Estimates and Hourly Charges

After sending an estimate for a video shoot and edit to a client, he asked me a few questions that I thought were really good. I thought I'd share our conversation because it's good for videographers and clients alike to know about the process.


2. In the event that the project is not done in the estimated time - would we be charged an additional hourly rate?

3.  This estimate is for all 11 videos - which is great and about what I would want to do in a year.  However, if we ended up didn't do all of them - would that effect the pricing?

4.  What would be the ideal working relationship in context of reviewing.  Ideally we've talked through the concept for each video prior to shooting and know the emphasis and direction.  But in the event we need to tweak it, what is your policy on re-edits?

Media Kitchen:
I charge by the hour whenever I can. So if the time goes over generally it cost by the hour. I rarely go over the estimate though. (hardly ever actually) And when we are approaching the budget ceiling I contact the client and talk about where we are in the project and what the estimated time is. If there is ever a time when a project goes over because of a mistake on my part, obviously I won't charge for that. If it takes me longer to do something than I thought, I won't charge extra for that. If it's my fault you don't pay extra.

The reason I stick to, by the hour, is to protect myself on corrections. Really the only thing that ever leads to going over budget is when a client has a huge list of re-edits or the project details change mid-stream. Other than that we land right at or under the estimate 100% of the time. It wouldn't be fair to the client if I estimated, and then do the project exactly as we discussed and then when it's over, charge them more than the estimate. So we don't. Hourly is just protecting against changes in the expected flow, and massive re-edits.

re-edits, corrections, fixes - no problem. I can't remember the last time I had a project that didn't have at least a round or two of re-edits. It's just part of the business. I always assume there will be at least two rounds of corrections. Some times there are none but I'm always prepared for changes.  I will bat a project back and forth as many times as a client wants. I figure, it's their project so it needs to be exactly what they want.

The same still applies, if the corrections are so many that it begins to approach the estimated budget I'd mention to the client so they know where we are on the process. In the last four years I think we've only ever gone over the budget by a substantial amount once or twice and it's been because of someones intense list of changes. I let them know before we surpassed the budget and they were ok with it, because they had a very specific vision.

If we didn't end up doing the whole set of 11 videos, that's no problem. I just charge for what I do. I know some agencies charge a % of a project even when its canceled before it ever begins, I think that's something akin to high-seas piracy. You only pay for the work we actually do. The only effect would be that mileage might change because if we do only one video for each day of shooting, the mileage will be higher because we are not ganging up shoots. Other than that, it'd be the same.


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