Upload & Sell: On
I didn't think of it that way.
Would you have any suggestions as far as what to do moving forward, besides take this as a lesson?
This thread may feel disheartening to you at the moment – hopefully it will turn out to be the reverse and you’ll feel empowered to up your rates both in an absolute sense and factoring in all the “hidden” expenses everyone’s pointing out in their replies.
It may feel like it takes a lot of courage to break out of your current pricing mindset and quote what feel like huge numbers to you right now but (if you sort through this methodically) sustainable, reasonable pricing can (and must) become more “matter of fact” in your thinking.
In theory it can help to have your litany of justifications and explanations (insurance, taxes, retirement, etc) to share with a client if challenged but even that is a flawed approach. It’s sufficient for you to understand what you need to charge to be a viable business and make a commitment to yourself that you have no intention of living hand-to-mouth or not being able to clothe and house your family (the latter has always been a significant motivator and point of clarity for me personally).
Think less about what you guess the market will bear and more about the simple truth that if you can’t earn a sustainable living in photography, the sooner you discover that the better off you are (and if you aren’t business and accounting savvy, you may need to research business plans and consult an accountant).
Quote your price and don’t blink. Just as often as we fret over whether or not our pricing seems outlandish, clients worry that they don’t understand (or can’t afford) the cost of professional, high quality work. Note that part of marketing/selling any product or service is dealing with the “sure, you can always find someone who will do it cheaper, but here’s why you shouldn’t, etc, etc”.
[[Really think about the value-proposition you offer and what the client needs. What are the ramifications for him or her personally if the shots suck?... will their business suffer?... will their boss slam them? How are you solving their problem and how much is that worth to them? What do they fear?]]
One of my favorite mental games with customers or clients trying to negotiate or low ball is the simple statement: “Do you want it? Can you afford it? Great, sign here”. Even if I don’t say it aloud (and I sometimes have), it helps me remember that my price is what it is for a reason. If I capitulate, I’m subsidizing their retirement, not my own.
On the other hand, if you genuinely feel you’re not delivering work on par with other professionals, that’s another matter for another thread.
HTH and good luck.
Coincidentally I just ran across this thread. In particular have a look at the NPPA calculator:
…Please look here for an idea https://nppa.org/calculator
A supermodel (before the concept ever was thought up) once said "I don't get out of bed for less than $10,000!"
In my original reply I held back on my inclination to add a comment similar to the supermodel quote because I didn’t want to sound like a jerk but, minus a zero, that’s pretty close to my thinking.
I’m already (as typical) way into boringly-long-post territory so I’ll add this…
My senior year of high school I was organizing our prom and being the bright boy I was, I was sure I could negotiate the desired band down from their standard fee. I laid on my best (preppy, good student, class officer, athlete, etc) rationale on the band’s (stereotypically stoner) “leader”. He looked me in the eye and said: “Dude, it costs us $XXX to just pack up our sh*t and walk out the door.”
It was one of my first really useful lessons in business.