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Old February 6th, 2011, 11:49 PM   #1
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how much per hour. am I worth, and how much are you worth

i have never really thought about how much i am worth per hour and was wondering if you could help.
I edit, shoot, produce, know after effects well, but not amazing. Edit pretty good, and know photoshop really well.

what is the low end price for a freelance editor/videographer
and whats a high-end price for the same.

if you want to see my work
BizComm Media - Professional HD Video Production Cincinnati Ohio
Dave Morgan - Video Director, Editor, Producer, Photography


thanks.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #2
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Not to be intentionally vague or anything, but the TRUTH is, you are worth whatever you can
get someone to pay you. I was a 'staff' videographer/editor for 8 years. I was 'worth' somewhere
between $10-$15 an hour. I thought I was worth more, especially when some of my footage made
my company $100 a second (they sold it as stock footage to Nat Geo). My company did not
agree with me and basically refused to give me a raise......that position was worth a set amount
to them, and they figured they would have no problem filling the position if I left as there are enough
people who would want the job. As long as I accepted that, I was 'worth' what they paid me.

When I finally got tired of it and started my own company, I got to set my own 'worth', by what I
charge my clients per hour. I have some clients that pay my rate with no complaints, some who
pay it but complain about price, and others who call and say 'no thanks we didn't think
it would cost that much'. Just last week, I lost one job because I bid $1500 to produce a pretty
simple 10-15 minute talking head video. Earlier this summer I bid on a job producing 2 camera
HD footage of an event, along with a still photographer documenting the event and an audio guy
for sound. After I paid all my crew, I cleared almost 3 grand for the day. So one day I was
'worth' nothing as I didn't get the job and had no work.....another day I was 'worth' 3 grand.
It's actually a crazy balancing act full of highs and lows when you do it as a 'freelance' guy or
'one man company' type thing. You have days where you wonder if you should have bid just
a liiiiitle bit lower. Best you can do, is figure out your expenses and what you need to break even,
add your 'salary' that you want to make (taking into account that you have to pay for your own
healthcare, retirement and such) and then bid the jobs that come up and try not to agonize over
the ones you lose. The reality is, some days you will 'lose', others you will win....but at least YOU
get to set the 'starting point' at which you would like to be paid. If no one (potential clients) agrees
with you, you may have to lower that starting point.....and if enough of them agree that you
ARE worth that much, you may become 'overbooked' and RAISE your rates to cut back on the work
a little.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 03:08 AM   #3
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Dave - you ask what you're worth but don't say where you are. The people who are worth the most are those that are prepared to get off their backsides at a moment's notice, and travel. You're worth nothing to me unless you can be at my door ready to shoot.

tom.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 06:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
...If no one (potential clients) agrees
with you, you may have to lower that starting point.....and if enough of them agree that you
ARE worth that much, you may become 'overbooked' and RAISE your rates to cut back on the work
a little.
And it's not unheard of to raise one's rates and find one's bookings INCREASE because the perceived value of the quality of work being done is now higher.
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Old February 7th, 2011, 08:19 AM   #5
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Many talented videographers have closed their doors and gone out of business.
Not for lack of talent or ability, but because they hadn't a clue how to run a business!
Rather than ask a stranger on a forum how much money you should make an hour, sit down and figure it out for yourself. Here is a start... What are your monthly expenses?

All the Best!

Dave
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Old February 7th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
And it's not unheard of to raise one's rates and find one's bookings INCREASE because the perceived value of the quality of work being done is now higher.
That is actually a very good point. When I raised my rates, I was told by one client that I was hired
because anyone that would charge less than me 'wasn't taking the project seriously'. I was glad
that I had just raised my rates as it was a pretty big project with a decent budget!!
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Old February 7th, 2011, 04:03 PM   #7
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Based on Craigslist we're worth credit, maybe food, good karma and you get to network with other people who are also working for free so they can't hire you either.

If you walked past someone on the street corner selling Rolex watches for $5, you'd be suspicious too. Walk into a nice store selling the same watch for $500 and you'd probably be less suspicious. Undercharging is ALWAYS a business fail.

Assuming you're worth keeping alive and in business at the very least you should look at all your monthly living expenses as well as business expenses including the cost of gear averages over its life and figure you need to meet those expenses working about 20-25 paid hours a week. This is because you're going to have to do a lot of non billable work to run your business as well.

As your skills and gear improve, you can raise your rates but your base rate must ensure that you can live, pay off your gear, have enough money to update nearly all your gear every couple of years.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 02:51 AM   #8
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I think that you should break it up to figure out how much you should charge to make a business. On one hand you have how much does it cost, on the other, how much is it worth. The first is how much it cost you to produce the product, including your own salary, the other is how much the client is willing to pay, how much the product is worth to the client. If worth is less than cost then you don't have a business.

Figure out the cost and you have a lower bound:

There are direct expenses, material, transport, catering, equipment rental etc. Then equipment you own and not only camera but everything you use to produce the final product, must be written off over time, it's like renting from yourself, a proportional amount should be charged. Add to that your salary for the time you need to complete the project.

Indirect expenses are difficult to estimate, these are the costs of marketing and publicity, the time you need to prepare and present and offer to close the deal. Resources lost on deals you didn't close, not to mention idle time and the cost of your equipment gaining dust while loosing value.

It's easy to just keep whatever is left over when direct expenses are paid, but I think it is a good idea to assign yourself a salary by the hour and figure out where your expenses are.

The profit stays with the business once you've been paid and all expenses are paid. The profit is also the margin where you can choose to negotiate to close the deal.

BR
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Old February 8th, 2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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I used to have a pool of freelance cameraman and the average rate in Toronto is $ 20-35/hour. The company I work for then charges client $ 55/hour. So you can either be the freelance guy working $ 25/hour or the guy corporate clients hire directly and charge $ 55/hour.

For weddings I charge $ 500 for a 12 hour shoot.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 02:01 AM   #10
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Only $ 500 for a 12-hour shoot?? Is that just for taping or do you include the full package of editing, DVDs, etc.?
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Old February 11th, 2011, 06:23 AM   #11
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I suppose that $500 for 12 hours is for whatever you can get done in 12 hours. Doesn't seem to leave much time for post.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 05:43 PM   #12
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Re: how much per hour. am I worth, and how much are you worth

$ 500 for the shoot, no editing involved. That is the going rate in Toronto, I expect to pay the same if I double book
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 01:09 PM   #13
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Re: how much per hour. am I worth, and how much are you worth

Everyone's advice is great but geared more for running your own business rather than freelancing.

For freelance, there are typically 2 customers: the client or the post house hired by the client.

Many freelancers I know (mostly AE artists) started at a post house or vfx facility and built their network before going out on their own. Potential clients must know who you are if you want to be hired otherwise you will be working for very little money because no one knows who you are.

For freelance editors, it is a MUST that you know FCP and a great benefit if you know Avid as 99% of post houses use only these 2 systems.

A ballpark figure is $25-75.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:06 PM   #14
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Re: how much per hour. am I worth, and how much are you worth

String - piece - how long?

This morning I got some work in the mail, two hours later, I'd finished. This afternoon, I spent 4 hours on a different project and haven't completed it yet. One works out to $165 an hour, the other by the time it's done, maybe $15, if I'm lucky.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:20 PM   #15
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Re: how much per hour. am I worth, and how much are you worth

Steve K. the key difference between freelance and running your own business is who's equipment. If you freelance "someplace else" then you're not footing the bill for the purchase and maintenance of the gear. You still need to factor in your leaving expenses and estimate on a 20-25 hour work week (given the ups and downs of freelance).

Paul R. J. You have a serious problem with your rate structure if what you say is true. $15/hr wouldn't even cover the cost of the gear expenses for me (so we're not talking about cost of living here).
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