Old June 18th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #1
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How do you quote jobs?

Just wondering what your methods are for quoting jobs. Do you ask the client for a budget then quote? Or do you first quote them and then get to know their budget?

Is there an industry standard I missed along the way?
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Old June 19th, 2008, 01:47 AM   #2
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Ask the client what they want. Location? Special equipment needed? Jib? Steadicam? Several tracks of audio? Multiple cameras?

Take all the elements of the job into account and what it would take to do it. Add up the equipment rental costs and the manpower.

If there's post production involved make sure that gets taken into account. Add a percentage in case there's overtime or things take longer than anticipated.

Present them with those numbers and if it's beyond their budget, have them re-think what they need. Or be creative and find ways to get what they want to achieve without having to cut corners.
Dean Sensui
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Old June 19th, 2008, 04:40 AM   #3
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what Dean said. Ask as many questions as you need to to get all the information you can from the client to be able to put together a legitimate and sensible quote. Remember that many cleints really have no idea what they really want or how much it's going to cost. You have to prod many along to get info and some haven't thought about mant of the things you might be asking them.

Then ask yourself these questions. Do you need to storyboard it, do voiceovers, how many cameras, lighting,audio, how many crew members, tape stock, how much time will you need to edit, whats the finished product going to be..DVD,tape or for the web. Do you need to rent any gear,pay any subs etc. How much wil you have to put out of pocket up front.THEN figure out you hourly rate and your day rate with gear and price the job accordingly.

Everyone has differing thoughts on the proper rate but it's everyones own decision.
Don't sell yourself short on the money. You're in business to make a profit.

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Old June 19th, 2008, 01:49 PM   #4
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Donít ask about their budget, just check exactly what they need and the make your own calculation what you need to take that job and then add 25% ;)
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Old June 19th, 2008, 05:22 PM   #5
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Always make it clear up front that the budget depends on the scope of the job. If the client is really clueless on costs or has unreasonable expectations, I explain that I've done jobs for a few hundred dollars, and other jobs that have been tens of thousands. I explain things like equipment rental, hiring crew, the costs involved with shooting on multiple days or multiple locations, etc. This discussion happens before I generate a quote.

If possible, I try to ask in a very general way if they have any budget expectations. Sometimes, they'll come right out and say "I want to do this for less than $". At this point you can adjust their expectations to match that budget. Nothing wrong with telling a client that what they want is unreasonable for the budget. Sometimes the client will be more vague - If you hear "It's not in our budget, but we just need to get it done", then watch out! If, on the other hand, you hear "Our corporate office has mandated that this production be top-notch all the way", then you pull out the "retail" instead of the "discount" rate card (kidding)!

I always like to itemize on the quote exactly where the money is going. Most (first-time) clients are blissfully unaware of just how much good production costs. By itemizing, you not only show them in great detail why it costs so much, but it serves as a basis for discussion if the budget gets tweaked, up or down.

I've actually had clients add gear or personnel to a shoot once they see that I'm spending their money in a responsible manner.

I am also specific on what is expected of me and my crew. For instance, I might quote a first draft script with one additional draft after a meeting. Anything beyond that incurs an additional charge. If a crew is quoted for a 12-hour day, the client knows that's all we've got. If we can't do it in one day, they know why we need to add another day or half-day, and what that's going to cost. Same with copies. If I specify 5 DVDs, and the client decides later they want 50, I can point to my additional expenditures without feeling awkward about it.

I've staved off many uncomfortable discussions with clients by being able to break it down: If they want a re-edit that's outside the scope of the original quote, It's much easier to say "that'll take me about 10 hours" at my editing rate they already know than for me to say "Oh, that'll cost you...let me see..." and pulling a figure out of thin air.

As Don said, don't be afraid to make a profit. Your time and expertise has a value - if your client doesn't understand that, you don't want them as a client. If you go at the quotation process from a place of openness, honesty and transparency you'll be home free.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #6
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I'm with Anderson Andersson..uh, all of them.

I use contract bidding and budgeting documents like the tools they are. One is a clarification of expectations of both parties, one is a list of services and things we might use or need to accomplish the product at the level the client wants. (AICP used to have a checklist, may be worth a google) Discussing with the client in a manner that demonstrates you want to serve them professionaly and efficiently will get you information that will help you get to the cost to you to do the job, (Then add 34% or 25% plus contingency, it's somewhat subjective on this point). Remember pre-production done well will make for smooth completion. Remember to cost yourself, you have health care, an IRA, insurance, legal and accounting costs, time and gasoline to planning meetings, figure them as well. They are part of your "cost".
Whatever you do, don't just throw down lowball bids. You'll wind up working for less than minimum wage, and it does affect the product quality.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Scott Anderson View Post
If you go at the quotation process from a place of openness, honesty and transparency you'll be home free.
That's some of the best quoting advice I've ever heard. Quoting can be difficult sometimes, but that's a great thing to keep in mind. Thanks, Scott.
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