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.
Refusing to Sign an Estimate
When you tell us always to provide an estimate, what if they refuse to sign your estimate, saying legal will only allow them to work off their agreement? How do we respond to cover ourselves?
The norm is for larger clients and ad agencies NOT to sign our estimates/bids/contracts as their legal department controls the company decisions. We cover ourselves by carefully reading through their SOW (statement of work) agreement, not signing any terms contradicting our arranged policies. Our estimates still protect us if it comes down to a legal matter, so use the protection terms wisely as our backup.
Rates Are Based On More Than Your Time
Rate sheets, rate cards, and day rates do not have to be the same across the board. Rates are based on more than your time, amount of images, and usage terms. Your unique creative experience and the client’s budget affect your fees, making ‘one single rate’ for every project an incorrect business model system.
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.
Bidding Without Getting The Job
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?
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.
Sales Tax For Digital Goods
I recently moved to a state where it is required to pay sales tax for digital goods. As a commercial photographer, how appropriate is it to charge sales taxes to my clients?
Sales tax laws have been changing, and no matter how you deliver your images, some states like Kentucky and Texas now require photographers to charge clients sales tax after we have invoiced them a certain amount.
If you know of a good resource for this, please share it in the comments.
Strategic Category Padding
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.
Tagging Clients on IG
I tagged a client on my IG image, and it worked; they want to use it for their socials. I don’t want to just hand over the image. How can I approach asking for compensation of some sort, and better yet, how can I translate this into an actual booking in the future?
Tagging clients on IG is one strategic door-opening marketing tool, but it is more of a way in vs. a way to sell that image. How?
- Usually, the social media manager will not have a budget to purchase image usage for IG.
- You’ve created the rare opportunity of having their attention for one response.
- Use this door-opener to get the “photography hiring” contact information.
- If your image is shared, get your name tagged to use this for your benefit.
- Take this experience as a conversation starter on LinkedIn, where you will talk to the correct potential clients.
Always Provide An Estimate
Always provide an estimate. Don’t tip-toe around this when a client doesn’t request a bid from you. If all details are emailed to you, discussed on the phone, or you approve their pdf, send them your estimate to cover yourself with all potential mishaps.
Recognized Company With Low Rate
I’ve spent time sending samples of my work for a company I thought I’d be perfect to work with. They finally responded with some interest in me by holding some dates, but they released me. What shocked me was the rate of $1500 for the shoot. Is this normal? I understand I am just getting started, but it felt low for the company’s size and brand recognition.
Kudos to you for getting your work out there to the companies you want to work with. That is step one. I see the increase of $1500 rates due to a heavily saturated industry with more in-house marketing clients, more photographers, and more marketing opportunities for all of us to be in direct contact with our dream clients. Take the feedback as a stepping stone to growing your dream client list, increasing your marketing options, and fine-tuning your testing/branding focus.