How Much Would You Charge?

Printing, binding, promotion and the business side of engraving.
DatOrganistTho
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How Much Would You Charge?

Post by DatOrganistTho » 07 Jun 2016, 20:05

I'm trying to figure out a quote system so that people can figure out how much I'd charge. What are your going rates? Do you charge per measure? per page? per project? Do a combination of hourly + system count?

I'm really curious here to know what you guys would do.
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by MJCube » 13 Jun 2016, 17:45

When I started in professional copying in NYC in the early 1990s my friend advised me to charge by the page. $10~30/page depending on the complexity of the page; double the page rate for transcription by ear. Unfortunately the market has changed so much that I haven’t been able to carry this policy forward with inflation. And I don’t have a high-end client base. I’m still charging my church’s music program $15/page for choral scores. Recently someone hired me to remake the score of a woodwind quintet arrangement from parts. I charged the same cheap page rate since she is a friend rather than an institution, and she thought that was exorbitant. She said she could get several people to do that for much less. To me it’s obvious that none of those copyists would find the errors I found in the parts or be half the editor & engraver I am in various other ways. So I didn’t feel guilty about charging so “much” but clearly she’s not going to hire me to copy her band arrangements.

All this is to say that software tools are changing the market fast, and I don’t know what to advise. (And apparently neither does anyone else here.)

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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 13 Jun 2016, 18:36

Short answer: It depends.

Long answer: Obviously I'd like to charge Local 802 scale whenever I can, however in reality the vast majority of my jobs aren't scale. My basic page rate for most non-union work is around 25% off the page rate of the 802 General Price List. Of course factoring in additional 802 fees for Health, Pension, etc., this in reality costs the client much less than that. I have a few very lucrative clients that I take very good care of, but I'm sort of at the stage of my career that I'd rather be focusing on my own writing and performing projects than hustling copy work, so anything more than 25% below scale generally isn't worth it for me unless it's a project that musically I really want to be a part of. If it's something I really want to be involved with, then the price will vary from free up to my basic rate. For friends and long-time clients I sometimes will be willing to give a flat rate, as I generally know how they work and what sort of time commitment I'm looking at. I will never, ever do a flat rate for a new client as I've been burned too many times in the past. As the 802 scales still really date from hand copying days, I almost always charge a page rate for parts, and then just bill hourly for editing and cleaning up a score (rather than billing scores at a page rate). I usually will end up billing for proofreading, printing, and binding too as I can print up to 12x18 in house and always keep 9.5x12.5 paper stocked for parts. Shipping costs are additional unless the client provides a FedEx #. For very large jobs where I have to assemble a team, I charge a flat 25% supervision fee for all work done by my co-workers on top of the final bill, and often will have to bill for time when I'm on the phone with the arranger or librarian. For one fairly well-known client during the past few summers when she has had orchestra tours, I've spent all day on the phone and never actually got much copy work done myself. So, it depends.

DatOrganistTho
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by DatOrganistTho » 14 Jun 2016, 03:02

MJCube wrote:When I started in professional copying in NYC in the early 1990s my friend advised me to charge by the page. $10~30/page depending on the complexity of the page; double the page rate for transcription by ear. Unfortunately the market has changed so much that I haven’t been able to carry this policy forward with inflation. And I don’t have a high-end client base. I’m still charging my church’s music program $15/page for choral scores. Recently someone hired me to remake the score of a woodwind quintet arrangement from parts. I charged the same cheap page rate since she is a friend rather than an institution, and she thought that was exorbitant. She said she could get several people to do that for much less. To me it’s obvious that none of those copyists would find the errors I found in the parts or be half the editor & engraver I am in various other ways. So I didn’t feel guilty about charging so “much” but clearly she’s not going to hire me to copy her band arrangements.

All this is to say that software tools are changing the market fast, and I don’t know what to advise. (And apparently neither does anyone else here.)
Do you think the reason your "band friend" is so shocked by the sticker price is because she is ill-informed? Have you thought about education and illumination for the customer, to show them the difference between your product and a "mostly-free job"?

Part of the issue I'm running into is that people think all you need is Finale and a keyboard and violà you have music that looks like it was engraved in the 19th century. I often have to sit the customer down, on the knee, and explain how it just isn't that simple. Most of the time they are happy to hear the difference, but sometimes they think I'm trying to pull a fast one on them.

So for me, though I have an extensive portfolio of examples, it mainly comes down to negotiations and selling them the product. In the end, I don't want to low-ball (and make it not worth my time) or charge a decent wage (as that will create sticker shock).

I thought, however, that $25/page sounds about right, but it sounds like from another response that even it may not be enough in today's economy.
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OCTO
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by OCTO » 14 Jun 2016, 06:46

Fred G. Unn wrote:Obviously I'd like to charge Local 802 scale whenever I can,.
What is Local 802? Is it someting local in US?

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David Ward
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by David Ward » 14 Jun 2016, 07:08

For comparison, you may be able to get some idea of the UK Musicians' Union's recommended minimum rates somewhere in the ‘Music Preparation’ sub-section of the list found via this link http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Files/ ... ation-Fees although copying a full-score is rather unhelpfully given as ‘by negotiation’ …
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Fred G. Unn
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by Fred G. Unn » 14 Jun 2016, 12:21

OCTO wrote: What is Local 802? Is it someting local in US?
It's the NYC Musicians Union: http://www.local802afm.org/

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OCTO
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by OCTO » 17 Jun 2016, 12:37

I don't know how much I would charge, but I know how much I was charged.

Example, 5$ to 30€ per page (orchestral music, medium complex).

DatOrganistTho
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by DatOrganistTho » 18 Jun 2016, 01:41

OCTO wrote:I don't know how much I would charge, but I know how much I was charged.

Example, 5$ to 30€ per page (orchestral music, medium complex).
That seems inline with what I've noticed on the internet. I haven't seen much adjustment for inflation, probably because services are rendered so few times now days.
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Re: How Much Would You Charge?

Post by MJCube » 21 Jun 2016, 13:29

DatOrganistTho wrote:Do you think the reason your "band friend" is so shocked by the sticker price is because she is ill-informed? Have you thought about education and illumination for the customer, to show them the difference between your product and a "mostly-free job"?
Could be, but more likely she actually knows people who would do it cheaper. If so, I figure that’s good enough for her purposes; let them do it. Frankly I’m not interested in her band arrangements (musically), so it was easier for me to just stand my ground and avoid a long discussion. We had discussed the page rate in advance, but then she blanched at the total, after I’d worked hard on layout to keep the number of pages down.

As for educating customers, I agree it has to be done, but I’m not the person to do it. When someone doesn’t already see the value in what I do, I’d rather avoid the subject with them. Fortunately I’m not trying to make my living with just copying.

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