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What Costs Are Built Into Your Rate

Every freelancer needs to know how much they should charge for their services and how to negotiate with clients.Regardless of how much experience or gear you have, there should be a certain amount of money that you’re willing to do work for.

Freelancers’ rates generally factor in experience, market, production type, gear, client type, and more — all of which may vary widely around the world. So to figure out your personal rates, you need to examine what your own costs of doing business are and what the competition in your area is charging. This doesn’t mean to find what the lowest rate is and then lowball that, you need to find people who do work similar to yours and make it comparable. To do this it isn’t just to pick a subjective number. Your experience does matter but its not only that. You need to see how much you have invested in your gear, you need to see how much its costing you to find a client and how much you need to put away for taxes. These things are very important.

On top of that, figure out what you’ll be doing. Does your client just need footage shot, or just edited, or both? Do they need preproduction storyboards, treatments, scripts? These things need to go into your rate as well. You can’t give a blanket number and assume everything is included. Is your gear included? Do you have a separate rate without gear?

The basis of it all is to figure out how much you cost per day and build around it. Just you, no gear no anything besides a person who know how to do their job. Then find out how much your gear is in total and take a percentage of that maybe 5% where theoretically after 20 shoots it should all be paid for. Some people go a bit higher than that but you should want to have your gear paid off within 2-3 months of purchasing it. Besides the gear you take to your shoots, you need to incorporate the stuff you don’t take like your computer or hard drives, these are costs that you might not think about but they are always needed.

Lastly think about what the travel will be, if youre editing how many revisions it’ll be and what to charge after the amount of negotiated revisions. After all the variables are calculated, think about what the least amount of money you would take it for a job. If you get offered lower than that then know when to say no and walk away. These things listed above are made to be itemized and shown to a client when they are wondering why a price is so high or wanting to reason with having a lower price. At the end of the day, your experience and portfolio is going to prove why or why not youre worth your price but these are expenses that you have to think about all year around that allow you to make the prices what they are.


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