Doesn’t matter if you’re starting on business or already have some experience: setting your price for a project can be tricky. Don’t feel bad, it is for the majority of us. Why? Well, it’s a difficult mix of not feeling underpaid and not charging so much that your client won’t even negotiate a discount.
My approach to this issue? I always try to see this as an equation with many variables :
- the amount of time I’ll take to do the job (plus some time for redoing things the client will inevitably ask to): what are the tasks needed? Sound Edit? Sound Design? Foley? Mix? How long does each take?
- the amount I charge for my work day: will I need to work during night time? Long days?
- the urgency of the project: when is it due to? do I have time to do my job, or am I gonna work like a crazy man to get it done?
- the type of client/project I’m setting the rate: is this an independent project? A TV Ad? A client I’m trying to please?
I’m not saying that’s the best way of doing this calculus, but trying to show one thing: you can make this much easier if you rationalise the process.
But, sometimes, even when I take this approach, it’s still unclear for me if the amount I calculated is fair. When this happens I tend to call one or two friends that work with the same kind of project, and ask them if they think my calculus is fair. Because, maybe, even when you get the variables right the amount you’re gonna charge gets a little off. So confirming with trustable friends can serve as a reality check.
After that, it’s important that you present your estimate and detail it to your client. Many of them doesn’t know which services are needed for their projects, so informing them of what you’ll be doing, how long each task takes and how much it costs, is a way of keeping everything transparent, honest and even “teaching” them what are the things involved on the audio side of the project.
If you need another point of view on the subject, the A Sound Effect Blog did a really good article called “How to Set (and Get) the Right Price for Your Audio Work“. On it, they talked with Kate Finan (from Boom Box Post) about her way of setting the right price for each job.
You should read it, it’s pretty straight forward and simple. And has a bonus: you can download a spreadsheet that can help you organise and calculate your total.
And you? Do you have a different method or any good tips on this? Please, share them with us 🙂
Mauricio Ruiz – www.mauricioruiz.me