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Bidding Process

How To Avoid Getting Trapped In Bid Prices

Save yourself from getting trapped in bid prices without correct production tasks by naming your estimate as a BALLPARK BID. Your costs can be listed as menu options instead of included in your total. “Costs may change depending on the information provided.” All the ways to be as accurate as you can with the information you’ve been given. 

Learn More About the Budget Before Making Your Estimate

STOP WASTING TIME DOING ESTIMATES YOU DON’T NEED TO DO!

It’s wild how many bidding requests we get from random clients that don’t even pertain to us. We must find out the budget before we waste our time. Even though that is the exact info clients usually refuse to give us, we have to push through by asking if their budget is between certain amounts. That type of “yes/no” question usually sparks a client to respond if it’s over what they have available to spend. Give it a try.

Bidding Prices Should Include Time Spent Working With The Client

Bidding Prices should incorporate the real cost of the time-consuming back-and-forth process because your business time = money. Just as we charge for the equipment you own, the same goes for managing your time.

Value your time in the bidding process. Part of the bid that is often overlooked is the time spent negotiating with clients and managing their expectations. While this time may not be explicitly spelled out in the bid, it is important to factor it into the overall cost of the project. We recommend adding this time to the creative fee, prep days, or production fee to ensure that it is covered. By doing so, we ensure that we are compensated for the time spent on client management, which can be a significant portion of the project. Ultimately, the goal is to have a bid that accurately reflects the time and effort required for the project, including the time spent managing the client.

How Specialty Impacts Commercial Photography Creative Fees

What is your specialty? One CREATIVE FEE component that may get overlooked in fee formula calculations is how much the client needs you for this campaign. The specialization you bring to a project goes a long way, and you should be paid for it. 

When setting a creative fee for a project, it is important to consider how specific and unique your creative skills are to that particular project. This can involve evaluating whether your look or style matches the needs of the project better than others and whether your particular skills and experience make you the best fit for the job. By taking into account these factors, you can justify charging a higher creative fee for your work.

Retouching Rates Can Be Ambiguous, Protect Yourself By Making It a Day Rate

Retouching rates leave ambiguity when it’s based on per image, so one way to protect your time spent is to make it a day rate. As you track your time, the client can be aware of the image(s) progression and even try to speed it along, helping them achieve more out of that 10-hour day they are paying.

When pricing retouching fees, it is important to be careful as clients and photographers may have different interpretations of what is being done, what is being supplied, and how many revisions are allowed. Feedback can become intense if not priced accordingly. One way to handle this is to charge a day rate for one 10-hour day, based on time instead of production level or the number of images. This makes it more about the retoucher’s time rather than the amount of images being worked on.

Cover Yourself Before The Job Begins By Getting An Advance

Cover yourself by getting a 50% Advance Invoice BEFORE the job begins. You have more power in the game with clients on your side to get you paid and not delay the photoshoot vs. trying to convince them to hurry up after the job begins.

It is important to get an advance on your invoices. It is recommended that 50% of the job awarded should be invoiced in advance, and this should be included in the estimate and terms before the start of the shoot. If the request for advance payment is made after the shoot has begun, the client may have more flexibility and less urgency to make it happen. Pushing for an advance invoice before the shoot begins shows a level of professionalism and sets clear expectations with the client. Clients are more likely to respond positively to a clear and organized approach, and this can help build trust and credibility in the business relationship. Overall, advance invoices are an essential tool in the photography industry, and their importance should not be overlooked.

Additional Usage Pricing Options

Additional usage pricing options are the one client request which gives us more flexibility than the other bid costs since they do not add to the bid total. My approach is to come in higher on these since it won’t make or break a bidding situation, allowing the wiggle room to be lowered after we get the job.

Discussing the benefits of pricing oneself for additional options for usage when negotiating a photography job. By having control over additional usage terms, a photographer can negotiate for more options and flexibility in their fee. This allows for more negotiation and freedom, as photographers are not held to a strict usage amount in their fee. Furthermore, additional usage terms are optional and can be used as a bargaining tool to ask for more money or benefits. This approach can provide more financial security and opportunities for photographers in their industry.

Bidding Without Getting The Job

Q:

An international agency with a household name client has reached out to me to bid on five separate occasions to do a grueling bidding/treatment process, and each time I didn’t get the job for different reasons. How many times do you bid with an agency before you are to believe that they are only collecting a third or fifth bid from you?

A:

Bidding’s long-term goal is to keep yourself well-footed inside the agency doors with the ever-evolving creatives and clients. Repetitive bidding may indicate that you are in the door but must strengthen the relationships and your work to get further in. See the open door as an entry invitation. Invite them to dinner and ask the Creatives what they look for, taking your relationship to the next level.

Photographers’ Overtime Rates

Photographers’ overtime rates (after 10 hrs) are charges I was only using for the crew. Now I’m seeing some clients approve this as a normal request. I’m changing my bidding plan to include OT rate information (10-12 hrs= 1.5x hourly rate, after 12 hrs= 2x hourly rate) on every estimate.

The topic of whether photographers should charge overtime for themselves, not just their crew, is a new and uncertain area for many photographers. We put the question out to our Facebook group and received a variety of responses from different clients and photographers. Despite the differing opinions, we suggest that photographers should try to include overtime in their estimates and see if clients are willing to accept it.

Strategic Category Padding To Deal With Bidding With Larger Clients

Bidding with larger clients usually means dealing with cost consultants asking us to reduce their selected costs. The better we prepare with strategic category padding, the more we can keep in our budget and respond with reasoning explanations of why costs need to stay the same. 

When bidding for a job with larger clients, it is common for clients to hire cost consultants to review and fine-tune the bid. The cost consultants’ job is to reduce prices, so it is expected that some areas will be padded. This can include crew size, producer time, equipment rental, and even meals. To prepare for cost consultants, it is recommended to pad some areas knowing they will be reduced. For example, inflating prices a little bit or bringing up prep days with the expectation of being asked to reduce them. It is important to adjust for cost consultants on the client side to secure the job.