How much to charge for small commercial jobs?

Discussion in 'Q and A Archive' started by webman, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    What is your time/skillset worth? I've been flying RC and building multirotors for a while now, but only recently have started into the world of videography and photography. I've been practicing a lot over the last few months, and have been approached by a few different people to ask if I would help them out. The problem is that I have no idea what kind of rates I should be thinking. How do you guys calculate your billing?

    You are going to think this is crazy, but one suggestion is to give the first few small jobs away for free or for "pay me what you can". This way you have samples, clients and also you can pump the customers to find out what it would have been worth if you had to charge.

    Here is some other longwinded advice. If it's not enjoyable for you, it may be hard to make it pay - because a "contractor" with a car, talent, etc. is worth at a minimum of $80 an hour (usually more), and that means for each and every hour from prep to driving to editing and billing. In my own consulting and web businesses, I usually charged $95 hr but made much more when done "by the job" or selling advertising.

    If it's just extra money to pay for the hobby you may charge less than if it's going to be a main source of cash. I'd say about $100 an hour would be in the ballpark for a "prosumer" photographer if you don't included prep time at home - i.e. a shoot which took you 3 total hours in filming and editing could be $300. Keep in mind that still pics will cost you much much less - and are often more effective. Properly edited video can take one hour to get one good minute.

    If we are talking about true professional photography and video - that's an entirely different story and has to be calculated out based on many factors including other employees, business costs, insurance, etc.
    Even a small firm would have to charge in the thousands of dollars per day to fly cameras such as the RED ONE and have multiple employees on site.

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