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Determining Your Rates: How Much to Charge For Video Editing

Salaries between amateur and professional video editors can vary greatly. How much an editor gets paid is dependent on their experience and reputation, as well as the client and the specific tasks the job requires. There is no perfect answer for the titular question, “How much should I charge for video editing?” However, there are several factors to consider that will help determine a reasonable wage.

Know the market value of your skills

It is crucial to understand the local market. Insight on client rates near your location will help determine what sort of business climate is out there. Push yourself to reach out to peers within your same field to gain a better perspective of rates. Communicating with other creators about their own rates can sometimes feel intrusive, but understanding the local market is an important deciding factor of your rate as an editor.

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Determine the right rate for you

Before you can determine what kind of rate works best for you, learn how long it takes you to complete editing tasks. Otherwise, you may be inconsistent with your time estimations. In a profession where consistency is key, deviation from this can damage your reputation.

The only way to figure out how long it takes you to complete a task is by timing it and collecting data over several projects. The more data you collect, the more accurate your time estimations will be, allowing you to determine a respectable rate. This will help you answer, “How much should I charge for video editing?”

Hourly rate

An hourly rate is the hardest to determine out of all rates, considering different editing tasks require various amounts of time. It is very difficult to generalize your workflow, such a small increment of time. The best way to determine how much you should get paid per hour is by reviewing how long past projects have taken. As mentioned earlier, collecting data on how long editing tasks take you per hour is the key to figuring out an accurate hourly wage.

Day rate

This rate is more commonly seen in the industry than an hourly wage as far as charges for video editing goes. Use the same method that you would employ to determine your hourly wage, but on a larger scale. Log how much time you spend each day working on a project. After that data is collected, find an average of how much time is invested in every task for each day.

Project rate

This is the most desirable wage in the industry. It can be a huge risk for a filmmaker to hire an editor with an hourly wage because it is unclear exactly how much they will be paying them. Project rates are the most desirable because it is a flat rate that will not change. This makes budgeting their post-production extremely accurate and predictable. If you are offering project rates, you are most likely going to get more work than if you were to have an hourly rate.

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Narrative vs. documentary editing

Editing a documentary is a totally different process than editing narrative videos. The workflow for a documentary editor takes significantly longer than narrative due to the fact there are more rounds or reedits and just more footage being dealt with in general. It is smart to adjust your editing rates depending on the type of project you are working on, as different styles of editing take a variable amount of time to complete.

Establish client relationships

Maintaining a positive reputation as an editor is crucial to getting consistent work. Collaborating with clients is not always a walk in the park. Many clients, especially for editors starting out as amateurs, have no experience editing themselves and are clueless to how much time and effort it takes to get the right cut.

Be sure to educate your clients if they are unfamiliar with the editing process. This will answer their questions as to why a certain task is taking so long, and why a reedit may not be as simple as they believe it to be. It is important to be honest with your client and not try to overwork yourself to appease their ignorance. It is important that all the relationships you have with clients are positive to preserve the credibility of your talents.

Separate yourself from other video editors

Anyone can be an editor in this modern competitive market. Find a way to separate yourself from the competition by highlighting your strong suits. Many editors strive to lower their wages to look more desirable to clients, but this does a disservice to your craft. Keep your wages at a reasonable rate and find other ways to separate yourself from the local market.

Put yourself out there by investing in advertisements or simply applying to a bunch of jobs. Work is out there if you have the drive and technical competency. We hope this guide helped you sufficiently answer how much you should charge for video editing.

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