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zach b

how much do you get paid?

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Exactly. I might consider myself a veteran motion Designer in good old Germany - but as soon as i would apply for jobs in the UK (or where ever), it would be a totally different cup of tea and i wouldn't have a clue how much to charge. In this situation i would do exactly the same as zach_b: ask the internet.

 

Charge the same as you would in Germany - I've come to Berlin and I can charge the same, if not more (due to less skilled competition) when I eventually get work here. The pound's taken a huge hit against the Euro and so your high German salary should more or less correlate to what you can expect in England. My rate was low low in London because clients willing to hire me were brutally underbudgeting their projects; whereas in Berlin I've been advised to up my rates massively - I've been told I could get 4000 Euros per month for a fulltime middleweight studio position (if I spoke fluent German, which I do not) whereas receiving that amount in London would only come through freelance projects, which aren't reliable. I've learnt not to fear over-quoting - they can always talk you down or refuse outright but you get a better deal when they like your work especially. In London I was so scared and near eviction/starving/not going to raves that I took £130 per day for most of summer, when peers were getting twice that for no good reason. I hate money, but I'm starting to see the logic in asking for as much as it takes to not wear shoes that look like they're made of compost.

 

On compensation:

Freelance employers, and some of us here on Mograph do employ freelancers, will fuck you over in any way they can. I've had people try to get me to drop days off my invoice because the client (ie themselves) didn't 'like' the delivered product - even after daily crits and feedback to the contary. Others give a mandatory unpaid lunch break or no overtime, despite making you work through lunch and over your weekend - and you can't charge them for it. Some will do top-level changes at the last minute and blame you when the render takes you past deadline. And then refuse to pay the overtime it took you.

 

You can't avoid the assholes of this world, but you can at least take their money. So aim high. I love what I do; but the politics of getting into the position of living a comfortable life around the 12 hours I spend on the computer every day means that I have a little resentment for those that abuse my enthusiasm. I work fucking hard, and to get little more thanks than the occasional Chinese takeout at 8.30pm means that I'm more than prepared to play games to get the treatment and compensation I think I deserve.

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The last thing we want in the vid/broadcast game is what I'm watching happen in my wife's industry - the world of commercial makeup artist and photographers; coupled with ever plummeting budgets due to the 'economy of scale' of the number of weeklys/monthlys on sale and the simple fact that any star struck idiot gets out of LCF and desperately wants to do Vogue covers immediately will work for free and is therefore at the whim of any greedy agent (some take 20%) and picture editor's stingy financial targets.

 

The daily rate for a jobbing makeup artist has actually dropped over 8 years and that isn't even adjusting for inflation. Some jobs you could get £200 for in 2000 pay £150. Add a congestion tax, fuel prices and running costs and you're right royally taking one as a make-up artist these days.

 

Rant over.

 

Work hard and charge what it costs to pay your bills, save a little, cover for rainy and give yourself time off. Then double it ;-)

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The daily rate for a jobbing makeup artist has actually dropped over 8 years and that isn't even adjusting for inflation. Some jobs you could get £200 for in 2000 pay £150. Add a congestion tax, fuel prices and running costs and you're right royally taking one as a make-up artist these days.

 

This is already happening. I've was asked to drop my prices for 3D work as my client (long-standing to say the least) knew "two 3D game artists sitting doing nothing who will do it cheaper". My first thought was they can't be that good if they're sitting doing sod all . . .

 

Now I know the area of business I specialise in inside out; 26 years a graphic designer, 12 years specialising in working for a particular field of industry and a wealth of experience that means I can make a sometimes expensive process more efficient, all the while getting the best possible solution for the client. Truth is, it means squat. You are worth what you clients will pay you on that day only and this can change at the drop of a hat. In my location new less skilled artists have appeared that can do a reasonable (but nothing special) job for less than the more established local freelance artists who would provide a far better service. Years of experience, goodwill and good, profitable working relationships mean nowt. Nothing. Zilch. It's about the bottom line at the end of the day.

 

There's nothing you can do about this situation. Clients will compromise on quality over cost and that's that. Don't take anything for granted, no matter how brilliant your chops are or how accomplished your reel. The rates you can charge will be largely dictated by the local threshold and this can change very quickly.

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True, especially whilst everybody over compensates during a recession by account managers over tightening the purse strings and freelancers underbidding for business to pay for that big telly that was put on the credit card last year.

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Charge the same as you would in Germany - I've come to Berlin and I can charge the same, if not more (due to less skilled competition) when I eventually get work here. The pound's taken a huge hit against the Euro and so your high German salary should more or less correlate to what you can expect in England.

 

 

don't agree... you need to know how much is the stand price to the local place. the same price can be really cheap or too much for there. And how we said, you don't know how much cost to live there and Pounds is really shit at the moment and is not taking a huge hit against the Euro.

 

 

 

 

 

My rate was low low in London because clients willing to hire me were brutally underbudgeting their projects; whereas in Berlin I've been advised to up my rates massively - I've been told I could get 4000 Euros per month for a fulltime middleweight studio position (if I spoke fluent German, which I do not) whereas receiving that amount in London would only come through freelance projects, which aren't reliable. I've learnt not to fear over-quoting - they can always talk you down or refuse outright but you get a better deal when they like your work especially. In London I was so scared and near eviction/starving/not going to raves that I took £130 per day for most of summer, when peers were getting twice that for no good reason.

 

 

wow... £130 is pretty bad man. In the end is not only a client fault. You accepted this price and you let they judge your work saying you worth it.

I never worked for that amount over here and I just say no if they offer me that amount. I think it is not fair and my work work much more. i think this is why we need to know the stand price, to be able to adjust out own price on top of it and our experience.

 

 

On compensation:

Freelance employers, and some of us here on Mograph do employ freelancers, will fuck you over in any way they can. I've had people try to get me to drop days off my invoice because the client (ie themselves) didn't 'like' the delivered product - even after daily crits and feedback to the contary. Others give a mandatory unpaid lunch break or no overtime, despite making you work through lunch and over your weekend - and you can't charge them for it. Some will do top-level changes at the last minute and blame you when the render takes you past deadline. And then refuse to pay the overtime it took you.

 

You can't avoid the assholes of this world, but you can at least take their money. So aim high. I love what I do; but the politics of getting into the position of living a comfortable life around the 12 hours I spend on the computer every day means that I have a little resentment for those that abuse my enthusiasm. I work fucking hard, and to get little more thanks than the occasional Chinese takeout at 8.30pm means that I'm more than prepared to play games to get the treatment and compensation I think I deserve.

 

 

I don't have a lot of your problems. I think you need to talk to them before you start to work. I don't do buy out and free extra hours dude and that is it.

I don't mind to work 1 or 2 hours more than my 8 hours/day. But I won't do 6 hours extra a day for free. It is simple and if you tell them before and they agree, no problem after.

Get feed back from your client every stage of the project, get an email saying they happy with it. If they change complete they mind in the end of the project, they need to pay for it and not you.

I think we learn with the shit clients and after you just know them and avoid them.

just my 2cent about your comment.

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whereas in Berlin I've been advised to up my rates massively - I've been told I could get 4000 Euros per month for a fulltime middleweight studio position (if I spoke fluent German, which I do not)

Nice to hear that you get decent rates in Berlin these days. I always had problems getting my regular rate there probably because of hordes of unemployed designers working for 250€ a day or even less. Back in the late nineties it seemed like every single designer or photographer in whole Germany wanted to live there...

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Always look at the context of what kind of work you are producing. I charged less for exciting/sexy/good cause work with total creative freedom, and more for boring/don't own it/medical animation type work. When I was upfront with clients about this, they seemed to actually really respect it. Side Disclosure: I'm not freelance anymore. The economy got me scared and I wanted a job.

 

c

Edited by Colin@movecraft

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1) It's not better for everyone to know what everybody else makes and I dare you to prove otherwise.

 

Actually, some companies have successfully used an open salary policy. Some companies have even successfully experimented with letting employees set their own salaries. If you're making more than somebody you know is a harder, faster, more talented worker, you're going to step up your performance.

http://positivesharing.com/2006/08/why-sec...-baaaaaad-idea/

 

2) Only young and inexperienced people ask what everybody else is making. Experienced people already know. Simply by definition.

 

That doesn't make any sense. I've been working in the web design industry for 12 years and I still have no idea what other people make. I freelance and I couldn't tell you what the in-house designers make at the companies I work for or what the freelancers who live overseas are charging. I know how much more I should be making than them, simply based on lack of benefits, self employment tax, etc. but I couldn't tell you what the baseline is.

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Actually, some companies have successfully used an open salary policy. Some companies have even successfully experimented with letting employees set their own salaries. If you're making more than somebody you know is a harder, faster, more talented worker, you're going to step up your performance.

http://positivesharing.com/2006/08/why-sec...-baaaaaad-idea/

You should always be wary of any news that begins with the vague factual claim that "SOME people say"... if you want to prove it... then tell me WHICH companies say. The replies in the comments section of that article are far wiser than the author. Still... I have yet to see anyone provide anything more than a gut reaction that knowing other people's salaries is beneficial to *everyone*. This article is all over the place anyway... comparing freelancers with CEOs. If this theory had any weight at all it would mean that CEO's would "step up" their performance when they realized they were outperformed by less influential workers. I'm dying to hear somebody support that claim.

 

That doesn't make any sense. I've been working in the web design industry for 12 years and I still have no idea what other people make. I freelance and I couldn't tell you what the in-house designers make at the companies I work for or what the freelancers who live overseas are charging. I know how much more I should be making than them, simply based on lack of benefits, self employment tax, etc. but I couldn't tell you what the baseline is.

OK... then once again you proved you can have a 12 year career without knowing a baseline, which seems like you reinforced my point once more. I'm not sure why you're so certain you think you disagree.

 

-m

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You should always be wary of any news that begins with the vague factual claim that "SOME people say"...

 

True. I didn't realize our forum posts here were being held to the standards of print journalism. I'll try to do better in the future.

 

if you want to prove it... then tell me WHICH companies say.

 

That was in the article but it's a moot point anyway. You've already made up your mind that salaries must be secret.

 

OK... then once again you proved you can have a 12 year career without knowing a baseline, which seems like you reinforced my point once more. I'm not sure why you're so certain you think you disagree.

 

What exactly is your point? You said that only newbie amateurs don't already know what everyone is making (maybe you hire and fire people and actually have access to this info?), implying that it's useful for people to know everyone's salary. Now you're saying that the fact somebody can have a successful career without knowing people's salaries proves your point too? So your point is that other people's salaries are useless information and should be kept secret? But if your coworker's rate doesn't matter then why keep it a secret?

 

My opinion is pretty simple: knowing how much money your peers make is useful and powerful information for any worker when it comes to bargaining, or assessing your responsibilities and performance. Therefore it's in the best interest of all workers if we know what everyone makes. Keeping salaries secret is only useful to management when they are paying people unfairly or want to keep salaries low.

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knowing how much money your peers make is useful and powerful information for any worker when it comes to bargaining, or assessing your responsibilities and performance. Therefore it's in the best interest of all workers if we know what everyone makes. Keeping salaries secret is only useful to management when they are paying people unfairly or want to keep salaries low.

 

I agree with this 100%. Knowing what other people make gives an opportunity to put a real price on skills. It's really quite simple. How can this possibly hurt anybody. Your rate is not going to go down is it? I certainly don't want anybody charging $20 an hour, if anybody is, then that's what their skills are worth.

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Where and how are you guys getting freelance work? I'm located in Toronto and perhaps it's me, but I find it difficult to get anything(freelance or full time). Do you just cold call firms for work or referrals? I'm not close to being a senior designer nor would I say I'm total beginner either...but I may be somewhere middle, but I dunno about you guys, I'm having a hard time finding anything and maybe location might something to do with it.

 

When I hear some of you say even juniors gets $250/day or 45K(assuming full time and this is US dollars), that would be amazing for me in Canada. I've had maybe 2 or 3 freelance jobs ever which was "maybe" $40-50/hr, but other than that, rest was underpaid. I realized starting out, there will be many lesser paying assignments, but man I'm not even sure what I'm worth anymore nor do I know if I should even continue in this field pursuing work.

 

Anyway, if anyone has some positive insights or good ways to find work, please let me know.

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Where and how are you guys getting freelance work? I'm located in Toronto and perhaps it's me, but I find it difficult to get anything(freelance or full time). Do you just cold call firms for work or referrals? I'm not close to being a senior designer nor would I say I'm total beginner either...but I may be somewhere middle, but I dunno about you guys, I'm having a hard time finding anything and maybe location might something to do with it.

 

When I hear some of you say even juniors gets $250/day or 45K(assuming full time and this is US dollars), that would be amazing for me in Canada. I've had maybe 2 or 3 freelance jobs ever which was "maybe" $40-50/hr, but other than that, rest was underpaid. I realized starting out, there will be many lesser paying assignments, but man I'm not even sure what I'm worth anymore nor do I know if I should even continue in this field pursuing work.

 

Anyway, if anyone has some positive insights or good ways to find work, please let me know.

 

I doubt it's your location that's the problem, I'm in Winnipeg (aka tiny city in the middle of nowhere) and I've been very busy during my 2 years of freelancing (and that's with MAYBE 6 weeks of that being local gigs). Your location really doesn't matter when looking for freelance gigs IMO - plenty of shops are willing to let you work remotely, a few are willing to fly you in. I'm no senior designer either.

 

Before I went freelance I started sending my website/reel to almost every job listing on the Motionographer job board, and got enough interest to try it fulltime. About 90% of my work has come from job postings on Motionographer and Mograph, with enough recurring clients coming from those that I haven't had to send my reel out since July.

 

I'd suggest posting your reel here for critique. The problem may simply be how you're presenting yourself to prospective clients. $250/day in Toronto sounds really low.

 

my 2c

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I doubt it's your location that's the problem, I'm in Winnipeg (aka tiny city in the middle of nowhere) and I've been very busy during my 2 years of freelancing (and that's with MAYBE 6 weeks of that being local gigs). Your location really doesn't matter when looking for freelance gigs IMO - plenty of shops are willing to let you work remotely, a few are willing to fly you in. I'm no senior designer either.

 

Before I went freelance I started sending my website/reel to almost every job listing on the Motionographer job board, and got enough interest to try it fulltime. About 90% of my work has come from job postings on Motionographer and Mograph, with enough recurring clients coming from those that I haven't had to send my reel out since July.

 

I'd suggest posting your reel here for critique. The problem may simply be how you're presenting yourself to prospective clients. $250/day in Toronto sounds really low.

 

my 2c

 

Interesting and thanks for your intake. When I said $250/day...I'm basing on an average over a year which would be 60k and I love to even get that...even in cdn dollar...lol.

You're probably right working remotely as a freelancer is possible and I should advertise and post my reel/portfolio. I think part of me is intimidated by some of the firms out there and I see their work and it blows me away. Nevertheless, I should make a conscious effort of sending out my portfolio out regardless.

 

Anyway, you could visit it here at http://rob7ho.com

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When I said $250/day...I'm basing on an average over a year which would be 60k and I love to even get that...even in cdn dollar...lol.

Never ever calculate like that!

No Freelancer gets booked every day of the year. You'll need time to do your office work (do backups, paper work, edit showreel, call potential clients etc), you'll need holidays and (unfortunally) your gonna be sick from time to time. And finally there won't be enough jobs to keep you working every day (and even if so - you wouldn't be able to queue your clients up in a perfect row to fit your timetable).

 

I tend to calculate only 2/3 of a years potential working days as payed time and 1/3 as "wasted".

 

Oh and you'll probably have to pay taxes as well...

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4 pages on this topic is insane.

 

You need to get out there and pound the pavement / hammer the phones / shake some hands at first. Charge a decent beginners rate ($250/$300/$400 whatever) and gain experience, a solid reel, and valuable referrals.

 

When you can handle ridiculous clients / producers / whatever with grace and a smile, bump your rate $25-$50 with each new client. Old clients will sometimes drop off and new ones will sign on. So on and so forth all while gradually bumping your rate.

 

If your phone is blowing up, bump your rate. If your schedule gets wall to wall, bump your rate. If you're sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, bump your skills and your reel. Go shake some more hands.

 

I do not agree about everyone knowing everyone else's financial business / rates. It is private information and only creates animosity among those who don't have the experience and/or balls to demand what they are worth.

 

When you have more experience you tend to do things faster. Time is money and there isn't a client alive who is interested in paying a steep rate to a freshman dicking around with keyframes. If you charge a sweet rate, you better make sure you have the skills to back it up.

 

Those who can, do. Those who can't, don't.

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What we deserve to get paid is opinionated. It's based on what "we" think. Couple that with all the jealousy and attitudes present in this(and every) industry and there is no way people can be trusted to make a strict mathematical deduction of what they should be paid.

 

Anonymous surveys/data are one thing, but knowing an individual's salary is not only useless, but can be damaging to all parties involved. You're not getting all the data(hiring circumstances, environment, benefits, types of projects, company stability, etc.) and thus coming up with an incomplete number for your salary.

Edited by KGB

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KGB, that's true if you're only looking at one person and trying to draw a conclusion from that. Obviously every piece information out there is incomplete all on its own. No one's suggesting you take each bit as the whole.

 

For the naysayers: No one has yet explained how knowing someone's rate is actually damaging to anyone or to the industry. Jealousy is natural in this biz and it drives people to be better at what they do and to charge more. Part of why I love what I do is the competitive nature of it, having a challenge there saves me from the monotony of working day in and day out. When I find out another freelancer is making more than me at the same shop, I use that information to better myself in a variety of ways. Either I recognize that he's much better than me and work harder to get to his level, or I recognize that I am as good or better than him and demand a higher rate. I'm sure anyone of you would do the same. So what's the problem with putting this up on the internet?

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KGB, that's true if you're only looking at one person and trying to draw a conclusion from that. Obviously every piece information out there is incomplete all on its own. No one's suggesting you take each bit as the whole.

 

For the naysayers: No one has yet explained how knowing someone's rate is actually damaging to anyone or to the industry. Jealousy is natural in this biz and it drives people to be better at what they do and to charge more. Part of why I love what I do is the competitive nature of it, having a challenge there saves me from the monotony of working day in and day out. When I find out another freelancer is making more than me at the same shop, I use that information to better myself in a variety of ways. Either I recognize that he's much better than me and work harder to get to his level, or I recognize that I am as good or better than him and demand a higher rate. I'm sure anyone of you would do the same. So what's the problem with putting this up on the internet?

 

You have some valid points.

Perhaps then its the way the collection of that information is presented.

Maybe we should do an anonymous survey(and recognize the differences between freelance and salary incomes). I think it would be beneficial, would not attach info to a user name, and inturn would actually result in more participation.

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Maybe we should do an anonymous survey(and recognize the differences between freelance and salary incomes). I think it would be beneficial, would not attach info to a user name, and inturn would actually result in more participation.

Well, I think that's been suggested. The only problem is that it's not nearly as informative if it's anonymous. You could break people down into groups based on their specialties (animator, designer, director, typographer, modeller, etc.) and you could organize them by location, and split them into freelance vs salary and small studio vs big agency. You could look at all of those demographics, but in the end it still comes down to individual skill and individual worth. There are $400/day animators who have been working for years and $600/day animators barely out of school, and they're paid the way they are because likely the work they do, respectively, is worth more and less. There are designers who consistently knock your socks off and designers who don't. There are visual wizards and artistic hacks. Undoubtedly there are people contributing to this very thread who are on either side of the skill spectrum, but we all keep asking each other questions as if we're in the exact same position in the exact same boat.

 

This is not a clear-cut industry with standard practitioners where everyone involved plays the same role to the same effect and is paid a standard salary as a result. "Motion graphics" is not a title that means anything definite. Being a "motion graphics person" could mean any one of a hundred different things. And identifying yourself as such does not entitle you to any specific income.

 

THE POINT: you can't begin to guess someone's actual value in this "industry" until you've seen their work and understand the role they played in it. (And so, conversely, anonymous claims to pay scales don't mean a whole lot to those of us wondering where our place is on the pay ladder.)

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THE POINT: you can't begin to guess someone's actual value in this "industry" until you've seen their work and understand the role they played in it. (And so, conversely, anonymous claims to pay scales don't mean a whole lot to those of us wondering where our place is on the pay ladder.)

Good point. I knew you would say exactly that :)

However, that brings up mine....

Correct me if I'm wrong, but once someone particular makes a post with their salary info, you don't really have a lot of resources to judge them other than going on their website and looking at their reel(and resume perhaps).

But the biggie here is that people aren't hired solely for their creative output/capabilities.

 

Perhaps the individual works better in groups, has experience in a particular graphics industry(legal, medical), or fits a certain group better.

For salary, maybe they have great networking skills and bringing in a good network of contacts and perspective clients; maybe they do a bit of R&D that your company would appreciate.

...many things that are not visible by just looking at someones website.

 

So, although you will be judging creative skills vs creative skills, its not the only reason to pay some one a little extra to have them come work for you.

It's simply not enough info for comparing your place on that ladder in my opinion.

Edited by KGB

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its pretty cool how many people have responded i was looking for some general numbers and have been pretty amazed

with the amount of info people were willing to discuss. I work in a union shop so i am not as familiar with the going rates that some other freelancers have to deal with, but thats why i wanted to ask

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