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Old April 10th, 2015, 02:02 AM   #16
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Josh, one of the nice things about being freelance....is that you are your own
boss. Other people telling you that 'you only charge once you start driving'
doesn't have to mean anything to you, because you get to decide what you
charge. I am just explaining why I (and many others) do day rate instead of
hourly. There are a lot of things that happen when you run your own business
that are 'work' that some may not want you to charge for. Doing up invoices,
keeping track of expenses, taxes, packing up gear into the car, clearing memory
cards and backing them up, archiving video longterm, talking with clients on
the phone, researching and writing up the infamous 'RFP' or 'bid', and many other tasks
fall in this category. One reason for a 'day rate' is that you need to make a certain amount
of money in a week, or month, or year, to stay into business. Some tasks like
paperwork, or packing up your car, may not be something clients want to pay you for.
Yet they have to be done. So now you are doing 'unpaid work'. You have to make
it up somewhere. And if you allow your time to be 'nickel and dime'd' away from
you so that you are only being paid for time that the client wants to pay you for....
you go out of business really easily. Remember, as a small business owner/freelancer
you have to pay for your own health insurance, retirement, you pay double the
social security (employers portion and employees) and many other expenses.
These are not things that people who are 'salaried' employees think of.
They offer you '$150 for a two hour shoot' and think you should jump at it, because
after all, it is '$75 an hour, and I'd LOVE to make that!'

I mean could I work hourly? Yeah, I could only charge you once I get to the
job site and start shooting and I could quit charging as soon as the shoot is
done. I won't charge you for all the work that I HAVE to do to get ready for
the shoot. My new hourly rate is now $1500 an hour :) The money has
to come from somewhere or a business won't stay a business for very long.
Basically, what I am saying, is maybe the freelancers that are telling you
that charges don't start until they get to the job site.....maybe they are
charging a much higher hourly, half day, or day rate than you.....however
they choose to break it down.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 02:33 AM   #17
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Interesting. Thanks.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 04:54 AM   #18
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

I wish you tons of luck. And you got to do what you got to
do. When you need money for groceries, maybe you accept
that lowball offer. There was one time in my life where I took
a $250 shoot and edit job because I was desperate.
I always try to get something in return when I go that low.
What I would ask for (because after all if you take a lowball
job, you are usually pretty hard up for the money) would be
for immediate payment, no waiting for 30 days or whatever.
And I also always give them an invoice with my normal
charge and write in a discount. Say they got the job for $250.
I'd write the invoice for $2000 and give them a 'early pay' discount
of say $500 and a 'trial' discount of $500 and whatever else I need
to make up as a discount to make it work. That way they don't expect
that price next time or go telling other places that you only charge
$250 for a shoot and edit. Because when you got to eat that's one
thing. But you do not want to normally take those jobs.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 06:52 AM   #19
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

As I said, everyone around here is willing to compromise up to a point (I'm talking like taking around 25% off, max, NOT 90%), or of course if times are tough like you say they'll go farther and do a movie or reality show or something for a month for 1/3 of their normal rate. I don't have as much compromise room 'cause I often have to rent the cam or something. So those are easy choices.

I don't do it much and I haven't done anything super lowball in a long while.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 10:39 AM   #20
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

I quote flat rates that are based loosely on a day rate minimum.

For most of my jobs I calculate a minimum based on my average day rate and then go up from there, adding travel costs on top. I then offer the client a flat rate without a breakout. I find that once you start giving too much specific information they start to pick quotes apart. "You want a web series of 52 episodes? That will be $2000 per episode. I'll do what I need to do to make it look like you want. But it's $2,000 per." Or, "Three days in the desert, with three days editing. Okay. $3500. Final delivered within two weeks after the shoot." (of course I deliver it within 7 days). If you don't give them something they can pick apart, they won't. (note: these aren't specific prices, just examples.)

What I go through to get a shoot done at that point is my call. Sometimes I'll even stay longer to get what I need for the production without adding it to the clients bill. I've also staged shots days after the official shoot because I felt that some B-Roll would help the story. The only time I add more cost to a clients bill is when they specifically ask for something that is outside the original proposal. My clients seem to expect and appreciate that. So far no one has abused it. I presume that I also get very little pushback on my quotes because of it.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 04:15 PM   #21
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Yes, I try to do that too, as opposed to x for me, x for the camera, x for audio. But often they see the total and say "that's kinda high considering it's only a 3-hour shoot" (nope, no it isn't, it's actually low for this market, but thanks for playing).
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Old April 11th, 2015, 10:20 AM   #22
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

I don't know, I've tried just about everything to se what works. A few thoughts, some echoing others' contributions:

- Let's say you take an hourly job... 2 hours, for instance, and it really will be only 2 hours. Those 2 hours will invariably be scheduled from, say, 11am-1pm, making it nearly impossible to book any other location work that day.

- Hourly work can hamper creativity, excellence, and efficiency. On one side, a client may rush a shoot - not because of any actual need, but because they don't want to cough up for another hour or two wage correcting lighting issues (or lighting at all) or shooting enough B-roll to effectively edit the thing. On the other side, human nature on any hourly wage is to pad time, sometimes not working very efficiently, sometimes just to get in a "minimum" expected paycheck.

My now largest client used to invoice hourly. Not only weren't they able to predict cash flow, but jobs (all following a fairly regular formula) were taking 7-8 hours to complete. When they switched to a day rate model, not only did they know how much they'd have to pay each month based on jobs booked, but they also saw the average shoot time cut nearly in half... and done better, at that.

- One compromise strategy I've seen is to charge hourly, yet have a minimum number of billable hours per job (even plumbers sometimes do this)... so you may have a $150/hr rate, with a minimum of 2 hours billable... and then you can even incentivize the day rate by having it reduced from what 10 total hours would be.

- Equipment rates are separate, and are never hourly, or even halved. If it has to work at all that day, it's not going to be rented out anywhere else... and if I have to rent it, it's never going to be on an hourly rate.

Perhaps I have a weakness in that I just like to work, and if I don't have anything else booked, I'll take the $250 shoot/edit jobs like Gabe mentions - they're simple and low-stress, and its damn better money than a local broadcast photog makes. Heck, I'll do local PA work.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 11:00 AM   #23
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

I quote half day/day rates on most jobs. For similar reasons to several here. If I go to a shoot that's only an hour long, I still have loading, commute, setup, shoot, teardown, commute, transfer footage. There is no such thing as a one hour shoot. I also bring most every toy and gadget with me to every shoot. The only special requests that I charge more for are jib and some weird device that makes a camera go even higher ;)
In my studio, I will charge hourly. Everything is pretty much setup and my commute is 25 feet! But my hourly is more expensive because now I'm paying utilities and wear and tear on the facility. (painting the cyc wall, seamless paper, coffee/soda/water) It all adds up!
If clients don't get it, I explain I'd be more than happy to charge hourly for location shooting but the half day/day rate will save them money as I charge portal to portal hourly.
I pass on gigs where the expectation is to get charged for one hour because that was the length of the program.
And if you look at even a shoot where I need to be filming for two hours, half hour of travel on either end (every location seems to take a half hour to get to here!) plus half hour setup/half hour teardown… I'm at 4 hours which is a half day…not including the footage transfer which if they book the half day I throw in.
On commuting…it's not just gas you pay for…it's insurance, the maintenance and car payment too. Your hourly wage starts sinking pretty quickly when you get real about all your expenses.
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Old April 11th, 2015, 03:37 PM   #24
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

more food for thought, thanks. i always figured if I DID do hourly it would be high enough to make my two hour minimum work out to the half day rate i would have charged anyway, which makes it way more expensive when we inevitably go into a 3rd or 4th hour.
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Old May 5th, 2015, 12:51 PM   #25
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Interesting conversation. I am just starting out, and still figuring it out myself. I also have a full time job, and my video work at the moment is after work or on the weekends, so I try to be flexible with billing since the client has to be flexible with the shooting schedule (hence charging an hourly rate because I might shoot a couple hours after work one day, then a couple hours after work another day).

I have a day rate and an hourly rate, but do not do a half day rate. If it is less than 4-5 hours I charge the hourly rate. If it is more I charge the day rate. The day rate is a discount to the client after about 6 hours, so really it works in their favor. I bill out editing and production as different line items. I also charge fees for all of my equipment (fee does not change based on length of the day), which I have broken down into packages ie my BMPCC package includes the camera, batteries, Lenses, tripod, anything I would need for that camera.

Much like Josh Bass was saying, I dont charge travel for local jobs. But I work out of my house, and I live in a very small town, and have almost no jobs in my immediate area. It is about 1hr to Sacramento with a lot of sizable communities within a hours drive. So I dont charge if it is with in about 30-45 min of my house. Anything beyond that I charge 1/2 my hourly rate for travel.

Still fairly new and working on getting more film business, so I have been working on tweaking everything a lot, including figuring out the best way to bill. This has been the structure I have seem to land on, since starting to focus more on corporate work rather than weddings and other misc consumer work. It seems to be working, and I like it. It has made doing quotes a lot easier, having a standard pricing sheet, and knowing what how much I need to make an hour to make it worth my time.

With the consumer/wedding side it was a struggle to come up with "packages" that were cheap enough to entice clients, but still make something better than minimum wage. Anyhow I have been failing at that side (consumer) so far, the jobs I did get I ended up way underbidding, and hating how little I was getting paid compared to the time I was giving up away from my family. I have started to shift my focus towards corporate work, and have applied the hourly/day pricing structure to both and am much happier. Most consumer clients see my prices and I dont hear from them again, but corporate clients are willing to pay for what it actually takes to make a movie, and are honestly usually less stressful to work with.
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Old May 7th, 2015, 10:15 AM   #26
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Not much to add, Robert Turchick seemed to be about right, as are most of you. In my area, which is more remote from a city, I charge half and day rates, only because if I can get out of the house by 8 and back by 12, it's a half day, if it will take me longer, it's a day rate. But again, these are discounts for the customer, because quoting hourly is always more expensive. Travel, setup tear down. Being able to quote one price is good and simple.
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Old May 7th, 2015, 10:36 AM   #27
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

I never, ever talk hours. Short day, long day or extra long day with a quoted price for each, but no explanation of what the long day actually is. works for me.

In the UK, hourly quotes also cause grief with the tax authorities making it very simple for them to decide you are an employee!
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Old May 8th, 2015, 07:00 AM   #28
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

The half day / full day paradigm, in my mind, shifts the responsibility on the client to organize the shoot.
I will sometimes shoot 3 half hour interviews on 3 different days; sometimes i shoot 3 interviews in one location one after the other. Obviously, they spend less when they schedule efficiently.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 09:09 AM   #29
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Ha!

Had this very conversation (yet again...) today with a high-tech client in Cambridge that I'm currently producing a film for. They announced that they now want me to shoot an (additional) "short 5-minute interview" with a Professor who helped develop some of the technology that the film is about - and asked me what that would add to the (already agreed) schedule cost I've submitted. This would be in a different location and on a different day to the locations/days I'm already contracted to do.

The 1-day shooting day rate was my reply...."But it's only a quick 5-minute interview" came the instant response back...

Then followed a period of me explaining that nothing is ever just "5-minutes". I'd have to prep my gear (clear cards, battery charge/checks etc.), arrive on location (driving to and parking is a nightmare where the University department is in Cambridge's congested historical centre). Then, I know from bitter experience, we'll be no doubt waiting around for a while for this guy to become available/get off the phone/get out of some meeting (he's world class in his field - so being filmed by me will be very low down on his daily priorities...).

Once he's in my sights, I'll have to quickly shoot in some (likely) non-ideal, cramped, location whilst making sure I get him relaxed enough/looking good/sounding great to deliver what's needed before he has to rush off somewhere. Then break down all the kit, lug it to my (no doubt distantly parked) car and get back to the studio to off-load footage and back it up...and of course, critically, as I explained to my client, I cannot risk booking any other client filming that day as this could all take "a little longer than 5-minutes".

Realistic door to door for this "5-minute interview" is going to be several hours, assuming no hic-ups - but who knows, these things can take the best part of the day. I've had a CEO of a multinational keep me waiting six hours after the planned filming slot before I could film him. Frustrating, but knowing I'm getting paid for a full day makes it perfectly bearable :-)

Editing day rate time I'll split into half-days. I can instantly switch from one client project to another with a few mouse clicks. When I'm in my studio I'm in 100% control of what happens and when - well, usually! But filming is a completely different animal. I'm rarely in total control in the kind of corporate film environments I do. So, filming is 1-day minimum whether it's 5-minutes or 10 hours. Take it or leave it.

They have agreed my logic - even the sales guy in the meeting ended up on my side and helped persuade the Managing Director - once they understood the reasons as explained above - so now it's on the schedule/will be invoiced...enough said.

I don't normally comment on any details of my business practices/methods etc. on public forums - but I hope this anecdote is useful to you and the discussion.

Hey Andy,

That was very helpful. I'm currently putting together my corporate/commercial product line. Everything from quotes,agreements, pricing. Thanks.
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Old May 8th, 2015, 10:17 AM   #30
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Re: if you only work by day rates/half day as opposed to hourly, can you explain WHY?

Thanks. Glad it helped someone!

I just got back from filming in Scotland this week (film involves a very well know whisky company - I can't say more because of client confidentiality). This job took me a full day to drive up there with all my gear from my base (near Cambridge, in the south-east of England) and another full day to drive back when filming was completed.

Client is totally happy about the fact that 2 days will be added to the invoice (at my full filming/travel day rate) when my bill gets submitted because of this travelling time.

They are (of course) also paying my mileage rate (a not inconsiderable sum...several hundred pounds in view of the distances involved at the UK's HMRC specified 0.45p/mile) and are paying for my hotel stay (which was superb - they booked it for me as they use it regularly and get a corporate rate) plus all my meals etc. whilst up in Scotland.

It was a fun job to do and I start the editing work on Monday :-)
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