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What services do you provide?

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Old 04-25-2005, 12:51 PM
kaulike's Avatar
kaulike kaulike is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the redwood forest
Posts: 64
What services do you provide?

I have been thinking for a while about hanging out my shingle as a restorer, with some scanning as well. I don't want to become a "scan shop", as I don't have pro-level equipment nor the will to use it, but doing an album or two with some basic tonal adjustments and spot cleanup would be well worth it, and I don't think anyone else in my (admittedly small) area does this kind of thing.

What kind of personal service do you work into your business? How do you deliver results?

This is what I was considering:

- free pick-up & delivery in town, travel up to 1.5hrs negotiable [1]
- originals wrapped in plastic at customer site & delivered back same way
- initial results (low-res scans) available by email within 2 days
- final results (high-res scans, repair work done) usu. within 1 week

- basic high-resolution scanning (up to 3200dpi) billed at: [2]
. . . .fewer than 50 photos: $2/scan
. . . .50-100 photos: $1/scan
. . . .100+: negotiable by job
- basic scans include minor tonal adjustments

- full restoration billed at $50/hr, min. 1/4 hr

- results:
. . . .on CD or DVD:
. . . . . . . .low-res (640x480-ish) image suitable for email
. . . . . . . .high-res (3200x4800-ish) image suitable for printing
. . . . . . . .arranged in web-page photo album
. . . . . . . .PDF contact sheets available on request (at $3/sheet)
. . . .in print:
. . . . . . . .medium-quality inkjet proofs [3]
. . . . . . . .3x5 $1. . . .5x7 $2
. . . . . . . .4x6 $1. . . .8x10 $4
. . . . . . . .high-quality thermal prints [4]
. . . . . . . .3x5 $2. . . .5x7 $4
. . . . . . . .4x6 $2. . . .8x10 $6

Other options for services, I haven't figured out prices for these yet:

- digital archival storage (I have a fire safe that could easily hold 1000 disks)
- DVD slideshow production (and duplication for family members)
- new negatives from digital files (several online shops provide this)
- on-site scanning
- digital camera work for digitizing large portraits (need a better camera!)
- discounts for large lots, full albums, referrals
- "digital scrapbooking", i.e. create a new photo album---I can negotiate
with print shop & handle binding

By my research, prices seem to be all over the board. I am still choking on my coffee that some of you are getting $5/scan for individual scans. Restoration rates between $50 and $75/hr seem reasonable, though---I was going to charge close to that for my time, as that is about what I make as a contract technical writer, but that scanning charge is pretty impressive. No way could I get that here.

Thus, doing "full monty" on a small album of 75 4x6 photos, assuming 15 minutes per photo and prints at original size only, would run just under $1200 total: $75 for the scans, $937.50 for the restoration, $150 for prints.

All thoughts appreciated!


[1] I live in a town of 5000 people. The nearest population base is about 1.5 hrs drive away, and I'm sure it would be necessary to include them if I were to make any kind of real business out of this. I don't expect to make enough to afford a walk-in site.

[2] Brand new Epson 3170. Also have an 2780dpi Acer Scanwit for 35mm film. I think standardizing on max 8x10 is probably plenty for most folks, and near the sweet spot for my equipment.

[3] I have an Epson 870 and print with stock Epson inks on Heavyweight Matte or Colorlife semi-gloss. I would not call this "archival" quality, but the prints look great for the price and are fine for proofs. However, I do *not* want to become a print shop, and I may remove this option entirely.

[4] These would be done at the local Longs (Frontier). I think the results are pretty incredible for the price and they go up to 11x17---but I haven't done black and white with them yet. A print shop in town can go larger than that if customer needs a poster. If Longs raises their prices I could always go online, but that incurs another delay.

Last edited by kaulike; 04-25-2005 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 04-25-2005, 01:57 PM
Mike Mike is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
Posts: 676
May I make a few comments, and I hope that you will take these in the manner that I hope to make them, for I think that you are doing yourself and the industry a no no.

- free pick-up & delivery in town, travel up to 1.5hrs negotiable [1]
- originals wrapped in plastic at customer site & delivered back same way
- initial results (low-res scans) available by email within 2 days
- final results (high-res scans, repair work done) usu. within 1 week
I have never tried pick-up and delivery, but with the price of gas??? Especially on the long runs, that 1.5 hours out, 1.5 hours back and then you have to do it over again to get the orginals back, so you have 6 hours dedicated to that plus the gas, I would think that you have just lost a lot of money on that job. If you are going to try and run some kind of business, time equals money.

- basic high-resolution scanning (up to 3200dpi) billed at: [2]
. . . .fewer than 50 photos: $2/scan
. . . .50-100 photos: $1/scan
. . . .100+: negotiable by job
- basic scans include minor tonal adjustments
So if you had a customer with 3 or 4 orginals that lived 1.5 hours away, the $6 or $8 is going to cover the step above?

- full restoration billed at $50/hr, min. 1/4 hr

If you bill at $50/hr for restoration work, then I assume you must have one fast scanner, as $50/hour equals 83 cents/minute and you are going to charge $2 per scan so that is 2.4 minutes per scan at that pay rate. Then if you get enough orginals you are going to cut your time and pay in half?????

I hate to cut this off, but just had a job come in and have to go. But I think that you are way to low, and really need to put more thought into this. I do not know where you are but minimum wage here is like $7.35 per hour. You should make sure that you can make at least the minimum wage for yourself plus something for the equipment (ie purchase cost, repair, replacement). At the rate you are looking at you would be better off ($ ways) flipping burgers at the local Micky D's......

Just my opinion.

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Old 04-25-2005, 03:40 PM
Legacy~Art's Avatar
Legacy~Art Legacy~Art is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Lancashire
Posts: 927
I agree with Mike i think your under-cutting yourself alittle too much, I did this too when i went to see a business adviser i shown him my business plan and he laughed, i got alittle upset as i believe my work is good, and he said your going to charge someone too little, many people who search for GOOD work want to pay a price where they can gloat and say i paid this amount and its a very good peice, if its too little then i feel you are not going to get the work, sorry it sounds abit daft i guess, but i would feel if i was looking for work from yourself that if your offering to do all the legwork for free then you must be desperate for my money which means along the way someone will rip you off. If you make out to your customers that yes you can do the work and it will be with you within 10 to 14 days then it sounds like you have alot of work on which means good feedback before they have read any feedback, do you see what i mean?

Charge for the legwork!

You need to go see a business adviser, many of them are free, especially if they are goverment run.
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Old 04-25-2005, 05:41 PM
Vikki Vikki is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 883
I agree with the others, you're selling yourself short. If you start getting work at those rates, you're going to hate working for yourself.
Some things to consider....
When you're good at what you do, word gets out, and people will come to you, and are willing to pay you what you're worth.
Sell quality, not quantity.
Think about quoting a fixed price, instead of an hourly rate. As a customer, I have no idea how long it takes you to do your job.
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Old 04-25-2005, 06:13 PM
kaulike's Avatar
kaulike kaulike is offline
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: the redwood forest
Posts: 64
Wow, thanks very much to all for the advice.

Just to clarify---I was going to offer free travel *in town*, with travel out of town being negotiable. Ie, for a large job I might offer travel to the nearby town, but for a small job I might charge them for the time. As it happens, my business manager (my wife) has reminded me that there are plenty of people who would take advantage of that ("but I found two more photos to add to the bunch I gave you, could you just come back this once?") so I may revise the plan.

Re scanning---digitizing my wife's genealogical albums, I find that the scanning itself is a minor portion of the time required. Much more time is spent in extracting the photos from the album itself without damaging them. I might spend 10 minutes on a single page with this, lay them out on the scanner bed, and then set up the scanner to grab them all individually in about 3 minutes. In this case I'd be charging for the time involved with extraction and replacement, as well as the individual scans. I will have to make that clear in the agreement.

I will take everyone's advice and adjust the scanning amount, but $5 per photo just seems amazing to me. Maybe I have been doing it for free too long!

Aside from the price, does this set of services sound reasonable?

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Old 04-28-2005, 10:59 AM
margotshp's Avatar
margotshp margotshp is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 23
Wow... I just realize I charge not enough for all my jobs....

I attach flyer I used to leave at photo labs to offer them my services.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg flyer_internet.jpg (77.1 KB, 43 views)

Last edited by margotshp; 04-28-2005 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:02 PM
Jim Conway's Avatar
Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Oregon City, Oregon
Posts: 212
A point to ponder on when to look at your pricing ...

Every marketing area will be a little different and everyone will have slightly different idea on how to promote themselves - but there is one thing we all have in common. You can't survive in business without repeat customers.

Determining what your pricing / services combinations "should be" will, in the long run, be determined by the amount of repeat business you bring in. It's like having a yardstick on your business as close as your calculator! Price and services are the offsets and if you've hit a fair balance it will show in the repeat business column faster than it will anywhere else in your books.

A part of any business plan has to be the dollar amount you budget to bring in a new customer and, it doesn't take very many months in business to recognize that the number for new customers will be much higher than it will be to bring in another order from the same client.

Call some of the more successful business people in your trade area and ask - I'm sure you'll find that repeat customers will account for 90% or more of their business. If you are not bringing in enough repeat business there is something wrong and it should be your clue to take on the service or pricing issues that are stifling your success.

Jim Conway
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