7 Proven Tips for Negotiating the Best Animator Rates
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Establish your worth
  2. Research industry standards
  3. Prepare for the negotiation
  4. Be confident and assertive
  5. Practice patience
  6. Always negotiate upfront
  7. Consider the project scope

When it comes to animation, talent is only half the story. The other half lies in knowing how to negotiate animator rates effectively. Mastering this skill can make the difference between just scraping by and thriving as a professional animator. Let's dive into the seven proven strategies to negotiate the best animator rates.

Establish your worth

First things first—you need to know your worth before even thinking about negotiating. So, how do you establish your worth as an animator? It's simpler than you might think.

  • Know your skills: What are the unique skills you bring to the table? Are you great at 3D animation or do you specialize in character design? Knowing your skills allows you to set a baseline for your rates.
  • Track your experience: The more projects you've successfully completed, the more valuable your skills become. If you've worked with well-known brands or on high-profile projects, don't shy away from mentioning this during negotiations.
  • Understand your value: Your value isn't just about the animations you create; it's also about the problems you solve for clients. Do your animations increase engagement, boost sales, or improve brand recognition? If so, these are powerful bargaining chips.

So, next time you're wondering how to negotiate animator rates, start by establishing your worth. Remember, you're not just selling animations—you're selling solutions. And that makes you a valuable asset to any project.

Research industry standards

Understanding the going rates for animation work in the industry is a critical step on your path to negotiate like a pro. This knowledge provides a benchmark from which you can negotiate your rates. But how do you go about researching industry standards?

  • Online resources: There are many websites that provide information about typical animator pay rates. For instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides data for various roles in the animation industry.
  • Networking: Connecting with other animators and professionals in the industry can give you an insight into the current market rates. Joining online forums and attending industry events are great ways to build your network.
  • Job postings: Keep an eye on job listings for animators. Often, these postings will include a pay rate or a salary range, giving you a clear idea of what employers are willing to pay.

Once you have this information, you can confidently present your rates to potential clients. Remember, knowledge is power—especially when you're figuring out how to negotiate animator rates.

Prepare for the negotiation

Preparation is key to a successful negotiation. But what should you focus on when preparing to negotiate animator rates? Here are a few key elements:

  • Your Portfolio: Your portfolio showcases your skills and talent. Before entering any negotiation, make sure your portfolio is up-to-date and compelling. Remember, a strong portfolio can justify higher rates.
  • Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): What makes your work unique? What can you offer that others can't? Identifying your USP and communicating it effectively can give you an advantage in negotiations.
  • Your Bottom Line: Know the lowest rate you're willing to accept. This is your bottom line. If a client isn't willing to meet this rate, you need to be prepared to walk away.

Understanding these elements will not only help you feel more confident but also ensure that you're able to effectively articulate your value to potential clients. So when you ask yourself how to negotiate animator rates, remember that good preparation can make all the difference.

Be confident and assertive

Confidence and assertiveness—these two traits can make a world of difference when you're negotiating animator rates. But how can you put them into practice?

  • Show Confidence: Confidence starts with believing in your skills and the value you bring. When you negotiate, remember all the hard work you've put into honing your craft. This belief will shine through and make your negotiation more effective.
  • Speak Assertively: Being assertive doesn't mean being aggressive or rude. Instead, it's about clearly and respectfully stating your needs and expectations. For instance, if a client offers a rate that's below your bottom line, don't be afraid to politely but firmly decline.
  • Stay Calm: Negotiations can sometimes be stressful. However, it's important to maintain your cool. Keep your emotions in check and focus on the facts at hand. After all, you're a professional, and you deserve to be paid accordingly.

So, next time you're wondering how to negotiate animator rates, remember: confidence and assertiveness can be your secret weapons. Don't be shy to show your value and stand up for what you're worth.

Practice patience

When it comes to learning how to negotiate animator rates, one key skill that often gets overlooked is patience. But why is patience so important in rate negotiations?

  • Allows for reflection: Patience gives you time to reflect on the offer at hand. Rushing into a decision can sometimes lead to accepting a rate that's less than ideal. But with patience, you can take the time to consider all aspects of the offer before making a decision.
  • Shows professionalism: Being patient during negotiations also shows your professionalism. It demonstrates that you're willing to take the time necessary to reach a fair agreement, rather than rushing through the process.
  • Leads to better outcomes: Lastly, being patient often leads to better outcomes in negotiations. By not rushing, you have the opportunity to explore other options, propose counteroffers, and ultimately agree on a rate that better matches your needs and skills.

So, the next time you're figuring out how to negotiate animator rates, remember: patience isn't just a virtue—it's a negotiation tactic. Slow down, take your time, and you might just secure a better rate for your animation work.

Always negotiate upfront

Here's a tip that might save you some headaches down the line: always negotiate your rates upfront. But why is this so important when you're trying to figure out how to negotiate animator rates?

  • Clear Expectations: Negotiating upfront sets clear expectations for both you and the client. There's no confusion about what you'll be paid for your work, which can help avoid disputes or dissatisfaction later on.
  • Professional Approach: It also demonstrates a professional approach to your work. By discussing rates upfront, you're showing that you value your work and expect others to do the same.
  • Financial Planning: Another benefit of negotiating upfront is that it allows for better financial planning. Knowing what you'll be earning can help you manage your budget more effectively, reducing stress and maintaining your focus on creating high-quality animations.

In short, when you're learning how to negotiate animator rates, don't shy away from discussing money right from the start. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but it's a crucial step in ensuring that you're appropriately compensated for your work. So, take a deep breath, put on your negotiating hat, and remember: you've got this!

Consider the project scope

When you're trying to figure out how to negotiate animator rates, the scope of the project is a factor you can't afford to overlook. Let's explore why it's so important:

  • Time Investment: The complexity and scale of the project directly influence the amount of time you'll need to commit. A 30-second commercial animation will require far less time than an episode of a cartoon series. Understand this time investment and factor it into your rate.
  • Skills Required: Not all animation projects are created equal. Some might require specialized skills or software. If the project you're negotiating requires a unique skill set that few others possess, don't hesitate to factor that into your rate.
  • Project Impact: Is this project for a small start-up or a renowned brand? Will it be shown at a local event or broadcast nationally? The potential impact and exposure of the project can play a part in your negotiation. Bigger exposure often warrants higher rates.

So, as you're learning how to negotiate animator rates, remember to take the time to thoroughly understand the project scope. It's not just about what you're creating, but also the time, skills, and impact involved in the project. When you consider these factors, you'll be better prepared to negotiate a rate that truly reflects your worth.

If you found the "7 Proven Tips for Negotiating the Best Animator Rates" blog post helpful and are interested in learning more about working as a freelancer, check out the workshop 'How to Work as a Freelancer and Get Clients' by Ginevra Grigolo. This workshop will provide you with valuable insights and advice on how to navigate the freelance world and attract clients to your animation services.