PDA

View Full Version : How much to charge a client



wulfie
10-19-2012, 11:49 PM
Does anyone have any idea what the going rate is for a minute of 3D animation these days. I have been researching but most information is pretty dated.

Thank you so much for any current links or information!


Bev

bazsa73
10-20-2012, 01:12 AM
Try to break it down how many working hours is needed and multiply it with your hourly rate.
Add any other costs you deem is necessary (tax, insurance etc...)
Then sleep on it and try to refine the first estimation.

DigitalSorcery8
10-20-2012, 01:12 AM
That's pretty much like asking "how long is a piece of string." :)

The cost of an animation can very from $100 to many thousands of dollars for a minute of animation. You can have a minute of a generic car driving down the road or a minute of a dozen custom characters interacting - which do you think would cost more and why? I don't know how good the search function is in this re-made forum, but there have been many threads on this subject. You might also try over at CGTalk where there have been MANY thread (usually in the General Discussion are) on the topic.

wulfie
10-20-2012, 01:27 AM
Thank you so much for both of those replies! You are so right about the piece of string. Part of the problem is that my client doesn't know how long their string is.....or even what string is. I thank you again for thinking on my behalf.

rdolishny
10-23-2012, 01:28 PM
my client doesn't know how long their string is.....or even what string is.

That is precisely the point of the analogy. No one knows.

You just have to stick as close to hourly as possible (no flat rate) and take into consideration how much money YOU need to make to make this a good career. It's been discussed all over the web as mentioned; but avoid flat rates and go hourly and pay yourself.

Danner
10-23-2012, 06:06 PM
5 seconds of a flying logo, and 5 seconds of a detailed city colapsing, can't cost the same amount. The hourly rate estimate is your safest bet.
bazsa73 said it pretty well. I do something very similar: Get a detailed description of what is needed and estimate the time it will take to make. Be honest at what you think you should be getting paid hourly then multyply that by the estimated hours. THEN double that price, because things always take way longer to make than you initially imagined =)

kopperdrake
10-24-2012, 04:17 AM
Just to add my thoughts, considering your client doesn't know what they want.

Step 1: Meet with the client and get them to decide what they would like in their animation.
Step 2: Build a storyboard around this - this should be paid time - and get it signed off.
Step 3: Estimate how long it would take you to produce the animation based on that storyboard - if the client agrees with the cost then you're set to go.
Step 4: If the cost is too high, re-do the storyboard to something more manageable, and re-submit - if the client agrees with the cost then you're set to go.
Step 5: Repeat Step 4 until you're either set to go, or come to the conclusion that the client wants something for nothing and so walk away :)

In my experience, managing client expectation is more than half the battle. Often they don't know what they want. When they do know what they want, they expect film quality animation for a fraction of the budget.

Managing their expectations is the hardest part because:

a) it involves educating them about your business, which they will often think they already know about because hey, everyone has seen CGI these days.
b) everyone wants the best, but not everyone can afford it.
c) it involves diplomatic skills but we're artists, not politicians. Having said that, if we promise something then we're more likely to deliver it, or die trying because our reputations and ego rely on it. Politicians on the other hand...

tcoursey
11-07-2012, 02:41 PM
It's always a good idea to have the client give you a range of budget numbers they are wanting to fall into. This helps you know what you can provide for that amount, it gives you an idea of where they are financially etc..

Then you can get a detailed description of what they want and if it doesn't fit in the budget they want, you can always show it as "add-ons". It's always good to have the client make the decision about what they want and can't afford in a production/piece.

.02

geo_n
11-07-2012, 07:32 PM
11$ per hour ;)

Philbert
11-07-2012, 09:05 PM
When I first started out I was told by a classmate who started working before I did to start at $25 an hour and never go down in price, only up. My first client (who was also my uncle) had a huge project for me, several months long. I was honest and told him what I was told. He said "OK I'll give you $31/hr." Of course I accepted and charged $30/hr after that just because it was easier to calculate. I've since raised it higher and no clients have complained. There have been a few clients who I was willing to accept a little less from, only because I knew they were long term projects. One gave me $1000 a week , which is less, but it was a 6 month project so I accepted it. One thing I sometimes have trouble with is when a client wants a price for the whole project or wants to know how long it will take. I suggest keeping track of how long each project takes, even personal ones so that you have a frame of reference for those situations.

AbnRanger
11-09-2012, 04:02 PM
I realize this is slightly off topic, but it addresses the core issue here. Sometimes I watch shows like Pawn Stars or American Restoration, where you constantly observe negotiations between buyer and seller, vendor and customer. One common theme is that each person will shoot for the moon initially, then proceed to haggle and meet somewhere in the middle. I'm also appalled at the utter ignorance of many of the folks who bring items into the Pawn Shop. They have no clue as to what the value is, yet the shop owner calls in an expert to assess it's authenticity and value. Then when the shop owner asks what they are reasonably trying to get out of it, they use the expert's assessment as to what they want.

No.1, the shop owner is providing a means for them to know what their item is worth, and yet they want the maximum retail value. It's their job to assess the value before coming in...but they don't. So, he's already giving them something for free (he has to pay these experts to come in). Then, they don't have the sense to understand that they are not selling to an end buyer, but to a middle man. They don't stop to consider that the shop has to sell the item themselves, and if they had to pay retail for everything, they would not be in business.

So, with all of that said...it just illustrates the fact that there are a LOT of stupid people out there, and if you are selling anything (item, services, etc), you will have to take the time to explain the obvious...to these individuals. The other take away is that you really need to ask a bit higher than what your estimation is, as you will likely find it to be more work than your initial assessment, and you can always negotiate downward (offer less for less money, in order to fit their budget).

DrStrik9
11-09-2012, 04:41 PM
After you decide how long the project will take in hours, multiply it times Pi, the universal bidding constant. :D

geo_n
11-10-2012, 10:33 PM
When I first started out I was told by a classmate who started working before I did to start at $25 an hour and never go down in price, only up. My first client (who was also my uncle) had a huge project for me, several months long. I was honest and told him what I was told. He said "OK I'll give you $31/hr." Of course I accepted and charged $30/hr after that just because it was easier to calculate. I've since raised it higher and no clients have complained. There have been a few clients who I was willing to accept a little less from, only because I knew they were long term projects. One gave me $1000 a week , which is less, but it was a 6 month project so I accepted it. One thing I sometimes have trouble with is when a client wants a price for the whole project or wants to know how long it will take. I suggest keeping track of how long each project takes, even personal ones so that you have a frame of reference for those situations.

Things have changed. I just saw a new lightwave contractor from the US on a freelance site offer 11/hr . Kind of annoying really. If you're working for more 30usd/hr these days you have to be above average generalist. 3D wages have really gone down in recent years with everybody able to do it and everybody owning fast computers. I used to charge 300-400 usd for a still image, 600usd up for car models,etc, which was easy to do outside of day job but now I'm competing with people doing it for less than 200usd or even less than 100usd and they're not from asia. They are from europe, US, too. They're using cracked AD software and I'm using lightwave which becomes even more a problem.

bazsa73
11-11-2012, 02:47 AM
After you decide how long the project will take in hours, multiply it times Pi, the universal bidding constant. :D
so true, plus add the brain damage compensation fee

AbnRanger
11-11-2012, 04:35 AM
Those freelance sites are infested with prospective clients that are trying to take the shirt off your back and then sell it back to you. I mean their budget limits for what they are asking are just laughable. $150 for an animation for their commercial, or 2-3 weeks worth of work for $250 max? Are you kidding me? I'm not exaggerating. You can't compare what someone is willing to do on one of those sites to real world projects/budgets. Sure, if one's work is just above novice level, you might justify cut-throat rates like that....but chances are, that $11/hr guy is getting reamed for that one way or the other.

Philbert
11-11-2012, 05:21 AM
Yeah I've tried looking at sites like Guru.com and it seemed like every job on there was being getting bids of like a quarter of what I would charge. Of course most of them were from India where that may be a lot of money.