How much does a freelance animator make?

How much does a freelance animator make?

How much does a freelance animator make? Depends on who you ask. Here’s how to earn what you deserve.

 
According to The Animation Guild, an animator can make up to $2000 per week. Calculating how much you can make as a freelance animator can get complicated. How do you know how much to charge your clients? Should you charge per hour, or per project? And most importantly, are you making as much as you could be as a freelance animator?
 
Before you start charging, you need to get to grips with your production schedule. This raises an important point…

How much does a freelance animator make? Depends on your production schedule.


Freelance animators are highly creative individuals who value flexibility and independence. However flexible your hours are, know your schedule. Sit down and write out your production process from beginning to end. Next, calculate how long you usually spend on each stage in the process. To make this as accurate as possible, compare your timings on previous projects. It’s also important to note down any obstacles that slowed down your production process. How will your rates cover obstacles such as these? For example, your client requests an alteration that will set production back by a few days. Is that included in your cost?
Studio vs Freelance Animation Calendar

To earn well as a freelance animator, align your costs with your production schedule. Keeping your schedule accurate will ensure you charge your worth. It will also help you justify your costs to any sceptical clients.

What should you be looking for in your clients?

Check out our blogpost here to find out why you should pick your clients carefully.

How much does a freelance animator make? Depends on your production schedule.


Freelance animators are highly creative individuals who value flexibility and independence. However flexible your hours are, know your schedule. Sit down and write out your production process from beginning to end. Next, calculate how long you usually spend on each stage in the process. To make this as accurate as possible, compare your timings on previous projects. It’s also important to note down any obstacles that slowed down your production process. How will your rates cover obstacles such as these? For example, your client requests an alteration that will set production back by a few days. Is that included in your cost?

To earn well as a freelance animator, align your costs with your production schedule. Keeping your schedule accurate will ensure you charge your worth. It will also help you justify your costs to any sceptical clients.

What should you be looking for in your clients?

Check out our blogpost here to find out why you should pick your clients carefully.


Studio vs Freelance Animation Calendar

Charge for your programs


How much does a freelancer make - billing programs
Many freelance animators don’t consider their program subscriptions when calculating their rates. Don’t forget that your rates are made up of the tools you use as well as the work you put in! If a subscription to AdobeSuite* is costing you, include it in your price! As you learn new skills as a freelance animator, you can use this to purchase and learn new programs. Check out our article on animation programs every freelancer should know.
Many freelance animators don’t consider their program subscriptions when calculating their rates. Don’t forget that your rates are made up of the tools you use as well as the work you put in! If a subscription to AdobeSuite* is costing you, include it in your price! As you learn new skills as a freelance animator, you can use this to purchase and learn new programs. Check out our article on animation programs every freelancer should know.
How much does a freelancer make - billing programs

Finding your rates


The answer to ‘how much does a freelance animator make?’ depends how you identify your rates. Different freelance animators have different ways of dealing with this problem. Here are the pros and cons of two of the main methods:

Charging per hour


Charging per hour can be challenging. You’ll have to find a price that reflects your work, whilst still being reasonable for your clients. Experienced freelance animators suggest doubling your hourly studio rate. If you’ve never worked in an animation studio before, the average hourly rate of an animator is $30. For some animators, it can be easier to charge a daily rate than an hourly one. To do this, simply multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours you work in an average day.

Pros


  • Flexible for animation projects which change scope 
  • Looks lower, attracting more clients 
  • Easy to calculate — just keep track of your hours

Cons


  • Earn less per hour on shorter projects 
  • Difficult to set a clear deadline for your client 
  • Limits your payment — there are only so many hours in a day

Charging per project


Charging per project can often be simpler to calculate than charging per hour. To make sure your prices reflect your labour, use previous projects as reference. This method is particularly good for larger animation projects. Charging per project often allows you to make more than an hourly rate. For example, you charge $400 for an animation project that takes you four hours. Congratulations, you’ve been paid $100 per hour, twice the rate outlined by The Animation Guild.
 
Many freelance also offer a discount for larger projects. This encourages high-paying clients to return. It also builds strong client relationships, an essential investment for the future.

Pros


  • Clear budget outline
  • More flexibility than an hourly rate 
  • Opportunity to earn more per hour

Cons


  • Lack of room for errors
  • Smaller projects can pay more when charger per hour
  • Difficult to calculate without prior experience

Summary: How much does a freelance animator make?


So, how much does a freelance animator make? Obviously, it depends how you charge your clients. Rather than plucking prices out of the air, take the time to work out your costs. The better you know your production schedule, the less chance of underselling. Knowing your production process back to front allows you to appreciate the hard work you do. Calculate your rates carefully, and make sure your clients appreciate it too!

How much does a freelance animator make, a summary

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Want to know how to succeed as a freelance animator?


Check out our blog article here on how to smash the freelance game.




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