View Full Version : Pricing structures

06-05-2003, 09:22 AM
Can anyone point me toward some info that would help me determine what to charge for the work I do. I've been under a rock for 15 years and 9 months studying Lightwave, After Effects, etc.

Thanks very much

06-05-2003, 05:32 PM
Wow, that's a loaded question!
I charge $225.00 per hour for shooting and editing, and I have almost more work then I can handle.
There are some in this town that charge less then $100.00 per hour and have hardly any work.

The first place to start is to see what your competition charges.
Then you need to consider what they offer and what you offer.
That will help you decide what you're worth.

Then, unless you're just starting out, you should charge what you think you need to feel good about putting in your hours.

Don't be afraid to lose a job or two to a lower bid. I've found once I got a good client base, I was glad I wasn't charging less, or I'd be turning away clients because I wasn't charging enough.

06-05-2003, 05:57 PM
(Gawd! Lightwave kept interrupting me because a frame was being rendered out every few seconds and it now takes over the interface!)

Anyway thank you Ted. I see your point of view and I will add it to my consideration.

I just wanted to be in the ballpark because I have been under a very heavy rock for over 15 years; thank goodness I had Lightwave to keep me company.

Thanks again.


06-06-2003, 09:25 AM
Ted, I have a related question, if you don't mind...

How did you build your client base? Where did you look for clients? Did you cold-canvas local businesses directly, or did you contact local advertising agencies, or television stations?

I'm just about ready to start looking for clients myself, and I'd appreciate any advice in this area.

06-06-2003, 10:34 AM
This answer is a maybe...
Try the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook and Pricing Guide.
I don't have mine in arms reach at the moment, but it
might cover video... it covers film and everything else !!!


06-06-2003, 12:37 PM
Hiraghm, I gotta admit, I spent 18 years in this market doing production for the NBC affiliate before I opened my doors, so I knew many of the Agencies and they knew my work attitude.

The day I opened, I sent out about 50 letters telling people I wasn't trying to steal any work from anyone, but if they needed any help on a project, I'd love for them to give me a try.

Since then, (over 5 years), I haven't made a single call to generate new business.
To me, (not having any business schooling or Collage of any kind), the key to success is taking care of the clients you have.

As for getting new ones, make a list of every TV station, Advertising Agency and Production Company. Then get the names of the Program Managers, Directors, Producers and Editors within those companies. Don't forget to include all the Sales people within the TV stations. They have a lot of pull also.
Duplicate people within the same company is a good thing.

Now spend $50 on postage and send them a short letter telling them you've expanded your business and want to help them with any needs they have.
Give them a brief list of your services, but state that you can handle whatever they throw at you, and in a SPEEDY timeframe. (They like to hear that)!

If you have the capability and desire, make DVD's with "a few" samples. Don't make it an hour long. Send these to the biggest most important people on your list.

Now sit back and realize your potential.
You might only get a 5-10% return on your solicitations. Hopefully more. But if you take care of that 5-10%, more will follow.

Let me know how it goes. I hope for your sake, you get so busy you curse me for not getting enough sleep!:p

P.S. Your site is looking good. Mine is a simple fill in the blanks type, but it works for me until I can get some free time to do more.

06-10-2003, 03:37 AM
Hello Ted,

Your post was very illuminating. I am JUST starting up a new business, and was mulling over what to charge.

I have had 0 clients yet. I was considering $40 an hour for graphics work. You can see my website here: www.Carm3D.net (http://www.Carm3D.net)

I spent $300 for a year of advertizing here: SDVideo (http://www.SDVideo.com)
(So far with no results)

My biggest weakness is a lack of compositing software. I just got Lightwave (with Messiah and a handful of plugins) and a paint program. I also have Media Studio Pro v3 (I know.. big deal, but it works)

I am trying to assemble a handful of animations so I can create a new demo reel. My work has improved tremendously recently so all my old stuff is no good.

If you have any suggestions for me I would love to hear them.

P.S. And if you have any projects for me, that would be great too! :D

06-10-2003, 08:14 AM
Newtek is running a new deal now, if you pre-purchase your upgrade to 8.0 you get DFX+4 modules 1 and 4 free

06-10-2003, 11:32 AM
Tsk.. Yeah I know.. Wish I could afford it. That would let me do After-Effects-like compositing?

06-10-2003, 12:35 PM

The purple "burnt rubber" stripe is a hoot!

06-10-2003, 12:44 PM
Thanks. :cool:

The client wasn't too fond of it tho.

Peter Palesh
06-10-2003, 01:38 PM
The stabilized video example is very impressive.

06-10-2003, 01:41 PM
Thanks man! :)

06-11-2003, 08:17 AM
Thanks everyone for the conversation. I think I'm getting a handle on the way this works - a bit, but how do you add the little picture and anims by your names... ahh nevermind.

06-11-2003, 12:27 PM
Speaking of prices... not sure if Caligari even knows its own pricing structures as the link that the following leads to still works! :O


02-18-2009, 10:06 PM
One day, I guess in 2006, I tried to login after awhile and couldn't remember my info (brain freeze?) then suddenly tonight I remembered my old login name (jmc522) and I'll be danged if I didn't find my posts. Anyway, what with AAADD (age activated attention deficit disorder) the next thing you know I'm checking out Carm3D's website. Cool Stuff!

02-18-2009, 11:23 PM
Boy talk about an old thread. This is about 3 months after I joined the forums. I take that back just look at my joined date. Only a year off. I could have sworn it was in 03 though.

02-18-2009, 11:39 PM
Yeah, no kidding.. now I am wondering how much did Carm3D endup charging and what he is charging now ;) and while we are at it, is Ted still charging that much per hour? (adjustment for current economic times? - now would you do that... or is that a trap, one from which there is no escape -- ie. charging low prices and not being able to raise them later?)

02-19-2009, 03:03 AM
Nice folio over there, Carm.

I guess you should calculate your living expenses + hw/sw expenses needed for work + taxes. Find a number of working hours needed, divide the two and you got yourself your quotes.

Cheers mate!

02-19-2009, 10:14 PM
... is Ted still charging that much per hour? (adjustment for current economic times? - now would you do that... or is that a trap, one from which there is no escape -- ie. charging low prices and not being able to raise them later?)

Funny, when I saw this thread come back, I went to the first page and read my "pompus statement" and looked at the date. June 6th.
That was the end of a great 10 years! :devil:
By August my business nearly flatlined and has continued flat till the second week in January.

The the funnier part, I saw your question re: my prices and had to reflect on my philosophy on not giving it away. I've lost a lot of sleep wondering if I priced myself out of business.
We did do a handful of flat rate productions and a few nearly free gigs to get exposure for our TriCaster productions.

What did I find out about my philosophy?
As it turns out none of my competition had any work. Nobody was spending a dime on marketing. TV, Radio, Newspaper, was nearly flat as well.
Since the 2nd week of January I began getting calls not only from our usual clients but from numerous new sources.
It seems as though some of our lower priced cometition didn't survive. I guess they always cut it so close there was no room for error.
Now that the work is beginning to come back, I'm still there and I'll be recovering more quickly, I think. :D

So yeh, I still stand by the philosophy that you need to charge what it takes to operate and give service exceding that.

Just today I reluctantly turned down 2 jobs with too small of a budget. I didn't say no, I told them what I needed for the project. One already booked next Monday at my rate and the other said they will try. I'm glad I didn't give it away for fear of losing a job.

I can't promise I'll be around tomorrow, :) but the way things appear to be turning around, I should be back on track soon.
By the way, of the few "Flat rate productions" we did do, most either took forever to pay or still owe me money. :D

Are things picking up for you guys like they are here? If not, hang in there. We have a recession about every 7 years. This has no doubt been the deepest and longest I've experienced, but as always, things do turn around. Keep re-evaluating what you offer to meet people's needs and keep networking.

02-19-2009, 11:29 PM
Wow. Thanks for the update Ted!

02-20-2009, 09:07 PM
You're welcome.

02-20-2009, 10:01 PM
Glad to see you holding the course Ted.

I'm not about gouging, but giving it away is a dead end. I have posted in other threads about how steamed I get about kids doing work for peanuts. They don't last. They can't keep their gear updated with what they earn. Then they bail to be replaced by other kids doing the same thing. All they do is cut the throats of people trying to hang in for the long haul.