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View Full Version : Why not list pricing? Video production/3d animation



skywalker113
12-28-2011, 02:04 PM
I am starting up a video production business. Most of the other video production sites I visited have examples, but dont list their price for the videos. Instead they want you to contact them for pricing. How come? Why dont they say on their site, this video cost 500.00 to make, this one with animation cost 1200.00, and so on. It would make it easier for the customer.

OnlineRender
12-28-2011, 02:24 PM
How would it be easier firstly you want any client to speak 1 on 1 this way you have better interaction ..secondly not all jobs are the same for example one charged 500 a minute for a client I charged 1000 varibles are different ,pick a set price you will end up doing yourself out of money

OnlineRender
12-28-2011, 02:32 PM
Plus if you add the price people will go wtf ,nah can't cost that much

cresshead
12-28-2011, 03:15 PM
we're not selling bags of chips or ipads..

we're creating bespoke content, as such each project has different requirements and goals to achieve be they, quality, speed, size [resolution], complexity, style, final format to deliver [print, web, tv, cinema, app,pdf etc]

as such one size does not fit all.

skywalker113
12-28-2011, 03:53 PM
I know each project will have different prices, but why not give them a general idea of cost on the site. So they know if their going to have to pay 500.00 or 10,000.00.

BigHache
12-28-2011, 04:16 PM
It's a trap!

You may start your business with lower prices, then increase as time goes by because you've added equipment, staff, just gotten better at what you do, etc. If you listed prices you may lock yourself into something that's no longer feasible.

A client may look at your $500 video example and say, "I want that exactly", but the circumstances may not be $500. You may have shot the example piece in a location you got for free, but the new client's request involves an additional location cost. I would wager in most cases, you will not be able to explain things like this.

Go with the wisdom, don't list what projects cost.

Tim H.
12-28-2011, 04:19 PM
I know each project will have different prices, but why not give them a general idea of cost on the site. So they know if their going to have to pay 500.00 or 10,000.00.

Because pricing can be so vastly different for different projects. For example, if someone with a super-detailed, work-intensive project sees $10,000 as the maximum price, they may expect their entire $30,000 project to be done for a maximum of $10,000.

Similarly, perhaps a person wants a 10-second web-quality video with a white background and no editing at all. If my studio is all set up for this, the person could be in and out of the studio in 15-20 minutes. In that scenario, the potential client may believe $500 far too much to spend for what they need. They never call. I never get the quick/easy job.

Unless selling a commodity, posting pricing rarely works to the benefit of the service provider.

Dexter2999
12-28-2011, 05:13 PM
List your prices, don't list your prices. Doesn't matter. Someone is going to keep saying they can get "this kid" they know (probably with a pirated copy of Maya) to do the job for $100.

All you are doing by listing your prices is letting the person who is undercutting you know how much more they can charge.

medicalart
12-28-2011, 05:51 PM
Here's what I do:
Free phone consult to hear about what they want and I recommend a quick storyboard at a fixed price, which I will do as cheaply as possible. If they need a ballpark estimate before the storyboard, they'll get a wide, wide range. After the storyboard, I'll aim for +/- 10 percent estimate. I don't do much animation, so I'd like to hear how a more established studio would handle it.

Danner
12-29-2011, 03:12 AM
1. Quality
2. Fast turn around
3. Low price

I tell my clients to pick two of the 3 above.

Greenlaw
12-29-2011, 05:32 AM
Most production jobs are awarded through a bidding process and, as OnlineRender mentioned above, every job can have many variables you need to consider before making a bid. Here are some tips:

If possible, find out what the client's budget is and then work up a realistic bid and tell them what you can do for that amount of money. If they want more than what you suggested, they know they will have to come up with a bigger budget.

Serious clients will either accept the bid, simplify their production or come up with more money. Chances are, these guys will be professional and be more pleasant to work with.

Of course, the other option is that they can go with another vendor but you have no control over that. Just move on to the next one.

If a potential client complains that your bid is too high, avoid them--these guys will ruin you. 'Cheap' clients = headaches and possible bankruptcy. Or, if you really want to work for them, suggest some alternatives that will work within their budget.

Some clients may ask for a discount. That's fine but make sure you have your own good reason to give them one, like "I'll do this because it's going to look amazing on my reel and it will bring me more work," and you actually believe it will.

If a potential client says something like, "if you do this this one job for us at a ridiculous bargain basement price, we promise to send more work your way later...seriously," don't believe them--this never happens.

Your mileage may vary of course.

G.

JBT27
12-29-2011, 05:53 AM
The Mill used to publish a rate card - day rates/hour rates - maybe they still do, haven't checked. That, of course, tells one nothing of how long or how good something is going to be.

There are plenty of people who will shop on price, and plenty competitors who will undercut ... and each job is based on the length of a piece of string anyway, so there's no point stating prices. Unless you want to offer specific services that lock you and the client into a set type of job, in which the price is near enough predictable before you get going.

We find it to be a very frustrating experience, because often the client doesn't get what they're asking for, and sometimes we find ourselves in the difficult position of having to educate a client before a job starts ... that's a whole other can of worms, and links through to agreements on content and procedure of a project.

I'd concentrate on being open and honest if you want to make a statement about pricing, get that first meeting, start pitching, and work with the client, making them feel 'safe' and supported.

Our experience shows that many clients are very confused and frightened by the disparate pricing they get from different vendors, and if they are not used to buying animation and video, then it's even more confusing.

Last year, I quoted 25K for a CGI job that ultimately went to a company who charged 180K ... a couple of producers I work with felt that was way too high, but the client didn't know, was spending grant money, and got what they wanted ... so whether they overpaid for it is a moot point ... except that other clients will see that and believe that that is what it costs. Most don't have that kind of money, and there's the problem: setting a high rate kills the potential for other work that clients can afford - they get scared of lower quotes, and you end up in a tight spot of having to say that in your opinion, that high-paying client was heavily overcharged.

A museum who commissioned a ten minutes monologue from an amateur actor, costume, set in a museum gallery, went with a company charging 60K ... I asked one of our producer friends how much he would have quoted ... he said he might have tried to get away with 6K. The museum didn't know, didn't ask, went with the smooth talking sales exec attached to a big video production company.

I often think it would help if there were a set of more standard prices, at least as a basis ... it's still the length of a piece of string, but at least there's some levelling to start with.

Julian.

medicalart
12-29-2011, 07:53 AM
If a potential client says something like, "if you do this this one job for us at a ridiculous bargain basement price, we promise to send more work your way later...seriously," don't believe them--this never happens.
G.

This one i've learned.




I'd concentrate on being open and honest if you want to make a statement about pricing, get that first meeting, start pitching, and work with the client, making them feel 'safe' and supported.


Agree, 9 times out of 10 this works unless, as you wrote, they want the 'big' production deal at any cost.

RebelHill
12-29-2011, 09:52 AM
As said by others.... every job is different.

I just finished a 30sec commercial (2 characers) took me about 4days. I had another 30 sec commercial about 18 months ago, 2 chars... took near 2 months... Reason, there were HUGE differences between the 2 things, but most folks who dont know the ins and outs of CG wouldnt understand (without a few hours of explanation) why the difference in time.

Btw... watched your reel, and its mostly good, with one glaring exception...

The creature VFX stuff u have in that highschool... its TERRIBLE... modeling, animation, texturing, lighting, matchmoving... all these aspects are very poor indeed (sorry)... take em out, they drag the good stuff you do have down.

Bon chance.

Titus
12-29-2011, 12:08 PM
So you want your competition show their rates? not gonna happen.

skywalker113
12-29-2011, 06:00 PM
One idea in mind is to make preset commercials on the website. Such as a restaurant commercial. The text in the example can be displayed as. 'your text here'. The video will mostly be stock footage. But there will be parts of the video for their images to go in. These parts will be displayed as a black screen with words saying things like 'image of your tables here'. Or 'image of your kitchen here'.

The stock footage will be mostly closups, so its more generic and less distinguishable towards one place.

Selling ready made commercials on the internet can allow busineses to buy from us who are far away. We'll still do custom made commercials, but it will have to be locally.


Btw... watched your reel, and its mostly good, with one glaring exception...

The creature VFX stuff u have in that highschool... its TERRIBLE... modeling, animation, texturing, lighting, matchmoving... all these aspects are very poor indeed (sorry)... take em out, they drag the good stuff you do have down.

There not that bad imo. Someone like you would probably see alot of things wrong though. I think they make the reel more exiting.

biliousfrog
12-30-2011, 10:32 AM
If you're looking to sell a ready-made product then, of course, you'll put a price up. You are no longer a service provider in the usual sense, you are a shop selling a product.

If you are selling a service then you might offer your rates but each project will have a unique price based on the time involved. I've never seen a plumber, electrician, builder, carpenter or any other 'trades' person give a flat fee for specific jobs unless they are devoid of variables. Imagine a plumber offering to fix a leaking pipe for a flat fee then discovering that the pipe is under 3ft of concrete.

Basically, you, as a service provider, have no idea of how much work is involved until the client provides all the details of the project. Hand-holding is all part of being a service provider, that is what differentiates between providing a service and providing a product.

OnlineRender
12-30-2011, 08:38 PM
If you're looking to sell a ready-made product then, of course, you'll put a price up. You are no longer a service provider in the usual sense, you are a shop selling a product.

If you are selling a service then you might offer your rates but each project will have a unique price based on the time involved. I've never seen a plumber, electrician, builder, carpenter or any other 'trades' person give a flat fee for specific jobs unless they are devoid of variables. Imagine a plumber offering to fix a leaking pipe for a flat fee then discovering that the pipe is under 3ft of concrete.

Basically, you, as a service provider, have no idea of how much work is involved until the client provides all the details of the project. Hand-holding is all part of being a service provider, that is what differentiates between providing a service and providing a product.

good post! +1

sandman300
12-31-2011, 12:14 AM
If a potential client says something like, "if you do this this one job for us at a ridiculous bargain basement price, we promise to send more work your way later...seriously," don't believe them--this never happens.


I here this very often where I work. My boss doesn't like me to turn away potential customers so if they gripe enough, I'll knock 10% off the bill. But the down side is that accepting these kinds of jobs leads to a pile of work that never gets paid for. I must have a couple of thousand dollars worth of work, that I don't expect to see money for. Some of which has been in the shop since before I started working there 7 years ago.

Where I work, I do video (transfer, editing, duplication). Mostly personal, but some corporate. The concept is the same for animation, I charge a flat rate for set tasks like duping DVDs; and hourly rates for more open ended tasks like editing. I have a price sheet to give people that has all our standard pricing on it, and when I take in a job I go over the pricing I expect, for pricing out video editing I go by the rule "for every hour of video expect 2 hours of editing" (one to do the work and the other to check it).

Pricing out an animation job is done similarly. Like so many have said before, every job is different. Find out what they want to do and determine the most cost effective means of getting it done. Ask as many questions as you can. The more you know, the more accurate the estimate can be.

hydroclops
12-31-2011, 08:16 AM
Has anyone mentioned that creative work for hire has confidentiality issues?

Your clients probably won't want anyone knowing what they paid you.

Also you need to negotiate upfront the right to use their video to promote yourself.

nickdigital
12-31-2011, 09:48 AM
Also keep in mind a client may describe something a certain way at first but as you progress, you realize that they oversimplified their description of what they want. They may say something like "I just want one animated character." Sounds easy. But what does the design look like, do you have to deal with hair, dynamics, how complicated is the surfacing? How in-depth is the animation (talking head or full on Jim Carrey wacky-ness).

Greenlaw
12-31-2011, 10:22 AM
Has anyone mentioned that creative work for hire has confidentiality issues?

Your clients probably won't want anyone knowing what they paid you.

Also you need to negotiate upfront the right to use their video to promote yourself.
Not necessarily. Back when I was freelancing as an illustrator, at the very minimum I always made it clear in my written agreement that I reserved the right to use anything I created for personal promotional work. It was also made clear to the client than any personal assets I used to create work for them remained my property. For example, if the clients wanted to own my 3D models used to make an image for them, they had to pay extra for it; or if they wanted to own a physical painting I created that was used in their ad in addition to the printing rights, then they had to purchase the painting separately.

The work I was doing back then was primarily for books and print ads, but the same can be applied to other media work if it's made clear up front. Everything is usually negotiable. The important thing is to get it all in writing.

Of course it you let the client prepare a work-for-hire contract that gives them all rights to your work and you sign it without objecting to any terms or including any of your own terms, well that's your choice.

G.

Edit: Sorry I sort of went off writing that post and realized only after I was done that I was not actually contradicting what you wrote...in fact, I'm sort of agreeing. Nevermind. :p

Greenlaw
12-31-2011, 10:25 AM
I should also mention that it's a little different in film and TV production. Since you're typically working at a clients location, using their equipment and software, and also working under whatever conditions they agreed to with their client, things can get a bit less negotiable in that situation.

That said, you should still be able to negotiate the right to use the final work for self-promotion. If they don't allow this, then you should definitely negotiate higher pay rate as compensation. Otherwise what's the point? Many freelancers will tell you that your next job often depends on the most recent work on your demo reel.

G.

Greenlaw
12-31-2011, 10:39 AM
@Hydroclops,

Oops. Sorry, I sort of went off writing that post and realized only after I was done that I was not really contradicting what you wrote, in fact, I was agreeing with you, so nevermind. You did specify 'work-for-hire' and the need to negotiate but for some reason that didn't register in my brain this early in the morning. Anyway, I guess the point I was trying to make in my clumsy 'haven't had any coffee yet this morning' manner is that nothing should be assumed, and most things are negotiable and, as you pointed out, should be negotiated.

Okay, shutting up and drinking my coffee now. :p

G.

jasonwestmas
12-31-2011, 10:53 AM
I would let your portfolio do the talking not your list prices.

JBT27
12-31-2011, 11:48 AM
I would let your portfolio do the talking not your list prices.

If only the people who go for the lowest bidder took that advice ...

It's a valid point though, irrespective of the state of the industry and the economy ... be as good as you can be, and show the stuff off. And that point about being supportive and helpful to clients ... doesn't always catch the work, but we find mostly it does; treat people well and don't rip them off.

Julian.

jasonwestmas
12-31-2011, 12:19 PM
Yeah the supportive and helpful part goes a long long way regardless of what you charge.

VisionTecVideo
01-18-2012, 01:30 AM
It's kind of what I tell my yellow page sales person every year. They try to get me to buy a larger ad, and I tell them all that does is gets me the first phone call. But most customers are going to call all the small ads too, for price comparisons. So I just keep the same ad every year. What gets me the job is my work samples and not just the pricing.

wrightyp100
01-19-2012, 04:08 AM
Yeah, I wouldnt put prices on. To re-enforce what everyone has said. Each job is different.

And I would agree about taking out the match move high school stuff. Your reels a bit long anyway... It does distract from your really good stuff.