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Fair pricing

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  #1  
Old 04-26-2002, 11:52 AM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Fair pricing

Once, during a legal squabble, my lawyer told me that the legal definition of "fair price" is "the price a motivated buyer is willing to pay to a motivated seller" (or something like that, it was a long time ago).

This stuck with me (obviously). If you think about it and apply it to your own business, it has pretty far-reaching ramifications. Assuming you really want to do the work, and assuming customers really want to have the work done, why do so many back down when a price is quoted?

My own take on this is that they have their own mental picture of what is involved in restoring a photo (I imagine they picture something along the lines of a magic photocopier), and are shocked to learn that actual human labor is involved. How else could you explain that they'd gladly pay someone more to dig a ditch than to restore Grandma Minnie's wedding portrait?

The only other option is they found someone cheaper, and since they rarely contact me to explain why they changed their mind, I prefer my first explanation.

So, if customers go elsewhere, or simply don't get the work done at all, are you charging a fair price?
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Old 04-26-2002, 02:55 PM
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I think selling your work is the same as anything else you might consider selling. It is worth whatever is agreed on. The only way to figure what anything is worth is whatever the seller is willing to sell it for, and whatever the buyer is willing to pay for it. There are an awful lot of people who go by price only, but there is another set of people who think they will get what they pay for. Do some of your customers go for the cheapest? Probably so, but what about the ones you get? In my estimation, selling your work too cheaply is a *huge* mistake.

Ed
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Old 04-26-2002, 03:08 PM
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Its been my experience that while a good many folks do value their photos, they dont value the work involved in having them restored to pristine or near pristine condition, thus the tiered pricing structure I have adopted. Many will settle for less than a complete job and still be happy. There is also a lot of distrust of digital prints due to past problems with fading and folks associating "digital" with low res copys run off on a $79.99 desktop printer on typing paper or low grade "photo quality" paper. Some in the traditional photo arena also play on these fears and misconceptions by leading people to believe that digital prints are in all ways inferior to traditional processes, to the extent of even showing "examples" which are purported to be accurate examples of what to expect from digital prints, even though they are not printed on correct paper, with correct inks on dedicated photoprinters, by people who know what they are doing. Fair price is what you value your time at, as that is what you are selling...your time. The cost of the actual print material and inks is miniscule. Also, You have to consider the area in which you live...some areas have a population whose disposable income is high...in other areas, disposable income is minimal. Since Restore work is a luxury item, there is no way a person living in Rural Alabama is going to be able to get the same fees for a job thatr someone living in Boston will. I have had folks get a price quote, then take the work to someone they know who has an Image Editing program and get them to do the work, and even though the results are less than appealing, they are happy because it didnt cost anything...some folks are just cheap. But, diversifying your operation and offering more than just photo restores, such as prints, CD albums, and so on does help keep the cash flowing....of course this is just my opinion, and not necessarily correct. Tom
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Old 04-26-2002, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by thomasgeorge
and not necessarily correct. Tom
Sorry Tom -- can't agree with you on that one.

Ed
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Old 04-26-2002, 03:21 PM
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Old 05-01-2002, 07:45 PM
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Fair pricing

>Assuming you really want to do the work, and assuming customers really want to have the work done, why do so many back down when a price is quoted?

Hope you don't mind me saying this but it's not the prospective customer, it's the presentation if this happening more than one time out of a hundred.

Suggestion ...break up your services.
Example: When I quote a restoration and the prospective client is obviously thinking in terms of something less costly, I back it off to making a 4x5 negative with the explanation that by doing so, WE WILL HAVE "frozen" the deterioration problem and it can get recreated anytime you want to do it in the next hundred years or so - and we can do that for less than $20.00. I emphasize the WE because I am working with the customer on a preservation project here - not saying I will do this or that for them.

Making a negative or for the "Digital's" here - try pricing just the scan to a gold CD - the objective is the same as far as extending the time is concerned rather than the "must do now" or you'll lose the image type of explainations they get everywhere else.

I've had more than one agree to have the negative made and while I'm writing up the order say oh - why don't you just go ahead and do the whole thing now.

Better to have them on your books as a client for a small fee then it would be to have them going somewhere else. Lots of other ways to accomplish this but this is one I can offer for starters that is fast and easy to implement into any sales system.

Jim Conway

Last edited by Jim Conway; 05-01-2002 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-02-2002, 12:30 AM
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Thanks, Jim, for a very important point. If the current state of a photo is preserved, then that is certainly an important service and far less costly then a full restore for a customer. And you're right - that a customer will often decide to just go ahead and do the full restore if they have time to think while you're writing up the order. I know I've done that sort of last minute switch myself plenty of times - when I start thinking about the time it already took me to get to the shop and the extra time it will take me to come back at some other time to get the whole job done - heck, might as well just DO IT and be able to cross that task off of my "to do" list!
Jeanie
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Old 05-02-2002, 07:36 AM
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Mike Needham Mike Needham is offline
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Good point about the conservation aspect. However ultimately the product is only worth what the buyer will pay for it - as far as I can see the 'seller' doesnt really come into the equasion (sadly)
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Old 05-02-2002, 08:58 AM
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Can't agree on that idea! The free enterprise system is based on great sellers! Those who can will succeed in business, those who can't are weeded out by the system unless you are unfortunate enough to live somewhere where there is state support for you.

When I bought my first tape recorder there was great message on it. It started with faint background noises from a marketplace - cash registers ringing and people talking as the volume kept building louder and louder - then the announcer voice came up with a booming voice;

"The sounds of America ...over a hundred million people selling to a hundred million people!"

...over the years the numbers may have changed but we all spend our entire lives selling our products, services and ourselves - so embrace the system, there has never been a better one!

Jim Conway
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Old 05-02-2002, 09:36 AM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by jeaniesa
Thanks, Jim, for a very important point. If the current state of a photo is preserved, then that is certainly an important service and far less costly then a full restore for a customer. And you're right - that a customer will often decide to just go ahead and do the full restore if they have time to think while you're writing up the order. I know I've done that sort of last minute switch myself plenty of times - when I start thinking about the time it already took me to get to the shop and the extra time it will take me to come back at some other time to get the whole job done - heck, might as well just DO IT and be able to cross that task off of my "to do" list!
Jeanie
Jeanie in the cases you just cited, the seller had gained your full confidence right? And the second question (if they had your confidence), would it be fair to say that pricing became secondary to you?

Another "tested selling sentence" that we use here to build that type of confidence is to ask a prospective new customer if they have checked with other family members and are absolutely SURE that there are no other good copies in existence before we start working on the project.

Pricing is like a balancing scale, you put the price on one side, the benefits on the other and watch which way it tips. If it goes down on the price side, you either did not offer enough benefit for your pricing or you did not present the benefits well enough to gain your customers confidence.

Jim Conway
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