golfecho wrote in post #15447506OP – Your thread has covered about everything except world hunger. I have a few thoughts you may want to think about:1 – You have said repeatedly that you live in the military base, and have military connections. By living on a military base, your operating overhead is covered. You can think of this as being subsidized. So others in the general community may have additional fixed costs you don’t have. This translates into a profit for you at a lower cost than others at the same price point.2 – Portability, that is, if/when you are required to move from your current base of assignment, your business model will suffer if you rely exclusively on word of mouth. You need to think about how to adapt if/when that happens . . . begin to bring advertising into your business model? What aspects of your current model are linked exclusively to your current location? Someone mentioned the great scenery locations, so make sure you can operate when those great locations are not always there.3 – Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one. There are some terrific comments in this thread, and some comments that are not as helpful. Some are helpful, but come across in a gruff manner. Make sure you read each one and understand the point. You don’t have to agree with it, or even respond. My son who is in the Navy complained to me one day about a bad instructor he had one day, and that all he did was yell and criticize. I told him that you can learn something from every instructor, good one or bad one, just understand what lesson you are learning.
Hello, thank you for your reply! I am trying my best to look at each piece of advice and take the good advice that applies to my situation.
I do worry about having to move after establishing such a great and reliable client base where I am. As I work full time and will be moving in 2014, I have not wanted to invest too much in advertising here (in fact, at the moment it is zero money but of course a some time spent through Facebook etc) When I move to DC, I will know that I have 4 year minimum in that area...so I will be looking at an adjusted business model for the area, different seasons, locations, clientelle etc. I am lucky in that I already know several people (through military friends) in the area. The military, in this regard, is a great community as each base has a Facebook page (free advertizing) and families who have known me in California etc. I would never rely solely on this but it will be a good way to start.
Glumpy was interested in a breakdown of my time/costs etc for my part-time $225 session business model. Seeing as I have only just started charging these costs, I will do my breakdown for $150 sessions instead (last years cost). I know that to have an accurate breakdown and accurate costs you must include all your time spent at a desk, all your time spent emailing, all your time spent editing but I am going to quote only what applies to my business. Many are convinced that I do not see the hidden costs. I am fully aware of the time spent on my passion/profession but in saying that, many things were bought because it was my passion before my profession. I am crazy about vintage dresses, but were I to start a vintage dress rental company...I would not count the costs of previously owned dresses. Depreciation, yes, but not cost. I think it is unrealistic to pretend that every piece of furniture in my office, every piece of equipment should be looked at as a cost. Yes, I will use items and equipment I buy now as write-offs but I won't be looking at past costs as an outgoing.
Approximately 1/3 taxes - $50
Approximate travel costs to each session - 0.5 miles - 40 miles round trip - $0.27 to $20
(including gas, car depreciation etc 2012 CA rate is 0.55. Any round trip longer than 40 miles I charge this rate to the customer. The majority of my sessions are within 1-5 miles away from me)
Equipment - I am not sure how to calculate the depreciation or use of equipment per session. My current equipment costs are $1600 (lens & camera). So let's say I upgrade my equipment in 3 years, with weeks ranging from 1 session - 6 sessions, let's say the approximate is 2 sessions a week if going by last years rates (104 sessions a year, 312 session in 3 years) - $1600/312 = $5 - So, $5 per session on lens and camera body
Disc - $0.25 per session
Personalized CD label including ink & label - $0.30 per session
Custom stitched CD sleeves - $3
Thank you notes - $0.10
TAKING HOME $71.40
TIME SPENT -
Client inquiry and correspondence - 30 minutes
Shoot - 2 hours
Editing time using Lightroom - 3 hours
Client pick up or drop off + more correspondence - 30 minute
TOTAL - 6 HOURS
$71.40/6 = $11.93/hr
Now, I have laid this out for others but I look at this figure a little differently than just $11 an hour. I have used the maximum numbers for both tax and travel. All of my sessions usually take place on my way home from my day job. Most sessions are on route or just a little out of the way. Also, I work daily at a computer where I use my morning, lunch and afternoon breaks to catch up with clients if I need to. Not to mention I do all editing at home in the comfort of my own office and jammies! This model works for me, not just well but fantastically. Looking into 2013 and raising my prices, I couldn't be happier with how things are working. If you think I have missed out on any costs then let me know but if I do not know what they are then they don't apply to me yet or they are so small and insignificant that I do not notice it as an outgoing but just part of my other costs (phone bill, printer ink, paper). I have zero overhead, zero advertising costs and I purchased a domain name and web space a long time before I started my photography business.
Thank you all for your input and good luck to you all in every venture however big or small!
Thomas, you may not think that our little business models are anything you need to compete with but you forget that artistic talent comes before business savvy. I did not hire my wedding photographer for his business savvy or big business model, I hired him for his artistic talent. Just as I hope my clients to not pass me by because I am part-time, but hire me because of my ability to capture beautiful memories for their family. My wedding photographer along with many others whom I considered offer a disc of images and an online gallery as part of their package (approximately $3500) - are they not your competition? A 2 hour family session cannot be compared to an 8+ hour wedding day. My wedding rate is $150/hr at the moment. I have shot only a handful of weddings but prefer to focus on families as that is my passion. I offer the disc as part of my package but I always make recommendations to my client of what they should print, sizes and professional local and web based labs they should order from (someone commented that I am leaving the difficult part to them but after dealing with clients I only see that they are happy with the freedom and flexibility). I am not just "shoot and burn", there are a lot more steps to it than that. I recognize my clientele, what they want and how they want to use their images.