Self-Employment, Rights & Pay

Rachel Dobbs on Arts Workers' Fees and Pay Rates

Rachel Dobbs shares a range of use­ful tools and resources from the per­spec­tive of a ser­i­al freelancer.

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a-n The Artists Information Company have published a free-to-use artist’s fees toolkit – you just need to register to make a free account.

Although it’s designed for artists, I would recommend any freelancer to use this to easily work out your daily 'labour only' rate, what contribution you need to add to cover your business overheads & prepare clear quotes for people you work for. It also encourages you to decide what your target annual earnings are and helps you work out the number of days a year on which you can really work (clue: the answer is never 365!).

Alongside this, I often find the various salary calculators published here very useful for working out things like take-home pay, pro-rata salaries and hourly pay rates.

a-n also publish a handy rate card for visual artists each year - you’ll find the 2023 version here. To find updated versions, just search online “a-n artist fees” and the current year. Use this when you’re planning to employ other people on your projects. Artists’ Union England also publish a more detailed breakdown by hourly rate, rates for different types of work, residency rates and screening presentation fees. If you are exhibiting your work in publicly funded galleries (or are an exhibition organiser), a-n’s Paying Artists campaign has produced a useful guide to best practice in exhibition payments.

If you work as a freelance technician in AV, sound, lighting or video editing (or employ other people to do this), check out BECTU’s rate cards.