Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ever wonder how much you should charge as a Make-Up Artist??

by: Cristina Rivera

As a make-up artist, I sometimes wonder how my fellow make-up artist family is doing in terms of surviving on an artists pay.

If you're a freelance artist, it can become increasingly difficult to compete with others who are out there working for a company that is determining their rate. Generally speaking, they start with money so they can spend the money. Unlike most freelance MUA's who do the best they can with what they have and hope to turn it into cash flow. Crossing our fingers and hoping just isn't the smartest thing to do.

There are a few things that should be taken into account when determining just how much you should charge for your services. As a courtesy to other artists it is important that you're not "undercutting". We should all be charging an average of about the same amount for your area. Again, I'm not talking about anyone other than us freelancers.

Some things that should be taken into consideration when determining your fee is your cost & expenses. Cost would be what you purchase in order to become a freelancer. Make-up, brushes, make-up sponges, Q-tips, cotton balls, eyelashes, cases, etc. You should keep a spreadsheet in your computer or some place safe and easily accessible. Whenever you purchase something for your business, make a note of what it was, how much it was, and keep your receipt for it with your spreadsheet. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, a microsoft word excel spreadsheet will due just fine.

I like to keep all of my receipts together in envelopes per quarter. So for example, for January, February & March I'll have receipts for everything I've purchased in that time. On my spreadsheet I note a brief description of what it was and the total cost.

Another thing you'll want to keep track of is Expenses. This can be working breakfasts, lunches or dinners,tolls, parking, any work done without monetary compensation etc.

Income should also be on this list. You want to be sure you document what event you worked and what you were paid (including tips). It might be helpful to note if you were paid in cash or check. You'll want to be able to account for payments if you're ever audited.

Now, personally I keep track of my mileage separately. I like to keep all of my miles (to and from) tabulated so that I can later multiply it by the state regulated rate and determine how much money actually went into that drive. Raggin' & taggin', wearin' & tearin' on my car IS a big deal and if the person who contracts me doesn't pay for it then I should be able to claim it.

Once the quarter has come to an end, I print my spreadsheet and file it in a folder with the envelope of receipts. I label my folder for the quarter. It's probably a good idea to refine your budget every quarter. Weigh your expenses, cost and mileage against your payments. If you're not at least breaking even within the first year of freelancing, you have some serious adjusting to do.

You want to be sure that you're making a profit when you're working. You're not working solely for fun, after all, it's to make money...a profit.

A helpful site you might want to wander over to is www.payscale.com . This site allows you to enter your location, number of years you've been an artist, any schooling you may have received etc and have that information sent directly to you. Every little bit helps right?!?

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