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Algae998
01-04-2010, 06:03 PM
Hey all,
Ive been trying to get my feet wet in freelance work but have a difficult time trying to figure out how much to charge for the work.
I know this is a tricky subject and there isnt any set standards for pricing on 3d work since theres such a wide range of work. So my question for other more experienced freelance artists is, what do you consider when youre in price negotiations with the client?

Most of the freelance that I have run into is making models (textured and untextured), final illustrated composites and special fx/clean up compositing.
Im fairly new to the freelance world and Im looking for any tips, tricks, personal experiences, things to avoid, etc.
i.e., is it better to charge per hour on certain jobs such as compositing or is it better to charge a flat rate for the entire project?
So far the best advice Ive been going on is, is it worth your time to do the work required for how much the client is willing to pay.

Thanks in advance!

cresshead
01-04-2010, 06:08 PM
my best advice is to set out from the start as a pay by stage payment...
not an overall 'cost' upfront...

so when you finish a stage you get paid for it..then move onto the next stage
previz...once done..payment
modeling..
texturing
animation...
rendering
fx
comping/color correct

it works well for both parties...as they ge what they pay for...if either is not happy they only lose that stage or pay for that stage once complete...

has a built in signoff to it as well which means if after modeling, texturing, animating they change their needs for modeling...
that's a new revised stage added...as that stage has already been paid for and delivered with their thanks.

radams
01-04-2010, 06:45 PM
Hi Algae998,

Are you comfortable estimating the amount of time something will take you?

Some things to think about.
What is your time worth?
What are your costs involved (electrical, software, systems, etc.)?
What is your talent/skillset worth (thus your expertice)?

Are you insured? How much does that cost?

Work with contracts and schedules with sign off approvals.

Your time, talent, and expenses are worth $$$.
Don't sell yourself short...

Setup a rate scale or range depending on the work and time involved.

Setup an hourly rate...or a project rate depending on your and your client's needs...

Something to note:
Always get 50% down....25% on approvals....25% on delivery.

Cheers,

biliousfrog
01-04-2010, 06:47 PM
The client pays what you charge, if they can't afford it then they don't get your time...be open to negotiation but explain that a reduction in costs = cutting corners.

Your costs will be based on what you MUST charge + what you'd like to earn. You must eat, have somewhere to live, something to work on, probably some transport, definitely a phone, internet access, electricity, software licences, advertising, stationary...etc. When you have accounted for everything you must pay for over a year you can consider how much you think your time is worth. When you have those two figures you have your magic annual pay rate and from there you can determine your day and hourly rate.

You'll need some contingency for down-time and sickness and don't forget public holidays.

Freelanceswitch has loads of great tips and resources: http://www.freelanceswitch.com/

SplineGod
01-05-2010, 12:26 AM
Theres a few things to consider:
Location - Its easier to charge more if a clients from an area where theyre used to being charged more or can afford to pay more. A client from LA will be used to LA rates vs a client living in a small village in a 3rd world country. What are the going rates in the area where you live vs where the client lives?

Time - Some clients are scared or uncomfortable paying an hourly rate to someone whom they cant see working. If I get that sense from a client then I will charge based on the project. I may also break the payment down based on hitting certain milestones. I also usually get a percentage up front what I usually refer to as "earnest" money. Thats usually a good way to determine who is serious. If you bid on the project then make sure you accurately figure out all the things others have mentioned so you have a good idea of total time/costs on your end. I also usually multiply the time by 1.5 to factor in unforeseen issues/fixes/changes/ etc.
Education - Many clients need to be educated because they dont have a clue how time intensive this type of work is. You will need to spend some time hand holding and being as informative as you can. Break things down so they understand just what it entails on your end.

Heres also a useful link about which clients to work with and which to avoid:
http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/clients-or-grinders-understanding-the-three-market-types

geothefaust
01-05-2010, 01:16 AM
Pretty much what everyone has already said. But to reiterate some important points, and provide a few new ones.


Always, always get staged payments, and include that in your contract. I've been doing payments in three parts - Starting, Midway, & Finished. Always outline what work will be done ahead of time in the contract for those stages and secure payment for the first portion BEFORE you do the work. For the midway point, secure the funds BEFORE you do the work there as well.

For the finished product, I collect the funds AFTER the project is done. But watermark the materials and never give them final resolution images/video until AFTER payment is received.



Always avoid clients that talk about so called "gentlemen's contract". You will get bitten on the *** by them. Guaranteed.

Avoid smooth talkers by either slapping them with facts and a contract. See the above point on "gentlemen's contracts".

I also multiply my estimated time by 1.5 just in case of problems. This has saved my butt so many times now it's not even funny.

If a client needs something yesterday and the assets must be done in a few hours for their project, be absolutely certain to tell them that the quality will suffer because of their deadline. The quality will only be as good as the time allowed for.


Really hope this helps, and welcome to the freelance fold brother!

biliousfrog
01-05-2010, 02:57 AM
Time - Some clients are scared or uncomfortable paying an hourly rate to someone whom they cant see working. If I get that sense from a client then I will charge based on the project.

I only ever quote per project unless specifically asked to quote per hour/day...like specific tasks for another studio (such as modelling, texturing etc.). I see it (and so do most clients) as buying a product and they are judging whether the product is worth what I'm quoting. Few question how much a product costs to manufacture, such as when buying a TV, camera, car or T-shirt, they just decide whether it does what they want/need for the right price. So I say, I'll do this by this date for £XXXX and then break down exactly what they get and work out payments based on completion of stages which helps them to understand what they're paying for.

OnlineRender
01-05-2010, 03:15 AM
you need to be prepared to account for every detail when the client goes !

"HOW MUCH " which tends to happen alot in this industry , generally because the don't know the ins & outs .

say for example a client wants a 30 second animation
general example (",)
10 hrs to model and texture
10 hrs to animate
20 hrs to render
5hrs to export build and publish .

you could just work this out at an hourly rate .
but when you break it down like that ,the client will think your trying to take the piss .

Think of it this way .

you need electricity to use these tools .
I always add into account software depreciation costs "thats how you can afford updates and new software "
you phoned the client 6 times , they phone calls get factored into the quote .
you can get real a/\al and break everything down .
paper you use skeetched on , pens stationary ect ect
you need to take into consideration that you need to eat .
if you try and undercut another artist the rate of your overall wage will effect EVERYONE .
Don't every say to I client " YE SURE I CAN DO THAT " if you clearly can't ,because sure enough it will come back .

If A client says my nephew can do that for even cheaper , you say
"That's fine get your nephew to do the job , and when you come back to me crying that you need this done for x amount of time , because your so called nephew has a dodgy copy of after effects and couldn't deliver on time , my fee will be nearly double " pisses them off " ......
also ask them does there nephew have public liability insurance . " that always throws a wobbler " .

remember you have bills to pay and need to eat , if you sell your self short it will bite you in the *** . don't get me wrong there's a few times I have done things on the cheap or for free ,but generally thats to get a foot in the door or to help someone out .

Goodluck

Peace

OnlineRender
01-05-2010, 03:24 AM
Remember your only as good as your last job !

The guy I help out " runner usually " charges £1000 per minute of video footage .
he's not an animator so if there's logo's 3d or whatever he will sub contract that out .
say the 3D stuff cost £400 he will charge £600 not to rip you off , but that's how it works ,that's how you make money . the extra £200 is for contact information ,communication between parties and so on.

also I nice trick is to add $100 to your final quote , if you need to take the client out for a buisness lunch . you pay for it and let them think you splashed out the cash when really its already in there final quote " lets call it render time " :)

Letting all my tricks out here .

dont play dirty , but don't get shafted either , there's a fine balance to keeping it steady /.

JamesCurtis
01-05-2010, 11:01 AM
Also, don't forget that different areas of the country/world have different costs of living. The guy in LA will have a higher cost than, say, the guy in OH [me]. Because the cost of living is different, that also affects what a client can pay or afford. Too high, and you could end up not getting any work. But don't cut down to where you don't make any money, or worse, lose money!!

The economy needs to be taken into consideration as well. In a bad economy [like now] more people will be clamoring for less available work too. Many businesses have closed down and have left many areas without any work.

It also means that a lower income area may not have the same expenses.

You need to balance this as well.

shrox
01-05-2010, 12:28 PM
$60 an hour, minimum 16 hours.

erikals
01-05-2010, 01:17 PM
...Education - Many clients need to be educated because they dont have a clue how time intensive this type of work is. You will need to spend some time hand holding and being as informative as you can. Break things down so they understand just what it entails on your end...

this was my number 1 problem at my last project, it's very hard to make the client (or clients in this case) understand just how much work it actually is. show some of your work flow if possible, to make them see that even creating the simplest thing will take time.

CC Rider
01-05-2010, 02:49 PM
Ditto to all the above +

Avoid working for peanuts with the promise of full paying jobs coming your way in the future.

It'll never happen.

Someone else said it on these forums before (I don't remember exactly who...) but it is very good advice...

"Don't market yourself as a low cost solution."
If you are successful in filling that niche, you'll never climb out of it!

Good luck man!!

OnlineRender
01-05-2010, 03:38 PM
$60 an hour, minimum 16 hours.

what's the minimum 16hrs for ! are you claiming family tax credits ?:rock:
if your Brittish you will find that amusing to some degree . :devil:

shrox
01-05-2010, 03:42 PM
what's the minimum 16hrs for ! are you claiming family tax credits ?:rock:
if your Brittish you will find that amusing to some degree . :devil:

You pay for a minimum of 16 hours of work, You could make it, 8, 4 or none.

Algae998
01-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Wow, thank you very much for the all the tips and suggestions. The freelance work Ive had in the past Ive run into a lot of the points you all have pointed out. I will certainly keep this in mind..might even make a word document list for later.

The education part is what I have mainly run into in the past. A director was not up to date on a lot of vfx and cleanup work that he wanted just myself to do. Long story short, the deal didnt go through and he ended up getting a 7 person team to finish all of the clips.

Very valuable information, hopefully this can help out others as well!

JonW
01-05-2010, 08:55 PM
If their first question is. How much does a “job” cost?

You know instantly this is going to be a difficult customer. I firstly in my head double or triple the price! It’s 99% not worth the problems. They will want the impossible done for nothing. Let someone else have the problems & do the work for nothing!


Work on everything else first, what they require or think they require, end use/s of the product, what you can do, you skills & assets, & very last on the list, the price.

At least a third payment up front, some sort of progress payment, & progress payments due to their delays. There is no point doing work & not been paid. Some customer are creative to the absolute extreme & come up with all sorts of novel excuses why they can “give you a cheque next week” for example, “which turns into a month or never comes at all”. Never get into any form of arrangement “I will pay another 10% at the end if I can pay the whole lot then”, you won’t see any money.

At least if you stick to a progress payment regime of some sort at least if the customer does a runner you will only be one stage behind. Do not progress with any further stages until you have the next payment. If the customer can’t afford the cash, you can’t afford to do the work.

Some of the nicest most polite customers are the worst offenders. Even with a good track record. I had one recently, & got partially caught, I did his 3d render modification, but didn’t do modifications to a physical model I had build over a year or so. I said I need the deposit for the changes. he said “oh, you need a deposit”. This was someone I did work for awhile now. He has shut up shop & disappeared. I’d rather the money but at least I still have the model.

They provide the progress payments on time, you provide the progressed service on time. It works both ways & neither party will have a 100% loss.


Plus all the excellent comments everyone else has suggested.

radams
01-05-2010, 09:22 PM
$60 an hour, minimum 16 hours.

Your Cheap Shrox....

Depending on what I'm doing...is $125-350 per hour.

But then I prefer to price out by the project...

Something all of you should also factor in is if this is your only income,
That there will be down time...or between jobs.

So look at all your expenses...and set it up so that you can have a month paid by only working around half to a third..then if you work more put that in the bank when times are lean...so set your rates also do to what your needs and expenses are...

Otherwise you will get caught short!

Cheers,

erikals
01-05-2010, 09:40 PM
also another thing, who needs who...?

if the client needs your help more than anything else, you can charge more.
...and the other way around...

shrox
01-05-2010, 09:42 PM
Your Cheap Shrox....

Depending on what I'm doing...is $125-350 per hour.

But then I prefer to price out by the project...

Something all of you should also factor in is if this is your only income,
That there will be down time...or between jobs.

So look at all your expenses...and set it up so that you can have a month paid by only working around half to a third..then if you work more put that in the bank when times are lean...so set your rates also do to what your needs and expenses are...

Otherwise you will get caught short!

Cheers,


That's not my price, just a suggestion. But I think a minimum number of billable hours is a good idea.

radams
01-05-2010, 10:23 PM
Yeah I agree...there needs to be a mininum hourly length and rate.

Normally I'll do pre meetings upfront for free to get the contract...then add the hours into the contract estimate. Don't forget to bill your meeting hours, etc...it is still part of the project!

Then there are those charge like a rental house...instead of by the hour...
it is charged by the day...(8 or 10 hour day)...with a minimum # of days.

Cheers,

Algae998
01-06-2010, 05:06 PM
Thanks again for the suggestions.
In my case, I know Ive been taken advantage of in the past because I was a student at the time or just graduated. Its difficult to get a good start when youre refered to as a "student". :P

KurtF
01-06-2010, 06:11 PM
Its difficult to get a good start when youre refered to as a "student".

Roger that. Also, it's difficult to get a feeling for the going market rates. Thanks to everyone who responded to this thread. I've learned lots.

Andyjaggy
01-07-2010, 10:34 AM
I don't roll out of bed for anything less then 2,000/hour

Algae998
01-07-2010, 01:24 PM
I don't roll out of bed for anything less then 2,000/hour

Out of curiosity, would that be for an "all aspects" kind of job, such as modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, rendering and compositing to hand the client a completely finished project?

Very difficult to gauge, especially where Im from. Someone mentioned location, and that depending on that, you charge more/less. Here in upstate and western NY, theres next to nothing so Ive been finding I have to work for pennies :bangwall:

Andyjaggy
01-07-2010, 01:47 PM
I was joking actually.:)

I always say my rate is $75.00, but 98% of the time it ends up being bid per project, so the hourly rate is kind of a null point.

Alot of factors come into play. How badly do you need the work? Is it something you are actually going to enjoy working on? Who is the client? How busy are you? It just depends. I personally have been avoiding freelance work for the past year or so, so when a job comes my way I bid it pretty high because I don't really care if I get it or not.

OnlineRender
01-08-2010, 01:31 AM
I don't roll out of bed for anything less then 2,000/hour

I get asked to film wedding videos alot !

I just go in over the top and start at 8k , "don't get me wrong it's 8k worth of work , but I only quote that to avoid doing them .

THREEL
01-08-2010, 12:09 PM
I get asked to film wedding videos alot !

I just go in over the top and start at 8k , "don't get me wrong it's 8k worth of work , but I only quote that to avoid doing them .

In my neck of the woods (NW Ohio) you can't even get 30 bucks an hour for 3D work, and $500 is too much to quote for a wedding video, even if you promise a 2 camera setup. What ever you do, get a contract. I've been burnt a couple of time without on. Once, was almost $4000 worth of CAD work for a company out of TX. Although, I don't even think a contract would've helped on that one, because they completely skipped town on everybody.

JonW
01-08-2010, 01:31 PM
Selling a property about a year ago. We had the photography done with the real estate agent’s photographer. They supplied 6 images he cut in new skies to look better & to match brightness.

Over all they were quite acceptable, considering the difficulty to have all views looking good.

I was going to do it & the real estate didn’t have had a problem with me photographing the job. Even though I have all the equipment & a lot better than what he was using.

For $300 I could not be bothered setting up the camera & doing all the photoshop retouching, which I find especially tedious.

Algae998
01-08-2010, 03:42 PM
Yea, the feeling Im getting from freenlance work is its either a good pay off or possibly very troublesome if youre not careful. Im looking into more freelance work because its been very dry finding a studio position. Ive been out of school for just about 4 months without any luck so, Im hoping I can get a some experience (and $$$!) doing some freelance stuff until I land a position. Plus Im not in any position to move across the country...yet.
So far I fear Ill have to go with plan C...part time job :P The economy in the the north east isnt exactly friendly.

JonW
01-08-2010, 04:39 PM
Get any job you can, once you have a job, getting another job is easier.

Andyjaggy
01-08-2010, 04:52 PM
So true. The first one is the hardest.

Algae998
02-09-2010, 05:56 PM
Yea, Id imagine once you make a name for yourself it only gets easier.

cresshead
02-09-2010, 06:46 PM
i charge and much as i think i can get away with!
....and in this ecconomic climate...well, i won't be buying that small moon around saturn anytime soon [titan]

AbnRanger
02-09-2010, 07:52 PM
Hey all,
Ive been trying to get my feet wet in freelance work but have a difficult time trying to figure out how much to charge for the work.
I know this is a tricky subject and there isnt any set standards for pricing on 3d work since theres such a wide range of work. So my question for other more experienced freelance artists is, what do you consider when youre in price negotiations with the client?

Most of the freelance that I have run into is making models (textured and untextured), final illustrated composites and special fx/clean up compositing.
Im fairly new to the freelance world and Im looking for any tips, tricks, personal experiences, things to avoid, etc.
i.e., is it better to charge per hour on certain jobs such as compositing or is it better to charge a flat rate for the entire project?
So far the best advice Ive been going on is, is it worth your time to do the work required for how much the client is willing to pay.

Thanks in advance!You'd really be surprised how many folks will try to play the angle that your doing work for them will get you more "exposure," and/or help improve your resume (every paying job does that). The word "EXPOSURE" is a red alert to move on and a good time to say..."Pardon me, but I need to take this call...I have a paying customer on the other line, and I'll call you back (when hell freezes over)." :)

The best way to make sure is to simply be direct and immediately ask what sort of budget they have planned for the proposed work. That's something you generally want to do anyway....as it's a waste of your time to even sit down and fill out a job proposal if their expectations are absurd from the start.

A client giving you their budget may seem to them that they are tipping their hand and exposing themselves to paying more than they otherwise might...so you have to convince them that is indeed is in their best interest as well as yours.

If they balk at giving a budget, and say that they just want to know what you charge, you can give them your hourly rate, but respond that you still NEED to have an idea of what their budget range is, as it is a vital first step in writing up a detailed proposal/estimate. Convey that you can't reach a proper estimate without knowing what the budget limitations are.

One thing this part of the process does is re-enforces that "It's going to cost, and they need to properly plan for it"...that in asking what their budget is, you settle upfront that you don't work for free (for exposure), and establish some grounds to determine if they are a waste of your time.

AbnRanger
02-09-2010, 10:40 PM
Yea, Id imagine once you make a name for yourself it only gets easier.I think he's talking about a steady (studio) paying job...not just any freelance job.

Just look at sites like "iFreelance" and "Sologig." The whole premise it seems is bidding your services against thousands of others (many of which are overseas and charge cutthroat rates), and the vast majority of client prospects truly are looking for studio quality work for flea market rates.
You'll waste a ton of time there and find that's not the market you want to be part of.

vpii
02-10-2010, 06:19 AM
I tried (I freelance.com) about a year back, never got a project and for sure is the most depressing site to be on as it de values 3D and the whole graphic industry. It is amazing what people around the world are willing to work for. The people posting there projects there and the people doing there projects are bottom feeders. My point stay away from sites like this because it does make you question even your lowest fee after being on there site.

erikals
02-10-2010, 08:36 AM
if you're a foreigner from a poor country it's the way to go i guess.
other than that i wouldn't touch it with a stick.
you'll get ripped off quite quick.

Soth
02-10-2010, 08:58 AM
I tried (I freelance.com)

This website does not load here anyway. ;)

probiner
02-10-2010, 09:42 AM
Very good tips here. Thank you all

AbnRanger
02-10-2010, 01:34 PM
This website does not load here anyway. ;)It is ifreelance.com ... There is no space between the I and F. What makes it even worse, it's supposed to be for freelancers, but a majority of the competitors on there are full blown studios. THAT shows you how cutthroat it is. Studios don't give a flip who the site is for, they see potential customers. I think it's safe to say, most prospective clients are the "Grinders" (low-ballers or the "Gim'me CG-4-FREE" crowd), otherwise they would be shopping their jobs with local businesses. They don't want to pay what those businesses charge...it's as simple as that.

If you haven't seen this, it's a classic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2a8TRSgzZY

Stooch
02-13-2010, 02:51 PM
my rate changes from 65 to whatever based on how much mone i want to extract from a project. Remember, the key is the final number. hourly rates are variable based on how much time a client expects you to work. Any time i get a client who says that its due in 4 days, i suspect right away that the deadline if phony, its a mechanism for art buyers or producers to limit the final cost, so ill crank my rate up there...

for a longer term project ill go much lower, by having a "lower" rate but over an extended time, i get projects that other people with high hourly rates wont, even though i might make just as much money in the end. After working for producers and from having friends at creative agencies, i have a very good idea of the overall budgets they are working with, the trick is getting as big of a slice as you can get out of the main budget without getting passed up.

also anyone that tells you a flat houly rate or some magic number is a noob. every quote is different. The overall client, the ghetto factor of the creative agency and the intended market, generally have predictable budgets.

Also, if i hear "we dont have much of a budget" ill throw my max rate at them, its a subtle way to say F off.

Howerver if the client looks promising, i may even throw my lowest rate at them just to get them hooked, then, once they have tasted me and are hooked, ill make up for the discount :)

Cageman
02-13-2010, 06:28 PM
Howerver if the client looks promising, i may even throw my lowest rate at them just to get them hooked, then, once they have tasted me and are hooked, ill make up for the discount :)

That is just plain evil... :D *joking of course*

Stooch
02-13-2010, 08:56 PM
That is just plain evil... :D *joking of course*

I got the idea from my friendly neighborhood crack dealer.