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Thread started 02 Jan 2013 (Wednesday) 19:48
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Sorry, another 'How much should I charge' but this is a little more specific.

 
Caffrey123
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Jan 04, 2013 00:50 |  #46

I have a feeling that Glumpy would like to go by his own definition of "business" or at least what he thinks personally counts as a business. Let's not get picky about language here. If you are earning money for a service such as photography, painting, spa treatments and doing it legitimately, you are a professional whether you believe them to be worthy of the title or not.

My eyes are rolling in the back of my head. I have explained my situation again and again and tried to be as specific as possible without telling you my life story and personal information. I am constantly moving around due to my husband's career in the military. I have gotten extremely lucky in that I have a full time job at a non-profit I am very passionate about. I will only be in California for another year. In every place I move to for the next 20 or so years, I will have to start up my business again and build a client base in that country or state. It is far easier to run a sustainable business if you are based in the same community for a long time. I am looking to raise my prices slightly but I cannot get too invested in my area.

If you insist that I talk about numbers; With a price of $225 I am taking home at least $150 per session after taxes, gas, packaging, web space, equipment costs and car ware and tear. Whether the "real businesses" do it or not, I do not count the purchase of my software, office furniture, computer, hard drives, car, car insurance, cell phone, laptop, tablet etc because every single one of those things I had before I started my business. They are pretty much the staple purchases of most people I know who are not photographers or claiming it as a business expense. I am happy with this situation. I do not need nor want to buy thousands of dollars worth of further software, equipment and computers just to then raise my prices for a few sessions a week. I bought a new camera body and lens last year costing $1600 including a 3 year warranty. With an average of 3 sessions a week (at $225 each), I look to be taking home $450+ a week which is a fantastic addition to my already full time wage. I covered the cost of my new equipment within less than a month. Then the Christmas period was busier with 6 sessions a week. On top of a full time job, I cannot express how PROFITABLE this is for me. I feel very lucky!!

I have expressed that I do not wish to take my business full time in California because I love my other job and will not give it up. I am moving to DC in 2014 when that may become an option. However, my question is regarding my business (or my 'playing with tiddly winks') in California.

HBOC, thank you for your response. I am most definitely taking my time into consideration. $225 I feel is fair for sitting fee, editing time, travel time, correspondence and the printing rights. I am still unsure of the exact price but I know that with my current clientele and rural area, I cannot charge $400+. When I move to DC I know I could charge considerably more.

nccb, Thank you too! I am looking to raise my prices for that exact reason. I can take fewer sessions for more profit and not stress myself out with filling up the little free time I have. I will most definitely be looking at the finer less-aggressive points made my Glumpy & Thomas in the future should I decide to take my business a step further.

Glumpy, are you telling me that $450 extra a week is not profitable for a part-time photographer with a full time job? I pay my taxes, liability insurance and have a small amount of equipment. I do not need to pay workers comp,buy health insurance, wages, advertising costs etc. My costs for web space and DBA are under $300. Don't get me wrong, if I was looking to expand a wedding or family photography business with a second shooter, office space, hiring of models and needing that to pay my bills, health insurance costs and put a roof over my head...then maybe I would listen to your advice if there was less of an aggressive tone. If you do not wish to read my question and information properly, I am not going to read into your advice either. I can and will say "they don't apply to me".

Phew, I feel like coming to this forum was a bad idea!! I know I got rather defensive at the beginning but for "professionals" with thriving, busy businesses they sure do have a lot of time to write aggressive posts to people with less experience than them. It's ironic how this is an industry where we all must work with people and make our subjects happy & comfortable yet they fail to remember that there is a real person on the other side of their computer screen. You are not teaching me anything other than to never ask for advice because apparently doing that is unprofessional.

Thank you to all those who gave me constructive criticism and advice. I will look into breaking down my costs more exactly and charging something in the range of $225-$300. I would also enjoy some C&C on my website and work from those that were so quick to critique my business skills (I know this is not the write sub forum). I am a firm believer in the art coming first before technical skill or business savvy. I know too many male photographers who have every piece of equipment and certification under the sun but I wouldn't hire them to shoot my worst enemies wedding.




  
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glumpy
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Jan 04, 2013 02:48 |  #47
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Caffrey123 wrote in post #15442282 (external link)
My eyes are rolling in the back of my head. I have explained my situation again and again and tried to be as specific as possible without telling you my life story and personal information.

What you have explained again and again is a hobby, not a sustainable, profitable business.

If you insist that I talk about numbers; With a price of $225 I am taking home at least $150 per session after taxes, gas, packaging, web space, equipment costs and car ware and tear.

Really?
How much are taxes in the US for a start? I can only look it up on the net but by my calculation you would have to be paying 25% ( assuming you are paying tax on your sideline) which brings you down to under $169 straight off or the sum total of all the other expenses being under $20.

How much is your liability insurance a year? How many miles are you driving your vehicle on average per job and what is the approved base rate per mile for your Vehicle size?
What is your base hourly rate you charge yourself out at and pay yourself?

Perhaps others with better local knowledge can fill in the blanks so we can get a base for a factual assesment of the other costs.

Whether the "real businesses" do it or not, I do not count the purchase of my software, office furniture, computer, hard drives, car, car insurance, cell phone, laptop, tablet etc because every single one of those things I had before I started my business. They are pretty much the staple purchases of most people I know who are not photographers or claiming it as a business expense. I am happy with this situation.

That's pretty ironic and hypocritical after you acuse me of having my own definition of business!
But that does explain a lot right there. You don't count it but anyone that knows about business or an accountant certainly would. Even the IRS does but if you want to pick and choose how you define business expenses, then again this just renders this whole discussion completely moot and irrelevant.

Is your car insured for Business use? If it's not your putting yourself at a hell of a risk right there and whether it is or not, as you insist you have a business you have to figure in the cost of the difference between personal and business insurance at the very least.

Ever called a client on your cellphone? If so, that's a business cost you can't deny either.

The real irony here is, IF you are paying your taxes as you say, you should be writing these costs off on your taxes and claiming them. Denying these things as a business expense is actually hurting you.
You said you know about business and you pay your taxes so I'm pretty mystified as to why you would refuse to count the things use use in business and miss out on the significant deductions you could make of them??

Now again you probably think i'm being "aggressive" here but I'm going purely on YOUR statements rather than assumptions. I challenge you or anyone else to show where this is not basic and obvious business fact or why a person whom is paying their taxes on income derived from a business would not claim allowable business expenses?

I have expressed that I do not wish to take my business full time in California because I love my other job and will not give it up.

Which is by definition a hobby that makes income.

, thank you for your response. I am most definitely taking my time into consideration. $225 I feel is fair for sitting fee, editing time, travel time, correspondence and the printing rights. I am still unsure of the exact price but I know that with my current clientele and rural area, I cannot charge $400+.

And you had already decided this before you posted here correct?

Glumpy, are you telling me that $450 extra a week is not profitable for a part-time photographer with a full time job? I pay my taxes, liability insurance and have a small amount of equipment. I do not need to pay workers comp,buy health insurance, wages, advertising costs etc.

I'm telling you that in the real world using calculations that any person that has a clue about business would use rather than your made up definitions, that you are not making within a bulls roar of what you think you are. I think that's exactly what Thomas pointed out at the beginning.

If you do not wish to read my question and information properly, I am not going to read into your advice either. I can and will say "they don't apply to me".

Wow. That's pretty childish.
Who do you think the looser out of that deal is going to be? Sure as hell isn't going to be me. You might not want to hear what I'm telling you and you might not like the way I'm saying it but it would behove you to realise that the reason I am telling you the things I am ( as are others) is for your benifit, not ours.
But I have got a much clearer picture of your attitude now and more than confirmed any initial suspicions I had.

but for "professionals" with thriving, busy businesses they sure do have a lot of time to write aggressive posts to people with less experience than them. It's ironic how this is an industry where we all must work with people and make our subjects happy & comfortable yet they fail to remember that there is a real person on the other side of their computer screen. You are not teaching me anything other than to never ask for advice because apparently doing that is unprofessional.

Your sarcasm does you no good. I have been doing photography as a business that gives me 100% of my income for almost 30 years. I'm confident that I have learned a thing or 2 in that time.

You have been given a LOT of sound and constructive advise even if you disregard my input but the thing is you are not learning anything because you are rejecting and now ridiculing anything you don't want to hear.

Want to take on a challenge to prove who's right and who's pretending??.....

Go to an accountant and tell them all about how this is a 2nd job etc and give them all the paperwork on your costs ( the ones you believe in will be fine, they will fill in the rest) and ask them how profitable your part time business is. Don't believe me or anyone else here, prove us wrong and get a qualified, professional, unbiased opinion.
See what they come back with.

I'll go so far as to offer you a public challenge.
You do that, provide copy's of the paperwork and assessment the accountant makes and if they declare your part time business is profitable, I'll transfer DOUBLE their fee to you. You can hold me to it publicly right here.

YOU think I'm a mongeral , not listening, don't understand and all the rest of it, lets put what I'm saying to the test. I publicly issued you a challenge, here's your chance to prove I'm full of it don't know what I'm talking about.
Matter of fact, I'll not only send you double the accountants fee, I'll send you $225 to rub my nose in it and compensate your time on top.

Are you confident enough in your position to put it to the test?
I am.

I am a firm believer in the art coming first before technical skill or business savvy.

No argument there. That's most apparent as being a large part of the problem.
Unfortunately you are hell bent on defying anyone trying to make you see that.

Anyway, I'll leave you to it, Please just let me know if you are prepared to put my money where your mouth is and well settle the argument one way or the other. :D


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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Caffrey123
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Jan 04, 2013 03:45 as a reply to  @ glumpy's post |  #48

Your definition of a hobby is not the same as mine.


Which is by definition a hobby that makes income. - By definition? Whose definition? I am dedicated to my full time work at a non-profit while also working 25 hours on average a week on my business too. Why are you insistent on telling me I do not own a business? I have a DBA, I have a tax ID number, I have an additional income, I pay my taxes. Despite your clear knowledge of the industry, I feel like you are just being a troll making your other points mute. I cannot avoid being frustrated by these little digs.

In order to answer my opening question, my accounts do not need to be displayed to the public. I feel like you are enjoying this a little too much. I admit I feel rather humiliated as I am always my worst critic and a little unsure of myself. It takes a lot to break into this industry, become successful (Even if that is only 3-6 sessions a week. For me, at this time, in this area, is successful) and be confident enough to share your work with other professionals for critique or comments. Not once have you even commented on my work. You have 30 years in the industry, I have 1 year. Of course you are more knowledgeable but it certainly hasn't given you much tact. I hope you are proud of yourself as a grown man putting down a beginner in the industry just asking for advice. I don't have all the answers to your questions, I am still figuring this all out for myself. My husband helps me with taxes as it is his stronger point and I am not familiar with the US tax system yet.

Your answer to my question was that $225 is ridiculously cheap. My response was that it actually works out well for me after expenses in this area and community. If you do not believe me then that is fine and it should be left there. This is not the place for talking about personal information. My account is not private, my website, name, Facebook and email are all available. Maybe I should have rethought that but guess what? I don't know everything, shame on me!!




  
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glumpy
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Jan 04, 2013 05:09 |  #49
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Yeah, Whatever but what about my challenge of having a a qualified and professional person in the form of an accountant define wether you are running a profitable business as you insist?


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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Caffrey123
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Jan 04, 2013 05:12 as a reply to  @ glumpy's post |  #50

Oh yes...because sharing my personal information and accepting a challenge with an anonymous stranger online would be a smart move...No thank you.




  
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glumpy
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Jan 04, 2013 05:36 as a reply to  @ Caffrey123's post |  #51
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It would not be personal information, it would be business.
Never mind.

The fact that you state you don't have the answers to the simple Business questions I asked renders your claim of your "business" being profitable completely non creditable.

If you don't know your basic costs, seriously, how can you even begin to claim your current pricing is profitable?

Don't bother with a reply.
You have made your position clear so we'll leave it at that.

BTW, Do you really want to know what -I- think of your work?
(Which has never been the topic in this business thread)


From RDKirk: First, let me check the forum heading...yes, it does say "Business of Photography" and not "Hobby of Photography." Okay. So we're talking about making money, not about hobbies. By "business" I am presuming activities that pay expenses and produce a profit over the long term.

  
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Caffrey123
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Jan 04, 2013 05:43 as a reply to  @ glumpy's post |  #52

I do know my basic costs. I just don't plan on sharing the particulars on a forum. I gave ballpark figures but you kept insisting. Other than assuring you that I am indeed profitable, I don't know what you are looking for.

Yes, I am interested in any feedback. I asked what kind of figure one would charge given my work, competition and area. You are convinced I came here for validation but that is not the case.




  
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Jan 04, 2013 07:02 |  #53

Caffrey123 - don't regret coming to potn - there are good people on potn and great advice, with the very occasional person who just wants to prove a point. I am also in your position and have been following the thread closely.

My advice - Do your thing. Dont break any laws or tax rules. Everything will be fine. If you make money you make money. If you lose money you'll see it and adjust.

Btw your website feedback - I would at least put some placeholder text on the investment page, and some of the prophoto galleries were loading pretty slow for me. Other than that it looked good.


5D3 | 24-105mm L | 85mm 1.8

  
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Jan 04, 2013 08:33 |  #54

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15442685 (external link)
I do know my basic costs. I just don't plan on sharing the particulars on a forum. I gave ballpark figures but you kept insisting. Other than assuring you that I am indeed profitable, I don't know what you are looking for.

Yes, I am interested in any feedback. I asked what kind of figure one would charge given my work, competition and area. You are convinced I came here for validation but that is not the case.

Samantha,

Great thread.

Some points to consider, $225 is approximately what I pay an assistant.

Professional photography is very much about production values. Wardrobe, grooming, styling, lighting and location or studio production.

I could go on but I think I would like to offer positive advise here specific to your questions.

Register with a printing service and offer prints instead of a disc. No professional will offer a disc of images, consider retouching for your images.

Your images are your image!




  
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Jan 04, 2013 10:14 as a reply to  @ Go Go's post |  #55

Wow Glumpy,
I have enjoyed some of your points on this forum. I think they are common business sense that most people choose to ingore because you appear to be successful (which I do assume is true based on our PMs). But I think in this case you continue to beat down a path that the OP hasn't described.

If after her hard costs, she brings $450/week or $23,400/year part-time on top of her full-time job...I dont think any state in this country would call that a hobby. In fact, the way some talk about having a difficult time making $50,000/year in photography, I'd say she has a pretty solid business plan which some could benefit from. Whether you think it or not, almost all her equipment was already purchased for personal use which she then put to use in her business...not much of a brain-teaser there. Probably pretty standard for most of the "part-time" photographers out there. You, of all people should appreciate the low overhead, streamline process, and short work hours to produce this income. If I saw her financials (not asking for them), I'd call it a business, the State of California would call it a business, and the IRS would call it a business. She knows that the checks are coming in, after expenses $450/week is going into her bank account, and that is being used to purchase personal items with nothing more coming out to pay for other things (as she's already covered that). What's the argument here?

Her question was "so I am looking at raising my prices for 2013. Thoughts?" At which point she didn't mention any figures. Answer: Supply and demand, baby. If you can raise your prices, and possibly lose a few clients, but make more money...start raising your prices. I've been self-employed for 23 years, I'm in a VERY S&D type business...my price flucuate based on demand. I do the work...to make the income I need...to have a quality of family life I'm looking for. OP, I think your original question was answered by others...


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Jan 04, 2013 10:31 |  #56

Im not much for business advice but HOLY COW that location with all the large overhanging trees may well have been built for photographers. :D


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Jan 04, 2013 10:45 |  #57

Allen K wrote in post #15443390 (external link)
Her question was "so I am looking at raising my prices for 2013. Thoughts?" At which point she didn't mention any figures. Answer: Supply and demand, baby. If you can raise your prices, and possibly loose a few clients, but make more money...start raising your prices. I've been self-employed for 23 years, I'm in a VERY S&D type business...my price flucuate based on demand. I do the work...to make the income I need...to have a quality of family life I'm looking for. OP, I think your original question was answered by others...

Best advice I've read so far in this thread and a virtual mirror of my situation.


My answer for most photography questions: "it depends...'

  
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Jan 04, 2013 11:23 |  #58

Jumping in WAY late here but...

It can be very hard for people who have made a successful path to understand any other path. And it can be hard for people at the start of the path to see what one to take. Even when told.

I work out of my house as well. Shoot as a side job. I have $0 recurring overhead costs. And my photography pays for itself and all of my equipment, meaning $0 debt. And a room full of photo toys. I have been doing this for 5-6 years. So I know what you mean by able to make money from a $250 shoot.

However...

All to common to shooters like us. We take the money with one hand, but pay the expenses out from the other and never cross reference. Meaning We look at the money we made by shooting, but never subtract what it cost us to make that money. We spend $1200 on a camera Then are over joyed when we make $100. When in fact we are still $1100 in debt. And out 4 hours of our lives, and $5 in gas, And another $1 for a disk...etc..etc... It sounds like you are beyond this. But didnt explain it at the beginning. The way it was worded, I took it you didn't understand this. That is where Thomas replied and was referring to, the break down of the money..... 2 hours labor shooting.... 2 hours labor editing.... gas to and back from the location... Equipment costs....etc...etc.. the math does not (usually) add up. What money is made... when you look at it this way... You would never "waste your time" to do it for so little return. And this breakdown is what you should base what you charge off of. Not just some random number that sounds good. Its been said.... if you can afford yourself... your doing it wrong.

The points Thomas has made are very valid. Quite abrupt, sure. But still valid. But as noted, it is not the only way to do things.

I am at the point where I need to open a studio, or back it down to a hobby again. If I go and open a studio. My own thought process is much like Thomas. Once you get an overhead you have to make at least that amount just to keep the doors open. And even the money after that is not profit yet. But as a semi professional with Currently $0 overhead and $0 debt The current model I am in pays quite nicely.


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Jan 04, 2013 12:26 |  #59

Caffrey123 wrote in post #15442282 (external link)
Whether the "real businesses" do it or not, I do not count the purchase of my software, office furniture, computer, hard drives, car, car insurance, cell phone, laptop, tablet etc because every single one of those things I had before I started my business.

You can take depreciation on the business-use percentage of the cost of items you already had. However, the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board (Calif. tax agency) have different rules for depreciation, so for some things you have to do the figuring twice. Doing it even once is a chore. If you do your own taxes, you may find it not worthwhile to spend that extra time and get just a few dollars off your Schedule C net income for each item depreciated.


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Jan 04, 2013 12:39 |  #60

glumpy wrote in post #15442455 (external link)
What you have explained again and again is a hobby, not a sustainable, profitable business.

That's not how the taxing authorities in the U.S. define "business" and "hobby." The OP is obligated to follow their rules, not yours.


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Sorry, another 'How much should I charge' but this is a little more specific.
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