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Long-term construction timelapse:
What should your client pay for?

If you want to succeed in your first long-term timelapse project, it’s hard to determine exactly how much the client should pay you for the work.

So this is one of the most frequent questions we get from newcomers to time-lapse photography.

This is easy to understand because calculating payment correctly can help you get more projects and increase revenue.

Incorrect and inaccurate calculations can be a barrier to obtaining projects and practical skills.

10 years of experience in the industry have taught us how to charge the customers.

Let’s go inside this sensitive topic together, so that you will be able to take up projects with pleasure and earn good money.

Construction timelapse: main costs.

The costs of your project may be one-time or recurring.

One-time expenses include: equipment, duties and taxes (for example, from the purchase of equipment abroad), installation and accreditation of access to the site.

Recurring costs include construction timelapse cloud service, cellular data and technical visits to the site.

1. Equipment costs.

First, who pays for the equipment: you or the customer? ? In any case, there are pros and cons.

If you pay, you will own the equipment, but you will pay a large amount out of your own pocket.

The advantage is that in the future you will be able to reuse it in other projects.

If your client is paying, you will save your budget, but the client will probably own the equipment since the work is finished.

Don’t forget to also check what duties or taxes apply when importing to your country.

2. The cost of installation.

Who will pay for the installation of the device and equipment?

This often requires installing a pole, pouring concrete, and / or hiring a scissor lift.

You may also need to hire specialized personnel.

Often clients have access to personnel and resources that allow them to easily perform these tasks. It’s a construction company!

If you decide to complete these tasks yourself, you may have to pay for accreditation for visits or just for access to the construction site.

For help with planning your project, click here./a>.

3. Monthly expenses.

Recurring monthly expenses include subscription fees for cloud services and cellular data (Internet).

The construction timelapse cloud service allows you to include online remote monitoring of objects and project management tools in the bill for services.

Therefore, do not forget to take into account the costs of this item in the calculations of the business plan of a particular project.

Cellular data costs will often be higher than expected if left at “approximately”.

By taking the time to calculate the cost of data transmission over the Internet, you can avoid an unpleasant surprise when you receive bills for payment.

We have made calculating the cost of your cellular data very simple with our Timelapse data calculator.

4. Maintenance costs.

Despite your best plans, you will still have to deal with the law of meanness and natural phenomena.

Dusty winds, spider webs on the glass, falling debris…

Don’t be optimistic; consider maintenance costs in your calculations.

We recommend planning maintenance costs every two to three months.

One way to reduce the cost of site visits is to have a contact with person who is constantly at the construction site for minor assistance, such as cleaning the glass from dust.

5. Post-production expenses.

What services does your client expect from you?

What exactly does he need?

Stunning timelapse video at the end of the project?

Or content on a regular basis?

Client expectations are paramount.

Discuss exactly what results they expect so that you can properly budget for your post-production.

A summary of the costs.

To sum up, we can say that the costs will be on:

  • Equipment: long-term timelapse system, camera and lens.
  • Duties and taxes (depending on the country).
  • Installation: pillars, concrete and equipment; personnel; certification / accreditation of access to the construction site.
  • Monthly payments: the subscription for the software, and cellular data (Internet).
  • Maintenance: quarterly visits and unexpected maintenance needs.
  • Post-production.

Newbie’s 10 mistakes in construction timelapse that photographers should avoid.

Now you know your expenses, what should you include in the price of the work?

Once you have calculated your expenses, you can make an informed decision about how you will charge your client.

There are three things you should think about. You get paid…

  • Every month or a larger one-time payment?
  • All-inclusive fee or basic fee + additional options?
  • Advance payment for equipment or count this into the monthly payment?/li>

Take the payment from your client on a monthly basis.

A common mistake for a newbie is that he charges the client a one-time fee for all maintenance on the terms of construction.

While it really makes sense to charge this way for short-term timelapse projects …

… the range and benefits of a long-term construction timelapse are quite different.

What to do if the project is running for a long time?

You can wait months or years before you can charge a fee for the project.

Meanwhile, you will still be paying maintenance costs!

By charging a subscription fee for permanent services, if the project is running for a long time, you actually get more money!

This project will remain a source of income for you as long as it continues.

With a timelapse camera kit such as Timebox Camera, you provide useful tools such as, for example, site monitoring.

In terms of benefits for your client, he has access to site updates and other progress monitoring tools in an instant.

Clients can resolve legal disputes by checking claims watching photo records.

And the content you provide is something they can show their sponsors and shareholders.

It’s worth it if they keep paying for it.

“All inclusive” or “Base + additional features”?

Charging a monthly fee for all services makes it easier for you and your client.

However, a large monthly fee for the initial offer can be an obstacle to getting the project.

Another approach is to charge a monthly base fee as well as additional fees if customers choose certain features.

Additions may include (but are not limited to):

  • Regular content in the timelapse (for example, a mini-video in a timelapse update once a month).
  • Shooting at faster intervals.
  • Frequent downloads.
  • Best camera and lens.
  • Other footage-B-roll (additional frames used to support or add depth and context to the main frames), aerial photography, interviews, etc.

You will have to decide which of these two pricing models will work best for your project.

JPEG vs. RAW: which photo format is best for a long-term timelapse

Should you charge for the equipment in advance?

If your client pays for the equipment upfront, you can avoid this initial blow to your budget.

Of course, they usually own all the equipment, but not always.

Even so, if you want to avoid reducing the market value of your camera and lens, you can see this as a bonus.

But what if you want to own the equipment so that you can use it for future projects??

In this case, you will want to buy the equipment in advance yourself and distribute this cost between your monthly maintenance fee.

Or, if you’re feeling very smart, you can link hardware costs to a monthly maintenance fee…

…and also require your client to pay three or four months in advance.

This can give you a cash cushion to buy the equipment in advance, and guarantee ownership so you can use it in future projects.

Construction timelapse: maximize your income.

The most important thing to remember

  • First, determine the costs so that you can include them in the price for the work.
  • Charge a monthly fee so as not to go down if the project goes overtime.
  • Decide who will pay for the equipment (and how).

Follow these principles and you will be successful on your way to managing the profitable business of construction timelapse.

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