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?