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Old December 30th, 2014, 03:59 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: England
Posts: 21
How many jobs per year?


I know this question is related to what type of productions you do (and how much you charge) but how many jobs do you need to do a year to cover your minimum income (overheads, gear, tax, insurance and a salary)?

Many thanks
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Old December 30th, 2014, 08:01 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: LIncolnshire, UK
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Re: How many jobs per year?

Hi Rob,

It's really less about how many jobs you need rather than how much income you need and how much you want to charge. If you want to clear 100k, then 1 job at 150k or 100 jobs at 1.5k should do it. Half the income equals half the jobs of course.

That sounds somewhat facetious of course, but the point is that you need to decide what you have to earn as a minimum, before you can construct a working plan. How much new gear do you need, will you be renting a shop or offices, do you need to employ people etc? It's a lot more than just the number of jobs required.

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Old December 30th, 2014, 08:56 AM   #3
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
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Re: How many jobs per year?

Perhaps another way to look at it is how many days a year. A job can be just a shoot for a day or it can be three days of shooting and two weeks of editing.

I have a formula for income vs costs. The goal is 20-25 hours of paid work a week (so 80-100 hrs/mo) to cover all business and all personal expenses as well as money for growth and money for profit. If you're starting out it, the rate can be to cover all expenses (never have a business model that puts you out of business). As your skills improve you increase rates to ensure money for future expenses (new and upgrade purchases) and profit.

So rather than "jobs per year" I look at it as hours per week. Your expenses should be completely covered by averaging 20 hours of work per week.

BTW the reason I chose 20-25 is you must consider all the unpaid work as well such as marketing, client communication, training on new gear/software, book keeping. So you might be working 60 hours a week but you have to have income for 25 for example. It's unrealistic to expect 40 paid hours a week unless you've developed a deep pool of regular/repeat clients, cutting down on your marketing time. And you'll still have to spend time training and bookkeeping and some marketing given client attrition.

Of course the advantage of being Single Person Crew is that you don't have the expense of paying others.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 06:16 PM   #4
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Re: How many jobs per year?

I think you really need to firstly take a look at your market and see what type of work the market wants or needs. You are not going to survive if your potential market is in a rural area and you are intent on doing high end industrial shoots. As Roger says, just one job at 150K will do it BUT is there any market in your area for 150K shoots, even one a year.

It's very easy to say .."If I do 100 kiddies birthday parties a year at 1K each, I will turnover 100K" The market for what you want to do might be overflowing with opportunity or it could be a desert ... you need to find out first and then determine IF clients will pay what you are asking and does a market for your kind of shoot actually falls into the "practical" category. What works in theory might be a complete disaster in practice.

It would be a far better idea to re-assess your market and then post a question like " I want to do school concerts in my area, I can easily get up to 50 shoots in a year from all the local schools, how many would I need to do to cover my overheads and minimum income"
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Old January 2nd, 2015, 04:03 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: England
Posts: 21
Re: How many jobs per year?

Thanks for the responses! I really like Craig's view of paid hours per week. I am coming from a background of 16 years full time employment producing video and photography (training, promotional and marketing content) within the National Health Service but I am now looking/ moving towards working for myself.

The market around my area (Manchester) is very vibrant however the competition is fierce, so finding the correct level to pitch for is my current goal along with market research.

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Old February 9th, 2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Gilroy, CA
Posts: 375
Re: How many jobs per year?

It's typically tacky to talk about money so I'll only do so in the spirit of suggesting there's more than one way to use our film-making skills. My minimum fee for pulling out my cameras is $30k net. Last year I did around a dozen projects but this year I'm going to try and cut back to around 5-6. The first two cover my annual expenses. Should add that my film making skills are only part of the entire service I provide, but are nearly always why I get hired.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 09:57 AM   #7
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: How many jobs per year?

One good rule of thumb is to keep your expenses below 30% of your gross income.

To figure out your number of jobs to cover expenses, we have to consider two different kinds of expenses.

You have your annual costs, like insurance, registrations, website, etc, that are fixed and you pay no matter what.

Next, you have your costs per event. Gas, equipment wear and tear, hard drives, whatever.

So, if you prefer to think of it as X number of jobs, charging Y is needed to cover all expenses, you could. I do mine based on a reasonable minimum I can expect to book for the year. Once I reach 26 jobs, my per event cost goes down since my annual expenses are already paid for. I have been usually getting 30-35 per year.
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