Pricing is a major aspect of your business. Not only does it impact on your bank balance, it has a psychological impact on sales, as generally opinion is that price is related to quality. If your price is higher than the quality of your finished product, then it’s unlikely you’ll book much work. Vice versa, if your price is low for a high quality product, you’ll probably have too many bookings, which means you’ll be working really hard, but not making any money. If you are too cheap, the impression will probably be that you are not very good.
When you go to a fine dining restaurant, you expect to pay a premium, not only for the food, but also for the dining experience. You don’t expect a large quantity of food as you would at a buffet, but rather your expectations are to find small, high quality portions of food that leave a positive and lasting impression. I have a strong view that in order to have a sustainable career, you will need to target more of a “fine dining market”. Let me explain to you my reasoning:
When you put a price to your work, don’t merely look at what other people are charging and follow suit, or put your price in the middle of the highest and the lowest, which I know is what many of you do. And, for pity’s sake, don’t take a wild guess and suck the figures out of your thumb! It is imperative that you take into account all costs and time that you will incur. Let’s look at the wedding market for an example, as this is my area of expertise. However, the principles apply just as well to portraits, landscapes, fashion as well as commercial work.
Start costing firstly with your basic overheads. This will include the rental costs of your business space, telephone, staff, and office equipment such as computer hardware and software, printers and office supplies. Add to that your photographic equipment, as well as any insurance you pay on these items. Then you have to cost in your advertising and marketing such as your print ads, your website and bridal expos. Gather all this information and project it over the span of a year. Then you divide this by the number of weddings that you anticipate booking during the year. This will give you the cost of the wedding, excluding the cost of sales, which would be prints, USB storage, albums etc. Once you have calculated the costs of a wedding, you will need to factor in things such as income tax and VAT.
The next factor is time. Remember, that especially now in the digital era, there is a lot of post-production time. Added to that is the time that you spend with the client during the initial meeting, as well as any other meetings prior to the wedding. I usually spend about an hour wi...