Don't forget to up-vote the question or answer if you find it helpful! If it's your own question and you're very happy with an answer you can accept it as best answer.
To this point in my career, I've dealt with billing in one of two ways: 1) by the completed minute, which works great for music and full cinematic sound design 2) by the individual sound effect.
With that in mind, I have no idea how to bill for a larger project that will require more than a handful of sounds. Do I count up all the sound effects and bill them by number, or do I take a total time on the effects and bill them that way, or is there a better solution for this?
I have done quite a few audio budgets for games and personally prefer offering outsource sound designers a flat fee for X amount of days designing sounds. This is arranged often a few months in advance of them coming on the project.
The reason is that my initial budget proposal has to be complete before the game requirements are clear. It also means I can change what the sound designer will be doing during the time they're working with us - and not have to worry about the cost. This is really important for us as we tend to do really rapid development where the game requirements change by the day.
So paying a sound designer per sound or per minute isn't really feasable or practicle.
As an example I once employed a designer to initially work on HUD sounds and a some in game stuff, but after about 2 days everything changed and we decided that they ended up doing music for the game instead. Just because the requiements changed.
Btw I have no idea if this is normal practice it is just the way we do it here ;)
Please note: When commenting on someone's question or answer, you will not receive notification on follow up comments unless you are mentioned with @Username. So for Andrew Spitz, you only need to use @Andrew
In my experience, it goes one of two ways:
Flat-fee for entire project
I've not worked for payment by completed minute before, so not sure if that's accepted business practice or not. Are you working in the US? Or for a company that is based overseas?
If it's a large number of deliverables, I would estimate the amount time required to complete the project and then submit that to the employer to be paid out as a flat-fee upon completion. If it's a small amount of stuff, then daily rate may be the way to go.
There is some tremendously detailed information about billing clients in Aaron Marks' "Game Audio". Although his info is centered around the games industry, I'm sure a lot of the information would apply to sound design contracting in general. Here's a link to the book on Amazon, I couldn't recommend it more.