How to find the industry standard rates for various freelance crew positions
The best general resource in the United Kingdom for getting access to a range of standard rates for freelance roles is BECTU. These are rates collated by each discipline for what is acceptable current practice for different types of production (low budget features, major feature films, television drama, factual television, pop promos, commercials and so forth). Visit the BECTU website and go to the 'Advice and Resources' section for more details for many positions and production types.
Other guilds and associations who represent different crafts and are worthy resources include The Association of Motion Picture Sound, The British Film Designers Guild, The British Society of Cinematographers, The Guild of British Camera Technicians, The Guild of British Films and Television Editors, the Guild of Location Managers, the Guild of Stunt and Action Co-ordinators, the Production Guild of Great Britain, the Casting Directors Guild of Great Britain and Ireland, the National Association of Screen Make-up Artists and Hairdressers, the Directors Guild of Great Britain and Directors UK.
To generalise, good entry level running and trainee roles can offer as much as £100 for a 12 hour day and with each step up the crew hierarchy, rates increase. In these environments, Heads of Department (Hair and Makeup Designer, Costume Designer, Gaffer, Lighting Camera Man, Senior Special Effects Technician, etc.) earn above or just below £400 a day. Of course, there are a few very highly regarded crew members who can command more than these figures and a great many more who are offered and accept less. For certain crew positions it is assumed that the rate will be negotiated. These include costume designers on major productions, directors of photography and production designers among others.
If you are unable to find a specific rate, contact an experienced UK Line Producer and he or she will surely be able to offer guidance.
Keep in mind, it is compulsory for any job to pay National Minimum Wage. Producers have been known to offer experience as the only compensation. While many careers have been (and will continue to be) built on offering labour for experience, if you feel you have been exploited, the HMRC has a confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline to try to compel some of the industry's most mercenary to act within the law. Call 0800 917 2368 Text phone 0800 121 4042.