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How To Bid A Job


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#1 Ryan Sage

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Posted 16 May 2010 - 07:20 PM

Hello, I am trying to figure out how to bid my first job. I have got a job making weekly product tutorials for a large fishing products company website. This project will take place over the summer making 12 videos total over the next 3 months. I will be using all of my own equipment (camera, camera support, lights, sound equip, computer/software etc.) How should I go about bidding this, daily, weekly? And how do I incorporate wear on my equipment and my labor. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 03:21 PM

For something like that I'd be inclined to do it for a set, or "contract" amount. You'd just figure in your labor as well as any wear and tear into how much you're charging. You'd want to make sure you spell out exactly how the editorial session will work, else you may be spending months adhering to their every whim for a "perfect" video, including shooting more footage.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 06:44 PM

I can only tell you how I do it.

- Always budget in terms of a day rate. This can sometimes be a bit false and disagrees with Adrian, but provides two advantages: first, you can unobtrusively hint at the cost of a client's request for work beyond the original spec by mentioning how long something is going to take, and then, if they agree to the extension, it's already clear what the terms are.

- Be clear about what you'll charge at cost, including things like mileage. This means meals, accommodation, tapestock, etc., but also subcontractors and so forth.

- Don't itemise too much. Money men don't care how many batteries you have (unless it isn't enough, in which case they will abruptly become experts in the matter). Trivial example, but don't blind them with a list of gear. I tend to package up myself and facilities as a single item at a combined labour/rental rate.

- Make sure you put something in both budget and schedule for completion tasks. Example: on a recent job, we signed-off the final cut on the basis of an internet-delivered preview. That's fine, but they wanted a DVD, three different resolutions of web deliverable, still extractions, etc. This sort of thing quickly becomes a real timesink, easily adding a day or so onto the end of a project you'd subconsciously considered to be signed-off and done.

- Make the payment terms clear upfront. The easiest way to do this is to get terms and conditions signed; most clients will be used to this and it's less confrontational than just throwing an email at them containing a list of demands. It's expensive to do in terms of legal fees and honestly I've never done it, but it's worth airing here. Payment terms includes not only methods of payment and allowable delays, but also the point at which you will invoice: it's frighteningly easy for a client to put off payment not by ignoring the invoice, but just by asking you not to send one - at which point they've made the decision your problem, which is not a great position in which to find yourself.

- Plan, on paper. Write things up on a nicely-formatted stack of paper and hand it over. Clients like it, but it really is genuinely useful - I'm aghast at how many people try to run productions from their cellphone databases. List contact details, provide maps, itemise procedures. Again it sounds almost schoolteacher to bring it up, but on anything other than the very simplest productions (where "simple" is PSC news), you will drown otherwise.

The only other thing I try and cover in meetings is the relationship between shooting ratio and edit time, where time cutting is proportional to both duration of rushes and desired output, modulated by the sort of show you're doing. Otherwise, people tend to get a bit sniffy that you've only shot forty minutes of ENG style video in a day, not realising it'll make the projected budget achievable in the cut. Otherwise they'll have you shooting twenty hours of material for a five minute thing then complain when you go way over on the edit.

P
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#4 Ryan Sage

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:13 PM

I can only tell you how I do it.

- Always budget in terms of a day rate. This can sometimes be a bit false and disagrees with Adrian, but provides two advantages: first, you can unobtrusively hint at the cost of a client's request for work beyond the original spec by mentioning how long something is going to take, and then, if they agree to the extension, it's already clear what the terms are.

- Be clear about what you'll charge at cost, including things like mileage. This means meals, accommodation, tapestock, etc., but also subcontractors and so forth.

- Don't itemise too much. Money men don't care how many batteries you have (unless it isn't enough, in which case they will abruptly become experts in the matter). Trivial example, but don't blind them with a list of gear. I tend to package up myself and facilities as a single item at a combined labour/rental rate.

- Make sure you put something in both budget and schedule for completion tasks. Example: on a recent job, we signed-off the final cut on the basis of an internet-delivered preview. That's fine, but they wanted a DVD, three different resolutions of web deliverable, still extractions, etc. This sort of thing quickly becomes a real timesink, easily adding a day or so onto the end of a project you'd subconsciously considered to be signed-off and done.

- Make the payment terms clear upfront. The easiest way to do this is to get terms and conditions signed; most clients will be used to this and it's less confrontational than just throwing an email at them containing a list of demands. It's expensive to do in terms of legal fees and honestly I've never done it, but it's worth airing here. Payment terms includes not only methods of payment and allowable delays, but also the point at which you will invoice: it's frighteningly easy for a client to put off payment not by ignoring the invoice, but just by asking you not to send one - at which point they've made the decision your problem, which is not a great position in which to find yourself.

- Plan, on paper. Write things up on a nicely-formatted stack of paper and hand it over. Clients like it, but it really is genuinely useful - I'm aghast at how many people try to run productions from their cellphone databases. List contact details, provide maps, itemise procedures. Again it sounds almost schoolteacher to bring it up, but on anything other than the very simplest productions (where "simple" is PSC news), you will drown otherwise.

The only other thing I try and cover in meetings is the relationship between shooting ratio and edit time, where time cutting is proportional to both duration of rushes and desired output, modulated by the sort of show you're doing. Otherwise, people tend to get a bit sniffy that you've only shot forty minutes of ENG style video in a day, not realising it'll make the projected budget achievable in the cut. Otherwise they'll have you shooting twenty hours of material for a five minute thing then complain when you go way over on the edit.

P



Thanks a lot for the very detailed response, I appreciate it.
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Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

Visual Products

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Rig Wheels Passport

CineTape

Opal

Willys Widgets

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

The Slider