Moving from Freelance to Employee
April 15, 2008 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I am currently a freelance film/video editor slash motion graphic designer. One of the companies I freelance for is in the process of making me a job offer. I'm trying to figure out what a fair salary/wage is compared to what I pull in as freelance.

I realize there are many factors to take into account with benefits, reduced taxes, etc. (Location isn't a big deal as all the places I freelance for are within 5-7 miles from home.) But it's really difficult to see what I make in a year go down that much (even considering the above). Basically, it's looking like I'll take what I make freelance after taxes and use that as the basis for judging the offer (take that number, add back in taxes the company with withhold, then take off any benefits).

Have you gone through this? I'd love to hear what you decided on and how you came to that decision.
posted by conigs to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have found that if you take your hourly rate as freelance and tack three zeroes on to the end, that's equivalent to a yearly salary. E.g., if you make $50/hour the comparable yearly salary would be $50,000. That should be your minimum - always try for more as you change jobs.

Good luck!
posted by nessahead at 9:02 AM on April 15, 2008

I really dont think there will be a consistant ratio between the two. It will really depend on the city you are in and the kind of market you are in.
Some cites seem to be made of people freelancing while others a freelancers are rarer and therefore can charge more. What I mean when Im saying this is from my experience, freelance rates vary wildly, employment rates are often more standardized. People can vary their freelance rate 50% or more based on the job.

I think youre better off just putting your info into a site like, that will give you a better starting point. For film and tv there will often be industry magazines or organizations that do salary surveys but again that depends on where you are.
posted by phyle at 10:08 AM on April 15, 2008

If you make 50 an hour times forty hours a week, that's 2,000 a week time 52 weeks in a year equals over a hundred grand. It depends on what kind of hours you are working, but I don't think that formula works all the time. I'd say the key is to definitely make clear that you expect to be paid well and that you will not accept an offer that isn't good for you. At a job that I was freelancing at, they offered me a pay cut to go full time. I rejected it and within three months, they upped their offer significantly. Don't forget that they need you, that's why they're offering you the job, and that the perks (steady income, benefits) are good for you, the perk of having a steady definite employee is what is good for them.
posted by history is a weapon at 2:53 PM on April 15, 2008

Only add 3 zeros if you want your pay to drop in half. With a 40 hour week, and a 2 week vaction, you'll work 2,000 hours a year, or $100,000 at $50/hour.
posted by MythMaker at 3:45 PM on April 16, 2008

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