Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rates and How to Charge Them

I keep encountering this problem where I see our lovely newbie aspiring MUA's not really knowing (and even being totally misinformed) how to charge rates.  I very well know that it depends on what sort of medium you are giving a rate for.  Giving a rate for Bridal and giving a rate for Commercial are two completely different things.

Bridal/Personal Client Rates:
Bridal rates are usually done by the number of people or looks (ie: Bride $XXX, Brides Maids $XXX) or you might even offer a package deal (ie: 5 people for $XXXX).

TV, Film, Print, Advertising, Commercial etc.:
A professional working Makeup Artist who does this for a living (pays rent, feeds family) charges rates by Half Day Rates and Full Day Rates.  Half day hours are 1 - 4.5 hours and Full day hours are 5 - 9 hours.  This means that you stay for the whole shoot doing touch up's and changing looks as needed or as per discussed with the client.

Charging per look, per face or hourly will make you look unprofessional and green.  Think of it like this, if you leave your home, charge $75 and you only do one look/face....then all you made was $75?  Now that's not right is it?  How are you to make a living off that?

Another thing I wanted to touch on really quickly is KIT FEE's.  Please understand that a kit fee is something that is used ONLY in the world of Film.  There is no such thing as charging a "kit fee" for a test.  If it's a test, then its a test and no one gets any money.  If you want to charge for a test then call it a TESTING RATE.  Usually testing rates are half of what you would normally charge for a half/full day.

Please charge and set your rates accordingly and don't undercut your peers.

I hope to have cleared this up for some people.  Any questions, fire away.  I'm always happy to pay it forward.


  1. I read a thread about "rates" on MM and someone mentioned not to add prices to your site and I agree that it may hurt you for TV/Film/Advertising/Commercial, etc. because their budget may be higher than the rate on your mua site. I totally get it and agree 110%.

    My question is, when a you are contacted to do some sort of production how do you go about adjusting your rates to the budget of the production? What questions should I ask?

  2. I do agree that putting rates on your site limits you and may scare potential clients away.

    Most of the time a rate is given but if you feel that the rate is too low, always ask if its possible to do X rate. If they're unable to adjust and you still feel that the rate is too low, don't take the job.

    I also always ask "What kind of budget do you have" so I have an idea of what the budget is. I don't want to give a $500 rate if the budget is $800. If it's an $800 budget, do $750 (for film/tv do $700 with a $50 kit).

  3. Ah ha moment...! Thank you so much! :)

  4. I love this.. very helpful. Thank you!

  5. I have a question about this on some 2 years later since you posted this but what is a good half day and full day rate, and would you adjust if according to how many models or just leave it at the half or full day rate that you have

  6. Rates depend on where you live and the type of work it is. What I would charge living in NYC would never be the same rate as living in DC or Chicago. The point of a half day rate and a full day rate is that it's what you charge that certain rate no matter how many subjects you have. That's why it's half/full and not hourly.