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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:07 PM   #16
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Don't worry about it. Set a minimum time, e.g four hours, and hourly rates beyond that. Even with a three minute video half your day is gone. Gives you a basis to negotiate lower costs on trivial projects. Include your own equipment in the hourly rate and pass on additional costs.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:20 PM   #17
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

One thing you want to look out for is the so called "half day" rate. Honestly there is no such thing as a half day.
The half day rate is supposedly predicated on you being able to work another job in that other half of the day.

As well some clients will think since you charge say $750 for a full day that a half day should be $375. Not so.
We charge $500 for the half day.

But I do my dammdest not to book half days at all. They never pan out.

I do a lot of interview type work and while the interviews might take 3 hours, travel setup and strike adds up to more than a half day. And the likelihood of me getting another job that day are slim.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:28 PM   #18
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Keep in mind that going over is sometimes your fault and sometimes the fault of the client.

If you forgot something that put you behind schedule, that's on you. Eat the cost. And make them aware that you've gladly eaten the cost as this helps buy loyalty.

If the client changed something ("Rather than filming in the office, I figured that we'd film on the North Pole!), then the overage is on them. This is where bidding hourly rather than by the job really helps. Some clients make constant changes and are never done polishing the apple. Don't do the job that never ends without charging for it.
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Old March 29th, 2014, 11:11 AM   #19
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

"How much to charge" is a never ending debate with lots of variables.

That said...here's some additional advice when answering that question.

Good, fast, cheap. You can NEVER have all three.

This is a business truth.

It can be good and fast...but it won't be cheap.

It can be cheap and good...but it won't be fast.

It can be fast and cheap...but it won't be good (perfect).

Sometimes I'm in the mood for a little extra pocket change, thinking "I'm not doing anything, something is better than nothing"...and I'll do a half day for a client who has a limited budget. But that is very rare and only applies to a gig normally involving charitable work.

Here in Miami, Florida...the base pay for an experienced freelance editor with their own edit system is fifty bucks an hour.

That's for a client who walks in with material that's already been shot and they have a script for you to edit to. Anything beyond that means an additional amount for "producing".

Shooting rate, as mentioned above, can vary wildly.

Basic labor rate in Miami for an experienced photog using someone else's gear to shoot is usually $350 to $400 for a 10 hour day. Cost for someone with their own gear is extra on top of that depending on the amount and quality of camera gear being used. If you've invested more in camera and support gear you should get extra for that investment compared to someone who shows up with just a camera and tripod.

Where you live and work affects these basic numbers, and ultimately, comes down to your personal situation and future goals.

Is this a hobby or a true career path you're on?

Answer that question, then add up your expenses to get an idea of what "goal number" you need to make a month to keep a roof over your head and pay your bills. Oh yes...also a little extra for future equipment maintenance and purchases as well!

Just my two cents... ;)
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Old March 29th, 2014, 01:10 PM   #20
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

MONEY…. Rule number one: Never talk about it! That not only includes friends and family it means especially friends and family. Once you start casually mentioning day rates and gross project numbers to other people they will only hear “BIG NUMBERS”. People that are not self employed have no concept of the net income a full time sole proprietor nets on an annual basis. So unless your ego thinks it is cool for people to perceive you as making a ton of money don’t talk about it. The ONLY people I discuss fees with is clients, period.

Take the first video you just did, I think it was your uncle? This is what I would do in that case. It does not matter how much you charged him. I would have made an agreement with him in advance not to tell anyone an actual number, that is between you and him, as it should be. You should advise him to tell everyone that you DID charge him. When someone asks him about the video his reply should be something like this “The kid was amazing, I got a bit of a family discount but I still paid him a reasonable fee. It was worth every penny of it. The video blew me away and has brought in new customers.” That is it, never any numbers. He is family, so mentioning the discount they suspect he got is ok, in that case. Assuming he did pay you something that answer is honest and fair. Money is a personal matter, even in business.

I rarely discount my fees, and I am substantially higher than what has been mentioned here so far, that is all I will say. If people hear you give discounts they will expect it too or be pissed if they don’t get it. It is human nature. And people get weird when it comes to money.

The video production business is a business about far more than just the video. I have many clients that I call refugees. They came to me and stay because they like doing business with me. They are refugees because their previous experience with video guys was bad. In short, I have reaped the benefits of low bidders and bottom level producers of bad video. It is also a common mistake of new guys to think that the lowest bidder will always get the job. There are, low price only, clients out there but I do not work in that arena. You don’t have to either, it is a myth. How much you charge will end up dependent on your business skills more than your creative skills.

Here is a tip. Be very careful with the hourly rate model. I don't use it at all anymore (some rare exceptions), for a lot of reasons. Just one of them is it makes people mad and they move on to guys like me because they think the hourly guy nickel and dimed them to death and was charging more than he was worth anyway. Sometimes it is justified and sometimes it is not, but they still left him! If you want to get paid for every hour you work then sell your camera and go punch a time clock. This is not a time clock business!

Steve
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Old March 29th, 2014, 03:36 PM   #21
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Steve brings up an excellent point.

One I also follow. I ask all clients to NOT share what I have charged them to do a job.

As Steve mentions...that is between myself and the client, and not a rate for everyone. It also infers to that client they have received a good price from you.

In addition, another basic reality...no matter what number you quote for a job...every client tries to get it even cheaper no matter how low you go at the beginning. Don't fool yourself into thinking there's some magic number which every client simply smiles and says "yes" to. That number does not exist!

Always be ready to say "no thank you" if a client does not want to pay what you honestly feel the work is worth. Bottom feeders are always around and not worth dealing with. They want cheap, then want more for nothing extra. Save yourself the headache and learn to walk away when appropriate.
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Old March 29th, 2014, 03:39 PM   #22
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Thanks guys. Appreciate the help! This at least gives me an idea of how to go about getting prices. Good stuff
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Old March 30th, 2014, 08:25 AM   #23
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Hey Brock

That is a really slick video and certainly worth a rate of $500 a day! Probably it also depends on how the client perceives your production (or more importantly how you make him perceive it) so it looks like good value to him.

An uninformed client would look at your less than 3 minute video and think .. This guy is crazy .. 3 minutes of video for say, $1000 works out to over $300 a minute. But marketed right so they see it as exposure to maybe 100,00 clients over it's lifetime and they are paying mere pennies per potential new client so your rate is just a drop in the ocean.

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Old March 30th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #24
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
One thing you want to look out for is the so called "half day" rate. Honestly there is no such thing as a half day.
Truth... but while I don't advertise a half day rate, if a client says "we need this interview and b-roll package shot 2-3 hours, and our budget is $xxx," and $xxx is reasonable but well below my day rate, I'll invoice it as a half day just so if, in the future, the same client comes back with an actual full-day gig, I can go back to quoting my full day rate without question.

Just have to be consistent, yet inventive sometimes if it's the difference between working or not working (especially in smaller markets like mine)
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Old March 31st, 2014, 09:52 PM   #25
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

when you don't know or feel embarrassed then charge by the hour . It works all the time when it comes to put down the number to the Client. If you pay taxes or rent the equipment then the rates are written in the books, otherwise charge by the hour and don't be too greedy. The Clients will be satisfied comparing to the rate by the hour of any other service they buy.
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Old July 10th, 2014, 05:37 PM   #26
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Brock, I thought your video was great. I'm a beginner and haven't bought any equipment yet. Would you tell me what equipment you used to shoot your video?
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Old February 24th, 2015, 10:24 AM   #27
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Hey Peter. I'm way late on this but for anyone reading this later, I can let you know what I shot this with.

T3i
50mm 1.8
Konova Slider
Tripod (not sure the brand)
Recorder (can't remember the brand but it wasn't a zoom)
lav mic

I've since upgraded most of my gear, so I'd like to go back and re-shoot this video to see what I could do with it now, but it didn't have a lot of money in gear for that particular video.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 10:43 AM   #28
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Brock, what did you upgrade to? And how is business going? :-)
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Old August 27th, 2015, 10:16 AM   #29
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Peterson View Post
Brock, what did you upgrade to? And how is business going? :-)
Hey David, thanks for asking.

It's actually really funny how far I have come in the last year and a half. I started filming my first video in January of 2014 (I remember coming on here and asking for advice about the simplest things) and just three months ago I got hired by a local university to be their videographer/photographer! I'm really enjoying doing this work full-time. It has slowed my business down a good bit as I'm more focused on the university, but I'm really loving it.

My father in law is a pastor of a nice church here in the area as well and he asked if I would take over producing the churches TV show twice a week so I have started that as well.

At the beginning of the year I ended up getting the 6D (more for photography reasons), canon 70-200 2.8 IS ii, canon 100 2.8 IS and the Sigma 35 1.4 (which is my favorite of the bunch).

For work I had them get me a GH4 with the 12-35 2.8 and the 35-100 2.8. I am loving the GH4 as a video camera. Quality is fantastic.

Anyway, thanks for asking. Things are going very well for me!
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Old July 24th, 2017, 12:04 PM   #30
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Re: How Much to Charge..?

Great thread. We've all had similar experiences.

The early posts quoting $500 a day fit my position in the market. I charge £400 a day for shooting and editing but don't charge for providing my own equipment.

I don't agree with the idea of undercutting the local auto mechanic as a benchmark, though. There must be better service providers to compare ourselves to...
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