Let’s Talk Pricing | Part 1

Let’s Talk Pricing | Part 1

There been a ton of discussion within various online forums that I’m in as well as at WPPI (wedding portraiture photographers international) convention this month about pricing services.

There’s been chatter from all different angles about how people who price low are under cutting the market and devaluing the industry (could be any industry). And those that are undercutting they’re competitors are in a race to the bottom.

Well, let’s talk about pricing.

pricing your creative service art

Knowing the Market Rate

You can research the market rate by talking to potential clients who are looking for the service you are offering. This is a delicate discussion but it can provide you with insights to the your rates based on what others are finding. This conversation may be best reserved for clients you have a longer standing relationship with.

Further, ask your industry colleagues what they charge. But be reciprocal when asked the question in return. You can step up and be the first to offer up what you’re charging and how you determined the pricing, which can spark a deeper conversation.

Last but no least, researching online can uncover rate sheets and ‘prices start at’ information.

Just starting out or don’t know where to look? Look up the industry groups. For photographers who want to shoot weddings, and portraits, starting your research with PPA and WPPI are good places to start. You can read articles, and find photographers in your area using the find photographer link. Click through to review the photographer’s work, and reach out to them if their work speaks to you. Let them know what about their work you admire and ask them for advice for a budding photographer.

For commercial photographers check out APA and ASMP, and drill down to the local chapters near you to find other photographers to connect with. Both sites have great information for different things to think about when it comes to pricing, bidding and licensing.

For makers check out the Academy of Handmade and Etsy regional groups to connect with other makers both in person and online. Also Etsy has a extremely active forum which is filled with great information. For pricing tips check out Megan Auman’s classes on CreativeLive.

As you begin to gather your research on what others in your field are charging, remember the information doesn’t not get at the heart of how those prices were calculated. You don’t know the persons life situation, other revenue sources and other expensives. So the information is merrily providing you with a scope and breath as to what is out there.

By no means, do your prices need to be aligned with or even within the same ballpark of your competitors, as your set of life and business circumstances are yours alone.

Time plays a part in profitability

Your profitability margin can change greatly based on your time. Time is a essential element in any creative business. How much time a task take you or your intern, from culling images from a wedding to creating a design mood board, needs to be tracked. Guessing how many hours something takes, is not the same as knowing. Create a daily habit of tacking your time will allow you to: 1) keep records from past jobs that can then be used to determine pricing for future projects of similar value, scope, and complexity; 2) identify profitable as well as unprofitable relationships and projects;  3) see where you can improve your systems and eliminate gaps or steps in your processes.¹

[ctt template=”1″ link=”S955h” via=”no” ]”A common way to lose money – especially if you are a perfectionist – is to spend too long on projects that don’t pay enough” – Ilese Benum[/ctt]

As creatives we trend to everything to make our offering/product/service perfect. But the reality is, being perfect, when most of our clients can’t distinguished between good and great, cuts into your profit. If you want to go the extra mile every time, make sure you’ve baked your cost into your price, or you’ll be cutting into your profit margin every single time.

There more to pricing. Here’s what is coming up in Part 2 –  looking at reasons to raise your rates and to lower them, as well as how to determine what is the right price tag for your business offerings. Stay tuned.


¹ from The Creative Professional’s Guide to Money How to think about it. How to talk about it. how to manage it. by Ilise Benum



Stop Hiding Under the Covers | BE THE CEO

Stop Hiding Under the Covers | BE THE CEO

Are you a creative entrepreneur, who started your business because you wanted to live your passion? Now that you’ve jumped in, offering your service, but struggling to hold onto money, finding that there never seems to be enough money to pay for your business and your life. You’re a smart and capable person but feel shame around not understanding the financial aspects and would much rather ignore the numbers all together, and hide under the bed covers.

Not to fear.  You can crawl out from hiding and see how to look at your numbers without panic. BE THE CEO is you’re light in the dark.

BE THE CEO workshop is a two day intensive hands on workshop.

Day one: We will work to quite your money fears. Then finish calculating what you need to live your life and sustain your business comfortably, work on understanding how to do project forward to see the peaks and valleys of your income and expenses and end the day with pricing to make a profit.

Day two: We dive into positioning and messaging, understanding your customer’s experience and creating your businesses unique value proposition. And because we know that you might need to raise your rates or offer new products and services to get there, you will also make a plan for positioning your business in a category of one, so you can command better prices and attract your ideal clients.

  You will:
  • take the reigns of your numbers and work through your emotional financial roadblocks
  • have a plan for generating your revenue so your to do list is focused on moving forward allowing you the flexibility to get in the activities that refuel you.
  • learn what makes you the most money and be able to phase out the things that drain you (or at least charge more for them
  • be in a supportive group of entrepreneurs who face similar issues in running a business and understand the stresses
  • have a business coach with a unique point of view and background to help you create a map to reaching your chief initiative
  • have Brigitte Lyons, CEO and founder of B THE FORWARD-THINKING PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY, to guide you to positioning your business with consistent messaging
  • have an ongoing community to supporting you and helping you reach your business goals

The workshop includes:

  • writing out a revenue plan. Knowing when money is coming in is a good thing!
  • analyzing your current offerings. Are you accounting for the cost of goods and paying yourself for the production time?
  • positioning your business using your special sauce
  • digital and physical worksheets for you to continue to tweak and use as your business evolves
  • a notebook to write down your thoughts and break-throughs
  • light nibbles and refreshments on both days to keep your focused
  • lunch on day two

The workshop is open to a limited group of ten business owners. We will spend out a pre-work packet before the workshop. Two days beforehand we have gather together for an online meeting, allowing for the cohort to meet one another before, and answer any questions that came up for you as went through the pre-work.

Ready to crawl out from under the covers and take control of your business? Then register now.

Two locations to choose from:

Got questions, post them in the comments and I’ll answer.

Let’s Get Creative | Friday Infographic

It’s the first Friday of 2014! We’re in planning mode here at Business Juice and although, there’s still items to finalize from 2013, we don’t want our year to start off with crunching numbers, but rather bubbling with creative thought. Love this infographic by WhoIsHostingThis? all about unleashing the creative potential in all of us.
How to Be More Creative [Infographic]

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.