Many animators have a hard time deciding how to price their services and also complain that their clients pay them poorly.
Take the wheel of your animation career and learn how to price your services and negotiate properly. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve prepared 7 tips to help you value your services!
1) Let Your Clients Know What You Can Do for Them
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Whenever you negotiate, the focus shouldn’t be on you and your animation skills.
Yes, it can make you look good when you mention your experience in the animation industry, the companies you’ve worked for, the conferences you’ve attended, and your level of animation skills. However, some animation clients won’t be convinced to pay you at a higher rate by just hearing your background.
Rather, focus on your potential client and their needs. Ask them about their goals and objectives for the video. Then let them know how you can meet their needs and the impact your animated video can have on their business.
You aren’t simply selling your skill sets and an animated video. You are selling a video that will impact the future of your animation client’s business.
2) Research Other Animators’ Rates
To know how you should price your animation services, talk to and meet other animators! You can go to seminars, research other freelancers’ rates, and find mentors, who will help you learn how to come up with an acceptable rate of pay.
3) Ask 20% to 30% Higher Than the Amount You Want
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When setting your prices as an animator, you must know the quality of your work and your unique skill sets, especially in comparison to other animators. For individual projects, you need to think about how long and how much effort it will take you to finish.
Once you know the price range clients are willing to pay, look for the median value. If you feel your work has quality higher than the work of other animators, then you can raise your prices a bit more.
Your animation clients will most likely negotiate with you to lower your prices, so aim to agree with your client on a price in the middle. If you ask for 20% to 30% more money than what you actually want or need for your services, this can ensure you are still paid for your value even after negotiations.
On the other hand, if you feel your work isn’t as high quality as other animators’ works, don’t undercharge. If you give a low asking price, you won’t be able to pay for your living expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and maintenance costs for your software and tools.
4) Have a Business Mindset
Most animation schools don’t prepare students for the business world. After years of studying art in college, students have sharpened their art skills and knowledge, but they have no idea about the business side of being an animator.
Does this sound like your experience?
You may not have learned all about the business of animation in school, but it’s never too late to learn; you can read books, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos, and take online courses related to the business of animation. Knowing more about the business side will help you promote yourself and your business and will help you know how to value your skills.
5) Ask for Additional Payment for Working Overtime
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If an animation client books you for two weeks, then you should only work for two weeks. You aren’t under-delivering if your client doesn’t have the budget to pay you for additional time.
Tell your clients what they can expect from you. Tell them how fast you can work, and let them know how much it will cost them if you work longer than your agreed period of time.
Don’t underestimate those additional few hours you spend working on projects. Those hours eat up your resting time and working time for other clients.
6) Request a Higher Price for Your Specializations
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If you have a client who wants a certain animation skill that you can provide, let them know you possess that ability.
Be prepared with answers to any questions potential clients may have in advance and know the reasons why your specializations demand a higher price. If they agree and ask you for that animation skill, then they will pay you a bit more.
Show off your animation expertise and what makes you different from other animators. Let your portfolio and previous clients’ reviews speak for you.
7) Raise Your Rate
GIF via Tenor
When it comes to raising your freelance animation rate, you should be careful to consider when you raise your rate. This is often more important than considering how much you should raise it by.
Never, ever raise your rate when you have worked for your animation client only a few times. You haven’t proven yourself to your client yet, and they won’t see a reason to pay you more if you haven’t shown them what and how much you can do for them.
Only increase your rate once you’ve given clients a high-quality video with proven success. For example, if the video you made went viral on social media and gave your client hundreds of sales leads, then you can increase your rates next time you work with that client.
Or after working with a client for an extended period of time, over the course of several projects, you may be able to convince them to pay you more by showing them all of the videos you’ve made to promote their business. No matter how big or small your work is, all the projects will add up and show your client how much you have done for them, demonstrating how your work adds value to their business.
As an animator, you need to know how to survive in the business world.
You should have the mindset of a businessperson, research animation market rates, and know how to evaluate where your particular skill sets fall on the pay scale while respecting the needs of your clients.