During the Q&A session in every conference or lecture there is always someone asking “how much can I charge for a 3D model? and for a rendering?”
There is no easy answer. I would say that whatever number you put in your quotation must be reasonable and easily defendable from objections and critics.
The main parameter for a fair price is your experience which, by the way, is not easy to prove in a traditional way.
Experience could be measured in terms of time and/or quality. Time by itself doesn’t make you any more experienced than a rookie: you can spend years using the same cheap workflow without evolving, which only makes you an old and below-the-average digital designer. Quality by itself has more value than time, yet quality alone doesn’t allow to defend a higher hourly fee: who would pay lot of money for a good job made by a self-taught student?
Being self-taught is not an issue if you have a strong skillset. Anyway there are some clients (mostly muggle clients) that prefer to work with people who have some certification from a credible institution. But remember: you might have attended some 3D courses and collected a bunch of diplomas and yet this is no guarantee that you have good skills.
All the people I know that I would call “Digital Design Professionals” have that spark that led them to study 24/7 for years, and they still have it so they’re constantly updating and evolving their skills. And yet many of them had to take some certifications to convince
A proper way to show your skills is a good portfolio.
My hint for a good portfolio is finding the perfect balance between mainstream and original contents: mainstream contents are good for muggle clients who have no clue on our job and are only interested in a good result; original contents (I would say poetic contents) are perfect for differentiating your work from the rest, for example pointing out the perfect topology of a 3D model or adding narrative to an image or showing the client the process behind a perfect material.
Now, how much can I charge for a 3D model? or a rendering?
Assuming you’ve read all the previous text (which is challenging, I know) you can now download the excel file and do the math.
Of course you will have to set few parameters, the most important being your daily fee: at that point you might want to go back to this post and read the text you skipped 🙂
PS-1: yes, “muggle” comes from Harry Potter, I’m a fan
PS-2: you might want to check my next post on “How can I be sure they’ll pay”, stay tuned