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How Much?

View Poll Results: How much do you charge for restorations?
$10-20/hr 10 8.55%
$20-30/hr 26 22.22%
more 34 29.06%
I charge by the job (how much, and how do you estimate?) 47 40.17%
Voters: 117. You may not vote on this poll

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  #71  
Old 08-22-2004, 06:46 PM
1STLITE's Avatar
1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Mississippi, USA
Posts: 346
I guess I have a hard time with the price thing myself. I am in many respects a beginner at this. But I am good and I know it. And so does everyone who I have done work for. I know my work is worth ALOT more than I charge. But my issue here is that the area I live in is very small and very poor for the most part. I am so conflicted. On the one hand I want for every person here to be able to afford this renewal of their past. On the other hand, I certinaly would LOVE to be able to get the business of the folks who can actually afford to pay what I should be charging. But if I charge low enough for everyone to afford it then I can never get the amount I SHOULD get. I can't charge Mr. Moneybags more than I charged Ms. Bankrupt just because he can afford it. UGH. I love doing this work, though. And I want to continue doing it. I think otherwise I would just give up...

What's a girl to do?
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  #72  
Old 08-23-2004, 10:03 AM
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Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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Reply to STLITE. Mississippi huh? I empathize wholeheartedly. I live in northcentral Arkansas. We have many of the same problems you mentioned in your post. Charging is not my forte either. Here is the solution I have adopted, albeit faulty. I calculated what it costs me in material, averaged it over x amount of jobs. (Such as I can print x amount of pictures on one ink container and that costs x amount. Each page costs x amount and so forth.) Then I added minimum wage per hour for the total restoration package cost. I know that isn't much, but in the poverty stricken south, it is more than enough for most. Those who are demanding or ugly or expect it for free, I charge MORE. If I tell them the "Pros" have a higher rate and show them those prices as listed on the internet and such, they usually go for my business. Economics, economics, economics! What's a girl to do?
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  #73  
Old 08-24-2004, 03:01 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Location: Sacramento, California
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istlite,

The community we live in is doing much better so I may not be the right one to answer, but I have a nagging feeeling here, but it is late at night and I am pooped ... so stay with me.

You need some sort of system that gives you the perception of having the value that you have, with a way of giving the discounts that you want to give - because you want to do the work and not alienate the majority of your customers. so, I am just brainstorming but maybe something like this ...

- Charge the rates you want to charge
- Have a special 'hard times and hustlin' (or whatever else you might want to call it) rate which comes with some limitations, like a longer turn around as you work between full paying jobs, and possibly no finished prints - delivered on CD only as this has a lower cost to you. Or maybe a rough fix as quality is in the details - we spend eighty percent of our time on the last 20 percent of the work ... Or maybe only take one job at a time and spread it out a little so that the people that want it cheap feel like you understand their situation and you are worth more, but are doing them a favor. In any case always quote longer than what it takes you and give them regular updates.

I think what I am trying to say is that if you want to have a higher value you need to demand respect - in a nice way.

If you get in the habit of assuming that all of your customers are having severe financial hardships then the ones that would be comfortable payng your full price will slip in at the lower price and you will never know .... ;( ... or they may go elsewhere in search of someone who charges more because it is too cheap. Sorry to scare you but this is as true a risk as not getting the business from those that have a hard time affording it.

I just took in a big job today in which I gave a big discount for quantity. The 100 original, scan, globaly optimize and save to CD. We charge for scanning and output separately - so we had the leverage - the customer got a great deal and we are well paid for our time, If you are curious - and maybe you might like a couple of our ideas, our price list is here > http://www.eleakis.com/Copy/copy_price_082004.htm

Good Luck,
Roger
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  #74  
Old 08-24-2004, 10:50 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Grand Junction CO USA
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When I quote a price it is for a "normal" turn around time. Now that time will change depending on the size and complexity of the job but is usually something like a few days to a week or whatever.

When I am talking to customers I question them about the amount of photos they might have and if the family has more etc etc. I suggest to them that they all get together, decide which photos to do, how many copies they need (usually one per family), then bring them all in at one time, there is a savings in bulk. There is also a savings if they are not in a hurry, for then the job becomes what I call a gap filler, which means I will work on it when everything else is done, but as soon as another job comes in, the gap filler goes back on the shelf. I do promise them that the job will be done by a certain date, but that date might be 6 months or so down the road.

Had one really large job (300 orginals) that took about 14 months to do that way. I still made money, they saved some, everyone was happy!

To do this you need to have an absolute bottom price that you will not go below. We explain the cost difference between the regular cost and this one by emphasising the amount (it has to be a big job) and the time they will have to wait for the finished product.

So far it has worked for us.

Mike
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  #75  
Old 08-25-2004, 09:07 PM
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kbeatrice kbeatrice is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA USA
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I'm just starting my photo restoration business, but based on past experience in the business world, it's really important to value your work and time appropriately. Many people underestimate themselves and wonder why they aren't making enough/more money. A great book on this subject is:

Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life by Barbara Stanny

This great book isn't just for women, but for everyone who wants to make a decent living! There's many great stories about people who own their own business but wonder why they're not making the money they thought they would. In many cases people weren't charging enough for their services when the market would bear much more. Once they changed their pricing they were making much more money and doing less work!

Also, the perception that the really talented people are worth more is very true. People are willing to pay for quality. If you charge below market prices people will wonder why. Is your quality not good? Are you desperate? Even if you are desperate, it's important not to appear that way.

Lastly, many times customers that argue over prices are the ones who will end up not being profitable customers for you. Successful businesses don't keep doing business with customers that they're losing money on.

Just my 2 cents for today!

Karen
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  #76  
Old 08-26-2004, 12:27 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Location: Mississippi, USA
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Roger,
I know what you mean. I looked at your site a while back, and I must say I am in awe. lol Of course your work is great, but your prices. Oh I woudl love to be able to make that amount. But I know I am being realistic when I say there is no way that is going to happen as long as my customers are local folks. Even if I were getting regular business from Mr. Moneybags, folks here are cheap no matter how much money they have. lol And seriously most of them do not have much.

Of course I too am just starting out here. And I hope one day to be able to do more, but I am pretty comfortable with things now. I have two small children that I am at home with so right now any work I get is about all I can handle. Thats is a great idea about the lower rates for longer turn around. Then maybe I can get more sleep - lol. Thanks much!

Dawn
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  #77  
Old 08-26-2004, 01:02 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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istlite,

You are very welcome - glad to brainstorm more and as needed - keep us posted how you are doing.

Great ideas from Karen, Janet and Mike also!

Roger
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  #78  
Old 10-14-2004, 07:08 PM
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Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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It seems bad form and at the least unethical to discuss client rates and charges amongst fellow proffesionals. The DIA gives strict guidelines on such discussions and clearly comes down on the side of non-discussion.

In most European countries, America (most states) and Australasia it is illegal to discuss prices with what can be considered your competition.

Even if it is difficult to prove illegality it is certainly unethical to discuss prices - it is tantamount to agreeing how much you can skin clients for in any given job. Can I get away with more? What would you charge? All unethical questions between industry pro's.

Price dicussions also leads to the denegration of the designer in the eyes of the client. If a client can say to designer A that designer B says he can do it for X amount less, therefore I am not going to pay more than that.. Not a good situation.

There is a simple formula for working how much you should charge, not my own creation:

Overhead + Profit Rate + Salary / Monthly Billable Hours = Hourly Rate.

e.g:

£3600 in overhead (bills, rental costs, advertising, office supplies, staff salaries)
£4000 in salary (what you pay yourself)
£1000 in profit (beer money)
172 billable hours per month (8 hours per day, 5 days per week x 4.3 weeks - if you're not confident of getting this amount of work per month, then adjust accordingly)

£3600 + £4000 + £1000 / 172 = £50 per hour

Funnily enough this is a copy and paste from another forum I visited today and had reason to give the same response.
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  #79  
Old 10-14-2004, 07:11 PM
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Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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That said a clear description of your hourly rates or charging policy can't be considered bad on a website or literature. I don't want to appear to be the pricing police, just some things to be taken into consideration.
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  #80  
Old 10-15-2004, 01:29 AM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Hi Mike,

OK, anti-trust came from companies who had collective control of the industry. Collective control of an industry is unethical. If we as a group were to agree on prices that we all agreed to charge, then that would be unethical.

If we as a group were to decide and agree on a false high price in order to gouge the customer - all of the other folks who aren't part of this group - or those that are that take advantage of the artificially high prices and charge less on the sly - or out of the country competition would come in and teach us a lesson. Thus the spirit of the reason for the anti-trust rules, will in my opinion, never apply to large extremly diverse groups like ours.

In fact, in terms of survival, sharing business ideas is a very positive thing. In this community like many others, we don't have large companies looking to price fix, but retouching professional who are business amatuers. For the folks figuring out how to make a busines of retouching, sharing business ideas so that each individual can work out what is best for them, means having a greater pool of ideas from which to make decisions, making for more informed decisions. People talk about the number of businesses that fail each year. It is nice to help these folks have a chance at staying in business.

I realize my opinion might not be the conventional wisdom because of the cultural history of price fixing, but in these different circumstances it is the way I see things.

Roger
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