I recently had a discussion with a client about our pricing. They felt like they were being way over charged for the size prints I was providing and demanded I come up with a better price. We have had this discussion with clients before and I am positive I’ll have this discussion again. Everyone needs to sell their product at a fair price. A friend recently gave me an analogy that explains my point of view perfectly….
You need to get 3 bedroom house painted. You get a quote from a painting company to come in and do it, cost $2500. You are shocked that price because you know the cost for paint is about $500. You are paying the company another $2000 just for labor, that’s crazy. But let’s see if that is really crazy:
• Painters are using professional power sprayer, that you could rent for $600 per day.
• Painters can come in and do your entire house in a day in and half. This project would take you a minimum of one week if not more.
• They have insurance if anything is broken or damaged. You break your spouse’s favorite lamp during your week plus of painting the house, your insurance deductible is probably 3x the cost of the lamp. And you are never going to hear the end of it from your spouse.
• They have all the supplies in their vehicle. You make a minimum of 5 trips to Home Depot (that is the national average of trips to a hardware store when doing a home improvement project. I crush the average!) waste gas and time.
• They clean up and put everything back the way it was. You spend 3 hours removing tape, cleaning up drop cloths, washing out brushes and then have to take time to move furniture back in place.
• You have now lost 1 week of vacation time to paint your house, but you saved $2000.
You didn’t really save $2000. Let’s look at the added costs when you did it:
• 5-8 trips to Home Depot that is 20 minutes away – $15-30 in gas depending on your vehicle
• Extra paint because you do not know what you are doing and it took 2x as much as estimated – $200
• Brushes, tape, drop cloth, pan liners – $150
• Broken lamp – $75 and a huge headache from your spouses screaming
• Aspirin for the massive back ache you have every night from painting for 12 hours a day – $6
• 60 plus hours of labor and it still is not complete…priceless
Here is my point, when it comes to photography you have a choice. You can choose to do it yourself and spend countless hours trying to get a good picture or trying to fix the image on your computer in what ever software you have. Or you can choose to use a professional with oodles of equipment, both camera and computer, years of experience plus the knowledge and know how to get it done right, quickly, the first time. The piece of paper it is printed on is cheap, the knowledge and know how to get it on that piece of paper and make it look good is what cost money.