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Freelance 2D Animation

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Freelance 2D Animation

So I’m reeeally confused about what I’m supposed to be charging as a fair rate for freelance 2D animation. I’ve Googled many times, gone to the Animation Guild’s wage report (which one should I be comparing myself to? I'm not a studio), and looked in AIGA’s pricing and ethical guidelines book, and still have no clue if my prices are in the right range. I keep seeing the answer of “figure out what you NEED or WANT to charge in order to function....” etc. but that doesn’t really help me. I want to make a lot, obviously. But you can’t always justify that to clients. It seems that no one’s willing to divulge their actual rates outside of studio work, which makes it hard for me to know if I’m way out of line with my prices. And it makes it hard to back them up when clients challenge them. Can you guys help?

My work always gets rave reviews, and I’m pretty sure I’m charging very low and should be getting paid A LOT more for the time I spend on things. Right now I charge about $25 an hour for illustration and graphic design, and $30 an hour for animation, though I usually quote a flat fee based on how long I expect it to take. That’s low, right? Or is it too high? I’ve also tried quoting $50 per second of animation. But every time I send off an estimate, the client basically goes “whoa! That’s way too expensive! Sorry, we can’t afford you.” Am I quoting too high, or am I just getting the wrong clients? I know I can’t afford to compete with animators overseas, but I want to charge fairly to myself too.

What do you think a freelance animator should be quoting per second of animation, in Southern California? Anyone willing to share (please)? Even email me privately if you don’t wanna post it? Let’s say just simple animations of items for games, like a shovel digging a hole. And then what would you charge if it was a more complex animation with one or more characters?

Why is this hard?
Rather why do people make this out to be hard?

The “figure out what you NEED or WANT to charge in order to function....” idea does hold true--use it. You are the best-equipped person to answer this question.

Take what your place of residence costs you per day.
If your rent is $1200 a month, that is $40 a day.
Add utilities--per day, and things like cable, internet, phone, etc--again all per day. Figure out your weekly food and extra items ( clothing , fun etc) costs are, and again work it down to a daily amount. Add in everything, transport, insurances, medical needs, taxes, your working materials, equipment etc. --everything.

Then figure.........if you charge around $25 a hr, for a 8 hr work does that $200 a day sit with the cost of living you have just calculated?
And do you just work 8 hrs, or does the work take more?

I have used a weekly amount as a sort of catch-all quote because sometimes the work takes longer, sometimes it takes less time.
If I was quoting a hourly amount, you can bet some clients will be damn anal about every minute I charge them.
Who needs or wants that kind of hassle?

If that $200 a day, or whatever it is, seems awfully close to what your daily expenses are, then raise your rate.
$200 a day is $1000 a week, or $4400 a working month ( 22 working days in a avg. month-not counting weekends), or about $53,000 a year.
If what you think you offer is worth more than that, if what you produce is really worth something to your clients and gives both of you some exposure-then raise your rates.
Work out a rule of thumb for yourself.
If your daily expenses work out to about $175 a day, then you should probably raise your rate to be about $300 a day. That would be almost 80,000 a year if you worked steadily.

Does THAT amount reflect the income you want and need?
$100,000 a year is about $378/day.
If you only work about half a year........$400 a day is only going to be $50K a year--does that work for you?

Personally speaking, I'd take whatever rate you are now charging and at least double it.
Figure whatever your costs are in a day, and charge for the work so you can cover that day and the next day. That week and the next week, or month etc. I would START at that figure and work your way up.
Because you can argue that you do not know if you are going to have work to cover those costs in the future, so factoring that in is probably wise.

Oh, and complexity........yeah, it costs more. Double the price yet again for complex stuff.
Part of your job is to make it LOOK easy--but that does not mean it is.

And if clients balk at the price: remember that the cost of animation is often cited as being $10,000 per minute. That is $166 per second.
$50 a second is WAAAAAAAAAAAAY cheap.
Remind these folks what it takes to produce that work, the expertise you bring and the training--plus the judgement calls you make on their behalf.
Animation is considered to be a "silver-collar" job, with animators akin to airline pilots and astronauts in terms of the depth of their theoretical and practical training. You should be paid accordingly.
If they reject that, then your clients are cheapskates and cannot afford REAL animation.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

2d animation rate

2d flash animation rate: usd 15 dollar per second.
2d classical animation rate: usd 35 dollar per second.

we are animation studio. working last 4 years with usa, ireland and german clients.


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