I Need Some Advice On Rates....

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by magkelly, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    I'm very good at digital imaging restoration work and I'm starting to get some people locally asking me to fix their damaged family heirloom photos. One local photographer he hooked me up with a client recently and she was very happy with the job I did on a really badly damaged photo of her family.

    I know he charged that woman at least $100, but I did it in trade for some camera gear, that time. I'm happy. I bartered and I got some good stuff out of the deal but he has asked me to give him a ballpark figure for doing further work because he wants me to be available to do more for him, should the need arise. He says he's always getting people asking and I can see that because he's one of the more popular photographers in the area. He apparently either doesn't like doing it or doesn't have the time to do the really hard stuff though.

    I do, and I'm happy for the business but he of course wants his percentage of whatever work I'll do for him in future. I've looked online and the bare minimum for a job like the one I just did is about $100-150. I figure he's going to charge at least that for anything that's not a simple fix and that likely he's going to hand me the really hard jobs because he knows I can do them.

    My question is if he's going to be handing me jobs that he's getting paid $100-150 for what should I be asking for in terms of my own percentage? I don't want to turn him down because I could use the money, but I don't want to take a mere pittance for doing a really hard job either. I figure yeah, it's his client, but it's me doing the hard work and ultimately I should be making more than minimum wage here.

    He won't quote a fee or an hourly rate. He clearly expects me to decide what I'll charge, and that's fine, but I have a feeling that if I do suggest a split that's really commiserate with level of work I'll be doing he'd probably just balk. I can't be sure I'll be getting a huge amount of work from this guy, probably it will be decent, but I guess it could make me some extra $$$ for gear...

    I do want to make some $$$ but I don't want to rip myself off either.

    What would you charge him? Do you think I should do it, or that maybe I should just back off, get some business cards printed and concentrate more on getting more business in the area myself? He's a nice guy, but I just have a feeling he wants me to do the really hard work on the cheap, you know? I'm not talking just getting rid of some dust or a crease here. The last project I did I was restoring noses, teeth, ears, and so forth. It wasn't easy and it took several hours.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'd suggest figuring out an hourly rate. You don't want to charge $100 for a job that takes you 10 hours.

    It's up to you to figure out what your time is worth. Off the top of my head, I'd guessing something like $50-$60 per hour to start.
     
  3. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Agree with mike but you need to let them know how many hours it will take you before you start. I would do 15 minutes increment. If you tell them 2 hours and you get it done in 1.5, subtract some money.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is what I'm used to paying:

    Light Restoration – $10.00
    For lightly damaged originals with up to three minor repairs outside of major areas. (Major areas of repair are faces, hands, and areas of lost photographic emulsion which contains details essential to your photo.)

    Medium Restoration – $16.00
    Includes ONE of the following: Restore one major area of repair, OR color restoration of intact photo, OR Add or Delete one person in a group photo, OR colorization of intact black and white photo, OR change background.

    Medium Heavy Restoration – $21.75
    When neither medium or heavy would be the appropriate category due to additional work necessary on a medium photo. Light restoration plus additional service such as colorization or change background.

    Heavy Restoration/Art Treatment 1-2 Subjects – $27.50
    For Heavily damaged originals with more than 3 major areas of repair OR photo repair and colorization, OR add or delete more than one person in a group OR colorize and restore B/W photo.

    Group Heavy Restoration/Art Treatment 3+ Subjects – $33.00
    For Heavily Damaged Groups with more than 5 Major Areas of Repair OR Heavy Photo Repair and Color Restoration, OR Add or Delete More than 3 persons.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    If he is charging $100- $150 per image and you are doing all the work, you should be getting most of the $100 - $150.

    If all he is doing is the intake, billing, and delivery, I would be expecting at least 75% of the fee he is charging.

    The 25% he gets is almost totally gravy for him.
     
  6. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    I've decided to branch out on my own. I'm not going to take projects from that guy after all. I'll probably make more money working on my own, but thanks for all the info. It was helpful.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  7. kkphotos

    kkphotos TPF Noob!

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    Out of curiosity, why no interest in taking referrals from him? Are you that busy yourself that you're otherwise fully booked up?

    (Working on my business plan, curious to know whether there are downsides I"m not considering to partnering with others)
     
  8. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Basically he's acting as your agent, a 60/40 in your favour for the work seems about right. H
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'd be more inclined to think like KmH with a 75%ish area take for yourself rather than a 60/40 split. The 60/40 is more saying that you are just doing a little more than him, when in fact you are doing all the work and add to that the fact that this is extra work for him and not his main form of income. He can afford to take a little less, since as KmH said its mostly just referral he is doing so its all profit with little to no input (the clients even come to him so he's not actively working for you to source work). Whilst for yourself it is your main earner.
     
  10. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    He's not referring clients my way. He just wants me to do the work. He wants them to think he's the one at the computer. I wouldn't care so much about recognition if the pay was good, but it's clearly not going to be. He won't even talk his own rates with me. I can't even tell what to charge him because I actually don't know what he charges them. I'm supposed to decide, not knowing, I guess. I get the feeling if I ask for even 50% he'd just balk. Probably not worth it. I'd rather just go find more clients of my own.

     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yeah - but 50% of what?

    If he won't tell you what he is actually charging for your work, there's no way for you to know what to ask for - percentage-wise, that is.

    You might say you want 50%, then he might agree and give you $XX. How would you know if that was really 50%?

    It sounds like he wants to low-ball you. He won't tell you what he's charging, because he knows he would have to pay you more if he did.
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    This is a common business practice. Never name your price, let the other person name theirs. This other person, you in this case, not knowing what they are doing (sorry) will tend to low ball. This is something you deal with in all kind of business situations.

    From the car dealership that asks you what monthly payments you can afford to Sears Windows rep that only give you a monthly payment and never a total cost of the deal. It is all the same crap.

    What this thread shows (sorry again) is that this person is a business person and you are not.

    You need to turn the situation around. Ask him what he is willing to pay for your services?

    And don't be afraid to laugh at him. He is obviously in need of you. You have the upper hand if you want it. And from the stuff you said, I think you might want to consider working with him. At least until you learn enough about business to steal his customers.

    FYI, I paid a rep when I first went into commercial photography. Yes he got a nice percentage but I wouldn't have gotten those jobs otherwise. He made me more money than I paid him.

    Food for thought.
     

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