It is the time of the year when we look back at the past 12 months and decide what worked and what didn’t work in our businesses. This is the most common time of the year to re-vamp pricing for the upcoming season.There are many things to consider when it comes to pricing products and services. The worst possible thing to do is to compare your business to another’s business. We are naturally competitive and like to look at our competitors. I do agree it is good to know how you stack up to the competition, however, it isn’t one of the main factors you should consider.
Company Snapshot First and foremost, are you making money? Are you covering your expenses and getting a paycheck? Was there any time this year that you felt under-compensation? In order to answer these questions you need to know how many hours go into certain tasks. I like to break things down to the basics and see how much I am getting paid per hour. This may be scary for some of you, you may find out you are making less than minimum wage due to the time it takes to finish projects. If you are still under pricing yourself and scraping by, stop it! Determine the cost of running your business and how much you want to make next year and charge appropriately. Don’t worry if it is more than your competition, this is where a new marketing plan will come into play to help show the value added to your clients. Bite the bullet and do a major price increase if you need too. Let go of the clients that won’t pay your new price, I promise, you will get new customers that appreciate you and your artwork.
Growth Recognizing growth is probably one of the hardest things for artists. We never see the added value as we are our toughest critics. Compare an image you shot at the beginning of the year to an image you shot at the end of the year. Do you see growth? Has your composition improved or did you learn a better way to light your subject? Did you dedicate time and effort this year to learning and growing? Be objective, are your skills and services worth more next year than what were last year? The answer is probably yes! Unless you have improved leaps and bounds, don’t be afraid to raise your prices a little to compensate for your new skills even if you are a newbie.
Structure Collections, packages, digital rights, bundling, oh my! There are many different pricing structures to consider to yield higher sales. How do you decide what works best? Unfortunately, trial and error is the best way to see what will be most successful for your business. What works for me many not work for you, even if we are in the same or similar markets. There are many samples and information you can buy on the web that may help, but keep in mind you need to take it with a grain of salt and adjust for your business. If something doesn't work, change it, you don't have to wait until next year. Your pricing is adjustable at anytime. Once you find a system that works, you won't have to do a complete re-vamp of pricing every year.
The guide that changed how I ran my business came from PPA and I would highly recommend it to any photographer looking into pricing for success. Please share any of your techniques/models below in the comments as those many be helpful to others. I believe how we price in our individual businesses has an effect on the industry as a whole. Photography is a profession and the lively-hood of many people, not something that can be matched by anyone and everyone with a digital camera.