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Work/Jobs Talk about the business side of things. Advice, questions, inspiration, and moral support

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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  #81  
Old 10-15-2004, 01:23 PM
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roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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I wanted to add that the reason I posted the previous post was not to argue the ethics of discussing prices. We can agree to disagree or whatever and it is fine with me.

The reason I posted it was I didn't want anyone that had participated in the discussions on pricing to feel embarassed that they were being unethical - just to let those folks know that there are other opinions out there and not to feel like they have to agree (can if they want to )

Thanks,
Roger
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  #82  
Old 10-15-2004, 02:03 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Ethics

Discussing price here is certainly not illegal unless someone has what it takes to show (in a court of law) that it has lead to "price fixing" in the industry that is causing major harm to the public.

That is likely to happen about the same time we have enough clout as a group to call Bill Gates and demand a reduction on our Windows software costs! I know this is not as gentle a response as Roger's but as everyone here already knows, I'd rather stick to the facts.

An opinion you might not share but the name of the game for most of us is to try and stay in business - cutting off any conversation that aids the effort with the idea that it is unethical to talk about the most critical component of that effort is pure nonsense that cannot be supported.

Jim Conway
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  #83  
Old 10-16-2004, 10:42 AM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Poor choice of words...

I should have offered an example of "price fixing" so others here would have a better take on what is actually involved and not be confused over when "discussing prices" is and is not ethical.

Lets suppose that the Smithsonian has a rare Dag they want restored and there are only three people in the world that can do that type of work - Me - Doug and Roger. The Smithsonian calls the three of us for bids. I am not suppose to talk to Doug or Roger before I put in my bid but I ignore that fact. I give them both a call and say Hey Guys I want this one so if you will kick up your bids by at least 80% so I get the job, I'll do the same on the next one and Roger can go low. That is the type of price discussions that are not ethical nor are they allowed by law. As you can see, you have to be a industry powerhouse to even be accused of it and no one in the retouching business has sufficient market share to even be considered!

Equally misunderstood based on what you hear from the media about the Vice President's former company is "sole source" contracting. A firm is selected because they are the only ones capable of doing a job, or if not the only one capable, the only one willing to bid at the time the job is available. I've had sole source government contracts and can tell you from experience, the critics don't produce facts to back their damnation of the practice as being unethical , they just complain about it. In effect most of you are sole-source contractors. Your clients are not going to call up Roger, Doug or Jim Conway to get a bid so we can't "fix prices".

Let me say again, discussing pricing, marketing, merchandising or anything else that can help each other survive is healthy for this industry. It is not unethical and it is the primary reason for the organization of every professional association in the world. Sorry I said the ethics issue was nonsense when I should have explained more fully. Guess I've been listening to many politicians who go for the slam dunk in a one liner!

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators
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  #84  
Old 10-16-2004, 11:15 AM
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KevinBE KevinBE is offline
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Glad to see that this type of discussion is still going on here. Sorry I've been gone so long but I've been very busy. I still have too many balls in the air but it's managable.

What I have found on pricing is that I try and charge for the creative and restoration work at what ever I think it is really worth. I keep the price for reprints very low. This usually ends up making the final price much better.

I still have problems asking for what I think the work is really worth. My online pricing serves as a portable price list for me so that I can remember how much to charge.
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  #85  
Old 11-13-2004, 03:25 PM
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OlProfBear OlProfBear is offline
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Hi, folks ... I was following this site for many months in 2003, because I absolutely must generate some income to pay the rent!

However, life intervened about this time last year (a hurried and traumatic move), so it went on hold for a bit ...

Then, when things had settled down slightly and I was about to take up the project once again, I got sidetracked into a different enterprise, which has so far been a waste of time and energy.

So I am back here again, hoping to get something going quickly and at least tide us over for a while. What I am most uncomfortable about is pricing, and after reading this thread all the way through, I still don't know just what to do.

To give myself an idea, I wonder if some of you could take a few minutes to look at the four samples I put up on

http://www.wecanfixyouroldpix.com/

... and let me know how much you would charge (a ballpark figure of course) for each one, assuming I do the scanning and I deliver a CDROM plus one 4x6 print from the local pro lab up the street (or from the Kodak machine in the CVS!). Buyer pays shipping and insurance both ways, of course.

Ask me any questions you like, 'cuz I really have to know how to proceed!

And ... Thanks!
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  #86  
Old 11-18-2004, 07:11 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Hello Bill,

Your work certainly looks professional. Pricing seems to be the thing most people have the most trouble with. Is it possible for you to check around your area to see what others are charging for this type of work? I'm not talking about Walgreen's or any other "Any restoration for $39.99", but other businesses that do quality work. That would probably give you a better starting point than you would get from a forum where there are people from all over the world. Good luck in your endeavor.

Ed
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  #87  
Old 11-18-2004, 09:09 PM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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Your work is nice and professional you should be able to charge up to the standards of the market you're in.

I've noticed a lot of the working pros charge a flat rate based on how they perceive the difficulty of the particular job. For instance a simple cleanup is $xx.00, a moderately damaged original is $xx.00 and major reconstruction is $xxx.00. They have an idea of what they need to make hourly but don't formally track their time.

That's kind of how I do it but I quote an hourly rate ($75.00 per) and a time estimate; I try to stick with the quote even if my time goes well over but I still have flexibility to go ahead and charge actual if a customer gets difficult. If I see that I seriously underestimated, I give the customer a call and let them know.
This time of year we're doing $500 to $1200 a week just on restorations. the rest of the year we do that in a little more than a month. Our primary business is graphic design, photography and digital imaging.

Chip
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  #88  
Old 05-24-2005, 02:21 PM
emarts emarts is offline
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When a client asks, "How much does it cost?" I reply with, "How much ya got?"

Seriously though, if discussing price was unethical, the GAG would not have published their pricing guidelines.

I usually charge by the job based on a set hourly rate. I always give my client an estimate and try to stick to it.

Last edited by emarts; 06-15-2005 at 08:24 AM. Reason: grammar
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  #89  
Old 06-28-2005, 03:18 AM
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OlProfBear OlProfBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emarts
When a client asks, "How much does it cost?" I reply with, "How much ya got?"

Seriously though, if discussing price was unethical, the GAG would not have published their pricing guidelines.

I usually charge by the job based on a set hourly rate. I always give my client an estimate and try to stick to it.
LOL! Actually, I tried to get my client (the only paying one I've had so far) to set his own price -- after my expenses -- on my last job for him.

He essentially said "Come on, give me a PRICE", so I did. It certainly wasn't based on the time I'd spent on the projects (or I'd be charging less than minimum wage!). Wasn't pulled out of a hat, exactly, either. Basically, I guesstimated what the traffic would bear, and that seemed to work out fine.

(So as not to be coy, I charged about $245 for a composite of two headshots taken under very different conditions, plus a blowup and cleanup (to the extent possible) of a small inkjet printed copy of an old photo. That plus about $55 in expenses, totalling $300.)

However, I know for sure that approach won't work in the long run. I'm thinking of stating an entirely arbitrary hourly rate, but quoting based on how hard I think it will be rather than on how long I think it will take, since I can judge the difficulty (usually) more easily than the time.

And I will stick by my quote unless (a) it turns out easier than I'd thought; (b) my estimate was grossly low; or (c) my estimate was under, plus the client turns out to be a PITA!

Does that make any kind of sense? If so, I now have to figure out what the pseudo-"hourly" rate will be, just to have something to start from ...

Thoughts on this?
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  #90  
Old 06-28-2005, 02:26 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlProfBear
LOL! Actually, I tried to get my client (the only paying one I've had so far) to set his own price -- after my expenses -- on my last job for him.

He essentially said "Come on, give me a PRICE", so I did. It certainly wasn't based on the time I'd spent on the projects (or I'd be charging less than minimum wage!). Wasn't pulled out of a hat, exactly, either. Basically, I guesstimated what the traffic would bear, and that seemed to work out fine.

(So as not to be coy, I charged about $245 for a composite of two headshots taken under very different conditions, plus a blowup and cleanup (to the extent possible) of a small inkjet printed copy of an old photo. That plus about $55 in expenses, totalling $300.)

However, I know for sure that approach won't work in the long run. I'm thinking of stating an entirely arbitrary hourly rate, but quoting based on how hard I think it will be rather than on how long I think it will take, since I can judge the difficulty (usually) more easily than the time.

And I will stick by my quote unless (a) it turns out easier than I'd thought; (b) my estimate was grossly low; or (c) my estimate was under, plus the client turns out to be a PITA!

Does that make any kind of sense? If so, I now have to figure out what the pseudo-"hourly" rate will be, just to have something to start from ...

Thoughts on this?
I usually assume that the harder it is, the longer it will take.

If you give a quote, I think you should stick by it. If the job is easier, then its gravy in your pocket, but if you have underbid, then you eat it. Kind of works out in the long run, and tells you you should learn to estimate better....

PITA clients come with dealing with the public. If I detect them early enough, then the bid goes up, hopefully enough to either make it worth while to deal with them, or to encourge them to go elsewhere.

Mike
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