In this weeks blog post I want to talk about an experience I had last weekend and the mistakes I made and I encourage everyone of you to not make the same mistake.
I was contacted a few weeks ago by my friend Jess and she was hired to shoot a sweet 16 party and they also wanted video so she contacted me to ask if I can do the video for the client. When she told me it was a sweet 16 party I thought to myself a bunch of teenagers running around eating cake and dancing to some music and I can get some cool footage and put together a nice little highlight video for them and that would be it. I quoted a price for that and was hired to do the job.
Fast forward to last Saturday. Jess and I meet up at a Starbucks before the event to go over a game plan and I was feeling good. I only brought my Sony A7ii with me as I didn't think that I needed to break out the FS5 cinema camera. We walk into the venue which was the clubhouse for the community. As we were setting up we met with the client and he told us that he was expecting 100 people and that there would be quite a few performances on the itinerary. Now this is where I realized that I had undercharged. To me that was almost like a wedding where I would be charging around three thousand dollars. (now I am not going to say what I did charge but just know it was low) The event lasted just over 4 and a half hours and I shout about 70 gigs worth of footage. The client paid me and I went home.
That night all I could think about was why I did that job for so little money. Was it that as I am trying to build up my business that I wanted to get as many jobs as possible? Did I really need the money? Did I feel that I was not worth more? All these questions kept me up that night. And the only answer that I could come up with to these questions was that I did not ask enough questions or the correct questions to accurately quote the job. I just assumed what a sweet 16 party would be like. Now don't get me wrong the ceremony was very nice and the entertainment was good but now instead of editing a 10 minute video it is going to be more like an hour long video that I need to edit.
So at this point now as I am copying all of the footage over to my computer I decided that I will not make this mistake again. Yes I would like more work but I need to get paid what I am worth to do that work and not just give a low bid to get any job I can. I sat and thought long and hard about what my rates are going to be and stick to it and if the client does not want to pay that amount then they can find someone else.
So now I have decided what my rates are going to be and I am going to be sure to ask as many questions as possible to be fully informed of what the client is expecting and then give my rate according to the answers to those questions.
Fast forward to this past Friday and I was asked to give a quote for shooting an engagement party. They wanted 6 hours of coverage all shot in 4K and will possibly need to hire a 2nd shooter for the event. I gave two quotes one for just me and one for 2 people and I stuck to my guns on the price and I am waiting to hear back to see if they are willing to pay that price. If not then I move on to the next client.
Basically the whole point of this post is to share my experience with you so hopefully you will not do the same with your work. You need to decide what you are worth and then charge that and stick to it. There are too many willing to do work for next to nothing and I think that it the wrong thing to do. Yes as you are starting out you cant charge an outrageous amount but as you gain more experience you need to be raising your prices.
I really do hope that this blog post was helpful to you out there. This experience taught me a valuable lesson and I will never make that mistake again. Now back to editing the video for the client. See you next week.