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

Fair price for your work

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  #1  
Old 08-09-2001, 11:03 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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I'm just getting started so things may take a while to get going. So far all my clients have been extremely pleased with their results. I've even had repeat customers.

My biggest problem is the price. Most people seem the think restoration is too much to pay and I have been really giving them a break on the price just to get a client base built up. They seem to think it should be no more expensive to repair photos then to just reprint them.

Another problem I have is that I love the work but dealing with the people and business aspects are not my style. I has been an experience though.

DJ
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Old 08-10-2001, 07:08 AM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Debbie,

I'd like to offer a suggestion. It might be a mistake to do your work too cheaply in order to get started. If you don't have a business plan, you definitely need one. Some of the problems with being too cheap are as follows:

1. You are not showing the public that you have enough condifence in your work to charge competitive prices without being too cheap.

2. Once you have sold a few restorations at a profitable price, people will have more confidence in you as a pro.

3. If you are selling too cheaply, you might actually be losing money, even though you don't realize it. It's when you do the number crunching that it shows up.

4. When you sell too cheap, not only do you give the public the opinion that you don't have enough confidence in yourself, the public won't have the confidence in you either.

5. When you are too cheap, it is extremely hard to warrant putting in the extra time to make a difficult job come out very well, thereby either losing money, or letting poor work go out the door. In this case, it's better to lose the money.

Just something to think about. Don't forget to take into account *all* business costs you might have. This might include phone, utilities, hardware, software, education, insurance, travel, etc.

Hope this helps you a little, and don't forget that business plan.

Ed
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Old 08-10-2001, 09:45 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Thanks for the input Ed

I never thought of it that way. I got my pricing plan from competitive sites on the internet, however, most of my business is coming from an ad in the local phone book. People don't go to different websites to compare the prices so I get alot of surprise when I quote prices. Usually I'm the first one they call and haven't yet had time to realize the going rates. I'm like Doug in that the money part is difficult for me.

Another thing I have to work around is that people expect you to work out of an office or shop and I notice when I tell them I work out of my home (because they need the address and I don't list it with my ad) it seems to turn them away.

It's becoming such a learning experience for me. But I will definately take your advise. My idea was that by getting the business first it pays for my ad and then by pleasing the customers, they in turn, will refere me to others. But what you say is definately a new aspect I never thought of that really makes sense. Thanks alot. I need input like this as I said I'm new at this whole business of starting a small business.

DJ
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Old 08-10-2001, 09:59 AM
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You're more than welcome Debbie. If this is your first experience with business, I would suggest that you check out the small business administration, and your local library will likely have some good links for you to follow locally. There are programs put on by retired small business owners that are free of charge in our area. Probably in yours too. There is a wealth of information to be had for the asking. I might not have the most business smarts in the world, but if I can be of more help, you can e-mail me directly.

Ed
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Old 08-10-2001, 10:38 AM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Thanks Ed,

Right now most of my time has been spent gobbling up as much information on Photoshop and restoration as I can to perfect my skills. I guess that's because that's the part of the business I like the most.

It's difficult learning the business part of it because it's not the part I like. I have lots of rescources and info but I must confess it doesn't draw my attention like a good Photoshop book does. I really have to start pursuing that part of the learning process.

What would I look for to find these retired small business people in my area or something like it? Is there some organization or something?

I even got the "Idiot's" guides to small business but I haven't been smart enough to read them yet.

DJ
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Old 08-10-2001, 01:13 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Debbie,

The hard part of a business is the part you don't like. Most people don't have what it takes to have a successful business, and I guess that's why most people don't have businesses. There might be times when someone close to you could wear one of the hats. You need to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are, and work on your strong points while delegating the rest to someone else. That might mean getting someone to market your business for you, or whatever. If you can keep that in your immediate family, that *could* be a plus.

I think the name of the organization I was talking about is S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps of Retired Executives??). Your library should have tons of information on things of this nature. In fact, that's where I went for a meeting with SCORE.

There is only one thing I know for sure about business. If you don't have a business plan, your chances for success are extremely slim. Business plans can be very simple, so there's really nothing to fear about it. You just need to know how to make one that will work for you. Again, that information is available for the asking. Good luck to you.

Ed
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  #7  
Old 08-10-2001, 01:39 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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OH good Thanks Ed. I will check out that SCOREs thing. My husband is helping me pretty much with the business side of things and such (he's better at it than me) but I need all the input I can get.

DJ
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Old 08-10-2001, 05:55 PM
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Chris W. Chris W. is offline
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Hi all....is this new site fun or what..

I do agree that you need to charge a fair price for your work. I've found in the area I'm in a lot of the people are just getting by day to day and don't have a lot of extra cash. I still charge for my work but by no means am I getting what I could get in a bigger city. But a lot of the enjoyment for me comes from happy people when they see the result. If I had to make a living on this I would definitely need to be in a larger populus with a higher income range. The bad thing about getting that much work though is that sooner or later you can't handle all of it and need to hire help and then the fun begins..... I don't really want to have to deal with that aspect of the business as I've done that before. I'm content to have the extra money for things I'd like to do and not worry about making a living at it. An advantage to a small area though is that word of mouth is the greatest advertising in the world.
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Old 05-03-2002, 12:18 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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This is an older thread, but closely related to a new thread here so I thought I'd bump it up to the top of the stack.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2002, 11:06 PM
john_opitz john_opitz is offline
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A gentleman comes into the photography studio the other day wanting a restortation job done. We don't(the studio) do restoration work per say. A picture(11 x 14) of his wife taken in 69'. It was water damaged. The water damage was to the extent of(only) just the right corner of the print. And not the whole print itself. This was because the original was in a folder and that folder took most of the damage. Martin told the man that I get $100.00 an hour with a 1 hour min.(I was not there at the time). When I quoted the man the price for the restoration, after taking a look at the work that had to be done to it(less than an hours work). I took that rate and what it cost me for the scanning(high end) and putting it on a Pro Cd, outputting(after retouching) to a Durst Lambda....... 16 x 20 print(outside lab). And the reason why I only charge "for cost" of the materials(lab cost) is because sometimes I get people only wanting it output to a Cd,negative,ect...ect... with no print(s) made. And I know where there going with this. So that's why I don't do the 2 to 3X the cost of materials thing like some companies do with a lower retouching cost. And that's fine with me if they want to do that. Now...... when I tell them how much the cost of the Cd(scan of the original picture. Not the final work) and the print they want with the work done. They don't flinch. I feel, I'm not just selling them paper(prints). But my TLC for their memories. Which.....is...... Pricless. Isn't it ?!

Btw. As a photographer/retoucher, I have no problem talking about prices because I base my pricing on my skill and experience, and not on "just" selling "paper".


A neighbor comes to me the other day and she asks me what I charge for pictures. When I told her.She said : "What can you do for me for $1.99" (like a chain store. Where you get 109 prints for $1.99). Now I find this to be very insulting to me. But I'm a low key guy and understanding.....I think......at times. But being from New York(now in God's country). There's nothing that shocks me anymore. Nothing. So....I said to Kathy "for a $1.99 !................"I'll give you a calander and a handshake". Then she says: how come they(that chain of stores) can charge $1.99 ! For 109 prints. Now.....I'm tolerant..... I say: "Well kathy...............Go out......anywhere you want.........buy a roll of film.........Go out........anywhere.........and get that roll of film processed.......and 109 prints made up and see if it costs you.......$1.99. Now go home Kathy and don't let the door hit ya' on the way out". The door has to be fixed".

So. The whole point of this story. Is. I sell my skill and experience. Not just paper.
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