Jump to content

Dayrates?? Hourly rates???


Bo Hallen
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderators

Hi all;

This is just in the form of observations.

1) You can't look back at guys who have lesser gear and compare to the jobs they do or don't do.
2) You can only look at the world you work in and if you're in that world you have to survive.
3) This means if you did a good enough job to make them happy then you have to charge that rate, because however you classify yourself you're in the "veterans" world.
4) If you break out the the gear as part of your rate $400 for gear and $400 for me then that's really what you are valuing your skill; and that's below any measure of "conventional".
5) Get used to understanding what you gear is worth as a rental.
6) If you (or anyone) don't have transmitters and follow focus then rent them for every shoot and that will also "justify" your higher rate don't use lack of them as a reason to charge less. This also how you get the money to purchase these things. You also figure out that cables cost and the time to go get these pieces every time stinks and soon owning them is a lot less hassle than renting every time.
7) There is a learning curve with those accessories too so if this is your leaning time then use it
8) The fact that you have enough income to live on doesn't matter. If I won the lottery I still need to charge "correctly".

9) I'd bet you have not factored in equipment insurance, liability and other cost of doing business costs into your world or expenses to a business model that a lower day rate considers. The hidden factors of business will hit everyone in the face if they put them on a list and see how much it costs to be in business. This I a business not a fun hobby we're all thrilled to be in. That is what you think when you're just starting but quickly our thinking has to shift to a business or its not survivable. You're at this point when we have this discussion.
10) Charge what is deserved in your job level and rise to it. If you don't feel you're worth it or maybe not good enough then rise up, be on the edge and earn the level you are working in. There is nothing like working on a higher plane to make your skills rise too. We've all been scared to death at many points and found it to earn the money and applause.

Those are my thoughts.

Janice.

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Janice.

 

I always appreciate the advice and criticism. I understand this is a business. I suppose whether it is running a business as a Steadicam operator, graphic designer, producer, or a grip, there are obstacles to overcome in any field. I am a very hands on and practical learner. I learn best how to be good at something by doing it, making many mistakes, and learning from these mistakes. The business side of this industry (dayrates, marketing myself, building a website, cutting a reel, insurance coverage, etc.) is something I am uneducated with. Hopefully I can learn from mistakes and not beat myself up too hard for making mistakes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I don't know enough people who appreciate Steadicam work. Maybe it's just my network of contacts but I seldom meet people who are willing to pay $1200 a day for Steadicam.

 

My question is: Do I keep standing firm on a reasonable rate $1200 - $1800 a day until someone eventually wants to pay it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Bo;

 

We have all learned the hard way over the last forty years and via now the Internet we can pass on both all those years of learning and our hope for the future.

 

None of this is fast for any of us and we know it takes time but you asked and with any luck you and hundreds of others we evolve.

 

Lord knows I've made every mistake many times but survived. Maybe you and your peers will make fewer of them?

 

The money it takes to buy a house and pay for retirement makes this business even harder, so good luck and make progress is all I can hope for.

 

You can see by the other responses that other ops who are further into their careers and have carved out lives know that making a more than break even amount of money is essential. No one I know who is a crew member makes a fortune or lives in grand style so remember that as your life evolves too.

 

Janice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Bo

 

Here is what I tell newbies, maybe others will disagree.

 

Start with what a regular cam op gets in your market. $500-$900?

Add the basic amount of a rental of your gear 1-5% your have invested. Now you justify $1200 and up.

 

Now are you a year or two in? Got a reel? Tired of getting the crap beat out of you for $400 a day? Steadicam ops should make more than basic op rates so add a little then a little more.

You decide. Are you starving and $400 a day will save you? That you have to answer.

 

If you're only Steadicam and loosing jobs because you can't do regular operating jobs, then do both cultivate that skill too?

If you only do Steadicam then they have to hire a reg op too and now YOU cost a lot.

 

Take what works in your world but what everyone is saying is push higher numbers as your skills improve. If you're in a tiny tiny market, which you are not, then make the numbers rise by simply asking. Maybe you need advise on HOW to ask, there is a science to that too but please don't go to that here some of this you're going to have to ask friends and colleagues over lunch. While we can help a bunch this is not a self serve counter for every bit of learning.

 

No simple answers. The answer is to try to make more and start talking to your local friends about how they did it.

 

Janice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

I am not as against "half day" rates as most but the important thing is to charge properly for them. Try calling a rental house and asking to rent a camera for half a day. They will get a good laugh out of that. So full rental rate and if its a short day I usually bump my hourly up a little to make it worth my while. Don't just agree to a half day, make sure to define what that means, if its a 6 hour minimum or whatever. Your billing hourly so when it goes longer they are paying you for that, not just the "half day rate."

 

I am happy to do 8 and occasionaly even 6 hour minimums. I did a TV show recently where a lot of the days were 8 hours. I actually got to see my son in the morning then was home for dinner with the family before he went to bed. Getting to have a normal schedule was amazing. Why should we discourage productions from having reasonable hours by having long minimums? As an industry we need to do everything we can to move towards more reasonable working conditions.

 

Also when jobs arent wanting to pay your rate I find it often helps to suggest that if they need to save money they can keep you for a shorter number of hours. They want you to give on your day rate so they need to be willing to give as well, but again make sure to define the hourly rate as that 8 hour day can quickly turn into 14.....

 

-Jess Haas, SOC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

This is my tangential point on all these posts of "what do I do?"

 

A largely differentiating factor between those who succeed and those who fail at this or any chosen job is creativity and sneakiness as I have called it. This is true of every job not just ours, Speilberg and Scorese knew more about filmmaking than thousands of others and it showed.

 

How creative are you to figure out how to learn about legal, insurance, business, and rates?

 

Capitalism makes you become all of that and 'sneaky' too. How can I learn about these things?

 

Who hasn't googled everyone of these and spent two-twenty hours learning about each? This is basic. Libraries? Yes they have much more too that you can mine forever. A class on business and taxes, heck you're own accountant, don't have one get one.

 

Trying to outsmart your colleagues it means you're working at many levels, the most clever ops who succeed the most are.

 

That outdoing each other mentality is what got Steadicam to this point. Every op wanted to show a new skill or trick or tool to the others and it propelled this barely workable device to higher and higher achievements.

 

Janice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

Don't just agree to a half day, make sure to define what that means, if its a 6 hour minimum or whatever. Your billing hourly so when it goes longer they are paying you for that, not just the "half day rate."

I only ever did a handful of half days that I can remember and they were under specific circumstances where they made sense, but one thing I know I was specific about in the deal was that the minute it went over the specified four or five hours, it would convert to a full day rate. I never got kickback on this because in every case they were convinced it wouldn't happen, and then when it inevitably did, they were left holding the bag, not me. Getting nickel and dimed through a day (like they are feeding change into a parking meter) is not the way to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

When it costs them more money to keep me longer it helps avoid the sillyness of things like keeping me around until hour 12 when my last shot was done before lunch. Why not keep you around "just in case" if its not costing them anything? My time is valuable to me, I don't like wasting it unnecessarily.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

Bo,

What Janice said : Know what your rig is worth as a rental

 

Basically: arm yourself with knowledge on all the points that everyone has made . . . . .

- How much is your steadicam worth as a rental, Call every rental place in town and ask if they rent steadicams, if they do, for how much, how many hours etc . . . .call other operators, how much do they rent theirs for, do they go out for a min, weekly etc . . . .

- Know your fellow operators, learn where they are working and for what projects, are they Union or Non union, etc . . . .

 

Arming yourself with knowledge allows you to really know what your market is, who's not playing well with others on rate, who has what gear, which directors and producers like which operators.

 

The more you know the more confidant you can be in your decisions. Example: If you know everyone else in town is booked and they called you then you can be very confident in your quote because you already know they have no other calls to make.

 

But again as Janice said, you still gotta be able to pull it off and step up to the challenge . . . . .

 

Fake it till you make it !!

 

Fly Safe stud!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

Hi, I was the previous owner of Bo's Zephyr, and honestly, the rental for this rig is not more than $500. That was the price Adorama used to do when they still had one (until they took it out of the inventory because it kept on coming back broken with people who didn't know wha they were doing.) I used to charge about $600 for my zephyr, wireless focus and video. $800 is low but not that unimaginable for me with such rig. You do have a limitation in terms of weight and options. You also need to take into account that at the Zephyr's level and when starting, you are against the Movi and all which can carry a similar payload and producers at this level often get sucked into the whole novelty thing. Before I sold the Zephyr, I was charging $1200/10hours (transportation not included).

Bo, see who else is operating around you, ask what rate they are going for, and figure out a price that works for you without undercutting the others (which would hurt everyone, including yourself). Then if you think your skills are not on par to charge more, they practice, practice, practice and don't forget to practice some more ;)

I also noticed that having your rates accepted by the prod is a matter of confidence in your self worth. If you don't believe in your rate, they won't either. If you state your price firm, they will understand that this is what you are worth, period.

Another trick I found useful, when you invoice and you gave a discount to the prod, write your FULL price, then on another line, mark the discount. Seeing it separately will show the prod that you are giving them a big favor and this will not be the case every time.

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sustaining Members

Nothing new here. Happens all the time. People buy gear and expect work to come their way. It takes years to build your kit and experience. When guys realize they aren't getting jobs, the rates go down. The herd will thin itself out. Not everyone is cut out for this type of work. Producers always want more for less, don't give in.

  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...