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Old November 3rd, 2009, 10:29 AM   #1
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First Professional Quote - HELP!

I'm in the process of starting up a small video production studio (emphasis on small). We have a couple of amateur projects under our belts (done for free) and we are hoping to start getting paid so we can upgrade our equipment/systems.

We have a call with a potential client soon and I would like to have a ballpark idea what we should quote him for our services, but I'm not sure what comparable rates are and how I should structure the quote..

Here are the details that I have:

- We are based in the Chicagoland area.
- We are not professional, at this point. We have produced solid products, but we are still learning our craft. Our equipment is just below prosumer-level.
- The project will likely involve us shooting, editing, and producing short (15-30 min?) videos to be shown on the web or distributed on DVD on a monthly basis.
- This will be extra-curricular activity for us. We all have day-jobs at this point.

I'm sorry I don't have more details to include, but we haven't heard a whole lot of specifics from the potential client at this point. I do know that this would involve regular, probably monthly, production of short videos.

The structure I am leaning towards is developing a flat fee based on an estimated amount of hours and expenses for the first installment. If we keep track of hours and see how closely our expenditures match up with our estimates, we can possibly switch to hourly rates in successive projects? Does that sound like a good idea?

Can anyone help me get an idea what we should be charging for an hourly rate? I don't have any idea what professional production companies charge for this type of work, so I can't extrapolate what we should be charging as entry-level producers.

Any help that you can offer would be appreciated!
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 04:49 PM   #2
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hard to jump on it with specifics but since you are my competition I would say charge about $500.00 an hour! ;-)

I'm kidding of course but it would be nice.

Anyway, rates can go anywhere from $20 an our to whatever the client will bear based on experience and the job. That's for labor not the gear. Generally I figure that if I charge X amount for labor I double it for gear (a basic kit; camera,tripod, 1 wireless on camera light).
The more gear the more I charge, so if they want additional lighting or a mixer or 2 or more cameras, they pay for that.

Now having said that, I have a day rate based on a 10 hour day, a half day rate and an hourly rate. Depends on the job. I just quoted a job which will run about 3 hours but it needs to have a simple edit. It's a seminar, 1 presenter with a Q&A at the end, so knowing how many tapes and how long it will take to edit with 1 simple title graphic up front, how long it's going to take to render and prepare and burn 3 DVDs I quoted my day rate. I'm suppling camera, wireless lav and wireless handheld for Q&A. No lighting or mixer, audio going straight to the camera. Since the actual job with setup and strike will take about 4 hours and the edit will take a little longer and it's close to home I felt the day rate would be the right number. Must have been as I just got an email giving me the go ahead.

You need to determine your rate not only by the number of hours to do the job but also how much you need to make a profit. That's why we're in business, to make money.
Regardless of whether you're fulltime or part-time in the video business you need to make a profit.

So bottom line is figue out how many hours you'll be on the job, how much you need to make to make a profit add your gear and a little bit more for the fudge factor. Oh yeah have an overtime number in mind and remember that no job goes quite the way it's layed out.
Good luck
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Old November 4th, 2009, 04:21 PM   #3
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Thanks Don.

That makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 05:35 PM   #4
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no problem. feel free to pm me if you need to.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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As an addendum: equipment rental rates in my former market (haven't sussed out my NEW home yet...) were approximately 3% of retail value per day for "normal" items such as cameras and tripods and higher for items that are somewhat "self consuming" such as light kits. Be sure to either charge appropriately for gear OR build in appropriately to ensure that when your gear outlives it's useful life, you can afford to replace it.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #6
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That's a good point, Shaun. Always good to keep in mind that it's not IF the equipment will need to be replaced, but WHEN.

Thanks.
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