Like in many other creative industries, the process of determining the price of architectural renders might be more complicated than it appears. Unlike other business fields where you're selling items at a predetermined price, creative work is harder to charge for, since you actually don't have many “production” costs.
It's clear that the equipment you're using for rendering must be paid off, but it's hard to determine the value of your time and efforts.
The most important thing is that you look at the situation from all angles because a price that is too low or too high can cause you to lose clients. Since there are many delicate factors which can help you define the actual price of your work, we’ve selected only a few essential ones to make the process as simple as possible for you.
One of the critical factors for setting a standard price for your work is what your clients are most interested in – the quality. If your portfolio includes lots of hyper-realistic renders with plenty of details, it's clear that you can demand a higher price.
On the other hand, if you are at the beginning of your career, you can't set your standards too high, but you also shouldn't work for a minimal price per hour, because it will look suspicious to more serious clients and you’ll spend hours of your time working for pocket change.
Now when we explained the starting point, we have to admit that it's hard to estimate the actual quality of your work. To help you find your place in the coordinate system of reality, we recommend that you post your work on various creative websites and let the visitors estimate the quality of your renders.
Besides, you should see how much you can earn based on the quality and price ratio of renders done by other visualizers.
As the most commonly used factor for determining the price of creative work is the invested time, especially in the world of freelancing, we mustn't neglect this model of valuation. We have to admit that the valuation of the creative work per hour isn't the best solution in the field of architectural rendering.
Since there is a significant difference between clients' expectations and your desire for perfection, you'll invest lots of time into details which aren't valuable to your clients.
For example, if you are working on a visualization of interior design, you might invest time in modeling a vase from the corner of the room, and chances are that your client won't even notice your efforts.
To estimate the actual price per hour, you also should think broader and check if you need that much time to finish a visualization. Besides the time invested in pre-production and post-production, there is also the time needed for rendering.
If you have a fast computer and advanced rendering equipment, the process of rendering will last shorter, but if you don't have a rendering farm, the process of computer rendering can take a whole lot longer.
With that in mind, we'll say once again that the invested time isn't as relevant for estimating the price of your renders as you might think.
Your equipment significantly affects the price of your renders. If you wonder why, we'll explain that through a few crucial steps.
Stronger computer > Wider selection of software > Simpler process of rendering > Higher quality of the end product
Technology development brought the wider selection of rendering tools and software. The latest versions of pre-production software (3D modeling), software for visualization and post-production require the latest models of computers and accessories.
Since there are a lot of costs involved in using such equipment and programs, it's sensible that you want to pay off all you have invested.
On the other hand, if you are using free versions or student versions of 3D modeling and rendering software, your client will notice that you aren't using original programs, so you can't demand a high price for your work.
Since each new version of 3D modeling and rendering software includes lots of new perks, the entire process of rendering will be simplified, but the end product, the render, will also be better and more realistic.
Another problem related to this job is the clients themselves. If you don't follow the instructions, no matter how weird they are, a client might get upset and quit working with you. However, if you follow the instructions perfectly, but the client’s sense of aesthetics is questionable, that might have a negative impact on your portfolio and cause a reduced number of further engagements.
Since the primary goal is to make an agreement which will satisfy both you and your client, you have to learn how to persuade a client that your work is good. If you have enough arguments, the client will adopt your idea sooner or later.
Successful engagement with clients will remarkably increase the price of your work.
The inexhaustible circle of factors for valuation always comes down to one thing – the quality. If you are skilled enough to produce the best possible renders using outdated equipment and rendering software, then nothing can stop you from putting a high price tag on your work.
Since we are back at the beginning, instead of spending thousands of dollars on the latest equipment and expensive software, you should invest all your savings in the process of upgrading your skills. If you are good enough, offers will arrive continuously, even if you use modest and more cost-effective tools.
Recommendations are the best advertisement, which further means that you can earn much more if you are truly interested in what you are doing.
The lack of self-esteem can also make you lower your labor costs, so that's why accurately estimating your actual skill level is so important!