If pricing high for your creative services is your ultimate goal, you need to read this.

“A smart phone displaying the Facebook page and scrabble tiles forming the words “social media”” by William Iven on Unsplash

Pricing your creative services can be very tricky. You will fall into the trap of being the good guy and building your portfolio. But that’s very normal. Nothing to be scared of.

The whole post revolves around video editing, but the points can be related to any creative service like visual design, photography, cinematography, etc. Here I am taking an example of a wedding film edit to elaborate my process.

Take a note of these three most important points from the very beginning.

  1. The tentative amount of money you want to earn every month.
  2. The number of days/ work hours you want to spend on your edits.
  3. Your future goals of pursuing this professionally.

The price of a video edit entirely depends on the project and the client. Where you stay also matters. Don’t dare to charge the same amount sitting in Mumbai, as you charged staying in Assam unless you want to see yourself as the broke bloke chilling at the railway station.

“Charge as high as you can, but not so much that you keep losing clients.”

So how do you quote the price?

Apart from the budget, the two major constraints any creative artist has are:

Time Constraint
Quality Constraint

Overcoming the Time Constraints

Charge on the basis of the complete project instead of charging hourly so that you have the flexibility to work on your terms. But estimate well enough in advance so that you do not under quote the price.

There are times when I would have sipped 13 cups of coffee just sifting through the footage. At times I have researched hundreds of YouTube channels and listened to a particular song the 16th time just to make sure it fits in the edit like a Jockey fit. Take everything into account while preparing the price quote.

Make sure you discuss beforehand with the clients the number of revisions you will allow for free and the amount you are going to charge after the free revisions are done. Imagine a bride asking to change the whole music track from a wedding edit you just did. Damn! I banged my head on the monitor when this happened to me last month.

Overcoming the Quality Constraint

Estimate the cost of the opportunity you are missing out while you are editing a project. Is there anything else you can do in this same time period which can help you earn more or learn new things. It’s a call you need to take yourself. If you love doing this very much then the budget can be compromised to a certain extent.

If you are planning to pursue it in the long run, then never compromise on the quality, whatsoever might be the pay. I repeat, “Whatsoever might be the pay!” Every edit you do counts and has a potential to HYPER BOOST your portfolio.

Of course your portfolio matters, but the word of mouth referrals are even more important. With time your speed is bound to increase as you get acquainted with the process. Your intuition develops and the resources you have been accumulating comes very handy. This will gradually allow you to charge a premium for your services.

Also, if you are one of those people who love exploring new things continuously then do not pack yourself up with a lot of projects of the same kind. Just keep 2–3 edits lined up. You can join a company as a long-term freelancer and if you are good enough, a steady flow of works will definitely come in. The pay might not be that great, but the team will help you learn a lot.

Summing it up in two golden rules of the game.

1. Choose your clients wisely

There will be high paying clients who can help you earn enough for a month in just a couple of days. On the other side, there will be friends and colleagues who will ask you to help them for free. So balance it well. You need to earn as well as LEARN. Never stop learning.

Don’t wait for the perfect client to come near you. Go chase them. Period.

2. Share your process, Not just the Showreel

Keep exploring new dimensions and artists. Create new experimental stuff and share your process. You gradually turn into a thought leader in your space and not just a service provider. The process can definitely strike a very fruitful conversation with a like-minded creative sitting in a different corner of the world.

Recently I shared a small clip of an audio react video and the process as well. See the screenshots of our conversation below. And he actually sent me his project files. Damn! That’s the power of social media.

He sent me a couple of his project files after this conversation.

Usually, I take a screen record of my process and share. And it feels great when you see people thanking you for sharing the process.

If you are wondering how can sharing the process help in raising the price bar, stop wondering. Life is not just about the client and the money. Go beyond it, express yourself. Engage in the creative chaos. Engage in conversations with your creative peer group. Help the ones who are just starting. Inspire them. In the end, it’s about the community you are a part of, the love you get, the art you create and the memories you share together.

Please feel free to share and give this piece 👏 so others can find it too. Thanks 😄 Share your thoughts your pricing strategies as well. (And you can always say hi at abodid.sahoo.) Drop me a mail if you would like to collaborate for an interesting project.

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