How to charge a client for a flash movie project?
January 20, 2004 2:58 PM   Subscribe

A prospective client would like a flash movie "Take a Tour" of his company and website. I'm unsure what to charge. I've normally done simple scripting and quoted a price by the job rather than by the hour (I tend to work slowly) and would like an idea how much to charge for the whole movie project. What's the going rate for flash these days?
posted by perorate to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How much content? On how many pages? How much design and animation needs to be done? And how complex? Is there any source material to work with, or are you starting from scratch? And most important, how skilled are you, and therefore how much is your work worth?

Some advice: if you're billing by the job, make sure the limits of that job are clearly set out in a contract first: you will do X number of revisions, based on Y number of client review sessions, over Z period of time. Have a lawyer look at that contract. Think of every problem that can possibly come up, and make sure it's mentioned in the contract.

Which is a pain in the butt. Which is why most people bill by the hour. So when the client requests the seventh round of design changes, you won't be doing it for free.
posted by ook at 3:56 PM on January 20, 2004

Six pages, full design and animation, not too complex, I have 80% of the material. I've done flash work for myself, but never for pay. I think it's good stuff, however.

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. What about an hourly rate, then?
posted by perorate at 8:31 PM on January 20, 2004

A flash tour of a web site? I would charge him a billion dollars ($1,000,000,000), or, $250,000,000/hr.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:19 PM on January 20, 2004

posted by Frasermoo at 6:13 AM on January 21, 2004

I suspect the reason you're getting less-than-helpful responses here is that prices for freelance work are extremely variable, and depend a lot on the circumstances and the people involved. Corporate gigs are willing to accept a much higher hourly rate than a mom-and-pop, but they're also more likely to know what they need from the start and will thus generally wind up using fewer hours. You know the customer, and if you think about it you probably have a pretty good idea already of what he's willing to spend and what his expectations are just based on looking at his existing website.

There's also a good deal of you get what you pay for. I've seen designers billing $250/hr who were absolutely worth it. There are an apparently infinite number of people on those horrifying freelance marketplace sites placing lowball bids below minimum wage, and I'm sure their work is worth exactly that much. There really is no "going rate," because design work isn't a commodity.

Lots of people will suggest formulas which are supposed to help you set your rate, or add some overhead to the average salary for related jobs, but personally I don't find those strategies very useful. It really, for me, boils down to "how much money would make up for the fact that I have to be at the computer doing this job for this guy, instead of doing whatever else I would be doing with that time?" If it sounds like a fun job where I might have the opportunity to learn something new, and I don't have much else going on at the moment, that rate is going to be a lot lower than if the job is churning out drudge work for a jerk when it's sunny and warm outside and I'd rather be sipping on a margarita.

Sorry, I know you were hoping somebody was going to make it easy and say "$67.38, plus tax". Ain't gonna happen, though.
posted by ook at 8:13 AM on January 21, 2004

What do you want to make per year? Take that, divide it by 2000, and that's your hourly wage.

You might want to tack on a little extra for incidental time that's hard to bill for.

Another way to do it is to tell the client that you'll charge him some flat fee, and that that fee includes a certain number of hours. Any hours above that gets billed at a certain (usually higher) rate.

The most important thing with this sort of work is: don't lowball yourself. Not only do you usually get what you pay for, but you usually think you get what you pay for. If your work is good, charge accordingly. I cut a client a deal, once, and that client then got the impression that he could continue to take advantage of me. Your mileage may vary, but from what others have told me, this seems fairly common.

on preview: what ook said.
posted by bshort at 8:26 AM on January 21, 2004

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