Whether you have been in business
two years or twenty, it can still be discomforting and difficult to discuss
pricing if you don’t know what to say and when to say it. Getting paid what you
want is all about what you do and say at the beginning of a client
relationship. It is very hard to try and change later. To get paid what you
want you will need a clear and concrete strategy. Here are some techniques to
review, renew or learn for the first time!
Rules to Live By
the “you” from the picture when price comes up. Talk about what “the
project” will cost, not what “you” charge. No matter what the project is,
making pricing too personal reduces your objectivity and ability to
industry standard forms with legally accepted terms and conditions and
know your industry business practices and standards. Don’t re-invent the
wheel to generate an estimate form when dozens of professional
associations have already designed the forms to protect you. Look to AIGA
(www.aiga.org), Graphic Artist Guild
(www.gag.org) , American Society of Media Photographers (www.asmp.org), Professional Photographers
of America (www.ppa.com) and National Press
Photographers Association (www.nppa.org).
On most web sites that offer this type of assistance, use the search box
for “business forms” and though most require membership in the association
and it is well worth it!
out who is really in charge and if that person has both the responsibility
and the authority to hire you. Learn negotiating considerations and use
them wisely. Put everything in writing including the benefits of working
with you. To get your price, learn to package your price.
- Don't quote prices
off the top of your head! It’s very, very rare that a fair price can be
determined before the project scope is fully described and understood.
Plan on calling the client back after you have some time to think it
through. This is most important when you don't know the client or don't
know if you have the job for certain.
- Get complete and
detailed project information. How many setups? How many views in each
setup? How many variations on each view in each setup? How many sketches?
How many approvals? Every creative area will have different production
variables for their projects. Don’t wait until you are in the middle or at
the end of the project for these variables to come up (and they will) be
prepared now. Get all the information now, you may need it later to
negotiate and you will certainly need it to accurately quote a price.
- Prepare a verbal
presentation of your pricing in advance so that you can handle any
response. For example, when you ask your client, "What you described
will cost $5,000, how does that fit your budget?" the client will
respond positively or negatively. If they respond positively, then you go
to the packaging your price step. If they are negative about your price,
then you go to considerations to negotiate step.