I have a client who is having me produce a promotional video. I bill this client hourly for work I perform for them. As the video nears completion, it's getting to the point where it takes 15 minutes to render out the full sequence in HD.

How do I bill the client while my computer is rendering? At first I was thinking of charging them a reduced rate, since once the render starts I can just throw on the TV for 15 minutes. However, since I can't perform any other work for any client while my system resources are committed to rendering, I'm starting to think it makes more sense just to bill at my normal rate. Is there a standard practice for this?

(I am not trying to fleece the client; I typically only do a full render once per full day of work - that's 15 minutes out of 8 hours spent rendering.)

  • 2
    It's the same as compiling a project in programming. Should developers really not charge time that a compiler takes to build the project? :) Don't think so
    – Peter MV
    Mar 18, 2016 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


Charge your normal rate - because, as you say, it prevents you from doing other work.

Clients generally accept they're buying your time - so having varying rates could potentially open up a whole new can of worms.

Keeping it simple with one rate for your time seems the best option for both parties as it enables more smooth collaboration.

  • I agree - OP should charge normal rate - OP rate is not for sweat and tears, your charge rate is for everything it takes to achieve the desired result. If you (OP) want, you can offer a reduced charge (since you can work on something else while the machine is rendering) but personally, I would charge your normal rate when either you or anything you control is busy. It is not unethical to charge, but it is business.
    – fiprojects
    Mar 18, 2016 at 16:04
  • I agree. However, I think you should also consider it your responsibility to have a powerful enough computer to render efficiently. Not that you have to have the fastest computer on the market, but if you're not using any profit to keep your system up to date, that's when you should feel bad about charging for the excess rendering time.
    – omnichad
    Apr 1, 2016 at 14:34

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