You’ve seen it before – or maybe you’ve heard it. You’re just starting out and trying to figure out your pricing… right? And when you ask for advice, you keep getting ‘figure out your CODB’ as the answer.
Or maybe you’ve been at this for a while, now, and it’s time to re-evaluate. It’s time for you to get a raise.
CODB, or Cost of Doing Business, is how you set your pricing, determine your income, and generally control your finances… completely. This isn’t something specific to photography businesses, either. It’s a general business practice. Ever heard of ‘overhead’?
So where do you even start? There are a lot of AMAZING resources out there to help you with this (sometimes daunting) task. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across this fantastic article on F-Stoppers that I think many of you may find useful. It gives a fool-proof explanation of your expenses and income, but more importantly…. references billing days. Because, let’s face it, no one is really going to work 365 days a year and as photographers we have to consider the slow season, post processing, and administrative work. As business owners, you do it ALL, and that doesn’t leave you room to shoot everyday unless you’re outsourcing your editing and have an amazing admin assistant. If that’s your case, power to ya and shoot away!
The above article will send you over to the National Press Photographers Association CODB calculator… one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve used others over the year to calculate expenses, and even have my own spreadsheets predicting overhead costs and income, but this one takes into consideration almost anything you can think of. It’s online and easy to bookmark, and it gives you some rough starting points for numbers if you’re feeling a bit lost.
Of course, once you’ve done this, you need to take into consideration income tax, self employment tax, property tax, social security, and all the other lovely expenses that will come out of your accounts at the end of the tax season.
So where do you start with pricing your services and products? Here. I would suggest doing a bit of research on the other photographers in your area, too. Find out what the price range is, evaluate your own work, determine what you want your client base to be, and match these details against your CODB to figure out where you will fall on the spectrum. Not everyone prices the same – and they don’t have to. It’s up to you to determine what you want to include or exclude, what you will or won’t offer, how many months you will work, and ultimately… how much you will make.
It’s completely within your control. Isn’t that refreshing?
casey and her camera is an Indianapolis Family Photographer specializing in couple, lifestyle, senior, wedding and family photography for Indianapolis, Indiana and the surrounding areas.
May 15, 2015