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Tom Miller January 12th, 2012 11:29 AM

Advice on quoting
I'm not sure this is the right section to ask this but Im not sure where else to go

A few months ago I made a video a flag foot ball game to support Alex's Lemonade Stand (free of charge). Well the guy that runs the event contacted me yesterday about another job(paying). The job is actually kind of simple. His daughter is graduating from High-school and he wants me to put a montage picture slide show of her life; but it doesn't end there from what i understand his daughter is part of a group of 7 friends and there all interested in the same type of Montage video.... he also wants a Mixed video of all the girls to show at there graduation party. Doing this project has the possibility to expand so i dont want to over price or under price myself.

I'm lost on how to quote this type of job. Any help you guys can give would be really appreciated

John Stakes January 12th, 2012 12:53 PM

Re: Advice on quoting
Hi Tom,

I'm not sure how helpful I can be. But one thing that must be done, upfront, is to clearly determine what they are looking for in the final product. Find out exactly what they will supply you ie. printed photos, digital files etc., and let them know exactly what you will deliver in the alloted time frame. You will have to discuss this with each party. Clarity is key.


Tom Miller January 12th, 2012 01:24 PM

Re: Advice on quoting
That absolutely helps. I think maybe i will come up with a Questionnaire and send that out

Craig Seeman January 13th, 2012 06:59 AM

Re: Advice on quoting
You face three challenges with this, some of which John alludes to.

Finding out the specifics of the job.

Knowing the value of your time.

Figuring out how much time the job will take.

Value of your time. This is a good calculator to use. You really need to factor in all your business and life costs to determine a living wage and even a profitable wage.
FreelanceSwitch Hourly Rate Calculator

The questionnaire idea is good. You do need to figure out the right questions of course. It'll also give your potential clients, probably new to this kind of work in this case, some reflection of the amount of work involved.

The hard part is being able to estimate the number of hours even you haven't done this work before. Photo montages can be very time consuming if you end up having to do a lot of fixing and resizing in a Photoshop like program. There are plugins for various NLEs which can do auto montages which might be a bit less creative but it's a way to cut costs if you have to.

If you're completely lost about time you might consider charging hourly or daily so you don't short yourself on the estimate. Of course clients might not like that. Alternately you can present a budget celling, knowing you may have to end up limiting the amount of time so you don't go over budget or undercharge for services.

Another hard part is judging your own speed. There's a misconception about hourly rate and final price. A $50/hr editor can cost more than a $100/hr if the higher rate editor is faster.
For example, the two editors doing the same job.
$100/hr x 8hr = $800
$50/hr x 24hr = $1200
This can be a real challenge if you're the slower, lower hourly rate editor. Especially if the Rate Calculator tells you, you can't go below $50/hr to meet your expenses. If you can't cut your rate, you have to cut your hours. Although obviously you want to get faster in the long run.

Tom Miller January 13th, 2012 08:57 AM

Re: Advice on quoting
Thank you this really helps. I agree part of my issue is not knowing the "Full" job. The calculator really helps.

I think on top of the questionnaire ill put together a montage of my own life up until graduation. ill just have to keep in mind most of the media is already on my computer.

I will have to look in to the plug ins.

I'm a pretty fast editor when it comes to video I dont have a big background in photo montage's expect for when i first got started in the video world.. so ill just run a test and see.

Thanks again for your help its greatly appreciated

Garrett Low January 14th, 2012 09:29 AM

Re: Advice on quoting

A couple of things to consider that could have a huge affect on your quote.

First find out what form you will be receiving the pictures in. Most of the recent ones should be digital already but some of the older ones may still be prints and require you to scan them in from negatives/slides (best) or from the print itself. There will be a certain amount of clean up time involved even if you have a scanner with ICE technology.

Second, I would advise not to base your price on the "possibility of future work". I know a lot of people do this but with this situation you will be doing two things. One banking on money that is very speculative and second you will be setting a standard for your pricing. If you are going to be discounting due to multiple jobs get them all agreed to ahead of time so that you can book the work and budget your time. If you can't do that at least give the full price in your quote and then show a discount so that at least you're full charge price is shown.

Those are my quick thought,

Dylan Couper January 21st, 2012 06:04 PM

Re: Advice on quoting

If you can't do that at least give the full price in your quote and then show a discount so that at least you're full charge price is shown.
IMPORTANT LESSON FOR ALL (not directed at you)

When discounting quotes like this, NEVER discount your hourly rate, only add free hours.


$800 job for $400
GOOD $100/hr with 4 paid hours and 4 "free" hours.
BAD 8 hours, regular $100/hr, discounted to $50/hr.

Why? Because once your drop your hourly rate, the client will NEVER pay you full rate again. It lowers their perception of your value. "But you did it last time for $50 hr?!?"

Just a lesson from the battlefield.

Allan Black January 23rd, 2012 03:13 AM

Re: Advice on quoting
I agree, never discount any service or product, do it long enough and you'll never recover, add free hours and/or DVD copies ..
and detail what they are in positive emails.

If you don't it could come back to bite you in different ways, you'll end up fighting your own rate cards.

And be careful if you're considering doing work for Charities. As much as it's good to do and can make you feel good, it can also lead to complications.
There's really no point in producing work for which they agree to pay your costs or part thereof.

Bottom line is, most Charities are perpetually strapped for cash (read broke) and repeatedly phoning for payment eventually sours your contributions
and any satisfaction you hoped to gain.

Just agree to supply your services and product for free, but again detail everything in confirmation emails and watch out ..
there'll be no hourly rate to go by.

Try and research your Charity's history in this area, talk to other suppliers first. Agree to do any work in your industries slow time,
and THAT can be difficult if paying clients arrive at your front door in the middle of it.


Garrett Low January 24th, 2012 12:13 PM

Re: Advice on quoting
Dylan and Alan, I completely agree. When giving discounts I tend not to even detail what the discount is on. It goes as a final line item on the invoice as a "Promotional Discount", and then it's a hard $ amount from the total. It's as if I were presenting them with a gift certificate that they are redeeming on this transaction. In other cases I have also tied a discount to a specific hard cost such as providing equipment or as you mentioned a discount on disc copies. I do agree that you should not show a discount on your hourly/daily rates.

This also brings up an interesting question. Do you show your hourly rates and a quoted number of hours? I don't. Instead in my quotes I break down the various phases of work and give a total cost. Each quote contains agreed upon deliverables with a set number of reviews/revisions and a schedule for when the reviews will be completed. Coming from a consulting engineering background this would be considered a lump sum contract.

Interested to know what others do in their quotes/contracts.


Allan Black January 26th, 2012 04:02 AM

Re: Advice on quoting
Also .. learn to read upside down, I'm not kidding.

Early in the piece, I learned of a rogue rival who could do that. Why?

Well when he got to meet the big client in his office, invariably the other quotes were laid out on his desk.

It worked damn it.


Craig Seeman January 26th, 2012 09:47 AM

Re: Advice on quoting
I'd disagree about lump billing such as phases without breaking out hours. It depends on the type of work you do. If you're integrating a studio it's one thing since the client is not going to have a near term repeat job.

On the other hand if you bill $3000 for editing and they come back two months later with another job and you quote them $5000 for the editing phase, they may think you're gouging or radically increased your pricing. If they understand the last job was 20 hours and the current job is 35 hours it's easy for them to grasp that the new job involves more work. You can use days instead of hours but clients generally want to know why one job does not cost the same as another.

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