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How to Charge Client for Animating

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Zeebra
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How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 11:42:46 Reply

Hello fellow newgrounders,
PART 1:

I have been asked by a client to create a 1 - 2 minute animation which is similar to this video.
They require me to animate / compose the sound, basically create everything from pre-production (Script / Dialogue / Storyboard & Animatic) to Post-Production (Combination of Sound / Text / Animation & Effects and Distribution)

Then they ask the famous question: "How much will it cost?" and I reply "Let me work it out and get back to you."

I don't know what is the best way to charge, per hour of work or per second of animation...
How long would this take to animate approximately (working 8 hours a day)??
The client would like a once off lump sum fee for this, if anybody could help me with this then I will be their best friend +]
Or anybody want to share a structured questionnaire to establish the costs or requirements for the project.

I need to send the client a quote asap and I don't want to over charge (potentially lose the job) or Under Charge (allowing us animators to get raped for our hard work)

PART2:

Then I have another client that wants me to animate their logo which will be approximately 5 - 10 seconds long.
All the same questions apply: How to charge/ Animated rates / Guidelines etc...
Is there a rule of thumb for cost on animating?

SERIOUSLY ANY HELP IS MUCH APPRECIATED
private message me if you don't want to speak about rates publicly

Thank you in advance
Zee


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Max-Vador
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 12:19:14 Reply

hey zee, good to see you getting paid work.

i have 2 guidelines for pricing when it comes to animating. the obvious is length. 1-2 minutes is pretty long, so what you'll want to do is look at your difficulty. the sample video is basic shapes and tweens, so figure you can do about 10 seconds of animation per hour. so you're looking at a combined 10-12 hours for animation time. this alone would put you over $100 estimating you want more than $10/hour.

the next thing you're looking at is timeframe. they want the quote from you ASAP, but what is the window of time they want the animation done? will you have to work in your personal time or on a set weekday schedule.

say you do it all in one day per request, and you request $10/hour. you're looking at $80 for the first 8 hours, then you call it free-lance overtime, and charge $60 for the remaining 4. standard time and a half.
you're also going to be working on sound and post-production so you'll have to add up the time for that as well. whether you use the same pay scale or not for that is up to you.

i'm sure you want more than $10/hour, but you also have to realize that as freelance, $10/hour is closer to $13/hour with tax. make your bid wisely because they think of this as well and don't like a greedy off-site worker.

as for the logo i always do flat fees for things like that. well a flat fee with a limit.
say $50 for 5 seconds. $75 for 10 seconds. $100 for 20 seconds. and so on.
you want the brunt of the charge up front. so you can also say you work for $2/second with a 10 second minimum or the like. this will make it more flexible for both parties to add more content.

ready for the bad part?

re-do's

ugh
>:[
the worst thing. you're being payed per hour for your first draft. every revision, color change, mind numbingly tedious alteration becomes pro-bono.
you can put a limit to this prior to taking the job. tell them you will only do 2 drafts. anything they forget to tell you before second draft is finished is SoL on their part.

you can charge for 16 hours and end up putting in 40+ in revising and re-writing because the client isn't clear or doesn't know what they want from the beginning.

best advice i can say is to give them a taste free. make 1-2 seconds of the animation and show them a few things, skill, adaptability, and give them a chance to tell you what they really want.

good luck with this zee, it's an unsatisfying, non gratifying way to work. but if it's what you love, it's what you do.

Zeebra
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 17:13:08 Reply

At 1/25/13 12:19 PM, Max-Vador wrote: hey zee, good to see you getting paid work.

Hopefully... =] Getting paid for something i love doing

the next thing you're looking at is timeframe. they want the quote from you ASAP, but what is the window of time they want the animation done? will you have to work in your personal time or on a set weekday schedule.

They ideally want a mock up or draft on the 31st January and the finalized around the 5th February.

say you do it all in one day per request, and you request $10/hour. you're looking at $80 for the first 8 hours, then you call it free-lance overtime, and charge $60 for the remaining 4. standard time and a half.

I like this, freelance overtime such a good idea.

i'm sure you want more than $10/hour, but you also have to realize that as freelance, $10/hour is closer to $13/hour with tax. make your bid wisely because they think of this as well and don't like a greedy off-site worker.

Oh yes tax I forgot about that

as for the logo i always do flat fees for things like that. well a flat fee with a limit.
say $50 for 5 seconds. $75 for 10 seconds. $100 for 20 seconds. and so on.
you want the brunt of the charge up front. so you can also say you work for $2/second with a 10 second minimum or the like. this will make it more flexible for both parties to add more content.

Yeah I request 50% (Or at least 30%) upfront when i charge a flat fee. I have had design projects get canceled and get left with nothing in return for my efforts.

good luck with this zee, it's an unsatisfying, non gratifying way to work. but if it's what you love, it's what you do.

Thanks max for the golden nuggets of valuable info. I have been working as a freelance designer but its always been my dream to animate as a full time career. Lets see how everything plays out.

I decided to do a sketch about this Topic :)
What is your time worth??

How to Charge Client for Animating


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Max-Vador
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 18:21:49 Reply

glad you like some of my ideas. i took a class in programming way back when in college and the teacher said one thing that i've always found true to this day, if you don't like doing it, you simply won't. whether the money is good or not, your heart has to be in it. so take some crap jobs for crap pay at first. it's what happens. eventually you can make it your vocation or avocation, but as long as you have fun is all that matters

ittekimasu
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 21:34:45 Reply

I think this is a good topic, I don't get to see much on how pricing works.

I read an article about how not enough people 'follow up' with their clients after they finish a job, I think this might be an important thing to remember and put into practice yourself, it's a nice touch to see how they are liking the final product, it might also keep you in mind for further projects because of your sincerity.

I had asked this question once before of a lecturer and the way he went about it was to call established studios and ask them for a quote to get an idea of how things were priced.

KhanhCPham
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 22:11:04 Reply

A very good thread. I always thought about the pricing but I never research on that. I currently dont have much of a portfolio but when I want commission, I can look at this thread.


Currently doing short rough animations here http://khanhcpham.deviantart.com/

Max-Vador
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-25 23:44:48 Reply

At 1/25/13 10:11 PM, KhanhCPham wrote: A very good thread. I always thought about the pricing but I never research on that. I currently dont have much of a portfolio but when I want commission, I can look at this thread.

Krinkels runs a good graphic art commision scale. you can find it on his deviantart @Krinkels909

he basicly slides the price from sketch to lineart to colored/finished piece. it's a little different for animation but it's a good concept if you're willing to go flat-rate

Tanadrine-Studios
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-26 00:43:34 Reply

Be careful not to get trapped in a cycle of having to educate your clients of how extensive the work is. My advice:

1) Have ready-made examples of work you've done of varying complexity (low and high, preferably).

2) It all boils down to complexity+detail versus time investment required.

3) Keep it simple. Most clients don't really understand how the animation/art process works, so just try to keep an ideal hourly rate in your head and charge accordingly based on what your client says they want.

4) Under promise, over deliver. Take the amount of time you expect the work to take, and DOUBLE it! You'd rather look good by finishing early than look bad by being late, even if the amount of time in both scenarios are exactly the same.

Zeebra
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-26 05:52:56 Reply

At 1/25/13 06:21 PM, Max-Vador wrote:

if you don't like doing it, you simply won't. whether the money is good or not, your heart has to be in it.

To true!!

At 1/25/13 09:34 PM, ittekimasu wrote:

not enough people 'follow up' with their clients after they finish a job,

Good point, I have followed up on clients and they gave me more work right then and there.

At 1/26/13 12:43 AM, Tanadrine-Studios wrote: 3) Keep it simple. Most clients don't really understand how the animation/art process works

Great point: To be honest I usually talk out aloud while calculating the time needed and then the client just looks at me confused and says "How much?" & " How long will it take?" They are employing you to go through the process, calculations and required hours etc.

4) Under promise, over deliver. Take the amount of time you expect the work to take, and DOUBLE it! You'd rather look good by finishing early than look bad by being late

Another good point: Always meet your deadlines!!

Over the last few weeks I have been searching the world wide web for any info on this topic. Not a simple task.
As Im sure this thread will help many other artists from pulling their hair out of frustration on pricing. I have decided to share these key findings =>

1#
How To Bid Out A Project

This blog is very useful for anybody who is going to start or are already working & running their business.

2#
The Seven Deadly Sins of Freelancing

With topics like : Underestimating The Job / Overestimating Your Abilities / Failure To Plan Your Business /
Ignoring Marketing And Sales / Accidental Branding / Lack of Diversification / Sacrificing Integrity
It raises some good topics for anybody wanting to be a successful freelance artist and how to avoid the bad choices.

3#
Freelance Pricing - Set Your Rate!
This site shows you how to figure out what rates you should charge by using a long & detailed formula to work out what you should charge to get by.

4#
Hourly Rate Calculator
For the lazy, the easy to use rate calculator. Just fill in the blanks.
And go check out their website for super useful info.

IF YOU HAVE ANY WISE WORDS / SITE SUGGESTIONS / INFORMATION ON QUOTES & FREELANCING
Please share your experience with us, creating a better working environment for artists out there.


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Croire
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-26 22:19:03 Reply

Animation ain't cheap. Charge them $15/hour at the LOWEST. Don't go below that. Start with $25/hour and if they take that, then great! If not you can haggle down to 20 and then 15.

Chaostoon
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-30 13:34:15 Reply

Are you guys serious???

I charge $2000 for explainer videos like that and get it consistently. You have NO IDEA what your work is worth.

QArtsMedia
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-01-31 10:36:55 Reply

I have a Showbiz Guide 2005 edition I can tell you that a guild animator got at that time $1375.32 weekly in salary.

While you may not wish to charge that amount, take into consideration that you have overhead; computers do not last forever, Power costs, soft ware to pay for and you need to eat. A salaried individual has none of the overhead and will still make more than you probably will charge these guys. It is ofcourse totally up to you, I'm just pointing out that there is more to it than $10 an hour. What you need to do is sit down and figure out what you can actually work for and not go in the hole. It's one thing to bust your chops for a fair price and another to bust your chops and go backwards. Remeber it is better to get a gig at your price than to get a gig that you low balled and eat it in the end. If you don't get the gig because your priced were to high for them then you were probably better off not getting the job.

I can tell you that for the video offered as in the sample I would charge $10-$15 per finished second at this level of animation. Unless they could give you some sort of signed contract for future work (which is extremely doubtful)

Also make samples as suggested in other posts. Saves tons of rework.

Best on your projects

Zeebra
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Response to How to Charge Client for Animating 2013-02-25 14:41:56 Reply

So both jobs ended up falling through due to the clients wanting to go 3d or use live footage instead. Well back to making my own animations for fun :]

Where can I post a demo reel to get some work that is paid coz I needa get some more work for my portfolio.


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