The short answer is no one is really sure because no one does business that way.
As of today, the federal government has no official definition for how much a videographer earns. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 25 percent of all workers in the U.S. earn less than $20,000 a year.
There are dozens of different types of jobs that pay a single paycheque, like restaurant workers or cashiers, but there’s an estimated one million U.S. workers that, without a formal legal contract, work as independent contractors.
The freelance economy has seen rapid growth over the last decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2009 and 2012, employment in the freelancing industry doubled — from about 1.3 million to 1.6 million.
In June, I asked six freelance workers, ranging from a recent graduate looking to build her resume to an entrepreneur looking to make a name for herself, if they earned anywhere near the federal minimum wage. We’ve reached out to some of these writers to find out what they’re making (or less) so we can find out whether it’s safe to charge your freelance gigs. (Also on HuffPost: 6 things every freelancer wants you to know.)
This guide is based on my conversations with the six freelance photographers, along with my own experience working freelance. Here’s what they said:
1. What is the hourly wage you charge for your jobs?
“There are people that come in and say, ‘Well, I’m working for you as my hourly rate. I work a couple hours a day,’ and that’s the way I work, so I do it that way.”
For example, you might have this business model: You book a specific set of jobs — for example, a wedding photography shoot — and your first fee goes towards paying photographers for their time and talent. Then, you’ll charge an hourly rate. For example, if a client comes in and pays $100 for photos and videos, you charge $30 per hour.
2. What about your commissions?
“You’re not charging anything for work that you don’t do. If you want to do wedding photography, I’m happy to do that. That’s your time. You can take two hours of my time at the wedding, as long as I’m working my hours for you.”
For wedding photographers, it’s a bit of a black art, as the majority of our clients
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