Event / Wedding Pricing Structure?

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consultant1027 Forum Member • Posts: 91
Event / Wedding Pricing Structure?

I do aerial (drone) photography and I'm starting to get increased interest from Event Photographers that want to subcontract me to do the aerial footage for weddings and events. One of the challenges though is, typically they don't need me for the whole event. For example, I might be onsite only 2 hours (sometimes less) to do some filming right before the ceremony, sometimes during, and then for a period after. They take my raw footage and edit it into the larger wedding video that includes ground footage of the entire event.

My challenge is that the amount of pre-planning is really not that much different than a traditional wedding/event gig. I need to meet with the client onsite (or their wedding coordinator) to determine a shoot plan, measure heights of nearby trees and buildings with my laser, coordinate with the traditional photographer/videographer, and usually do a test flight plan. This is all in addition to the regular drone stuff like seeing if the location is in controlled airspace and if so applying with the FAA for authorization to fly there.

So the pre-event site inspection/meeting including travel time, and various emails and phone calls to all the involved parties leading up to the event can easily take up 2-3 hours of my time. The actual day of the event, if I were onsite 2 hours and travel time roundtrip is say 1 hour, then that's another 3 hours. So a typical event I've got 5-6 hours total time invested.

Other events they might want me there for a longer period (not as common) so I might be onsite 5 hours instead of 2. In that case I'd have 7-8 hours total time invested. This is all assuming I'm not doing any post production which in some cases I am.

So what's the best pricing structure, or what do people typically do? Here's a few ways I thought about doing it:

(a) Charge a high hourly rate with a minimum number of hours. So say $250/hr, minimum two hours. So then the first example event would cost $500 for 5 hours of work so I net $100/hr. Problem with that is the event gets very expensive the longer I'm onsite. Good for me, bad for the client because the pre-planning doesn't take more time. I'm wondering if this is actually the most common structure with most Pros where they look at the pre-planning/coordination as not varying much between events and just factor it in as an overhead cost?

(b) List out separate line item charges as 1. Base Fee to cover typical pre-planning work. If say I valued my time at $150/hr, and there was 2.5 hrs average pre-planning/coordination/site inspection work, then my base fee would be $375. THEN, add on a line item for an hourly rate for how long I'm at the job site. Say it's also $150/hr. So then that's another $300 for 2 hours onsite at the event = total $675. So I always make a constant hourly rate and the client doesn't get gouged for having a longer event.

(c) Basically do (b) above but just quote a fixed "package price" This seems it wouldn't work very well as I think a lot of clients are going to want to know what your hourly rate is for comparison to other providers. So essentially you'd have to explain the pricing structure in (b) to them anyway?

What do people do?

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