How Much to Charge as a Freelance Video Editor?

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Video editors need to be up-to-date on the latest editing software and technology.
Video editors need to be up-to-date on the latest editing software and technology. (Image: Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Freelance video editors edit video footage and animation for a variety of clients, including TV shows, websites and parties. They work independently, giving them the freedom to accept as many or as few jobs as they wish. However, freelance video editors must also charge a reasonable rate that is profitable, comparable to their skills and experience and is competitive enough to entice clients to hire them.

Entry Level

Freelance video editors with little to no experience should consider charging lower than average rates to entice more clients to hire them and gain real work experience to add to their resumés. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest-paid 10th percentile of film and video editors earns $12.48 an hour, while the lowest-paid 25th percentile earns $16.88 in 2011. This is a good range to start for video editors with no experience.

Average Hourly Rate

According to the BLS, the median hourly rate for film and video editors is $24.49, while the mean hourly rate is $29.75 in 2011. The State University website indicates the average salary for film and video editors is $43,590, which equates to about $20.96 an hour. For freelance video editors who have a few years of work experience, with solid portfolios and references to back up their work, this is a good range to use to determine a freelance rate.

Experienced Editors

Freelance video editors with several years of experience working as a video editor can charge more based on their careers and knowledge of the industry. Those who have spent time working for a professional editing firm or studio, like a movie or TV studio, can also charge more based on experience. According to the BLS, the highest-paid 75th percentile of film and video editors earns $35.80 an hour, while the highest-paid 90th percentile earns $53.78 in 2011.

Considerations

While it is acceptable to use national hourly rates as a basis for determining how much to charge as a freelance video editor, a number of other factors must be considered as well. First, in a down economy, freelance editors might have to accept lower pay, as many clients are cutting budgets and have less money to spend on hiring freelance video editors. Also, the location of employment can affect rates as well. In an area where there are a lot of freelance video editors available, such as New York or California, rates might be lower based on the increased competition for jobs. Freelance video editors also might charge based on the project rather than by the hour. If that is the case, it is wise to determine an hourly rate, estimate the number of hours the project will take, and determine a rate for the project based on those calculations.

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