How much should I charge for audio work?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Seamus, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    817
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Howdy, all -- been a dog's age since I visited here. Not by choice, but by lack of time, thanks to some discoveries that led to embarking on a divorce. Yay!

    Anyway -- I just got a bead on a likely gig as an audio editor/producer for a podcast. Regular work, very few hours per week. They asked my hourly rate, and since I usually work as a writer, I have no idea what to charge for this. (I've got lots of experience, but I was on salary.) Anyone do this kind of work? Looking for recommendations on what to ask for.

    Thanks!
     
  2. THISISDINOSAUR

    THISISDINOSAUR Electromatic

    58
    Oct 21, 2019
    London
    I can’t comment on audio work specifically, but I’ve always heard you should take your annual salary, chop off the k, and double it to get your hourly rate. So if you were on $40k, your hourly rate would be $80. It’ll depend a lot on the industry though I imagine...
     
  3. MotorCentaur

    MotorCentaur Synchromatic

    560
    May 11, 2016
    Seattle
    The fewer the hours the higher the rate. You have to make it worth your while too. Even if it's "charity", someone is monetizing it. Think about how much you feel you would want to be paid for it when the novelty has worn off and you are facing a deadline. Then think about your costs of overhead, including whatever income taxes you will be liable for.

    If you wanted personally to take home $300 weekly for 4 hours of work ($75/hr), you would have to charge $125/hr. You should also have a set minimum charge.

    Here in Seattle, there was an IT/ computer repair guy that I had do some work on my laptop. He was working out of his apartment. He charged me like $75/hr. 5 years later and he's got an office in Edmonds (suburb) and charges $300/hr.

    It can just be all over the place, and you should charge whatever the going rate is locally, factored by above comments.
     
  4. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    817
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Thanks for the input. You guys are good!

    I'm lucky enough to command a very high rate as an editor, and though I don't want to be prohibitively expensive, any hours of audio work I do mean I can't be editing. So I do indeed have to make it somewhat similar so it's worth my time.
     
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  5. oneforsorrow

    oneforsorrow Gretschie

    498
    May 15, 2020
    Iowa
    I’d be sure to push an hourly rate upwards. It may help keep the workload light and rewarding.
     
  6. thunder58

    thunder58 Super Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    62
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Admin Post
    Keep in mind they'll be taking taxes out or you'll be responsible for them if they don't take then out
     
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  7. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    817
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Definitely. I'm currently a full-time freelance editor, so I know all about how that dragon can bite if you ignore it!
     
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  8. juks

    juks Synchromatic

    516
    Nov 26, 2020
    Fremont, California
    $300 an hour? At that rate it's better to buy a new computer than repair the old one. According to interwebs the average rate is $65 an hour. I'm surprised he has any customers at $300.
     
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  9. MotorCentaur

    MotorCentaur Synchromatic

    560
    May 11, 2016
    Seattle
    It's pretty crazy. Edmonds is also an affluent community just outside of one of the most expensive cities in the world.
    I didn't intend to derail topic, just use an example of unpredicatable pricing.
     
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  10. juks

    juks Synchromatic

    516
    Nov 26, 2020
    Fremont, California
    I didn't either :). Just the $300 blew me off my chair :D.
     
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  11. swivel

    swivel Country Gent

    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    Two local home studios are up to $30-$35 an hour now... but they dont have to travel...
     
  12. Randy99CL

    Randy99CL Country Gent

    Feb 17, 2020
    Albuquerque
    You are right to consider how much you could make doing other work.

    I've always worked on my own car, mowed the lawn and did as much all-around handyman stuff as I could and laughed as I saved some money. A lot of money over my lifetime IMO.

    Then about ten years ago I dated a woman who has her law degree and worked as an arbitration judge. She paid a lot for a service to take care of her lawn and plants and always took her car to the dealer for service. I thought she might save some money by doing what she could herself and shopping around for the best mechanic with the lowest rates.

    She admitted to me that she made $1000 for a 6 or 8 hour day. She mostly worked from home and any time spent on mundane tasks could be better used (and billed) for her job. So yeah, I agreed, is it worth riding a mower for 4 hours to do the lawn? Nope.
     
    Henry likes this.
  13. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    But an hour of audio time is an hour you can't spend making money as an editor. Charge enough so that it is worth your time.
     
    Jelly Roll Horton likes this.
  14. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Country Gent

    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    My experience: Charge what you need to charge to make a living. They’re gonna complain about the bill anyway.

    Also: Charge by the job, not by the hour. It saves awkward discussions and irrelevent debates about an hourly rate. Keep track of your time for your own records. Get a written contract that specifies your charge so there are no questions when you send in your invoice. Make sure your contract includes the charges for change orders.

    I was in biz for myself for 37 years and also taught a class in how to plan, profit, and protect youself if you are a contract employee or self-employed. There’s a lot of other stuff to consider too, but these are some basics. I could actually write a book about this, but I’m too old and lazy now. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2021
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  15. dlew919

    dlew919 Synchromatic

    874
    Jul 18, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    A old duo partner of mine wanted me to do some video editing. I gave her an hourly rate. She said. No. That’s not what gets charged. Note I had given her a generous discount.

    she said I’m going to find a student who’ll do it cheaper. Ok.

    guess what they charged?

    my non discount rate.
     
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  16. Archtops

    Archtops Synchromatic

    535
    Mar 4, 2021
    SoCal
    $120/hr. Not too much. Not too little.
     
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  17. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    71
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    10% of what the blog earns, minimum.
     
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  18. Henry

    Henry I Bleed Orange

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I don't give discounts except to small nonprofits. Any pro bono work is capped at hours as well. I give 100% to my clients and expect the same.

    I also don't ask for discounts for friend or family, and often turn it down, and usually avoid mixing business and pleasure anyway. A friend or family would not disrespect someone by offering them subpar services, and I feel the same way about payment.

    I have found that hourly fee paying customers tend to be more respectful of my services and time. When I have volunteered work, done it Pro Bono or on a fixed fee basis, at best the client over uses my services (why not, it's free) at worst they become entitled and overdemanding.

    The reality is that most of us don't know how to deal with someone charging us a high hourly rate, something businesses tend to understand better.
     
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  19. wabash slim

    wabash slim Gretschified

    Age:
    71
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    "You wanna be paid for this?"
     
  20. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    817
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    An update: was pondering the good advice you guys gave. In the meantime, they made me an offer for a second project. It was about double what I expected. So this just got a lot easier! :)
     
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