The Videographers Guide To Not Falling On Your New Media Face | Chapter 4 : Rates

When it comes to determining your rates there are many questions. Should I ask the client to reveal the budget? Should I give discounts for retainers? Should I offer one size fits all packages? When should I raise my rates? Here are some guidelines I find useful.

Know your rates.

Your hourly freelance rate should be twice the corporate standard. Corporations factor in benefits, paid vacations, taxes, etc when they hire you. Those expenses are passed on to the clients. You should do the same.

Know your value.

As the social media phenomenon grows, video on the web is becoming an increasingly vital tool for those looking to make an impression. Keep up with trends and adjust your rates accordingly.


Knowing what a client can pay is an important step in the negotiating strategy. If the client has a budget that exceeds your rate, don’t turn it down (as if you would), but also don’t just pocket the extra cash without considering all the opportunities it gives you to increase your level of service. It’s an investment in yourself that leads to more higher paying gigs.

On the other hand if you are negotiating with clients who can’t afford your normal rates but offer you something else of value, give them a discount. I call this my indie rate and it varies depending on the client. Often these indie gigs are very rewarding artistically, allowing you to experiment in a way that you could not with higher paying more demanding clients. I have gotten some of my best referrals from these indie clients.

Should I offer one size fits all packages?

Using a cookie cutter approach to price out future gigs leaves allot of room for misunderstanding. I have had many jobs where the client will use a past job as a reference point to a potential gig with the expectations that the rate will be the same. Unfortunately they may not be aware of exactly what goes into producing each job. It is your job to get as much information as you can before giving them an estimate. If you are a skillful entrepreneur you will offer your clients something more than they expect with the appropriate increase in rates. I will talk more about this next week.

Next Friday more on rates.  Including a discussion on when to raise yours.


Trevor “Trevz” Bayack is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker who approaches his web pieces as mini documentaries. Recognized as a member of the 2008 URB magazine Next 100 for pioneering the “video blog” Trevz continually makes his pieces shorter, sharper and ever more shareable” Follow our twitter feed for more.

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