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Old February 23rd, 2015, 09:34 AM   #1
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The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

I'm newish to this video production world. I have made a few videos in the past but haven't really charged anything for them as they were for friends and family.

I did two videos for a local photographer who is my cousin and I did them for her for free (she paid me in buying me a steadicam and threw in an additional $150).

I now am getting some interest in other local photographers in making a video for them but I am struggling coming up with a price. The "indoor" video was shot on one day and took me (15 hours to edit? Maybe? I need to start keeping track). The "outdoor" video was shot over three separate days and probably took the same amount of time to edit if not a little longer.

So...how in the world do I price this stuff? I don't have a "day rate" or an "hourly rate" yet. To the first few photographers who have asked me, I just gave a number I thought it was worth and to them, it seemed a bit high ($1300). So I'm struggling a bit. I want to do these videos to add to my portfolio, but I want to get paid, but then I don't wanna run them all off by charging too much. I feel confused as to what to do.

Any suggestions would be amazing


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Old February 23rd, 2015, 10:14 AM   #2
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

I think $1300-$1500 is a reasonable range for each of those videos.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

The old answer... figure out your CODB and add what you feel is a fair profit margin.
How to succeed as a creative long term: know your C.O.D.B. Vincent Laforet's Blog

Scale back the profit margin until you negotiate a price that the client will accept. Never go below your CODB (unless you've got a darned good reason).
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Old February 27th, 2015, 10:59 AM   #4
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

What Kevin said (and Laforet).

It's such a basic "101" lesson. At no point can you live if you can't pay your bills. That's you baseline cost for your cost of living (which varies by area). Pay all your bills both personal and business. Make enough money to pay for equipment, computer, software maintenance and upgrades.

Consider all the unpaid work you'll need to do from client communication, sales, marketing, bookkeeping, taking time to train, just to name a few. Generally you'd probably want to cover all your expenses on about 20-25 hours of paid work a week given you're going to spend another 20-25 hours doing unpaid stuff you need to do for your business. That's assuming a 40-50 hours work week... and it can be longer. Consider you may want to take some holidays off as well.

Since the best business marketing is word of mouth, the worst thing to do is to price yourself too low as that's the word that will be spread. You'd then work your way out of business that way.

If you need to work to improve your skills or get a "reel" consider working for a non profit (and make sure you get credit for that work). The donors to that non profit (the ones with money) may well be your paying clients.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 12:36 AM   #5
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

I'd charge in the $1300-$1500 range to do those videos.

You will learn to crank through them in way less than 10 hours. If you shoot to edit you should be able to get through one in a half-day.
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Old March 2nd, 2015, 07:38 AM   #6
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

Thanks you guys!

Mike - That's encouraging to know that the editing time for these videos will drop as I get better. I assumed that, but it's good to hear. So should I not let the client know that it would take me that long to edit? Should I just give them a price instead of breaking it down?

Also, I don't have a "thriving" business. I haven't even actually done a job I've gotten paid for yet. Everything I've done is basically for free. If I get paid for a couple videos this year, I'll be happy. I'm trying to grow, but I'm not to the point where I can turn down work just because they want to pay $800 and not $1300.
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Old March 3rd, 2015, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

Another suggestion...after you figure out your C.O.D.B.

Add another $200 - $300 on top just in case. Once you do a few projects and you TRULY know the codb, then you can readjust your estimates.
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Old March 5th, 2015, 11:23 PM   #8
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

For the most part, I only charge a day rate. I don't bother with hourly. Some may disagree, but I'd say that you want to do as much paid work as possible when you start out. Even at a discount. You can increase your rates as your time becomes more valuable.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 01:21 PM   #9
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Re: The Old Question....How Much to Charge?

Brock,

I likewise am just starting out charging for my work. I am about midway into year two. Still working on growing it and and making it profitable. I work a full time job beside my video work.

The one thing I can tell you from the first year of work, is do not under value your time. I agree with learning your cost of doing business. More than that figure out what you need to make an hour and make sure you do not quote less than that.

In an attempt to just get some business any business going, I struggled with trying to come up with low ball prices, and ended up regretting it when I did the math and realize how little per hour my labor was making per hour when I factored out the costs. I have come to the realization that my time is worth more than that. Spending my time with my family is worth more than making pennies working on video work.

You need to come up with a good pricing scheme that works for you, where you make what your time is worth, and stick to it. Your work is good, I know you can find clients out there that will see the value in your work. I have started to find those clients, and have started to shift my marketing/branding in the direction of where they are, and away from other types of work that were not paying off.
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