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The Age Old Question...how To Charge For


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This is probably in the wrong forum, if so I apologize....Ive been called in as consultant for a local company (a hands on consultant) that has recently taken over a big municipal holiday project. There are 2 48 ch  "Animated Lighting" Shows. We unfortunately didn't talk about money until 3 days into it.. Trust me I know better but... Anyway, I trying to figure an hourly price to give them for all the gig encompasses. First was to come in test and troubleshoot both displays, oversee install and test trouble shoot after install, and if Im interested hang around each night as a technical consultant through every evening during display.. I realize no one wants to get involved in collusion and price fixing so let me frame my question this way. I was thinking 31.25 per hr  but I let them put their offer on the table. They offered 15 per hr, which is what the laborers bringing in the boxes and equipment are getting. Honestly Im Thinking 20 per minimum but what do you pros think...By the way, I need to let them know by Thursday If the answer is "you should charge what you think your time is worth" I realize that answer is the correct one but Im looking for other input...Also, for what its worth my wife says 15 per is an insult.Lol...Thanks in advance

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Your time, knowledge, expertise, and experience is worth more than they know.  They have no idea what to do really.  Charge them the going rate for a plumber or electrician or computer helpdesk or carpenter....because you may be all of those at times.  If the rate in your area for a service call is $50. an hour charge them that.  They can either pay it or have a mess.  It's time Christmas decorators gain some respect for the special knowledge they have and the contribution they make.

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You know, its funny you say 50, because that's EXACTLY what I charge for calls in my business. With a three hr min. And your exactly right. I thought about it some more over dinner and decided theres NO WAY that's worth taking up every evening from Oct-Christmas Eve + my gigs on top of it. I kind of thought a day rate of $250 or half day at $125 because it was a cool event to be apart of. I could almost consider (just because of the event)200/100, but that feels like Im giving it out. Its a little high for a laborer, but low for technical. On the other hand, I certainly know from my own projects that everything is budgetary. Thanks for the post. Its exactly the kind of outside perspective

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Ok, here's the deal, they are asking you to take on the existing shows, Animated Lighting shows at that, trouble shoot and be there to handle any problems during the season. First of all, is there anybody there that has a clue technically about what is involved. I would  consider the worst case senario, MB or controllers go down. You know the legendary support you can expect during the Christmas season. Set up is a challenge as little concern was given to order during storage, wiring issues and problems with lights. I would take all of this into consideration and then throw them a number you are comfortable with. I live in Northern VA just outside of DC, so I do not know how our cost of living compare, but  I charge 90.00 per hr. when supervising set up or trouble shooting. If seasonal maintenance costs are too high for their budget, they could hire a 15.00 per hour guy to stay on site and you could factor in a number to be on call nightly and then only bill an hourly rate for the time you are actually on site.  But I always consider the worst case scenario. There is nothing worse then being called out at 10:00 on a freezing night, and trouble shoot in the dark.

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Bill V is right on with being called late at night in the cold and rain and snow,  when I work for a business on call or on site for there repairs and etc. the rate is $45.00 per hour with 3 hours min for call outs.  I would never even think about taking over and insuring a show that has had problems before for less.  You are opening a pandor's box and if you do you can forget doing anything on your own because you will not have the time.  Get paid will for taking over there trouble's. 

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Going over what Bill V said the biggest thing is the shows that AL designed. They are created in a what they call a 'zone' pattern. 4 zones per programming of 16 channels and I believe that in the 48 ch setup it has leaping arches. I don't know how much you know about AL but to create a decent show from that setup takes a bit of planning.I will give AL credit their hardware is all commercial grade so issues with that hopefully won't be a problem.Your time, especially if you are doing a show at your home is valuable, If you are their "guy" then money shouldn't be too much of an issue. I would charge them a fair rate for your knowledge and your time. 

 

Best Wishes,

SPaschall

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yeah, I've researched the ALs pretty heavily. they bought the preprogrammed stuff so just sorting the zones, channels and researching addresses was the biggest part. If there were leaping arches, they weren't included in the warehouse. It's a non issue anyway now, I took a different gig today that would conflict with it......and imagine this....it pays my day rate

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