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Old March 31st, 2011, 01:17 PM   #1
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How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

So I launched my business with the intention of doing wedding videos, but people keep calling me for all this random work, like making demo reels for people that were called by casting agencies, filming a teaching giving an educational presentation, filming a local band, doing a music video.

My problem is I have no idea what to charge, and they end up dictating to me what they will pay, and I usually just go along with it because I have no idea what is a fair price! But I feel like I'm getting taken advantage of because I have to spend an hour or two filming the event, and then spend several more hours editing the event, and give them a DVD, and make changes for them!

So lets just say that i'm a "good" Videographer/Cinematographer, what is industry standard price to charge for these odd jobs, do I charge hourly, do I charge by the job? As for demographics, I live in a small city, popultion estimate: 87,713

Any input anyone could give into this would be great. Thanks.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 02:42 PM   #2
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Paul, your rates need to come out of the worth you see in your time and equipment. I would post hourly rates that are high and give you some wiggle room if a project can come down. Start with $50 per hour for shooting. Editing can be more.

Most of the time these odd jobs will dictate the pay rate because they are often below what you would normally charge. You just have to make a judgement call on if you want to get involved.

I can't tell you a number because it varies so much by location and the type of work you do. A thirty second national commercial costs a lot more than a 4 hour seminar on boll weavals!
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Old March 31st, 2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

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Old March 31st, 2011, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Hi Paul,
Like Tim said, you need to take into account your filming time, editing time, and equipment. I charge $50 an hour for filming per camera per person, $75 an hour for editing, along with a consumable charge (dvds, cases, tapes, etc), travel charge (55 cents per mile is standard here) and an equipment charge equal to 3% of the value of the equipment I will be using on the project. While filming time will be fairly predictable, editing time is not so much. I always add in extra editing time for revisions, etc. This model gives a lot of wiggle room. You can give the client a break on hors, or discount your equipment charge by a percent. It all depends on the client. If it is a larger client then the price usually is high as they are asking for a lot normally. If it is a local client, this model shows them how much is being spent and where it is going, that way if they see that the project is over their budget, they can scale back or try someone else.
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Old March 31st, 2011, 04:40 PM   #5
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

I am in discussion to bring in a new business partner. This person likes to be able to quote "package pricing" for everything. I do not disagree that a "package price" is easier to sell. When I take this person through the whole pricing metric, the "prices" appear to be far higher and more variable than was anticipated.

It sounds as though you are selling your services for these odd jobs at the "perceived value" the buyer has of the end product. You are also probably getting hit with "bottom feeders" who are looking to score a screaming deal. A bit of advice, only take a "bottom feeder's" offer, if you want to fill up time and could care less about getting any repeat busienss. A "bottom feeder" is only going to be your best customer as long as no one else will work that cheap.

Using a "pricing metric" may get good potential clients to revisit their budget. It also is a good negotiating point, because it explains your investment into their project. At the end of it all though, there is probably facing their purchase limitations, and deciding if you want to work for that. If you feel the client has value in becoming a "business relationship", the next time around they will anticipate hearing pricing as determined by your "metric".
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Old March 31st, 2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

I suspect that most of the potential clients that you describe won't be able or willing to pay you what you're truly worth, so I'd advise you not to take on their work.

I think that too much is made in this industry about "building a reel", when the secret to finding the well-paying projects is more about "building a relationship" with clients and organizations that will look beyond video production as a commodity, sold to the lowest bidder.

Low pay/ no pay work will always likely lead to more of the same. When in doubt, price your project higher than you think they would be willing to pay. This will scare away the bottom-feeders and could potentially lead to higher-paying work from the few that "bite".
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Old April 1st, 2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Brian, awesome comments. What he said is key in our business: "building a relationship". This is not a low-cost commodity business and those who have this as their business model will probably not be around for very long.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

This is a Calculator I like
FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate Calculator
because it takes into account just about everything which many people simply don't think of.

A base rate really is common sense. Unless you want to be homeless and hungry you MUST pay all your bills each month. That includes the cost of your gear, maintenance, making enough money to upgrade it if you really plan to stay in business. I'm not sure why this escapes people.

If making a living were reduced to "putting food on the table" then one must make enough for the table, the home to house it, the food, the gas and electricity to cook it, the equipment to cook it with. So must charge enough to put food on the table and that should be very easy to quantify. You know what your bills are.

If you want a nicer home and fancier food, your rates need to be increased commensurate and that's the more amorphous "can I charge more because my skills and services are improving to meet the more rigorous demands of those customers." This certainly takes a deeper survey of your regional demands and customer growth potential. This is not an easy thing.

Also a challenge is how much paid work can you do. I think a realistic formulaic goal is 20-25 paid hours a week. That's because you may well be doing another 20 to 40 or more unpaid hours. All the marketing, client communication, practice, gear maintenance, book keeping, demo reeling, phone calls, paper work, blah blah blah. You must allow time for that. It often easily exceeds 20 hours a week . . . so you're left with having to "put the food on the table" with about 20-25 paid hours a week.

So once your "food table costs" and the hours you can work, you know what you need to survive. I'm assuming you plan on surviving.

The calculators help because it reminds you of your table costs. People overlook such things like insurance for both gear and health. That equipment not only costs money but it must be replaced, as does software, if you want to remain competitive.

Whether doing a demo reel, a corporate video, a local cable spot. My skills and expertise don't change. My rate is the same. Certainly I may charge more if I need to use more gear. Certainly I estimate the hours needed. I can charge a price for a job based on my estimate and I can keep to a client's budget but I NEVER charge a flat rate. The price is for the job is as described. If a client asks for more changes than budgeted they get billed for that.

Last edited by Craig Seeman; April 3rd, 2011 at 01:17 AM.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

So say, $90 an hour with an hour minimum for filming, and then $50 an hour for editing? Would that seem reasonable, or is that too high or low?
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Old April 5th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #10
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hildebrandt View Post
So say, $90 an hour with an hour minimum for filming, and then $50 an hour for editing? Would that seem reasonable, or is that too high or low?
Please look at the previous posts. It depends on what the calculator shows. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Only you know what you need based on the calculators. You haven't indicated at all how you derived the numbers. You also give no indication how an hour minimum is practical. If you don't check your gear in advance and can teleport to/from the location without setup or breakdown, please tell me how you do that.

Instead of having people tell you things, please indicate that you are learning or using some kind of reasoning in determining the numbers. That's more important than the numbers which will be different for everyone. Your cost of living and cost of doing business aren't related to anyone else's.

"reasonable" requires showing your reason.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Paul, as Craig mentioned, you'll want to get a bigger lump-sum for shooting. By the time you set-up and strike, there's no one-hour minimum. It's pretty-much half a day (or more) dedicated to shooting footage.

I'd advise you to set your rates high enough to scare off the bottom-feeders and "just need a kid with a camera" seekers. Those will always seek out commodity pricing and you'll never make a living serving them. The fact that you're "looking for numbers" here tells me that you're likely buying into the commodity way of thinking, and I think it's a mindset that will pull you in the wrong directions.

I'm sure this sounds like heresy in a creative pursuit like ours, but finding legitimate, regular clients, and tending to them, is so much more important than creating exceptional video. And I think you do need to seek them out, target your marketing, and put a very fine point on "specializing" your services. Finding and building relationships will move you out of the "numbers game" in very short order.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #12
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

To throw a little wrench in the gears with this calculator, ask yourself this question: is all my time worth the same?

For instance, my weekends are worth a lot more than my Wednesdays. If you are willing to book a session at my convenience, I have more flexibility with rates because I am not turning down other jobs.
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Old April 6th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #13
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Of course a calculator can't include such variables easily. What they do is give you a BASE amount to work with so you can meet your targeting income.

It might even be a worthwhile discussion as to "what are your variables." I don't think I've seen a thread about that. They're certainly going to be different for different people but newbies might want to see such things so they know when they might charge more.

Some things are:
Weekends
Overtime and the ways that can be defined (very important actually)
Additional Equipment in a package
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Old April 6th, 2011, 06:36 PM   #14
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Paul,
All good advice here. One thing that is worth thinking about is how much of this is work you actually WANT to do.
You said that you intended to shoot weddings; do you really want to shoot this other stuff? Personally, I know I could make pretty good money shooting weddings, but I don't shoot them at all. I don't LIKE shooting them, number one, there are a lot of people in my market area already doing that, number two and the stuff that I enjoy shooting is a niche in the market that is grossly underserviced.
It's really important to fully understand your market...what's available,what isn't, what the going rate is for different types of work and what you need out of a job to make it worth shooting.
Don't ever undervalue yourself; you will price yourself out of work in a hurry. There is nothing wrong with turning down work; building good relationships with good clients is far more important and profitable than taking on every job that comes along at reduced rates just for the sake of shooting tomorrow, vs. working on building your client base.
those "one-shot" wonders looking for stuff like that are very short term; as someone pointed out, they are often looking for a kid with a camera and nothing more.
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Old April 15th, 2011, 01:46 AM   #15
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Re: How much to charge for odd jobs? Ex: Bands, Demo Reels, Presentations, etc.

Hi Paul — are you trying to support yourself full time doing this? If you don't charge enough, you will eventually go out of business, or go into debt... So make sure you charge enough, and don't be afraid to get some professional marketing help. And guess what? You're not alone. Figuring out what to charge — and then having the courage to ask for that rate/price — is very tough for many people! Good luck . . .

Last edited by Keith Dobie; April 15th, 2011 at 01:13 PM.
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