5 Practical Steps to Negotiating Fair Video Editor Rates
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Research current industry rates
  2. Evaluate your experience and skills
  3. Determine your rate structure
  4. Prepare to articulate your value
  5. Practice negotiation techniques

So, you've honed your video editing skills and you're ready to turn your passion into a successful career. The journey ahead is exciting, but one question lingers — how do you negotiate fair video editor rates? Don't worry, we've got your back! This blog will guide you through five practical steps to help you navigate the process of negotiating your rates like a pro.

Research Current Industry Rates

Before you even think about negotiating, it's vital to have a clear picture of what the industry is paying. Think of it as knowing the lay of the land before setting out on a journey. It's not about charging the highest rate possible, it's about charging what's fair for your skills and experience. So, let's break down how you can research current industry rates.

Get a Grip on Average Rates

Your first stop should be to determine the average rates for video editors. This gives you a baseline to work from. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Online research: Websites such as Glassdoor, Payscale, and Indeed are great resources for salary information. You can find out what companies are paying their video editors and adjust your rate accordingly.
  • Networking: Connect with other video editors in your niche. They can provide valuable insights into what they charge and why.

Consider the Scope of the Project

Not every project is created equal. Some might require more time and resources than others. When researching rates, consider the kind of projects you'll be taking on. Are they short clips for social media or full-length feature films? Your rate should reflect the complexity and time commitment of each project. For example, you might charge more for a feature film compared to a short promotional video.

Factor in Your Location

Where you live plays a big part in how to negotiate video editor rates. Rates in cities like New York or Los Angeles are typically higher than in smaller towns. Make sure to adjust your rate to reflect the cost of living in your area. Don't forget to consider whether you're working remotely or on-site, as this can also impact your rates.

Understanding the current industry rates is the first step in negotiating fair video editor rates. You're well on your way to making sure your hard-earned skills are rewarded fairly. Stay tuned for the next step: Evaluating your experience and skills.

Evaluate Your Experience and Skills

Now that you've done your homework on industry rates, it's time to take a long, hard look at your own skills. Remember, the value you bring as a video editor is unique. You're not just selling a service — you're selling your creative vision, technical skills, and industry experience. Let's explore how to evaluate these factors.

Assess Your Technical Skills

Video editing is a technical field that requires a wide variety of skills. Ask yourself:

  • What software can you use proficiently? Whether it's Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Avid Media Composer, your proficiency in these tools adds to your value as a video editor.
  • What types of videos are you comfortable editing? Maybe you're a whiz at cutting together fast-paced music videos. Or perhaps you excel at crafting compelling narratives for documentaries. Each type of video requires a distinct set of editing skills.

Reflect on Your Creative Vision

As a video editor, you're not just a technician — you're a storyteller. Your creative vision can make the difference between a forgettable video and one that captivates audiences. When evaluating your skills, consider:

  • What's your style? If a client were to look at several videos you've edited, would they see a unique creative voice? A distinctive style can set you apart from other editors.
  • How do your videos resonate with audiences? It's one thing to create a video that looks good. It's another to create one that moves people. If your edits consistently engage viewers, that's a big plus.

Take Into Account Your Industry Experience

Finally, don't forget to factor in your industry experience. This isn't just about how long you've been editing videos — it's about the breadth and depth of your work. Have you edited videos for various industries? Have you worked on different types of projects, from commercials to feature films? Your varied experience can make you more versatile, increasing your value to clients.

By evaluating your experience and skills, you're not just preparing to negotiate video editor rates — you're building confidence in the value you offer. This is a crucial step in standing your ground in any negotiation. So, give yourself a pat on the back for getting this far — and get ready for the next step: determining your rate structure.

Determine Your Rate Structure

Now that you've evaluated your skills and experience, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How much should you charge for your services? The answer depends on the rate structure you choose. Here are some common options, along with factors to consider for each one.

Hourly Rate

Charging by the hour is a common approach, especially for freelancers. This can be a good option if the scope of the project is unclear or likely to change. When setting an hourly rate, take into account:

  • Your estimated hours: How many hours do you expect to spend on a typical project? Remember to include not just editing time, but also time for communication, revisions, and other tasks.
  • Industry standards: What's the going hourly rate for video editors with your level of experience and skill? As we discussed earlier, research is key.

Project Rate

A project rate is a flat fee for a complete project. This can be appealing to clients, as they know upfront what the cost will be. But it requires you to accurately estimate the time and resources the project will need. Keep these factors in mind:

  • Scope of the project: What does the project involve? Is it a simple edit, or does it require complex effects and animation? The more involved the project, the higher the rate should be.
  • Revisions: How many rounds of revisions are included in the project rate? Be clear about this upfront to avoid misunderstandings later on.

Retainer Rate

A retainer is a pre-paid amount for a set number of hours each month. This can provide steady income, but it requires a long-term commitment. If you're considering a retainer, think about:

  • Availability: Do you have enough time to commit to a retainer agreement? Remember, other clients will still need your services too.
  • Client's needs: Does the client have ongoing video editing needs that justify a retainer? If not, a project or hourly rate might be a better fit.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to how to negotiate video editor rates. The best rate structure for you depends on your skills, experience, and the specifics of the project. But by considering these factors, you'll be well prepared to make an informed decision.

Prepare to Articulate Your Value

Once you've decided on your rate structure, the next step is to prepare to articulate your value. Why should a client choose you over another video editor? And why should they pay your rates? Here's how to make your case.

Show Your Unique Skills

Perhaps you're a whiz at special effects, or you have a knack for storytelling that sets your edits apart. Maybe you're experienced in a specific industry or type of video, like corporate videos or documentaries. List out your unique skills and experiences, and be ready to explain how they benefit the client. For example:

  • Expertise in special effects: "My background in animation allows me to create impressive special effects that can make your video stand out from the crowd."
  • Industry-specific experience: "Having edited numerous corporate videos, I understand the unique needs of this genre and can deliver a polished, professional result."

Highlight Your Past Successes

Have you worked on successful projects in the past? Maybe a video you edited got a lot of views or won an award. Or perhaps a client gave you a great testimonial. Use these successes to demonstrate your value. For instance:

  • Successful projects: "The last music video I edited got over a million views on YouTube."
  • Client testimonials: "One of my clients said I was 'the best video editor they'd ever worked with'."

Explain Your Process

Finally, be ready to explain your process. How do you approach a project? How do you ensure quality and meet deadlines? This can give clients confidence in your professionalism and reliability. For example:

  • Quality assurance: "I review each edit multiple times and use professional software to ensure the highest quality."
  • Meeting deadlines: "I use a detailed project schedule to keep everything on track and ensure I meet or beat deadlines."

Remember, when it comes to how to negotiate video editor rates, it's not just about the number. It's about demonstrating your value to the client. So be ready to articulate your unique skills, highlight your past successes, and explain your process. This way, you can convince clients that you're worth every penny.

Practice Negotiation Techniques

Now that you're equipped with the reasons why a client should pay your rates, it's time to put on your negotiation hat. Here are some practical techniques that can help you navigate the discussion and secure a fair rate for your work.

Be Confident, Not Apologetic

Confidence is key when it comes to negotiating. You know your worth and the value you bring, so there's no need to be apologetic about your rates. Keep your tone professional and assertive, yet cordial. Remember:

  • Don't undersell: "I provide high-quality edits that can elevate your video."
  • Don't apologize: "My rates reflect the quality and expertise I bring to each project."

Listen and Respond to Concerns

During the negotiation, the client may express concerns or objections to your rate. It's important to listen carefully and respond calmly and professionally. Try to address their concerns with facts and examples from your past work. For instance:

  • Cost concerns: "While I understand budget constraints, my rates are competitive within the industry. The high-quality edits I deliver can boost viewer engagement and, in turn, your ROI."
  • Experience concerns: "While I'm relatively new to the industry, I've already worked on successful projects. I'd be happy to share examples of my work."

Seek Win-Win Solutions

Finally, aim for a win-win outcome. If the client can't meet your rate, consider other ways they could add value. Could they offer you a longer contract, for instance, or refer you to other clients? Remember:

  • Alternative solutions: "If budget is a concern, I'd be open to a longer contract. This way, we can spread out the cost over a longer period."
  • Referrals: "If you're happy with my work, I'd appreciate any referrals you could make. This would help me build my portfolio and network."

When it comes to how to negotiate video editor rates, these techniques can help you secure a fair rate while maintaining good client relationships. So practice them, and be ready to negotiate with confidence, listen and respond to concerns, and seek win-win solutions. After all, you're not just a video editor—you're also a business person.

If you're looking to improve your negotiation skills and ensure you're getting the best rates as a video editor, check out Ansh Mehra's workshop 'Editing Workflow for YouTube Videos.' This workshop not only covers the editing process but also provides valuable insights on how to negotiate fair rates for your work. Don't miss out on this opportunity to level up your video editing career!