Billing Advice for Video Projects

Billing Advice for Video Projects

Every video project should be split into progress payments.  By splitting the financial payments across progress you ensure protection for your financial security.  Typically, I recommend the use up to five, equal payments. If project’s have extremely short timelines or do not involve a full-service production (such as shooting only) then adjust your payment schedule.

  • Project Initiation — Once the project scope and budget is agreed upon, a deposit for 20% of the project should be submitted.
  • Preproduction — This stage encompasses the bulk of project planning.  Tie a progress payment to the deliver of the script or other relevant preproduction tasks. Issue a progress payment upon delivery of final preproduction items to the client.
  • Production — I recommend the submittal of an invoice once shooting begins.  This is typically the most expensive stage of a project.  Be sure that you have received some form of payment before production begins.  Do not hand off project footage until at least 50% of a project’s budget is in hand.
  • Postproduction — Once editing begins, another progress payment should be issued.  Some choose to watermark projects until at least 66% of a project’s budget is received.
  • Closeout — A final bill that reflects any change orders should be generated at the completion of a project. Be sure that your agreement states that you retain certain rights to a production until payment is received in full.
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About the author

I'm a visual storyteller exploring the fusion of photography and video. I'm also a husband and father.

View all articles by Richard Harrington

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