How to Charge for Video Editing Services: Things to Consider

Today I had an acquaintance ask how she should charge for video editing services. She recently graduated with an Associates degree in digital media where she gained a lot of competency in dealing with graphic design and video editing. She expressed that she has done small projects of just one to two minutes, but now she has an opportunity to edit 24 hours of video workshops. Here is my reply of things to consider when charging a client for video editing services.

1. What file format are the videos currently in? If you have to convert all the files this will take a ton of time and computer resources and you will want to charge for this. Are they already digitized or on tape? Transferring from tape is a 1:1 time constraint. You will also need external drives large enough to handle all of the media (more cost)

2. Are the videos already in some kind of order? I assume the workshops where organized into an order that will make it easier to manage.

3. Will other things be expected? Titles, audio sweetening, editing, putting on DVD, uploading to online? Each of these will take time and there are always problems.

4. When you come up with your quote always add 15% more as a variable. You will need it. There are always unforeseen problems.

5. Can your machine handle this much information without crashing? Do you have access to another machine?

6. Take into consideration how much time and money you put into gaining these skills and what equipment and software you will have to use.

7. They will want you to fill out an I-9, which means you will be responsible for your own taxes, add 20% for this. (or figure out your exact tax rate usually its between 18 -24%)

8. Dont forget to charge them local tax or this will come out of your pay.

9. Make sure to include any time for meetings, creating the quote, etc. You will want to get paid for all of your time.

10. Make sure you get in writing exactly what they want and what you are agreeing to. My experience is that people will keep adding more expectations and/or they will want to sit and look over your shoulder while you work.

11. I would give a timeline for when you can have a “final” copy (or proof) for review. They get to review and literally sign off via email or on paper. Be careful because people dont understand how long these things take and what they think maybe minor changes could take you hours or even days to correct and export a new video file.

12. Exporting. Dont forget that exporting will take forever and it will tie up your computer for the time it will take.

If you have any questions or comments, please post.

4 comments on “How to Charge for Video Editing Services: Things to Consider

  1. Thanks Ethan! These are very helpful questions and points to consider and will be integral in helping me figure out my rate and time allotted!

  2. I have a question hope you can help me. I have done some video editing for a digital agency for their client and at the end they want from me the source file so should I charge additional for this or it is understood that the source files are the property of the client? Thank you!

    • Hello Pete – Did you shoot for the client as well? Anytime I shoot for a client, if they want the source footage, I gladly give it to them. If you pulled footage from your own stock, then they should license those materials from you. If you licensed someone else’s footage, then legally you can’t hand it over. A client does not have full use of the materials you used unless your work-for-hire included being paid by the client to shoot. I hope this helps!

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