Long-term Rates?

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I just received an email from a customer asking about per-word rate for a long term ongoing project that would require reads off and on over the course of a year. I'm used to quoting per project so I don't want to over- or undercharge.

1) Is this fairly standard in the biz for retainer fee production like this?
2) Should I just stick with the rate sheet and charge $100-$250 for a one hour job as each job comes through over the year?
3) I think I saw someone here once say she charges $0.20 per word. Is that pretty standard? Or would you also add a minimum charge per session on top of that - such as $0.20 per word with a $100 minimum per session?

Thanks!
asked in Quoting and Rates by Tobraham (1,050 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
 
Best answer
I'm probably the one you saw with the .20/word rate.  It really depends on the job.  I found a project or hourly rate didn't quite cut it for jobs over about 5,000 words.  Since you'll not only be recording, but cleaning up and possibly breaking down files into segments, etc., jobs over 20 pages are very time-consuming.  So I use the straight per word rate for the initial recording.  I include pickups due to my read, but not pickups due to copy changes.  For those, I set a base rate and then a per-word rate.  Your base rate is covering your overhead and editing time.  This system seems to work best for everyone, as there is no guesswork.  When I was quoting project rates on longer jobs, I would feel underpaid if the amount of changes became exhaustive.  As for hourly rates, the client is often expecting to pay per RECORDED hour, not the actual amount of time it takes you to record and edit the project, so I don't like using that as a standard.  I've recorded audiobooks and e-learning projects that became ponderous based on that model.  You can also do a per/page rate.  Usually, I figure a page is about 275 words (give or take) using 12 point copy.  When I look at a job with a high word count, I break it down to see how many pages it would be first and then decide on per-page, project or per-word rates.  

Best of luck to you!
answered by deborahsalebutler (17,290 points)
Thanks, Deborah. I thought it was you and was going to give you props but I wasn't sure if I was remembering it properly.

Here's how my agent just responded to the same question for anyone else interested:

"$.25 a word is an acceptable rate for long-format projects, but it is too little for short formats like this.  You should establish a minimum amount and remember they are paying for the use of your voice, and not just the time you spend recording. For you I would suggest a $250 minimum. I hope that helps."
Your agent is right in the base-rate assessment, but you also have to figure in the client's stated budget.  They may or may not have wiggle room, so you may want to be flexible, depending on the type of client.  For larger, corporate clients with obvious budgets, I'll set a decent rate.  For smaller producers, I may do a sliding scale with anywhere from $50 - $100 for the base rate on pickups for A FEW LINES only.  Otherwise it's a new session fee at the original rate.  On a site like this, "what the market will bear" certainly plays into it.  Never sell yourself for less than you feel comfortable.  But, I'm pretty comfortable in my jammies recording a single line pickup for $100 on some days ; - )
0 votes
answered by Steve-M (950 points)
Steve - there's nothing in there about per word rates. That's why I'm asking   ;)