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Pay, Compensation & Rental Rates


Larry Kaltenbach

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9 hours ago, Larry Kaltenbach said:

Wow... there's the discussion I was hoping for. Thanks to all for the very specific rates, especially those outside the biggest markets - very telling.

 

A one-paragraph tangent that will weave back to compensation... Robert, Lauren and Henri... I smoked you out, into the discussion over here :)  I've seen you guys, and gal, "out there" on the internets. You are my benchmark as to how my SEO is working for NY and Philly. Interestingly (at least to me), even though I'm now showing up in many Google searches ahead of Production Hub (and y'all), I only get about 10 calls a year from organic searches, Production Hub and Staff Me Up combined for both my sound and prompter businesses combined. I may book perhaps 2-5 days per year from this. How is this relevant to compensation? Read on...

 

You're probably wondering, "2-5 days of work a year? How does this guy survive?" Easy... repeat business. The vast majority of my work is from long-standing relationships, some over decades, and from referrals tied to these long-standing relationships. Thankfully, some of that pitiful-looking response rate from cold-calls also turns into repeat business. When mulling rates, I take into consideration the staggering volume of work my repeat clients have provided and still do provide me, with practically zero "work-finding" effort on my part - I owe them all my career. An actor would owe an agent 15% of all their income for this work-finding.

 

For those who really try to hold their ground at $1,200-$1,300 plus per day - do you not consider work scenarios like NFL Films, that pay $500/ day labor (unlimited hours) and $350 for the package? I'm totally happy working for them as they rarely work me more than 8 hours, their stories have value and are made with passion. I want to work on things like that. How about just sitting behind a sound console at a corporate facility for about 8 hours, getting up out of the chair when done and going home, for $750. No dice? I like a day when I get a break from gear, and gladly take that work. How about network TV news, notorious for lower rates? I love blasting out the door to do a weather live shot at 3 pm to make the 6:40 pm network live shot and then head back home. All of these sub-par gigs offer something other than just money and are often short days - and they add up. As booked thus far through December, my days worked this year will total 175 - with a slow'ish first 3 months - or an average of about 3.25 days per week for all 52 weeks. Are you guys doing about this many days?

 

I now have a very good picture from y'all what to charge in certain client scenarios and for the extremely few cold calls I get. Many thanks. Where do I send your 15% cuts?

 

;)

 

 

 

I worked 152 days in sound in the last 12 months. The average per day was more like $8-900. So yes, I do take jobs that don’t pay $1300. Here is the breakdown of jobs under $1000 a day:

 

- I did about 700 hours of boom operating on union jobs. This pays as low as $18 an hour for a Tier 0, all the way up to $59 an hour on a Majors. Most mixers let me have a kit fee of $50 per day. I also get health insurance and pension hours when I take these jobs, which is worth a lot in and of itself. 
- I did a few self-funded short films or docs for 50% off my rates. These were situations where the director/writer paying most of it out of their own pocket. True passion projects. 
- I did a couple nights filling in for the main sound person at a local bar when he got sick. $40/hr for 4-5 hours using the bar’s equipment*. 
- A sound mixer who was already set up for a week long fitness video had a family emergency. I filled in for him using his equipment and got the labor only while he got the gear rental*. 
- I did some days in a studio location that already had equipment permanently installed*, for $750/10. 
- Did some A2 work for broadcast shows at $500/10. 
- Live sound for a children’s musical for $25/hr in February when I was insanely slow, using their equipment* 

- I also work a few hours a week at a local Amazon facility for $20/hr. This gets me an extra $10k a year, but I didn’t include it in my averages or days worked because it’s not a sound job. Just a side hustle that I treat as a gym membership that I get paid to use. :) 

 

* I do sometimes use other people’s equipment, but this is only the case of filling in for a friend, or a place like a bar, theater, or studio where the equipment is permanently installed. I don’t use production’s field mixers on location, for example. 

So yes, no one is going to yell at you for taking jobs like the ones I listed above for less than “full rate”. But when it’s a job production sound mixing, for a corporate or commercial client, using your own equipment, you should be hitting closer to the $1200-1300 number (or more depending on hours and gear). 
 

And I noticed how difficult it is to gain clients through the internet, as you mentioned. The truth of the matter is, most of most people’s work comes from referrals from other sound mixers. This is why it’s imperative to be a team player. If Bob’s client asks him to work a job, but he’s already booked — he’s going to pass it to Sally who he knows charges the same rates as him, and does a great job and stays professional, and would be honest if the client tried to steal her (if they go behind Bob’s back and offer her a gig, she should say, “I’d love to work with you again, but you are Bob’s client — did you check with him first?”), rather than going with Jim who he knows will undercut him, and/or steal his clients, and/or do a bad job and make him look bad, and/or be unprofessional and make him look bad. 

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17 hours ago, Larry Kaltenbach said:

Wow... there's the discussion I was hoping for. Thanks to all for the very specific rates, especially those outside the biggest markets - very telling.

 

A one-paragraph tangent that will weave back to compensation... Robert, Lauren and Henri... I smoked you out, into the discussion over here :)  I've seen you guys, and gal, "out there" on the internets. You are my benchmark as to how my SEO is working for NY and Philly. Interestingly (at least to me), even though I'm now showing up in many Google searches ahead of Production Hub (and y'all), I only get about 10 calls a year from organic searches, Production Hub and Staff Me Up combined for both my sound and prompter businesses combined. I may book perhaps 2-5 days per year from this. How is this relevant to compensation? Read on...

 

You're probably wondering, "2-5 days of work a year? How does this guy survive?" Easy... repeat business. The vast majority of my work is from long-standing relationships, some over decades, and from referrals tied to these long-standing relationships. Thankfully, some of that pitiful-looking response rate from cold-calls also turns into repeat business. When mulling rates, I take into consideration the staggering volume of work my repeat clients have provided and still do provide me, with practically zero "work-finding" effort on my part - I owe them all my career. An actor would owe an agent 15% of all their income for this work-finding.

 

For those who really try to hold their ground at $1,200-$1,300 plus per day - do you not consider work scenarios like NFL Films, that pay $500/ day labor (unlimited hours) and $350 for the package? I'm totally happy working for them as they rarely work me more than 8 hours, their stories have value and are made with passion. I want to work on things like that. How about just sitting behind a sound console at a corporate facility for about 8 hours, getting up out of the chair when done and going home, for $750. No dice? I like a day when I get a break from gear, and gladly take that work. How about network TV news, notorious for lower rates? I love blasting out the door to do a weather live shot at 3 pm to make the 6:40 pm network live shot and then head back home. All of these sub-par gigs offer something other than just money and are often short days - and they add up. As booked thus far through December, my days worked this year will total 175 - with a slow'ish first 3 months - or an average of about 3.25 days per week for all 52 weeks. Are you guys doing about this many days?

 

I now have a very good picture from y'all what to charge in certain client scenarios and for the extremely few cold calls I get. Many thanks. Where do I send your 15% cuts?

 

;)

 

 

It is great to meet you Larry and thanks for smoking me out haha! I’ve been meaning to one day join JWSound so I’m glad this is what brought me here. I actually just sent you a message on Facebook so check your “Message Requests” folder on there so we can continue the conversation!

Repeat business is always important. I have a few of them on my end and when they need a slight discount, I’m happy to help to a point (but in this case it’s maybe a $50 - $100 discount and they otherwise will always book me at my full labor and gear rental. 

I know NFL Films does pay the prevailing rates (and more according to one friend of mine who works with them often, but can’t speak for them). Regardless if it’s an 1 hour day or 10 hour day, I always try to book on a 10. Had plenty of days that are in and out in a couple hours but I’m still getting my full labor and gear rates since I can’t book anything else. “Half day rates” are not in my vocabulary (or for many of us commenting on here that I know). In negotiations I’ll go down to 8 as a last ditch effort but its not my norm.  I don’t do live mixing board work personally (Its a world I’m not as versed in) but I do A2 work in that realm and for that I try to aim for at least $650/10 roughly for labor but sometimes I get pushback so I’ve settled on $600/10 from time to time. An A1 I’d aim for $750/10 roughly. Live sound is not quite the same as the production sound realm. Network news has low rates especially on the gear but from other colleagues they have told me there are ways to make the system work for you to at least be a decent day based on how you bill for things. News tends to be its own thing so that’s partially why I don’t work that realm but also from all I know, you need to be in with the DP’s there to get that type of work to begin with.

On average I’m working at least 12 or so days a month with the exception of January where I worked 7 and July where I worked 6 but that was only because I was away from July 1 - 18 so I did pretty well considering for that month.

Looking forward to continuing the conversation with you!

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On 11/27/2022 at 11:28 AM, Chris Sanchez said:

Just for reference. I am an in the south central of the country, in a smaller market and my location sound rates are $700/10 portal to portal plus $195 for a basic rental package. Mileage rates apply. For the agencies that don't have the budget, I do offer half-day labor rates, but I keep the rental package at the same day rate. My basic package is a boom mic, 2 lavs and a mixer/recorder. I throw in some extras like a slate and sound blankets for added value, but that is about it. Anything else requested is an a la carte day rental. For larger markets that aren't very saturated, I would definitely think about raising your rates.

There are bunch of Texas mixers in the Austin, Dallas, Houston area that I know that do $750 - $800/10 now and $450 - $500 for a base sound package (Boom, mixer, two lavs like you and most of us). They all do portal to portal for jobs outside their local vicinity as well. None of them nor myself ever do “half day rates” get that idea out of your head because is a farce. With travel time, set-up, tear down, prep, etc, it is a full day. If you must, negotiate to an 8 hour basis (I do $650/8) as a last minute ask but that’s the bottom. 

In Texas there are mixers such as Matthew Freed, Matthew Kluchin, and Siegen Bretzke among many others that will back-up the numbers. If you don’t know them, I’d love to connect you with them.

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1 hour ago, Robert La Rosa said:

There are bunch of Texas mixers in the Austin, Dallas, Houston area that I know that do $750 - $800/10 now and $450 - $500 for a base sound package (Boom, mixer, two lavs like you and most of us). They all do portal to portal for jobs outside their local vicinity as well. None of them nor myself ever do “half day rates” get that idea out of your head because is a farce. With travel time, set-up, tear down, prep, etc, it is a full day. If you must, negotiate to an 8 hour basis (I do $650/8) as a last minute ask but that’s the bottom. 

In Texas there are mixers such as Matthew Freed, Matthew Kluchin, and Siegen Bretzke among many others that will back-up the numbers. If you don’t know them, I’d love to connect you with them.

Thanks for the feedback. I do a lot of local small agency work, hence the lowered package rates and half-day rates. They are squeezing in a sound guy because of their staff's limited experience. I am going to start next year promoting myself for more work outside my area, and I will be adjusting my rates accordingly. I would definitely like to connect with other sound pros.

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22 hours ago, Chris Sanchez said:

Thanks for the feedback. I do a lot of local small agency work, hence the lowered package rates and half-day rates. They are squeezing in a sound guy because of their staff's limited experience. I am going to start next year promoting myself for more work outside my area, and I will be adjusting my rates accordingly. I would definitely like to connect with other sound pros.

No problem! I would say moving forward for the new year, tell them that with cost of living increases coupled with inflation, these will be your new prices. I just did it the other day for a shoot I have at the end of the year. The client asked me to do a 5 hour sit-down interview job and had budgeted my prices with them as of the start of the 2021 ($750/10 and $450 base package plus expenses) and I used that moment to accept that price but at the same time give them a polite heads up that for next year my prices will be $800/10 and $500 base for the same package. They were very agreeable with that and appreciated me following the old price to end out the year.

As for the mixers, I’ll send you their emails here since I can’t seem to DM you on this platform. You’re welcome to mention my name if you reach out to them!
 

AUSTIN BASED SOUND MIXERS
 
Matthew Kluchin
 
Siegen Bretzke
siegen@bretzke.net

DALLAS BASED SOUND MIXERS

Matthew Freed
matthew@matthewfreed.com

Ferris Shaheen
ferris@gfssound.com

I’m not sure which market you’re closer to but they all tend to work in their area but I’ve met a number of them directly when they’ve visited New York on travel jobs so I can’t stress enough that they are good people!  If you have any questions you can always email me too at rwlarosa@gmail.com
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  • 2 weeks later...

This has been a fruitful discussion for me to read, I appreciate everyone willingness to mention what they have been quoting production recently. Every year over the past 3 years I've been raising my rates (admittedly I started a bit low 3 years ago) and this upcoming year is no different. This discussion has certainly helped me figure out where a good starting point should be for 2023. This past year I was charging $650/12 and $350/basic package. As Banjo said, I got very little push back which means I was certainly charging too little. That said as mentioned above it's a starting point and there were days I got more and days I got less depending on the shot.

 

There were two instances I wish I had been more pushy and stood my ground, the first one I just don't think the producers understand how to budget appropriately. It was for a commercial for a decent size mid-atlantic bank, the production reached out to me and was up front about the rate they had for the mixer for the shoot, $800/day all in (I think they broke it up into $600/labor and $200/kit), I had nothing else going on at the time so I agreed to it. Now the real issue arose from the location of the production, two days in Delaware and two days in central Maryland, luckily I have family close to the Delaware locations so that wasn't an issue for me. But they asked me to work as a local on both portions of the shoot. Looking back I really should have pushed back on this, they were hours apart, even if you are local to one you aren't local to both. They should have provided housing and milage for the difference between the two....but hey you live and learn. I learned my lesson and got the mistake out of my system, next time I won't let it slide (especially for a lower rate). The real issue I had with this whole ordeal was when I found out the G&E team had been brought down from upstate NY and they drove their full 3/ton truck down plus rented a fisher dolly and other stuff....which to me shows that they had the money but didn't want to budget appropriately or just straight up took advantage of me. 

 

The second was for a well known reality show that was shooting in the town I live in, which is incredibly rare for small town America. Even though the show has been around for a while and certainly makes some decent money for the network and production company, they set their rates and never budge. I tried to get more for this one, I think they went up $50 in the end but pretty much said this is our rate, take it or leave it. I think it was 800 or 850 total for the shoot, which was pretty much just a sit down interview for days. It's close enough to my rate and the fact that I didn't have to drive anywhere made it worth it for me. I just have an issue with high profile shows constantly taking advantage of their crews, everyone on the crew complained about the low pay...which I guess is on all of us for agreeing to it, if they can't find crew at the rate they are at then they either don't make the show, hire non-professionals and watch it burn, or raise their rates....knowing them they would watch it burn. 

 

All that said, I have a question for the group, one which I got into an interested discussion with a friend who is a DP about: everyone has pretty much said take the term "half-day" out of your vocabulary, what about for travel days? People I've talked to said a half day for travel is fair as "production isn't getting anything out of you and it should be enough for you", my general thought is if you can get me home by noon then sure half day makes some sense (though I agree with what others have said, I can't book anything else that day so is it really fair). But if you they are looking out for production and book you a red-eye home because it was the cheapest flight, then you should be compensated for a full day.  I'm curious how others deal with this and was generally surprised at my friends responses. I figured everyone would be on board to make more money and change what I believe is an industry wide trend. 

 

Edit: One thing I'm very happy to see is most of you all have mentioned XXX/10 not 12. Definitely going to be pushing for the 10 in the future.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/19/2022 at 11:33 AM, Erob said:

This has been a fruitful discussion for me to read, I appreciate everyone willingness to mention what they have been quoting production recently. Every year over the past 3 years I've been raising my rates (admittedly I started a bit low 3 years ago) and this upcoming year is no different. This discussion has certainly helped me figure out where a good starting point should be for 2023. This past year I was charging $650/12 and $350/basic package. As Banjo said, I got very little push back which means I was certainly charging too little. That said as mentioned above it's a starting point and there were days I got more and days I got less depending on the shot.

 

There were two instances I wish I had been more pushy and stood my ground, the first one I just don't think the producers understand how to budget appropriately. It was for a commercial for a decent size mid-atlantic bank, the production reached out to me and was up front about the rate they had for the mixer for the shoot, $800/day all in (I think they broke it up into $600/labor and $200/kit), I had nothing else going on at the time so I agreed to it. Now the real issue arose from the location of the production, two days in Delaware and two days in central Maryland, luckily I have family close to the Delaware locations so that wasn't an issue for me. But they asked me to work as a local on both portions of the shoot. Looking back I really should have pushed back on this, they were hours apart, even if you are local to one you aren't local to both. They should have provided housing and milage for the difference between the two....but hey you live and learn. I learned my lesson and got the mistake out of my system, next time I won't let it slide (especially for a lower rate). The real issue I had with this whole ordeal was when I found out the G&E team had been brought down from upstate NY and they drove their full 3/ton truck down plus rented a fisher dolly and other stuff....which to me shows that they had the money but didn't want to budget appropriately or just straight up took advantage of me. 

 

The second was for a well known reality show that was shooting in the town I live in, which is incredibly rare for small town America. Even though the show has been around for a while and certainly makes some decent money for the network and production company, they set their rates and never budge. I tried to get more for this one, I think they went up $50 in the end but pretty much said this is our rate, take it or leave it. I think it was 800 or 850 total for the shoot, which was pretty much just a sit down interview for days. It's close enough to my rate and the fact that I didn't have to drive anywhere made it worth it for me. I just have an issue with high profile shows constantly taking advantage of their crews, everyone on the crew complained about the low pay...which I guess is on all of us for agreeing to it, if they can't find crew at the rate they are at then they either don't make the show, hire non-professionals and watch it burn, or raise their rates....knowing them they would watch it burn. 

 

All that said, I have a question for the group, one which I got into an interested discussion with a friend who is a DP about: everyone has pretty much said take the term "half-day" out of your vocabulary, what about for travel days? People I've talked to said a half day for travel is fair as "production isn't getting anything out of you and it should be enough for you", my general thought is if you can get me home by noon then sure half day makes some sense (though I agree with what others have said, I can't book anything else that day so is it really fair). But if you they are looking out for production and book you a red-eye home because it was the cheapest flight, then you should be compensated for a full day.  I'm curious how others deal with this and was generally surprised at my friends responses. I figured everyone would be on board to make more money and change what I believe is an industry wide trend. 

 

Edit: One thing I'm very happy to see is most of you all have mentioned XXX/10 not 12. Definitely going to be pushing for the 10 in the future.


Hi Erob! 

It’s good to meet you and I have a lot to talk about from you last post (Sorry for just seeing this now).

You’re based in Virginia? I can tell you right off the bat there are mixers there that for the past few years were quoting prevailing rates and were at the minimum last year doing $750/10 and $450 base package for a boom, mixer, and two lavs. Your prices were quite a ways bit under market but the positive side is you realized that and for 2023 now that the year just started should be starting at $800/10 and $500 base package for non union non commercial work and $975 - $1,000/10 labor for non union commercial work as Banjo, myself, and others here have been doing. You can always negotiate down but never ever negotiate on a 12 hour basis. Always do 10’s and if a production has exhausted all options and say it has to be a 12, make sure you account for time and a half. Don’t agree to a low rate because you have “Nothing else going on,” since racing to the bottom hurts everyone nationwide when a production comes to my neck of the woods or any other states. Negotiating happens often but you start at the prevailing price and within reason keep it close to those numbers or you simply turn it down. I said no way more than I said yes this year but work was very fruitful for me as well.

I have comments about the two stories you mentioned:

The first one in Delaware is interesting because I actually was reached out to by that very same production company. They were hoping to source me out New York City at the prices you mentioned ($600 flat labor - didn’t say 10 or 12 basis and $200 gear for an unspecified gear package). I talked to them at length and told them that since this was a commercial I would need $975/10 portal to portal and $450 gear (My 2022 prices) for a base sound package along with my mileage, tolls, per diem, hotel, and a travel day there and back for the Maryland date. They told me that they wanted a local but I mentioned no one was outright local to Delaware (Philadelphia is the closest market and even that isn’t necessarily close) and that since they reached out to me and I from the get-go said I wasn’t local, those were my terms. They told me to hold. Truth be told, I had hoped they found a mixer in Philly and one in DC since it was close from what I recall since that would work better for them but they definitely considered hiring me. Now fast forward to this very moment where I learned you ultimately booked it for the terms with no mileage, tolls, portal to portal, hotel, or per diem at a substantially lower gear rental and labor rate. I’m not upset since truth be told, I’m surprised they wanted me on this given my location but the reason I’m mentioning it is because the production took advantage of you and you unintentionally took advantage of other mixers by losing those terms I and others would be quoting. Just keep in mind, they were potentially prepared to pay my quote for this project complete with travel days at my labor rate.

The second one on the reality show is another beast. Many reality shows try and get day players for around the prices you mentioned on a 12 hour day often (Usually $500 - $600/12) and then $300 - $400 for a $1,000 - $1,200 gear package. The one you were on, it doesn’t matter if it was an interview day or a day with some scene work, a day is a day and the production flat out took advantage of you and it should have been an easy no. These reality shows hope a sucker says yes when they say “take it or leave it,” and when I was in my first few years, I was that sucker. That said, the majority of mixers around the country on social media at least mention their rates and don’t budge much when they get that “take it or leave it attitude” back. These shows will wait until the 11th hour to find someone to agree but when push comes to shove, they will pay up when desperate. I’ve been on the receiving end of this and others even if there was slight negotiation. The job being close to you is nice and saves you and production on expenses but that’s all it is. Don’t look at it as a bonus from a financial standpoint. Yes its close to you but it still is a day like any other on set.

Again, lose the term “half day rate.” It is a farce and does not exist because you can’t book anything else to make up your day. Now for your question, travel days used to be half of one’s day rate, that much is true, but other the last 3 - 4 years, plenty of crew (especially us in sound), are quoting our day rates in full and some even gear for travel days. Personally, I generally don’t get my gear rental on travel days but I have often gotten my full labor. Do I get pushback? Yes. How do I approach it? By then offering my bottom line, which is 50% of my day rate + 50% of my gear rental for this job. So for example, one of them that was $775/10 and $450 base package that I did in Cleveland this year became $612.50 per day rather than just half of my labor rate. I don’t do half my day rate for travel days anymore and have stood firm on this. This is slowly becoming more common with making more on the travel days but its been a slow change for the nation as a whole.

I’d love to continue chatting more about this (and the Delaware job specifically) Erob. If you’d be game, shoot me an email at rwlarosa@gmail.com so we can connect and discuss things more! I’d also love to connect you with other mixers in Virginia who I know that are quoting around the prevailing rates so you can further ingratiate with the greater sound community (besides those of us on these boards of course). I apologize if I sound harsh on here, if this was over the phone, my tone would be different but I appreciate your comment and am glad you’re being so forthright with everyone! That is how we grow and raise one another up!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fantastic discussion. I'm a sound noob of only 19 months and I'm coming from the camera op world, so reading this incredibly informative thread has been immensely helpful in determining appropriate labor + basic equipment package rates for my AO heading into 2023. I'm $550/10 + $300 for a basic equipment package of boom/3x lavs/3x timecode and MixPre. Call it imposter syndrome, but I can't talk myself into higher prices since I'm inexperienced. 

A camera op also doing sound?!?! Lemme explain - I'm in Wyoming so jobs in my little commercial and corporate niche are few and far between. StaffMeUp yielded one sound job last year (in South Dakota) and ProductionHUB provided no work for me in either department. 

I wouldn't call myself seasoned by any means, but to answer orionflood's question I had 6 location sound gigs and 23 camera op jobs in 2022. Other than the one job, these were all acquired based on existing relationships. My hope is to flip those numbers in 2023 because I really enjoy sound. 

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On 1/14/2023 at 4:34 PM, orionflood said:

I guess the big question for those who are seasoned, how actually busy are you right now at those rates?

It’s always slow in January. I did three interview days and have three days as an A2 for a live stream. Six days in January is five more than I had last year. :) 

On 1/20/2023 at 9:17 PM, Matt P8 said:

Fantastic discussion. I'm a sound noob of only 19 months and I'm coming from the camera op world, so reading this incredibly informative thread has been immensely helpful in determining appropriate labor + basic equipment package rates for my AO heading into 2023. I'm $550/10 + $300 for a basic equipment package of boom/3x lavs/3x timecode and MixPre. Call it imposter syndrome, but I can't talk myself into higher prices since I'm inexperienced. 

A camera op also doing sound?!?! Lemme explain - I'm in Wyoming so jobs in my little commercial and corporate niche are few and far between. StaffMeUp yielded one sound job last year (in South Dakota) and ProductionHUB provided no work for me in either department. 

I wouldn't call myself seasoned by any means, but to answer orionflood's question I had 6 location sound gigs and 23 camera op jobs in 2022. Other than the one job, these were all acquired based on existing relationships. My hope is to flip those numbers in 2023 because I really enjoy sound. 

Hear me out; I’m not trying to sound rude — but you can either do the job, or you can’t. And if you can, you should charge appropriately for it. If you can’t, you need to focus on short films before doing corporate/commercial work (which should always be “full rate”). So there is no “I’m not experienced enough to charge these rates”. There’s only “I’m not experienced enough to take jobs where it’s unacceptable for me to undercut my peers”. 

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For what it's worth Robert and I had a nice phone call discussing all this further. I'm all for charging more and making more money, however one thing that I think often gets overlooked are some times in smaller markets there just isn't as much work...so you can either take the pay cut and work the gig or not work at all. You can hold the line as much as possible maybe meet in the middle but at the end of the day if this is how you make a living you have to decide. Now I'm not advocating for taking wild pay cuts, but if it's generally 80-90% of your rate then it's up to the individual to make the call themselves. 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, Erob said:

o you can either take the pay cut and work the gig or not work at all.

Maybe you can adjust your labor slightly but I don't know about you guys but Lectrosonics / Sound Devices etc doesn't look up my zip code and pro rate what it costs to buy gear so not sure why you'd want to sell yourself short with how much our gear costs.

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1 hour ago, codyman said:

pro rate what it costs to buy gear so not sure why you'd want to sell yourself short with how much our gear costs

Wouldn't that be something...I think we would all have "residence" in some random place then.

 

Just want to reiterate I'm all for charging the prevailing rates and I'm going to do my best this year to hold the line and negotiate more. I appreciate what Robert said, if the rate is lower than normal (but in the same general ball park) maybe you can decrease your kit offerings....say they only get 1 lav and a boom or just a boom. Easy way to cut the rate and theoretically make your day easier. 

 

One question I wanted to ask the group as a whole, basic kit is obviously 2 lavs/boom/recorder, does everyone charge for TC? If you do, do you ever get push back for that?

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8 hours ago, codyman said:

Maybe you can adjust your labor slightly but I don't know about you guys but Lectrosonics / Sound Devices etc doesn't look up my zip code and pro rate what it costs to buy gear so not sure why you'd want to sell yourself short with how much our gear costs.

In my union world, for some reason, it's understood that tier 1s will give you a lower kit rental than a major show. Because they have less money? Doesn't make any sense to me. A rental car place charges a rich man and a poor man the same rate. But that's how it works.

 

Whatever two consenting entities agree to is up to the parties involved. Charge what you can, and what you're willing to work for. Don't work for less than that.

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13 hours ago, Erob said:

For what it's worth Robert and I had a nice phone call discussing all this further. I'm all for charging more and making more money, however one thing that I think often gets overlooked are some times in smaller markets there just isn't as much work...so you can either take the pay cut and work the gig or not work at all. You can hold the line as much as possible maybe meet in the middle but at the end of the day if this is how you make a living you have to decide. Now I'm not advocating for taking wild pay cuts, but if it's generally 80-90% of your rate then it's up to the individual to make the call themselves. 

 

 

I don’t get $800/10 $500 base package every job. My general rule of thumb is first take away gear. I’ll do boom and mixer only for $300. Then my second rule is giving a max discount of $200, preferably based on an 8 hour day. So sometimes I work for $900-1000 for a single person interview day. 
 

but I don’t do a bunch of wireless and timecode and hops and ifbs for $1000, nor do I do interviews for $500. 
 

there’s also always side hustles (I pick up shifts at Amazon when I’m slow), and self funded indie short films (I’ll do 50% off my rates for those)

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16 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

What do you mean by "TC"?   How many camera-TC boxes?  A TC slate? 

Should have clarified, just timecode boxes (lockits, whatever you want to call them). Does everyone always charge for bringing one along to throw on camera? Or do you include one in your base package than any additional is extra?

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On 1/25/2023 at 10:50 AM, Erob said:

Should have clarified, just timecode boxes (lockits, whatever you want to call them). Does everyone always charge for bringing one along to throw on camera? Or do you include one in your base package than any additional is extra?

 

Even in the Network News end of things, TimeCode Boxes are $50 each, and I've never had push back.

TimeCode is a small profit center. So is IFB.

 

Cheers,

Tim

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