Author Topic: How much to charge for LX design  (Read 2645 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
How much to charge for LX design
« on: Apr 20, 2011, 01:28 pm »
A friend/past colleague, who runs a year-old non-profit childrens theater, is putting a show into a festival. She approached me about doing her LX design but I'm unsure how much payment I should ask for. I have about 15 shows of experience doing Lx design or assisting in LX design. I have a 4 hour Load-in/Program, and plenty of prework if I take the gig.



  • SM Expert
  • ****
  • Posts: 122
    • View Profile
Re: How much to charge for LX design
« Reply #1 on: Apr 20, 2011, 07:47 pm »
I'd ask her what her budget is for a lighting designer, and see if that amount is worth it to you to do the job. Alternately, determine what you wish to be paid, and request that.  Lighting designer pay in children's and community theater in my area ranges from $300-$5000, all with about a one week tech commitment (give or take).  Many of the designers I work with do it for the love of theater, so a fair wage isn't really their objective, but at the same time they want to be paid something to emphasise that their work does have value. 



  • New to Town
  • **
  • Posts: 24
    • View Profile
  • Experience: Professional
Re: How much to charge for LX design
« Reply #2 on: Apr 21, 2011, 12:29 am »
thanks, great response.

Mac Calder

  • Forum Moderators
  • *****
  • Posts: 971
  • Gender: Male
  • Plan for the future, live for the now
    • View Profile
  • Affiliations: Live Performance Australia / Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance
  • Current Gig: Technical Director
  • Experience: Former SM
Re: How much to charge for LX design
« Reply #3 on: Apr 21, 2011, 06:49 am »
Quoting on a job like this is very much a "How long is a piece of string" type job.

Weigh up the promotion aspect, the non-profit aspect, the connection you have with the owner, how much money you need to eat and sleep, what time commitment they will be working with.

For a single day, I have charged between $0 and $2,000 (I typically work corporate, so the money is there). For a single project (a day of setup/show, with a few hours of pre-production and a handful of meetings - any more than two personal meetings and the price starts to go up), again I have charged between $0 and $10,000 - purely for labor.

My average rate is $550 a day, walk in, walk out. Projects, $1,100. It's based on what I need, and also what my clients can pay though. Flat day rate is generally better than hourly, and for projects you need to be really careful with your contract, or you end up working on it for a month straight and not much to show for it...

For an idea of cost though - my rent is about 2/3rds my day rate a week. So I work 2 days a week freelance, and I am fairly well off. If I score a project, the rent is almost covered for the entire month. I also have to worry about public liability insurance, private health insurance, personal equipment insurance, food, transport, utilities, tax, accountants etc etc etc. So 3 days a week and all is golden.

Currently, I am full-time employed in a venue which is so much easier on the accounting.
« Last Edit: Apr 21, 2011, 06:52 am by Mac Calder »


Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
Last post Nov 07, 2006, 01:43 pm
by operachoe
1 Replies
Last post Apr 10, 2009, 05:57 pm
by Mac Calder
8 Replies
Last post Jul 28, 2013, 09:58 pm
by Branden