Are you paying the market rate for your freelancers?

Why it is important to pay the market rate?

With so many companies now relying on freelancers to fulfil a large proportion of their workforce, having highly skilled freelancers who prioritise working for your company above others is invaluable, especially within a competitive industry such as advertising.

Ensuring you are paying competitive rates that are in line with the industry standard is very important to attracting the right freelancers to your business. A great Editor or Motion Designer can transform a project visually, and if they work efficiently, they can win over your client and they may be directly requested to work on their next project. The best Producers can save you money and streamline the production process, all while encouraging your team to work productively and stay focused. Paying your freelancers well re-enforces a positive relationship where the freelancer feels valued, which in turn motivates them to do a great job.

Freelancers are likely to favour a well-paid booking over one with a client who pushes their rates down and is reluctant to pay the asking rate. Knowing and offering industry rates will help you secure the best talent, which is why we have prepared this guide below, to share our insight into the industry rates for freelancers and what costs to expect when you hire a freelancer.

Factors which can affect rates.

Genre of video production

Some freelancers will charge different rates depending on the content they are working on, considering how much value they are adding to the end-product. For example, some editors charge a higher rate when working on a TVC or piece of branded content than they would if they are working on a television piece or news / documentary. Not all freelancers operate this way, and many just have one flat rate.

Level of Experience

An animator with fifteen years’ experience will understandably expect a higher day rate than an animator with three or four-years’ industry experience. The key is selecting a freelancer who has the right amount of experience required for your project, not hiring a cheaper freelancer with less experience than you need, or an expert who has fantastic skills which justify a higher rate, but not skills which benefit your project.

Knowledge and skill with a specialist software

Being able to work on specialist tools, software or equipment can add a huge amount of value to a production, and therefore freelancers who have taken the time and invested in learning a skill may justify charging a higher rate to be able to offer this expertise to clients.  

Based on the factors above, there isn’t a set rate for every freelancer, but we have put together a rough rate card for the below freelance disciplines:

  • Producer £250-£300
  • Camera Operator £350-£400 without kit
  • Sound Recordist £450-£550 with basic kit
  • Camera Assistant £200-£225
  • Production Coordinator £150-£200
  • Production Assistant £100-£150
  • Account Manager £220-£250
  • Account Director £300-£320
  • Editor £350
  • Junior Editor £300
  • Motion Designer £350 – £375
  • Animator £350-£400
  • Compositor £250-£350
  • Flame Artist £375-£450
  • Post Producer £250-£300
  • Edit Assistant £20-£25 per hour
  • Colourist £400-£500
  • Dubbing Mixer £350-£450
Other costs to consider.

How is overtime calculated, and how many hours should a freelancer work?

Overtime is when a freelancer is paid a higher hourly rate beyond the standard hours of the contract. Overtime is calculated as 1.5 x normal hourly rate (also known as time and a half).

When a freelancer charges a ‘daily rate’ standard working hours often vary between an 8-hour or a 10-hour day. The number of hours in the working day dictates when overtime starts.

The number of working hours also has an impact on how much the overtime rate is. The overtime rate is calculated by dividing the daily rate by the number of working hours.
For example:

  • For a daily rate of £350 per day, based on a 10-hour working day: the hourly rate is £35 per hour and the overtime rate is £52.50 per hour.
  • For a daily rate of £350 per day based on an 8-hour working day: the hourly rate is £43.75 per hour, and the overtime rate is £65.63 per hour.

Does a freelancer charge more at the weekend?

Many freelancers are willing to work on weekends and bank holidays but normally will expect a higher daily rate as the weekend is normally their ‘downtime’. In office / studio-based roles this is common, for example video editors, motion designers, post-producers, animators – basically any role where the standard working week is Monday to Friday.

However, in some on-set production roles weekend rates do not apply. For example, camera operators, sound recordists and make-up artists, particularly within the events and music industry will expect to be requested to work on weekends and so will have one standard charge for any day of the week. They normally will still expect a higher rate when working on bank holidays.

The standard charge for weekends and bank holidays is 1.5 x daily rate, however some freelancers are inclined to ask for double pay. We always recommend mentioning in advance if you may require weekend / bank holiday work when booking a freelancer, to make sure the person is available and happy to work, but also so you can agree on a weekend rate. This will save you from any surprises and will avoid you having to negotiate a rate last minute on a Friday evening when you are already halfway through the edit!

What do freelancers charge for kit hire? 

When a freelancer is asked to provide their own laptop and software for a project, they will often charge a set kit hire fee. This fee can vary from £50-£80 per day depending on the freelancer and the software they are providing.

The reason for this is because there are several costs involved to the freelancer to be able to provide their own kit; they pay towards the upkeep of their laptop to ensure it is operating at the speed and efficiency required for your project. They will be paying for a subscription to their software provider, they may be paying for insurance and they also have the inconvenience of carrying their laptop on their commute to your office!

If you do not have the space / equipment available for freelancer but you are trying to minimise costs, some freelancers may be open to waiving the kit hire fee if you agree for them to work remotely. This can be a convenient option for the freelancer and can be a cost saving solution for you.

We hope this article has been helpful and given you an idea of the costs of hiring a freelancer, and also an insight into the industry rates for certain freelancers. We understand there is a lot of pressure to keep costs down in video production, but we hope you also see the value in paying freelancers fairly and in line with the industry rates!

If you would like to discuss booking a freelancer or to enquire about freelancer rates, please get in touch.

Tripod Brixton,
Lambeth Town Hall,
1 Brixton Hill, London,

Hours: Monday to Friday, 8am – 7pm
Phone: 020 7580 7333