How much to charge for animation: A Freelance Animator’s Guide

Heya fellow animators,

Money tips!

I’ve been getting many questions on how to charge for freelance animation work. While there’s no one answer (or figure) that fits all, as every animator’s skill and capacity is different, here are some general notes to help you get started.

1. Assess the scope
Before you come up with a figure, you’ll have to understand how much work you’ll be going through. Especially if you don’t work with a producer and doing the producing work yourself, certain costs get overlooked. On top of the actual creative work you may be handling a lot of producing work such as project management, coordination, client servicing, meetings, preparing quotations, invoices, vendor registration and the list goes on! These are some examples of work that are not entirely creative but work that comes with it. Producing takes up significant time and therefore should be taken into serious consideration.

2. Define your own scope
Instead of just saying “yes” to a very vague scope defined by clients at early stages of a negotiation, help both parties explaining how you see yourself contributing. If you’ve listened and understood your clients needs, you probably have ideas of how your skills can help your clients. Think this through. With that, communicate how you will be helping them in your own words, clearly, fairly comprehensively, and without jargon. Not only will your clients appreciete the thought put into solving their problem, you also won’t be saying “yes” to anything you weren’t comfortable with. This also allows you to respectfully deline a scope creep should there be a request from somebody not informed of the agreed scope.

3. Bottom Line Charge
Don’t charge an amount where you cannot even pay for your living expenses like your rent, utility bills, food and your tools of trade like softwares and computers. Make sure those costs are covered, if not you’d definitely be undercharging. With that covered, you can then add a little bit more for small (or big) profit.

Hope you’ve found these tips helpful and if you’ll like me to elaborate on any of these points, let me know!
It’s ronald [at] ronald-fong [dot] com

Happy Freelancing!

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