Forums > Hair, Makeup & Styling > How much to charge?

Makeup Artist

Adina Pintilie

Posts: 18

Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey, US

I think that the best thing for the new Artists to not undercut established Artists and to get paid correctly themselves based on their experience, area of work and what the project is set for is that a detailed criteria of rates should be posted here on Model Mayhem for all level of expertize, experience, area and assignment. For example: MUA with an year of experience should do this and that, MUA over 4 years, should charge X$ for X project, Y project, X project etc. I think you all got the idea. I think this way everybody will relate to it and I can see it becoming a "Rates Bible" for everybody.The more rates transparency from MUA, the less risk of over pricing or under pricing. I think it would only be beneficial for all of us, "smaller" or "taller".


I would be more willing to help, but I come from Europe in process of learning the US market. Like many others I do not want to set rates that are not making justice to my experience, talent and also do not want to undercut others which implies undercutting myself in the future.

I think the first criteria would be: when should you start charging, after how many years of experience and how much.
I know it all can depend on many many details but a medium range would at least give a better orientation when charging for your services..I hope I am not being too naive about this suggestion. I don't see who wouldn't benefit from it..

Feb 05 13 01:07 pm Link

Makeup Artist

boy does makeup

Posts: 227

Atlanta, Georgia, US

yeah... I've been in multiple industries... and the whining is always the same everywhere (at least since 1993 when I started working) "the inferior xyz is undercutting us far superior abc's."

and while yes... on the surface that could seem like a problem. - but it also establishes a baseline, and a 'you get what you pay far" realization - and this HAPPENS ALL THE TIME . It can be anything from substandard food that is cheaper (store brands, and mass produced) undercutting  local farmers - to crappy iphone knock-offs. (I remember when KIA Motors had everyone in the auto industry pissed off because they were making cars so inexpensive, people were buying them instead of Japanese cars)

this has been going on since the history of 'business' since the dawning of time, back when the first profession was prostitution, and the first pimp turned to his customer and said "the price for her is two... but you can have her ugly sister for one."

not a perfect analogy... but, you have to understand... this will never stop. You think photographers/MUA/ANYBODY in the 'Industry' is going to stop 'undercutting' because it is 'hurting' other artists? No... not when we are undercutting our whole work force sending jobs oversees (here in the USA) there are doctors giving back alley surgery with no training, unlicensed electricians working under the table, and a MASSIVE AMOUNT of people willing to accept an inferior product, for a lower price.

so guess what... I did a full face of makeup last week... used lashes, SFX products, and lots of 'extra's that I had to come out of pocket for... and you know what, I did it for free... because I can.

Sure... I can charge $200-$300 for my half/full day rate (and often do) but only if I feel like it. I also shoot for free, or for cupcakes, and sometimes I won't shoot with someone regardless of compensation... because I can.

my nickel minus three

-Jarret
Boy Does Makeup

Feb 07 13 09:40 am Link

Makeup Artist

Maria Vittoria B

Posts: 57

London, England, United Kingdom

boy does makeup wrote:
so guess what... I did a full face of makeup last week... used lashes, SFX products, and lots of 'extra's that I had to come out of pocket for... and you know what, I did it for free... because I can.

Sure... I can charge $200-$300 for my half/full day rate (and often do) but only if I feel like it. I also shoot for free, or for cupcakes, and sometimes I won't shoot with someone regardless of compensation... because I can.

Not quite sure what is your point here... unless it was a test or something great for your book.

I thought making money doing makeup was one of the main points of being a full time makeup artist...?

Feb 07 13 12:57 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Maria Vittoria B

Posts: 57

London, England, United Kingdom

Anyone who is serious about this career and has already fought enough for it knows that KJB's advice is pure gold. Undercutting is tempting when you're just beginning, but soon it stops making sense, and you actually hurt your own career too.
It's really about giving value not only to your profession, but to yourself as well. Sorry, can't argue with that.

Feb 07 13 01:01 pm Link

Makeup Artist

boy does makeup

Posts: 227

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Maria V Bortolussi wrote:

Not quite sure what is your point here... unless it was a test or something great for your book.

I thought making money doing makeup was one of the main points of being a full time makeup artist...?

nah... it was neither. I rarely have a need to 'test' anymore... and my book is decent enough without having to update it every time I shoot. Of course the majority of the images I get back are GOOD FOR MY BOOK (because I choose my projects based on interest/creativity, and less on compensation) Also, money isn't everything... and I can/do make money otherwise. (Makeup Consultation, Photography, Press Releases, Marketing, etc) My point is that people whine too much about undercutting, when they have no control over it.

As I have explained in a few other threads... there always has and always will be undercutting, there will always be those who choose who they want to work with regardless of compensation, and there will always be those willing to accept an inferior product for a lower price. - it's amazing how many people are confused when our team posts images from photoshoots... and the budget for the whole shoot was less than $20, Photography/Model/MUAH/Wardrobe/etc... and yeah, we've done some stuff with absolutely no budget... nobody was paid, with no promise of usable images, or profitability. - but AMAZING IMAGES were created and later sold. We also let models market/sell prints of their work, (love breaking the rules) we don't whine about copyright, or charge models, and we don't have to deal with agencies (even though many models we work with are agency repped) we don't have to come out of pocket for hardly anything....

because, instead of charging astronomical amounts for the privilege of working with us... we build lasting relationships.

even more fun... I turn down paid work if it conflicts with the scheduling of my FREE shoots with my team. - so... in effect LOSING money, but gaining SO MUCH MORE.

this reminds me recently of a photographer posting a HUGE WAD OF CASH on FB, and was being nasty to 'wanna be models' who aren't making a ton of cash. I had to laugh, because its those 'wanna be models' that got him all that cash... and the best part: obviously his life is in such a wonderful place that a picture of paper money, and some snarky comments about personal success is ALL HE HAS to try and make himself happy.

so yeah... keep chasing that paper, I guess.

-Jarret
Boy Does Makeup

Feb 07 13 01:18 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Pinch of Pretty MUA

Posts: 46

Deerfield Beach, Florida, US

Keila Sone wrote:
The new MUA did not get paid because she was just happy to work with an agency...moral of the story is work is work and if I would had let that slide they would have never paid for work again and as we all know too well everyone knows each other in the fashion industry,I don't want to have the reputation that I will work for free...unfortunately that very skilled MUA has just gain that reputation.

So have you ever worked for TFP?

Feb 07 13 06:14 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Mona Cius

Posts: 54

Miami, Florida, US

KJB wrote:
I wrote this only 3-4 months ago, but it deserves a re-post:

To all HMS members who are braking into paid jobs (not TF, specs or testing), welcome to: Negotiation 101

The first and MOST important thing to understand is that if you want make H/M/S your primary source of income, you need to treat it like a REAL business.
You need to have solid base rates to guide your negotiations.
And to set realistic rates you need to know what the majority of artists:
- at your experience level
- with similar credentials
- in your geographic market
are being paid for the jobs you are trying to book.
You're going to have to do some serious research to get this data, but it is essential. Once you have a good cross section of these rates, add them up and average them out. Take that number and raise it slightly. This will give you a good starting rate and will prevent you from accidentally undercutting anyone at your level.

IMPORTANT: Don't get stuck worrying about the Craigslist and MM "discount artist/stylist" - they aren't laying the foundation for a career by charging this way and will never establish the solid foundation needed to build a sustainable business.  The "discount artist/stylist" is NOT your competition and will not be booking the jobs you want.  REPEAT: They are not competition for the legitimate paying jobs that will move your career forward.

Never quote a rate until you know what the budget is. The client or photographer always know how much money they have allotted for H/M/S. If they refuses to tell you what they have budgeted for your job, something is not legit and you should be concerned. Don't confront them, simply ask them to get back to you when they have the budget worked out.
That's not being bitchy or being a "diva" (as some photographers on MM would chose to call it) - It's being a smart business person.

You don't have to be rigid about rates when you're the one doing the negotiating. Adjusting your rate for a project that offers advantages to move your career forward in a tangible way is totally acceptable. (tangible = it will get you more paid jobs)

Industry Standards for Booking in the Real World (outside of "MM World")

Half or Full Day Rate:
Photo - Editorial/Commercial/Advertising
Film & Video - Music/Theatrical/Reality
Live Media Events - Press Junket/Satellite Tour/Runway/Fashion Show

SPECIAL NOTE:
Runway/Fashion Shows can also be booked at a Flat Rate. NEVER "Per Model".
EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE:
Kit Fees are charged ONLY for Film & Video bookings.

Flat Rate or Per Client Rate:
Salon
Headshots
Glamour Studio
Special Event/ Bridal/Prom

EXTRA EXTRA SPECIAL NOTE:
"Per Look" is a booking term that does not exist outside of MM or GWC World. Please do not offer it to a legitimate, paying client outside of MM - it's will show your inexperience and possibly damage your credibility.

I think that just about covers all the basics.

And to any of you reading this post who wish to HIRE an artist/stylist...
Always remember, you get what you pay for.

Thx Kevin 4 sharing this vital 411. U r such an inspiration

Feb 13 13 05:43 am Link

Makeup Artist

amy louise elliott

Posts: 17

London, England, United Kingdom

Depending on which industry you work in rates vary upon experience.

There should be a day rate for each level that within that industry.You should not be charging half days or per person. If you charge £250 for a days work and they only need you till 1pm, it's still a days work and your rate should remain the same. No professional will change their day rate unless they increase due to experience and credits. It is different if you are doing weddings or private clients in that case charge whatever the rate in your area is.

I work in the film industry and for the last few years new make up artists have been working for free, making up low rates and holding no consistency in their rates at all. This means that those of us who are charging accordingly are now expected to work 18 hour days, unpaid over time and lower rates. It's tough out there at the moment and all professionals are sticking together to stand up for our rights within the industry. Please don't be one of the people that offers to do a job cheap or for free. If someone asks just refuse. Please don't cheapen the industry.we aren't stupid and we don't do it as a hobby it's a job, we work hard like everyone else on set.

If you are starting out research the market, join a union or speak to other artists near you. Unions will have guidelines to what level earns what amount for a day. It's a crowded industry and we all want to be busy but if there's someone charging £15 and taking all the jobs then how are the rest of us that charge accordingly meant to make a living?

Feb 15 13 04:08 pm Link

Makeup Artist

Afton Guzman

Posts: 1

Riverside, California, US

May 14 13 03:27 pm Link