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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » I have no idea how to price freelance time

Author Topic: I have no idea how to price freelance time
Member # 1838

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Derek   Email Derek         Edit/Delete Post 
I just got my first REAL big break. I am doing a freelance design job for a major studio (that you all know of) that creates feature films. All I know, is that it is one character and one environment.

I have never worked on a project for a studio this big. How do I charge. On smaller projects in the past, I just estimate the hours and charge like $20.00-$25.00 an hour. I have no idea if that is too high or ridiculously low.

I just don't want to go in there totally clueless and look like a total amateur (which I am).


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IE # 101
Member # 17

Icon 1 posted      Profile for SNAKEBITE   Author's Homepage           Edit/Delete Post 
Everything is different. the dynamics of pricing is totally different these days. companies push for freelancers to go so low cuz theres so many
dudes lined up to take your job. it mostly goes
to the bottom liners.

when all else fails use the daily method. how
much you have to make in a day so you can make
your weekly overhead. that way I know if I do take the job at least my overhead is cover.

nothing like taking a gig at a reduced rate
that doesn't even pay for your overhead. then you're paying them to work.

again, freelance rates are all over the place these days. you have to find something that is comfortable for you.

I don't even know what the standard is anymore....cuz I don't think there really is one.


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IE # 28
Member # 14

Icon 1 posted      Profile for strawberry   Author's Homepage   Email strawberry         Edit/Delete Post 
if you say your rate is $100/hr, they may say that's fine, or they'll say it's too high and counter offer. don't be afraid to ask for what you want, even if you think you won't get it. be flexible but don't get ripped off.

really, just ask yourself, what is my time worth? don't lowball yourself. that's the client's job!

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IE # 129
Member # 2721

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jasen   Author's Homepage   Email Jasen         Edit/Delete Post 
one character and one environment
Sounds like they are testing you. Good luck, I'm sure you'll do fine, if I remember correctly, your work is top notch.


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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Animation Co-op           Edit/Delete Post 
You don't price the time of your labor.
You price the VALUE of your experience and your ability.

I once asked a client who balked at this notion whether he asked or cared how many man-hours went into the last car he bought. He was caught off guard, and I continued: "You never do that. Instead, you compare the value of what is in front of you with the price that is proposed. And if it seems fair, you buy the car."

Kevin G.

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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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P.S. - He signed the deal. [Cool]
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IE # 234
Member # 801

Icon 1 posted      Profile for tstevens   Author's Homepage   Email tstevens         Edit/Delete Post 
Well... some artists can definately fetch a higher amount based on reputation and quality - no doubt about that. But negotiating your wage can vary greatly depending on the variables. They include...

- how desparate you are for work
- how much work you may already have
- are you willing to work for what the client is willing to pay
- is the project worth getting involved in for the experience
- is it a project that you may be able to use to promote your self

...and on and on.

What Kevin said does apply: you do price relative to experience and ability. However, the market is so competitive that you can't be arrogant. As a normal way of doing business you should atleast try to approximate the amount of time that it will take you to perform the task as well as accounting for a certain amont of re-dos and so on. In general, the longer you spend on a project the less you make because you are spreading that money over a greater amount of time. So I would say that in addition to what Kevin said you should also try to consider your time as well.

In todays market you will find that budgets are not what they use to be so the competition is much stiffer. Also, it use to be that rates were more spelled out. Now everything is negotiable.

Just remember to get a contract stating the terms of paymentof on the job. This should include how much you will be paid, in how many installments, when you will complete the work, who owns it and so on. In most normal situations you should get a 1/3 to a 1/2 down to start work. I would tend to say that you should not start work without some form of payment unless you know the firm well or you know the payment is coming soon.

But, once again I appear to be rambling... I digress!


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Member # 7

Icon 14 posted      Profile for Charles           Edit/Delete Post 
Congratulations Derek. Great news, that's a thrill when you get an opportunity like that especially with a major studio.

Check into the Animation Guild's guidelines. Look for journeyman salary for the category you'll be working in. That'll give you a solid idea of where the pay range is.

A general rate is around $40 an hour, that's what programmers and web designers are going at from what I learned in a discussion earlier this week.

Don't bid too low, they won't take you as seriously, and don't come in too high either, that'll turn them off. Look for the area both you and your client can be comfortable with, so refer to industry standard rates such as the Guild's salary guidelines.

Plus your end of the job with excellent work, professionalism and a good attitude, give the client your very best effort and consideration for what they're paying for and you're on your way.


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Animation Co-op
IE # 295
Member # 3421

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Another approach is simply to ask the client to pay you what they think is fair. This may sound "crazy", but I've done it many times. It works like a charm over time, since you leverage directly on the market for your talent.

Simply put, if the client makes an offer for a freelance job, and it's the best thing you have going at the moment, you take it.

However, if the client makes an offer for a freelance job, and it's NOT the best thing you have going at the moment, you decline it (and proceed with the other work).

If you're any good, and as your reputation spreads, you should see your rates go up - to then rise and fall in sync with the ebb and flow of the market.

Kevin G.

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IE # 258
Member # 462

Icon 1 posted      Profile for knowledge   Email knowledge         Edit/Delete Post 
also remember that it isn't only that you're doing a 'one day job' or anything like that - You are creating a product, from your unique imagination, that will be used to help bring audiences into theaters as well as sell toys. Check out what others like Steve Silver are charging for creating a character.
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