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Old May 10th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #1
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Help me with my client proposals

Hey all. Bit of a lengthy post here but I'd appreciate any/all help. I'm going to try to provide as much detail as I can.

here's my situation:

I am new freelance guy trying to develop a business plan to find clients and be able to keep myself busy doing what I love to do, and make descent money, enough to support myself and continue enjoying what I do. I am a graduate from a broadcasting college in Winnipeg (june 2010). I did very well in school, and since then I have done a lot of volunteer work, being various videos shot and edited by me, which were all received very well from who I was doing the work for.

Recently I have been working very hard on developing proposals to send to various people/companies as potential clients. How/what to charge I suppose is always the most difficult thing to determine. In my case with the lack of experience, I think it becomes a matter of charging what's fair without undermining others in the freelance community.

Realistically, I'm going to be starting on small, simple, yet professional looking videos. Nothing that requires a huge crew, elaborate set ups etc. (although ya never know what might come your way).

Standard rates in Manitoba (as sent by a production company I did my practicum with).

CAMERA OPERATOR: full day $350-400 (ten hours), half day $275-285 (five or less hours). Anything over 10 hours gets charged 1.5X the equivalent of the full day hourly rate.

EDITING: typically charged by the hour depending on editing suite. $65-80 per hour.

**************************************************************************************************** ****************
Now heres what I work with: Canon XL2 with tripod of course, sony wireless uwp-v1 mic, and a flourescent (5500 K) light kit consisting of 3 lights, soft boxes and reflectors and soon to have some amber gels for indoor lighting.

I edit using sony vegas platinum studio 10. I have a pretty efficient workspace with dual monitors, my editing is probably my strongest skill, and I know how to use key frame animation.

Despite my lack of experience, I feel I have good skills in shooting and editing, and I have nothing to gain from not working my butt off for every one of my clients. With that, I think I should start by charging the lower end of the spectrum at $350 for full day, and $275 for half day.

Without using a professional editing program and no after effects or pro animation knowledge, I think a fair rate would be $40-50 per hour for editing.
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I watched the video on importance of contracts last week. very informative, and to which I developed some of these ideas as well.

CLIENT APPROVAL/CHANGES/OWNERSHIP/PAYMENT

After reading a lot of freelance work, contracts, and talking to a few people in freelance, I've developed these ideas:

- 10% from total project value to be added as Administration/expenses related to project.
- Any minor changes taking less than a half day of editing is of no charge. BUT a one time thing.
- Any re-shoots (additional wanted footage) or editing chages greater than 4 hours of work will be charged the hourly equivalent rate plus 15%. One-time thing as well.
- Any changes that don't fall under the above points or new project will require a new pre-project plan, quote and contract.
- A 25% (of quote) cancellation fee for any project as well as full payment for all work done until cancellation point. Any money difference between cancel fee and deposit will be adjusted accordingly.


Here's one last thing I'd like suggestions on. DEPOSIT?

-50% of quote up front? Remaining balance paid when I give them finished product? And any changes requiring additional payment will need a "Changes" contract?

I think I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks to anyone who goes through this for me and gives some pointers, it truly is much appreciated.

Jamie
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Old May 11th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #2
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Korstrom View Post
H
Despite my lack of experience, I feel I have good skills in shooting and editing, and I have nothing to gain from not working my butt off for every one of my clients. With that, I think I should start by charging the lower end of the spectrum at $350 for full day, and $275 for half day.
Jamie, if you can GET that, go for it but what I WILL tell you is that when I left Winnipeg a year and a half ago, that's what I was charging as DOP/Cam Op (labour only - gear on top) with 10 years of broadcast experience, including 5 years at CBC...

Just a reality check.

Again, if you can get it, good for you...
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:19 AM   #3
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Shaun any idea what the average rates are in Metro Vancouver these days? I think a freelancer (no gear) in Vancouver would make at least $300 on sports mobiles and conferences. Sure seems that charging much less than $350 - $400 per day in Winnipeg would make it tough to make a go of it as a business. Especially if you're not getting booked every day.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 05:24 AM   #4
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Can I just say a few things? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with your client proposal approach, but from my experience (and this is unfortunate because I'm terrible at it), most freelance work in this business comes from word of mouth/references, and networking. This means you can send out reels and proposals all day long, and never get a response, but the person you casually strike up a conversation with and mention your profession to might hire you the next day. And then when his friends need the same service, you'll get their business too.

Only very occasionally does sending out proposals, putting up ads, searching craigslist etc. for work, ever pay off.

Again, this is my experience/opinion. Others may not feel the same.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 06:07 AM   #5
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Just to chime in,

All of my best clients that give me the most repeat business were gained exactly the way Josh mentioned in his posts. Also, keeping things simple in the initial approach to the client seems to work best. These excellent clients had an eye towards business relationships built on trust. They might not have been consciously thinking of this at the time, but having gotten to know some of these clients, that's the way they operate. They have built their businesses based on forming business relationships based on trust. They like to get the chance to "size up" who they might have dealings with.

Maybe I didn't make this clear... But my best clients are looking for trust more than skill. Yeah, you've got to have skill, but they're keen on your attitude toward them. Just thinking, but I like doing business with people I know and trust too.

Now I have gained work the other ways mentioned, but the clients were typically just one or two gigs and that's it.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #6
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

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Originally Posted by Jamie Korstrom View Post
I watched the video on importance of contracts last week. very informative, and to which I developed some of these ideas as well.
Is there a link to this video??
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Old May 14th, 2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Golden advice there, Josh & Roger. I think entirely too much in this business is put into the product and not the service. Great reels and flashy websites will only get you so far... which is usually spending more time building flashier reels and websites instead of getting so much paying work that you simply no longer have time to build them.

Do above-average work with fantastic service and inter-personal relationships, and you'll do well. Once you find the ideal client, ask them for a list of friends and associates that might also enjoy your service. Ask them if it's OK to contact them... and do it.

Job insterview experts always say, "ASK for the job." So I always say, "ASK for the project, then ASK for the referral." If you land a new client/project, reward the referrer with something nice... a bottle of wine, sports tickets, a fancy restaurant gift certificate, etc.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #8
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Keith: sorry it took so long to get back. Metro Vancouver seems to be $350 - 500 full day IF you can get a client to pay it. As I'm sure you know, Craigslist is a MADMAN out here and LOTS of gigs get tendered out to the lowest bidder (usually folks just starting out or getting some work for credit).

I know LOTS of shooters that have "day" jobs in order to make ends meet.

And again, I'm not commenting on right and wrong, I'm just saying that with my experience, I was seeing $350 full day in Winnipeg. And I was competitive, if not priced a BIT high for some budgets...
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
Only very occasionally does sending out proposals, putting up ads, searching craigslist etc. for work, ever pay off.

Again, this is my experience/opinion. Others may not feel the same.
I don't advertise to end users AT ALL. I network with "ambassadors" that find the work and refer me. It's worked for 12 years... with varying success, based on the economy!
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:22 PM   #10
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Like a job pimp? Where do you find those folks? How does that work? Do they take a fee every time you land a job, or a percentage of your profits?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #11
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

Josh: nope. Just people who can ALSO benefit by making connections. I've never paid a "finders fee" in my life. Networking DOES work... you just need to do it as a LIFESTYLE... constantly and consistently...
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Old May 18th, 2011, 08:08 AM   #12
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Re: Help me with my client proposals

It's really not a situation of "job pimping" but just friends helping friends. I try to give as much of my business as possible to other local small businesses, and some of them return the favor.

One great source of developing a friendly business network is to volunteer with local charities when they have special events. The board members of these charities are typically decision makers or even owners of businesses in the area.
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