How much should I charge?

How much should I charge?

We have had many questions on how much to charge for various jobs. When I first got into the biz almost 20 years ago, the standard for industrial video production (training, marketing etc.) was $1000 per finished minute. So a 20 minute piece would be $20,000, including planning, shooting and editing.

Nowadays there is no standard. Being a creative pursuit, videomaking is done for free to millions of dollars. TV commercials are shot for free (by local cable companies), average about $300,000, and can run to millions. So asking "how much should I charge" depends on many factors:

– how long will it take you?
– what is the quality level you are capable of?
– what is the client’s budget?
– is the piece straight video with few cuts or will it contain tons of time-consuming animations and graphics?
– how many other jobs do you have waiting?

Here is one way to figure hourly charges:

1. Decide how much you want to make per year
2. Decide how many hours per week on average you will be able to bill (if you have contacts, 20 – 30 hours is reasonable- the other 20 – 30 hours spent marketing, getting jobs, learning, etc.)
3. Divide one by the other, and bingo! There’s your hourly rate.

If you are teamed up with a busy ad agency or other company who can feed you jobs without you looking around much, you will have more work than if you do not have a network of existing business relationships. Some producers have one or two major clients that keep them busy.

How much you can make producing video is largely a factor of what kind of videos you are doing and your contacts. And the quality of your work must be professional looking and sounding! That is the mission of, to help you produce very pro quality with simple, inexpensive gear.

Good luck!


  1. ADMAS Media Center 17 years ago

    MY God !! this is the site of my heart beat, I REALLY ENJOY READING your fountain of wisdom, regarding the AV business. my comment is, if you could make it audio you will be able to inspire a lot of listeners because, it will be time saving and you can keep yourself busy doing things like editing recording while you are listening to thiis wonderful advice please keep in touch and update me with all your edifying messege for I am a beginner in this field. thank you. yours tewelde D`Zion
    founder and CEO ADMAS Media Center

  2. Heavy 15 years ago

    Good info. For those of us just starting out with little to no contacts how and who (job title) should we make contacts to get work? Thank you.

  3. Josh 15 years ago

    You can find other biz-related articles here:

  4. Moon 14 years ago

    The coach of my son’s football team has asked me to film their football games. These are 9 year old kids playing in a county recreation league. The games run approximately 1.5 to 2 hours long. The coaches are looking to use the footage to improve the kids as well as I think one of them wants to use it for marketing himself in some fashion (I am not sure exactly how). In any case they are willing to pay me and I don’t know how much to charge. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a Sony Handycam (model: DCR-HC36) that uses the Mini (Digital Video) DV cassettes. I just figured out how to use Windows Movie Maker, so I can now transfer the movies to my hard drive and then burn them either on a DVD or CD (VCD).

    Thanks for your help.

  5. Travis 13 years ago

    Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for so long on what to charge and to be realistic at doing so. This is great. I’ve been working freelance while going to school, and have been mainly working for a small production co. that specializes in corporate viral videos and training videos. Although I felt like i was charging alright at the beginning, this will make it more clear with other clients that I randomly run into or are recommended to. Thanks

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