Nothing included?

Or “why are you so expensive?” or “Why I am I only getting paid for half of my working hours?”

11Emilie 020Often when I discuss pricing and structure with colleagues, I get the “but how do you sell it when there is nothing included?” – because I have a booking fee, with no portraits included. But that is not the same as NOTHING included.

I had an inquiry: “2000 DKR, and no images included?” (2000 DKR is roughly 270€ / 310$) she asked, and I said yes, the 2000 DKR covers:

  • Your newborn session (2-4 hours work)
  • The post production of your portraits, including design of slideshow, wall collections and albums. (15-20 hours of work)
  • Your ordering session (1-2 hours of work)
  • Your unveiling (1-2 hours of work)
  • Any cost associated with the above.

That is actually a lot included … and at a very low price point if you ask me. This is the fee I charge to create the portraits and the experience for the client.

So lets put in a nice round number: 20 hours spent, 2000 DKR paid. 20 hours is 2.5 days of work. My studio (without my own salary) costs around 820DKR a day to run (and yes that is 820DKR 365 days a year). That is all my expenses, excluding my own salary. So at this point, I have actually PAID my client 50DKR (7€/8$) for the privilege of photographing her newborn.

And I did not even count in the time spent on marketing, branding and education, to be able to get her inquiry in the first place and make wonderful portraits of her newborn.

So when people complain I am too expensive, I am not, I am actually still too inexpensive, as I am still paying my clients for the privilege of making portraits for them. I do however get my salary when I then sell the portraits as wall art and albums.

For every client hour spent, I should actually be making ~1100DKR – so in her case, with 20 hours, I should actually be making 22.000 DKR (~3000€ / 3400$) all in all. If she spent 20.000DKR on products after the session, I would get paid for the hours spent marketing, the hours spent educating my self, the hours spent on branding, I would get paid for ALL of my working hours. (This number is: Percentage of working hours in a year  spent on clients vs. on education/branding/bookkeeping/cleaning/events/whateverelsewedo, divided with my total CODB (including my salary), that is the hourly rate I should be receiving, from clients).

But at this moment in time, the truth is, I am actually only being paid for about half of my hours, in most cases.
(Or being paid very little for each hour, depending on how you want to see it)

And don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining, I am getting closer and closer to my goal. And someday, I will get paid for all of my working hours.  The point of this blog is how important it is to know your numbers, know when you break even – and know when you are not. Your number can be a lot lower or a lot higher than mine, depending on how your business is structured, how your workflow is – but do not kid your self into thinking you are too expensive, because very few of us is actually getting paid for all of our working hours, even those with the “high prices”.

The numbers don’t lie (but they tend to hurt your feelings when you see them!)