How to figure out the correct markup for prints?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Claire Pacelli, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Claire Pacelli
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    Claire Pacelli New Member

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    I just recently joined Mpix Pro ( I heard was one of the best, their welcome package does impress) and I have their pricing sheet for the base cost. I was curious I have tried to google this to no avail; what do I charge? I am at this place where I am booking about 3-4 sessions a month (started by business about 6 months ago) and I want to offer printing options for extra versatility. I know you can say "mark up what you feel is right" the only thing is I wanna be in line with the market. I do not want to undercut other photographers or overcharge and turn off my clients. Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    This question was asked yesterday or the day before...search around, there are some good answers in there (not to mention the many, many posts about this over the years). Also 'What should I charge' is one of the most popular questions on any photo related forum...so Google should give you plenty of reading, provided you search it thoroughly.

    To really answer this for yourself, you need to figure out your business plan. As part of that, you should decide how you want to structure the way you charge for what you do. For example, you might charge $500 for a sitting fee, and then not need a whole lot of markup on your print sales. On the other hand, you might charge $20 for a sitting fee....and then need an 800% market from your 'cost of goods sold'.

    Either way, you should really try to figure out all of your costs...not just the cost of the prints (goods sold), but how much did your gear cost? What about computer equipment that you used? Did you drive to the location or do you have a studio space (in home or not)? What about photographic education...including the time you spend practicing etc? Marketing? Don't forget taxes, business license, insurance etc.
    These are things that need to be covered if you want a sustainable business. Not to mention making money for yourself.
    Of course, it's unlikely that you'll be able to cover those costs with only 3-4 sessions a month (although if you could, that would be fantastic). So in your business plan, you should decide how many sessions you can do, how many you want to do and how many you'll need to do, in order to reach your goals.
    All of this should help you to figure out where your pricing should probably fall.

    One way to get this started, or to help find a starting point...would be to search around your area and see what other photographers are charging.
  3. bennielou
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    bennielou New Member

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    I use 3x if that helps.
  4. ghache
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    ghache New Member

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    Like bennielou, i charge 5 X for the small prints up to 12X18, and 3X for the big ones.
  5. FavillePhoto
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    FavillePhoto New Member

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    In our neck of the woods, we tell our clients 3x for smaller prints, and 2x for larger canvas prints, or framed/matted pieces. But, that works in our local market. Your market may be different.

    A good place to put yourself is more expensive than 25% of your competition, and cheaper than 75% of the competition. Nobody wants to order from the cheapest place around, because they probably assume that there's a (bad) reason that they're so cheap. But, in this economy, everyone is looking for good deals wherever they can find them. By not being the cheapest, you don't have to worry about losing business from people avoiding the bottom of the barrel, but you're also going to be considered a real bargain compared to most of your higher priced competitors. Assuming this system works along-side what you have to pay for your prints, it always seems to work well for our clients.

    If you have additional questions about pricing structure, or starting up your business, please feel free to contact me for more in-depth information. Our business specializes in assisting start-up artists and photographers get their business off the ground.
  6. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Smaller prints usually require a larger markup than big wall prints, because the smaller prints make up the bulk of your sales.

    I markup desk size prints 3000% (for example an Mpix 8x10 is $1.99 (my cost) and retails for $60). From there my markup diminishes as print size increases, until at 24x36 I'm down to a 700% print markup. Larger than 24x36 gets priced on an individual basis. Framing and other products require a differnt pricing structure.

    Another approach is to charge by the square inch. To pick a number out of the air for illustration purposes lets use $0.40 per square inch.
    An 8x10 is 80 square inches and at $0.40 per would be $32. A 24x36 is 864 sq in and would cost $345.

    Plus your pricing strategy has to consider your business goals. Three to 4 sessions a month seems to indicate a part-time business. If at some point you were to want to expand that to 3 to 4 sessions a week, you would likely need a different pricing strategy to attract the additional customers.
  7. HikinMike
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    HikinMike Well-Known Member

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    That's what I do. :)

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