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Thread: Advice on charging clients

  1. #1
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    Default Advice on charging clients

    hi to all professionals,

    i'll like to seek some advice from you guys.
    i'm in the midst of thinking which will be a better day to charge clients and you are most welcome to share how you charge.

    e.g. say if a client wants some pictures, do you go by per hour rate or per picture or if there's any business model that u are using? feel free to share ur business model or methods.

    currently i'm using a per picture rate but sometimes i feel that it's just too tricky. you can shoot half a day for just one picture.

    another method which i came across is that some photogs use a base price.

    so.. feel free to share and help me if possible!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    This is how I charge my clients including terms and conditions.

    Again it depends on each and every situation as each shoot is different.

    1st Example : Shooting hotels brochures promo.

    Usually they will squeeze as many shots possible for a 3 months promo. So you need to prepare at least 2 shooting days. That is the super minimum number of days for a 3 months brochure as there will be shots on food, chefs, interior, bar and so on. So, best type of quotation is to find out as much as possible what you are going shoot. So you have to be fast and organize yourself asap. Best is to have an assistant with you.

    2nd Example : Food shot only.

    I had another shoot which is based ONLY on food shots. So, I charge them per shot. No timing. Shoot until you are satisfied as you have a reputation to keep. Besides, shooting something you love is very important. Looks impressive in your port as well. So I would spend more time shooting food as basically they will use this food shot for at least 1/2 year before they change their menu again. Assistant is not needed.

    So you must calculate the time that you spend on each shoot. If you think it's worth your time to get shots for your new port, spend more time on per shot. If you think you have enough, then just shoot as per normal but don't over do it. Spending too much time is also not so good on per shot as your client might think why you take so much of their time. To client, time means money.

    Terms and Conditions :

    The most important thing is actually the quote as that is when you put down in pen and paper terms and conditions as well. For me mine T&S is COD. Very simple. If they don't accept it, just move on. Don't be desperate to give in to them as their payment are SUPER SLOW (3-6 months). So make sure you are always on the upperhand.

    If they demand the photographs first, then give them an absolute low res. for them to layout first. When they are satisfied, process those images to hi-res and of course make sure the cheque they gave you is not post dated 3 months.......hehe.

    Anyway, this is just a very basic example. I am sure others out there has different to approach customers. I am a direct photographer. You want fast and good service? Pay up when I give you the photos. Hehe.......

    To me, I don't give a sh*t if they are my relatives or friends, when it comes to $$$$$ please pay up the minute I give you the goods. Same with hawkers centre. I cook for you a meal and you pay up. I go shop @ Takashimaya to purchase some clothes, I pay to get my clothes. Learn some valuable lesson not to GIVE any credit to anybody.
    Last edited by Godzilla Invades; 29th September 2007 at 03:37 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Godzilla Invades View Post
    Terms and Conditions :

    The most important thing is actually the quote as that is when you put down in pen and paper terms and conditions as well. For me mine T&S is COD. Very simple. If they don't accept it, just move on. Don't be desperate to give in to them as their payment are SUPER SLOW (3-6 months). So make sure you are always on the upperhand.

    If they demand the photographs first, then give them an absolute low res. for them to layout first. When they are satisfied, process those images to hi-res and of course make sure the cheque they gave you is not post dated 3 months.......hehe.

    Anyway, this is just a very basic example. I am sure others out there has different to approach customers. I am a direct photographer. You want fast and good service? Pay up when I give you the photos. Hehe.......

    To me, I don't give a sh*t if they are my relatives or friends, when it comes to $$$$$ please pay up the minute I give you the goods. Same with hawkers centre. I cook for you a meal and you pay up. I go shop and Takashimaya to purchase some clothes, I pay to get my clothes. Learn some valuable lesson not to GIVE any credit to anybody.
    advice

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    You can charge either by product or by time, whichever works best for you.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Quote Originally Posted by drumma View Post
    hi to all professionals,

    i'll like to seek some advice from you guys.
    i'm in the midst of thinking which will be a better day to charge clients and you are most welcome to share how you charge.

    e.g. say if a client wants some pictures, do you go by per hour rate or per picture or if there's any business model that u are using? feel free to share ur business model or methods.

    currently i'm using a per picture rate but sometimes i feel that it's just too tricky. you can shoot half a day for just one picture.

    another method which i came across is that some photogs use a base price.

    so.. feel free to share and help me if possible!
    I'm doing a total solution thingy now. Don't bother to itemise things like per hour rate and all that, find out from the clients what they need (how many pictures and all) and give them a package price.

    First, work out for yourself the max time you need to complete the project or shoot. From there, you calculate your fees, factor in all the logistics, your assistant's fees, transport and all. Unless you want to give your client a reason not to want this or that "oh, can we do away without lighting support?" "oh, do you really need an assistant? I can help you know, carry lights only mah..." Your service agreement should also state how much it is going to cost your clients if the shoot exceeds X number of days, or if the number of images they required has increased.

    Reason for doing so is because there's a certain minimum that I will work for, whether a shot will take only half a day or 1 whole day, to me it's still a day of work. What happens if you tell the client a shoot takes 6 hours and you actually completed it in 3 hours? I've encountered situations in the past where folks asked me to take passport picture for them because there was 'extra' time, which I refused of course.

    Say for certain projects that might take up to 3 days, you can simply put down in the invoice "up to 3 days" rather than an absolute "3 days". So if the shoot can be completed and you are able to deliver what's in the service agreement within 2 days, good for you.

    It's the same for my wedding services now, I quote a minimum fees for up to 10 hours of photography. So whether it is 3 hours to 10 hours, they still pay the same package price. Are you going to allow clients to ask for rebate because the shoot lasted for 8 hours instead of 10? Moreover, would you like your clients to use an hourly rate as a basis of comparison with the rest of the photographers?

    Ask any sales rep or personnel, they'll ALWAYS sell by total solution.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Quote Originally Posted by canturn View Post
    I'm doing a total solution thingy now. Don't bother to itemise things like per hour rate and all that, find out from the clients what they need (how many pictures and all) and give them a package price.

    First, work out for yourself the max time you need to complete the project or shoot. From there, you calculate your fees, factor in all the logistics, your assistant's fees, transport and all. Unless you want to give your client a reason not to want this or that "oh, can we do away without lighting support?" "oh, do you really need an assistant? I can help you know, carry lights only mah..." Your service agreement should also state how much it is going to cost your clients if the shoot exceeds X number of days, or if the number of images they required has increased.

    Reason for doing so is because there's a certain minimum that I will work for, whether a shot will take only half a day or 1 whole day, to me it's still a day of work. What happens if you tell the client a shoot takes 6 hours and you actually completed it in 3 hours? I've encountered situations in the past where folks asked me to take passport picture for them because there was 'extra' time, which I refused of course.

    Say for certain projects that might take up to 3 days, you can simply put down in the invoice "up to 3 days" rather than an absolute "3 days". So if the shoot can be completed and you are able to deliver what's in the service agreement within 2 days, good for you.

    It's the same for my wedding services now, I quote a minimum fees for up to 10 hours of photography. So whether it is 3 hours to 10 hours, they still pay the same package price. Are you going to allow clients to ask for rebate because the shoot lasted for 8 hours instead of 10? Moreover, would you like your clients to use an hourly rate as a basis of comparison with the rest of the photographers?

    Ask any sales rep or personnel, they'll ALWAYS sell by total solution.
    very interesting POV and thanks for sharing.
    learnt something from it!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    So, in terms of Total Solution, what documents should you be presenting to the client prior to the commencement of the shoot?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    For those doing photography full-time, if the area of photography is "low-volume" and you estimate you would only get one job a month. Assuming you are good at what you do, you should price such that your three-day job would bring income for one month.
    Eugene

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    hi guys,

    I'm noob on this field too - got an offer to cover simple events but i can quote the price on my own. haven't really done any event photog but I thought it might be a good chance to try it out.

    read all the advice in this thread and must say it gave me some insight - esp on paperwork part.. was thinking we should understand the clients requirement b4 talking about rate? to me the exp is more impt than the $ - i'm still very much a hobbyist than making money out of it.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Yes. Client's requirements will definitely affect the pricing decision and requirements determine time spent, materials required and also time potentially spent on recovery if things go wrong.

    Pricing techniques should not differ much from other industries. A margin for error should be added to the base cost to cater for factors such as inflation or stockout and having to find other sources which are more expensive.
    Eugene

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneceh View Post
    For those doing photography full-time, if the area of photography is "low-volume" and you estimate you would only get one job a month. Assuming you are good at what you do, you should price such that your three-day job would bring income for one month.
    I use to think this way when I just started but I was so wrong about it. You can't assume at all that you will die die will get a 3 day job project and live with that. No matter how good we are, it is never enough.

    Remember, it takes sometimes up to 3 months to collect your fees. So it's always wise when you first started out, try knocking on doors, calling your old clients, look for new and existing ones and promote yourself thru internet and so on. You can do all that when you are not shooting at all, right?

    So for me, no matter how good this month is never enough for me. As during the SARS period, I can tell you I needed to dig my reserve to pay my rental and so on.

    There is no such thing as enough..................but always would love more jobs until you need to reject your clients.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Advice on charging clients

    Quote Originally Posted by Godzilla Invades View Post
    I use to think this way when I just started but I was so wrong about it. You can't assume at all that you will die die will get a 3 day job project and live with that. No matter how good we are, it is never enough.

    Remember, it takes sometimes up to 3 months to collect your fees. So it's always wise when you first started out, try knocking on doors, calling your old clients, look for new and existing ones and promote yourself thru internet and so on. You can do all that when you are not shooting at all, right?

    So for me, no matter how good this month is never enough for me. As during the SARS period, I can tell you I needed to dig my reserve to pay my rental and so on.

    There is no such thing as enough..................but always would love more jobs until you need to reject your clients.
    Sorry I was not clear in my quoted post.

    I meant that if one gets more jobs in that one month, one should and continue to charge on the initial basis of at least one month's worth of income for the second three-day job. It's always good to use additional jobs in that month to build up cash reserves for "rainy days".
    Eugene

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