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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 26 Feb 2013 (Tuesday) 19:33
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Cheap Competitors - How do they do it?

 
mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:10 |  #151

Mike R wrote in post #15785096 (external link)
photography has been a part time business for me going on to 7 years.
I collect and pay state sales tax, my CPA makes sure that I pay the state use tax on gear I buy on line I report my income to the IRS. I shoot HS sports. I don't advertise but also shoot an occasional party or portrait. My pricing would not be any different if I failed to pay taxes . I don't feel that I'm taking business from anyone. Please don't label ,assume , or imply that most part timers are cheats.

How about sharing a link to your web site?

Mike,
I don't think I implied that you were.




  
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mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:12 |  #152

D. Vance wrote in post #15784929 (external link)
bw! I am nowhere near as good as I want to be, but here is the difference: When I do something, I want to be the best at it that I can possibly be. That's the drive, the passion, that is needed.
Humans are drawn to shiny objects. Outshine your competition, and they'll choose you.

I agree. You can't maintain a studio nowadays if you suck.




  
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D. ­ Vance
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Apr 02, 2013 22:13 |  #153

mobei wrote in post #15785272 (external link)
Mike,
I don't think I implied that you were.

But he is saying that, while he is okay tax-wise, he is undercharging by some standards, which he would still do if he was illegal. So he is, by definition, a cheap competitor. How do you distinguish between a tax paying competitor and a non-payer?

And why do the non-payers hurt you worse than the others? It may not be right, but that doesn't matter to the customers...


I wonder if the video editors on The Titanic ever went, "Sorry, I can't right now. I'm busy synching the Titanic..."

  
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mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:17 |  #154

fotoworx wrote in post #15784958 (external link)
Out of interest- Who do you outsource your PP to....cheap overseas workers like a lot of other photographers do?

Not that I know of, unless they sub it out. If it takes subing some of my work out of the country to keep my people employed and business afloat I will though. At least it is legal.
Catching on to the viscious cycle that cheats create?




  
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Mike ­ R
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Apr 02, 2013 22:19 |  #155

mobei wrote in post #15785272 (external link)
Mike,
I don't think I implied that you were.

I was left with the impression that you felt part timers were avoiding their legal obligations. It's amazing how many full time businesses get fined or shut down in my state. They post the info on the State DRS web site.
How about sharing a link to your site?


Mike R
www.mikerubinphoto.com (external link)

  
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DocFrankenstein
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Apr 02, 2013 22:25 |  #156

mobei wrote in post #15784919 (external link)
Why do I get customers who could afford literally any photog in this country but chose me?
They tell me because I meet their needs.

I'm not sure what you're driving at

Sometimes I can afford to spend 50 bucks for a meal made by a chef in a decent restaurant, but I choose a happy meal because it meets my needs. And if McDonalds is giving out free coffee, I would not turn it down.

didn't we learn that somewhere around kindergarten

Not all of the lessons we learned in kindergarten are transferable to business.


National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

  
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mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:33 |  #157

D. Vance wrote in post #15785285 (external link)
But he is saying that, while he is okay tax-wise, he is undercharging by some standards, which he would still do if he was illegal. So he is, by definition, a cheap competitor. How do you distinguish between a tax paying competitor and a non-payer?

And why do the non-payers hurt you worse than the others? It may not be right, but that doesn't matter to the customers...

Once again:
They don't have to collect sales tax. In some states this could be a 8 to 9% margin. There have actually been posts in this forum where members have admitted knowing photogs that even collect but don't remit sales tax. Add up the use tax for one a 1DX - $6800 x 8%= $544.
That's just one purchase. Add property taxes for all your gear and a studio. Roughly the same as the value of your home. If they are cutting corners on the above you can bet they don't have liability insurance tack on a few hundred $$. Tack on property insurance for studio $800 +. Doesn't take a math whiz to figure that these equal large profit margins or large discounts.
You are right that most customers don't care.
However they wouldn't have a choice if the scabs weren't allowed to do business.
Legitimate businesses would have more business and could offer additional value because of the increased cash flow.




  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Apr 02, 2013 22:34 as a reply to  @ mobei's post |  #158

Mobei, it sounds very much to me like your problem is the business model you are operating.

Unlike many other industries being "average" simply doesn't cut it to sustain a long term living. The reason for that is fairly straightforward, if you are "average" you are not competing with others with lower prices than you... you are competing with your potential customers. Everyone and anyone has a camera on them almost permanently these days. "Average" photography is free to anyone who has a phone, iPad or whatever else they may have. There not only has to be a point of difference between a photographer and their competition but also between them and what their potential customers can do for themselves.

Expecting to run a full time photography business whilst also offering a so called "average" product/service is doomed to fail more often than not.


Peter

  
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Mike ­ R
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Apr 02, 2013 22:36 |  #159

D. Vance wrote in post #15785285 (external link)
But he is saying that, while he is okay tax-wise, he is undercharging by some standards, which he would still do if he was illegal. So he is, by definition, a cheap competitor. How do you distinguish between a tax paying competitor and a non-payer?

And why do the non-payers hurt you worse than the others? It may not be right, but that doesn't matter to the customers...

My sports work is at market value for my area. When I shoot a portrait, I am less than a studio, I don't have the overhead they have but also feel that we are not each others competition. A parent that asks me to cover a party or take a portrait, would have a friend take the photo before the would consider a studio. They don't have that kind of disposable income but want better than a Walmart studio. It's a different client than a studio's interested in and that probably goes for most part timers.


Mike R
www.mikerubinphoto.com (external link)

  
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mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:38 |  #160

DocFrankenstein wrote in post #15785325 (external link)
I'm not sure what you're driving at

Sometimes I can afford to spend 50 bucks for a meal made by a chef in a decent restaurant, but I choose a happy meal because it meets my needs. And if McDonalds is giving out free coffee, I would not turn it down.


Not all of the lessons we learned in kindergarten are transferable to business.

I'm saying just because your the "best" doesn't mean your going to attract all the big money.




  
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mobei
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Apr 02, 2013 22:43 |  #161

Mike R wrote in post #15785349 (external link)
My sports work is at market value for my area. When I shoot a portrait, I am less than a studio, I don't have the overhead they have but also feel that we are not each others competition. A parent that asks me to cover a party or take a portrait, would have a friend take the photo before the would consider a studio. They don't have that kind of disposable income but want better than a Walmart studio. It's a different client than a studio's interested in and that probably goes for most part timers.

Very true and that's how photography is changing.
It shouldn't be changing by allowing businesses to operate illegally or slough it off because the alleged photog is too lazy, self indulged or sociopathic to do it right.




  
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D. ­ Vance
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Apr 02, 2013 22:46 |  #162

Mike R wrote in post #15785349 (external link)
My sports work is at market value for my area. When I shoot a portrait, I am less than a studio, I don't have the overhead they have but also feel that we are not each others competition. A parent that asks me to cover a party or take a portrait, would have a friend take the photo before the would consider a studio. They don't have that kind of disposable income but want better than a Walmart studio. It's a different client than a studio's interested in and that probably goes for most part timers.

True. I was just trying to explain what I thought was your point. I'm not really competition yet either, but I haven't tried to be. I'm too busy readying myself and practicing. ;)

I knew I couldn't hope to be a portrait shooter without mastering portrait lighting. I haven't 'Mastered' it yet, but I am getting better at controlling it.


I wonder if the video editors on The Titanic ever went, "Sorry, I can't right now. I'm busy synching the Titanic..."

  
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Mike ­ R
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Apr 02, 2013 22:54 |  #163

mobei wrote in post #15785364 (external link)
Very true and that's how photography is changing.
It shouldn't be changing by allowing businesses to operate illegally or slough it off because the alleged photog is too lazy, self indulged or sociopathic to do it right.

I just wouldn't get so consumed trying to find and report tax cheats that it takes a toll on you, your family and business. Leave it to the IRS and state DRS.

Continue to enjoy what matters most.

Goodnight


Mike R
www.mikerubinphoto.com (external link)

  
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MichaelAnthonyPhotography
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Apr 03, 2013 00:19 |  #164

Success is not equal to talent, something most photographers have not learned.


Santa Clarita Wedding Photographers - Michael Anthony Photography (external link)
Los Angeles Photography Blog (external link)

  
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erdons
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Apr 03, 2013 02:10 |  #165

I have to repeat that you are pretty much wasting your time trying to dime out the photogs that dont play by the rules. The state puts a huge emphasis on making actual registered taxpayers compliant with rules and regulations regarding sales tax, if they chose not to register then how is the state going to keep them educated and informed to be compliant? The people who don't play by the rules and do not pay sales tax etc are going to get away with it because they simply do not operate at such a volume that would warrant anyone actually going after them, it is not feasible to pursue. Like previously stated on here, focus on your business and making it the best it can be and it will not matter what the rest of the people do. I can tell you right now, if you were to call my department and said, "I know a photographer that does not have a seller's permit and is not paying sales tax" the moment they hang up the phone on you is the moment the info you gave them will be forgotten. It may not be fair, but that's just the way it is.


5D Mark III|7D Mark II|60D|T3|24-70/f2.8|70-200/f2.8L MK II ||Canon Speedlite 600 EX RT|Canon Speedlite 580EXII|2x Alien Bee B800

  
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Cheap Competitors - How do they do it?
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