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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've been asked to provide consultation for a series of documentaries on a subject about which I write. We've got a meeting scheduled and now I have to work out how much to charge for my time. I've never worked with a big US producer like this and have no clue what the going rates might be.

Anyone have any experience in this? Are there anything like union rates for this kind of thing?

Thanks in advance for insights and advice!
 

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The best way to figure this out is to start making phone calls. Emails won't work because daily consulting rates are a competitive thing and I don't think anyone would want to go on record.

I own a small consulting business focused on high-end communications with relief groups, governments, some military etc. (think war zones and humanitarian disaster areas)

With groups like this time is always of the essence and money can be no object.

So, follow the ancient rule of consultants, "If you don't ask for it, you will not get it."

Whatever figure you come up with in your mind -- double it. Many times you will get that but if they demure at all just treat it as an opening bid and start negotiating.

Similarly, if they say anything about what they want to pay --- double it and start negotiating. If they have said ahead of time that they want to pay this much and no more, then decide if that is reasonable for you, or walk away. If they won't budge on the daily rate then look to your expenses and try for airline upgrades, hotel upgrades, increased per-diems. Remember, there is no shame in asking for more. If you don't ask, you don't get.

Consulting is a business where the value of your services is not in what you are asked to do, but in the special knowledge and quality, you can bring to bear on their problems.

Unless you are desperate for income be more than ready to stand up, say "Thank-you", and walk out.

Nail down the scope of the work, how your consultation will be judged, and how and when you will be paid. Get all of that in a formal agreement, especially the time-to-pay bit. Some people will try to work on a 90-day invoice system. Do not accept that. The best is electronic payment on the presentation of the invoice.

You must have a written agreement. No question.

If the organization is large, it might have its own standard consultant agreement. Those are usually fine but if you have even the slightest doubt then find your own lawyer and have it checked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Brevoort - this is really helpful, thank you. There's definitely a cultural difference between Europe and North America when it comes to negotiating so your advice is doubly useful.
 
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