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Aquarian
10-20-2011, 04:29 PM
I apologize if this thread is in the wrong discussion...I currently do very simple Lightwave animations for display on a casino's digital signage (HDTV screens mounted around the casino). They are nothing extravagant, and a few are up here on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-47pTfZXMAM&list=PL7AD00A1B2C5217BA&feature=plpp

I will be leaving the casino and they are considering paying me to still do them but I am not sure what to charge for something like this. I googled some prices and found a range of about $95 - $350 per second of animation. Since my animations won't involved any complex animations & rigging I don't they are worth that much so I'm thinking maybe about $100 an animation?

Does this sound reasonable? What do you suppose those would be worth? I appreciate any response, Thank You!

nickdigital
10-20-2011, 04:44 PM
Since my animations won't involved any complex animations & rigging I don't they are worth that much so I'm thinking maybe about $100 an animation?


How long does it take you to do one of their clips..on average? Then take your $100 and divide by the hours, that'll give you your hourly rate.

pauland
10-20-2011, 05:16 PM
Seems cheap to me. Perhaps you are forgetting:

The cost of your hardware
The cost of your software
The time you spend liaising with the casino and doing tests and amendments

Paul

Nicolas Jordan
10-20-2011, 05:30 PM
It all depends on how much work you put into it. I really don't think charging by the second is a good idea as that really doesn't relate to anything except playback time. It is a good idea to estimate how long you think it will take you to do and come up with an hourly rate to get an estimate for the total project then add a profit/fudge buffer to that number.

Aquarian
10-20-2011, 07:19 PM
Thank you for the responses! The most I have been able to do in a 6-hour day is 2 so on average it 3-4 hours per clip including rendering, of course some of the more complicated scenes take longer to setup/render rather than just a background image with text over the top.

Does one normally count in render times? LW is usually tied up when rendering, I've tried to run another instance but it usually ends in crashes so I don't really do that.

Thanks for the reminder, there is a lot of discussion and revisions to work into it as well but after doing it for a year I have a pretty good idea of what flies and what doesn't so that would be limited I think.

Dexter2999
10-20-2011, 08:51 PM
On the couple of jobs I did outside of the company I work for, I charged $350 a day (based on a 10 hour day) for modelling and layout work. $100 a day rendering (24 hour day).

The $350 was for my software and training. The $100 is because I can't do anything else with that computer while it is rendering, also helps cover hardware upgrades.

If $350 seems high, you could also work in half day rates of $175. But you have to charge enough to make a living, cover software and hardware upgrades.

Waitresses makes more than $100 a day. Don't you think you deserve more?

People who are new to the business who undercharge slit the throats of people trying to make a living at this.

achrystie
10-21-2011, 05:12 AM
On the couple of jobs I did outside of the company I work for, I charged $350 a day (based on a 10 hour day) for modelling and layout work. $100 a day rendering (24 hour day).

The $350 was for my software and training. The $100 is because I can't do anything else with that computer while it is rendering, also helps cover hardware upgrades.

If $350 seems high, you could also work in half day rates of $175. But you have to charge enough to make a living, cover software and hardware upgrades.

Waitresses makes more than $100 a day. Don't you think you deserve more?

People who are new to the business who undercharge slit the throats of people trying to make a living at this.


There was a waitress at the Friendly's I go to for breakfast with my daughter now and then, whom I overheard saying she makes about $35 per hour with tips on the breakfast shift....

So, yes, don't undervalue yourself.

biliousfrog
10-21-2011, 05:58 AM
You need to know your hourly rate, everything else comes from that. Your hourly rate is determined by your business expenses plus your wage.

You need to figure out what your business expenditure is over a year including software, hardware, telephone, postage, web hosting, electricity, stationery, business cards, advertising, accounting, travel...EVERYTHING!

Then decide what you're going to be paid, not your hourly rate but your wages. How much is the business going to pay you as an employee?

You then need to factor in any holidays over the year and work out how many hours you are going to work per day and how many days per week.

Once you have all that you can determine what your day and hourly rate is. Once you know that you can work out how much a project is going to cost by estimating the time involved and multiplying it by your hourly rate.

There's no shortcuts for this. Even if you're only doing odd jobs 'on the side' you need to charge what you're worth and be sure that you're not underselling yourself.

It's easy to find reference figures for employed animators but remember that your rates will be dependant on your expenses + your wage.

MUCUS
10-21-2011, 06:13 AM
Dexter's prices seams fine to me! And of course rendering time is something to charge, as you can't work while rendering.

Then if you have extra machines for rendering/working at the same time (which will become a must when you'll have multiple works) then this machines have a cost, and you won't be able to buy/upgrade them if you don't charge rendering.

Here in France rate by hour is 30 minimum (I'm speaking of course for 3D freelancer!) so I guess that 30$ hour is a minimum for your work, just multiply this by the number of hours you took for this animations :)

Shabazzy
10-21-2011, 12:15 PM
You need to know your hourly rate, everything else comes from that. Your hourly rate is determined by your business expenses plus your wage.

Biliousfrog is absolutely right.

Exercise Time!

Like Bilious has stated, there are various factors to consider. I've summarised these as:


Are you a company or self employed?
Personal Drawings (if self employed) or Wages (if a Company)
Fixed Costs
Direct Costs
Profit margin
Hourly rate
Working hours
How much to charge for a job



I'm going to assume that you are going to be self employed as opposed to having a Company.

What's the difference? With a Company you are seen by the Government as an employee of the Company and so if you go bankrupt they can't take your house (it's a bit more indepth but that's the gist). As a self employed person, if you go bankrupt, they can.

Self Employed
So, as a self employed person, you don't have a wage, instead you have what's known in the UK as 'Drawings' and what that means is that you deduct your living expenses from any potential profit your business will make. With wages, you factor that into your fixed costs (more on that in a minute)

So, now you've chosen to be self employed you have to figure out what your living costs are. Well, to do that you need a PSB (personal survival budget). Just have a look at your bank statements and add up everything that goes toward paying for your bills, rent/mortgage, car, food shopping, housekeeping, holidays, etc. Basically everything you have to pay for in order to live. Once you've done that, work out the total for the year. This gives you your 'Annual Drawing' figure.

Fixed Costs
Fixed Costs are also known a business overheads, they effectively cover all the costs involved with running the business, like, telephone, postage, rent for office/shop space, electricity bills, stationery, bank charges, staff wages, software licences, webspace, marketing etc. They generally remain constant and are items that you pay on a regular basis. These are completely separate from your Living Costs and should not be intermingled under any circumstances. You should try to keep your Fixed Costs to a minimum as it means more potential profit.

Direct Costs
Direct Costs are the costs that go into providing your service. These can be things like, stock footage, 3d model purchases, transportation (travelling to see clients etc), ftp bandwidth (if the client needs to download files from your ftp server). The Direct Costs may vary from project to project but essentially any purchases made that are specifically needed to produce an individual project can generally be classified as a Direct Cost.

Working hours
Generally, your working hours are calculated like this:

There are 52 weeks in the year, but you'll probably only work for 48 weeks (a guy needs a holiday you know).

Next, you need to know how many hours a week you're prepared to work. Given that most businesses trade for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week that gives you 40 working hours a week.

Total annual working hours = 1920 hrs (48 weeks x 40 hours a week)

Hourly Rate
Now the meat.

To calculate your hourly rate, the formula is:

Hourly rate = Fixed Cost + Annual Drawings divided by Total Annual Working Hours

So let's say you've done the initial calculations and come up with the following:

Annual Fixed Costs = 10000
Annual Drawings = 30000 (remember this figure will be deducted from any profits you make)
Total Annual Working Hours = 1920

Your hourly rate would therefore be:
10000 + 30000 = 40000
40000 divided by 1920 = 20.83p

Hourly rate = 20.83p

How much to charge for a job
Now we know what our hourly rate is, we now have to work out how long the project will take to complete.

This is more art than science but previous experience will undoubtedly be called upon.

Depending on the situation, you will more than likely be estimating how many hours it'll take to complete a job (as opposed to knowing how much) and it's usually better to over-estimate and complete it well under budget, than to under-estimate and come in over budget.

Factors that influence time need to be accounted for. This could be, rendering time, modelling time, animating time, client visitation time, the list goes on.

In our example, let's say you estimate a job will take 27 hours to complete. The calculation would then become:

Job Cost = Total estimated hours x hourly rate

Therefore: 27 hours x 20.83p = 562.41p

However, you need to remember........

The Profit Margin
You'll need to grow your business and that means adding a profit margin to it. This will enable you have enough capital to re-invest in the business, so that you can make upgrades, hire staff, buy more machines and software seats, etc.

Your profit margin is usually measured in percentage terms and are usually calculated in tandem with your financial forecasts, since these set out where you want to be financially over a set number of years. In order to achieve that you'll need to work out the difference between your break-even point and your intended gross income target as a percentage.

So let's say you've done that and it works out to being around a 5% profit margin.

Now we've estimated the job to being 562.41p, we can add on a 5% profit margin to that figure.

This becomes:

Job Cost + Profit margin = Final Cost

562.41 + 5% = 590.53

Final Cost = 590.53

And that's how you do it.

You have to remember to keep an eye on the competition's rates and try to keep them (somewhat) in line with the market, essentially that's the answer.

There's a LOT more to running your business, but I'd say that if you were just doing one off jobs and not pursuing this as a vocation then you might want to consider reducing your working hours by however realistic hours a year you'll be working. So instead working 48 weeks a year, maybe it'll be more like 28 weeks a year. Same would be true for the weekly working hours. Maybe instead of a 40 hour week, it'll be more like 20 hours.

Your Fixed and Direct costs would remain the same, as would your Annual Drawings and so the formula for the hourly rate would remain same, only the time elements would change.

Hope this helps and good luck

Shabazzy

dblincoe
10-21-2011, 12:47 PM
I haven't read all of the posts on this subject but from what I have read really sound advice. A couple of things to keep in mind.

Your soon to be ex-employer will become your newly found client. How was your working relationship with them? Will they be a difficult client? Will your working relationship be as good/bad (whatever the case is) once they are your client? From what I can tell they like your relationship enough to ask you to continue.

Don't under sell yourself...you are an expert. You are at an advantage because of knowing their system from the inside. I'm not saying that you should completely over charge them but remember they (the casino) will have some peace knowing and trusting you. There is value to trust. People tend to pay a little more for a trusting relationship than going with the unexpected. Just be careful not to take advantage of their trust, also.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Aquarian
10-22-2011, 01:25 PM
I appreciate all the responses, definitely a lot of good things to consider here and gives me some information to create a pricing structure for them. Thank you!