Calculating a fee

The best research you can do about coming up with a fee for a specific project is to ask the project planners how much the budget is, or at least how much the fees part of the budget is. This will indicate how much money is involved in the whole project and can give an initial indication as to how much you might expect, or could argue for.

Large organisations may have a ‘per diem’ (daily subsistence level) rate already worked out, and you can ask for what this is if they’re not forthcoming. As ever, negotiate your fee and any other costs rather than accepting a budget as a given.

To see how much you need to earn, consider the following:

  • Overheads – studio costs, travel, administration costs, planning fee, cancellation fee (and under what conditions: 24 hours notice, 48 hours notice etc could be set at different rates), accommodation or subsistence if you are away from home
  • London Market Allowance or London Weighting – this is an extra you can argue to add on to your rate for operating in London if you don’t live there, and can range from 7-8% on top of a usual rate. Conversely, if you’ll be working outside of London, you may consider reducing your rates accordingly as part of a negotiation.
  • Profit – this will depend on your experience; how long you have been practising and what direct experience you have in this kind of project

Remember that different projects may require different rates – what is the organisation, how well is it funded, are you willing to undertake some initial research or planning for free on the chance that funding might be applied for?

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