Several posts back I talked about budgets and some tips on creating one for any type of production to help you stay organized. In this post I want to talk about what happens before you even create your budget….and that is putting a price on your work.
Too often I see people short changing themselves when they price out jobs. They under bid and either lose money in the end or lose the job because the perceived value was based on how low the bid was. But you have to be careful. You don’t want to make it too expensive that you lose the job to someone else. At the same time, you have to factor in whether or not you’re coming out ahead after the project has been completed. So, I’ve created some list items to think of as you price your job.
One caveat, I’m not going to tell you how much to charge. I know many people reading this will want answers to that age old question. First of all, there are too many ways to price out a job to be able to address each scenario in this post, not to mention that production sizes vary widely in scale and budget. However, the ideas listed below will help guide you through the process of estimating the amount you feel is appropriate for your work.
- Who is the client? Are they a Fortune 500 company or a local mom and pop bakery? Knowing the type and size of the potential client will help you determine a ballpark budget for what they are asking for, as well as determine the value of what you will create for them.
- What is the social reach of the client? Do a little research. Are they active on social media? If so, how many followers do they have? Do they advertise or produce content on the web, t.v., and radio? If so, what is their audience size. How much mileage the client will get out of your video will help you know the return that client will receive off what you create. This increases the value of your production. A little research can go a long way!
- Have they had content like they are requesting from you produced before? Let’s say the client is asking you to produce a commercial. Ask if they have had commercials made before and request to view them. This will give you an idea of the production value they have had before. You can then determine what’s expected. The client must know that with an increase of production value, comes an increase of budget. This will not be a shock if you communicate it well.
- Ask if they have a budget. Don’t feel afraid to ask this. For me, it’s about half and half. Some clients have a budget in mind and others just want to be told how much it will cost. Tread lightly if they have no concept on production value. This is where you will need to put on your “teacher” hat and have class. I find the process goes much more smoothly once they’ve had a little lesson on how production works.
- Ask the client what their expectations are. How will they use the video? Are they looking to increase the production value? Answers to these will again, let you know not only what to expect, but also the perceived production value from the client.
This list of points to ponder is a great way to get a gauge how you should begin pricing the job. It will also be a gauge to determine if you need to take on the job or pass it up for something that will reap a greater benefit. I’m sure these aren’t the only points to consider, so feel free to discuss what thoughts you keep in mind when pricing your jobs.