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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Getting paid for client meetings?????
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09/29/2010 09:22:28 PM · #1
Ok here it goes.....I am an independant photographer working for another photographer shooting weddings....I take the shots and hand over the cards for the studio to do the rest...LOVE IT! I have the fun part imo. In order to book clients we need to meet them and go over things, have a little chat, get to know each other and look at images , etc, etc. I drive 45mins to the studio as I live out of town, then our meetings are ususally 1hr, and then I drive home. It is essentially 3 hours of my day (and I have a 2yr old and 3yr old to juggle as well, babysitters and what not) that I do this and I make nothing....which yes I know is not really a waste of time because we usually book and then I get paid for the engagement and wedding, but not untill then(obviously). I feel like I should be compensated for my time. We take a down payment of 300 when the client books.
Is there room for this kind of thing? Am I being totally stupid in this way of thinking? I am only asking for money in the case we get booked, if not then no money, but it would be kind of like a signing bonus or something, even if it is only $30 that would be enough.
Could this be someting that could be worked into pricing? Thoughts?
09/29/2010 10:46:48 PM · #2
it's worth talking with the other photographer. it's one thing to simply show up and shoot; it's another thing to be part of the sales process.

i hate situations where 1) you shoot because you need the money, and 2) you don't know if you could be easily replaced...any combination of those things leaves one feeling somewhat trapped and not in a good bargaining position. on the other hand, if you're working with someone you like and you feel like they would treat you fairly, broach the subject. if they're reasonable, they'd understand you saying you can't justify putting an additional 3 hours in without compensation.

good luck.
09/29/2010 11:51:03 PM · #3
I think it is reasonable to point out that you spend 3 hrs, have to pay a babysitter, pay for gas etc. and ask if your presence is essential at the pre-meetings. If so, the studio could at a minimum reimburse you for expenses, since you are not "shooting" but supporting their sales effort. They could easily add the $50 bucks or so to the fee, too, so the cost is passed on rather than absorbed by them. They might, however, say you are not essential for the meetings, so don't come in for them. So you would need to be sure you don't mind missing them before asking if it is really necessary for you to be there. If you want to attend, then don't offer not to, but just ask for compensation.

I think it is fair, as your being there means you are in the loop, helping not only with the sale, but also to be more informed at the time of the shoot, improving the efficiency of the shoot, and the quality of the product (getting the shots the customer really wants). But Skip is right--use your gut feel as to whether they would just replace you, or if your relationship is good enough that they could say no to $ and you would still feel comfortable there....
09/30/2010 05:41:03 AM · #4
Candice
Do you want me to talk to her for you? :) lol

I think you are entitled to get reimbursed for your time. I never did, but should have.
Just like you said If you book the wedding then you should get reimbursed, if they don't book then no money. Just like any sales person making a cold call if they make a sale they get compensated, if they do not make the sale then no money.
Have you approached her with this? I am sure she would be wiling to add this to the final price. When couples are spending that much money on this, another $50 or so won't make a difference. They won't even notice.

Hope all is well.
Leo
09/30/2010 08:11:02 AM · #5
I have always been one to be able to have good working relationships and if you don't ask you don't recieve!!! The worst that could happen is that she would say no and nothing changes.
09/30/2010 09:16:20 AM · #6
You want to be reimbursed for a babysitter while working?

When you get the booking, and the client pays, you take your personal expenses out of your fee. It's a business expense and you claim them on your taxes, you don't ask your employer to cover your daycare costs. Unless you are getting an hourly wage from your employer, then you have to average all the time spent on sales into the fee you receive from your client.

If I was a client and found out that $50 was added to the bill for daycare costs, I wouldn't be a client of yours any more and you wouldn't be getting any recommendations from me. That is abusive towards your customers to think that they can absorb the additional cost because they are paying so much already.
09/30/2010 09:38:21 AM · #7
I believe the babysitter was mentioned as part of what her time is costing her. The $10/hour ($30 for 3) she mentioned is by no means an unreasonable reimbursement- whether or not daycare was required. If having her at the consult increases the chances of closing the deal, then it makes sense for her to be paid for that time. That she is willing to waive compensation for meetings that do not result in a contract is a very nice gesture. If the company she is working for cannot afford that cost, then they probably need to take another look at what they are charging.
09/30/2010 10:31:33 AM · #8
I have another opinion on this matter:

Really these meetings should be considered a part of your overhead expenses. It seems to be a necessary thing for you to be there. You are getting a first hand impression of the clients vision for what they want for their weddings. It is not necessarily a part of the studio's sales process, it is more for communication.

If I were you, I would calculate the time for these meetings into your salary for shooting the wedding. Your per wedding income is going to be made up of shooting time, meeting time, travel time, gas and mileage. (You should also try to figure some income for meetings for unbooked weddings too.)

If you can't get compensated for your travel time, keep track of your mileage and claim it on your taxes as a business expense. Babysitting is an expense but it is a personal expense not business related. As you set your salary for the weddings, keep your expenses in mind and request a higher salary.
09/30/2010 10:49:54 AM · #9
So are you looking for more money, or just an advance payment? If it's just an advance, it shouldn't be a big deal to take a part of the down payment and get less on the back end.
09/30/2010 11:13:03 AM · #10
Ok so I do get paid an hourly rate for shooting. I am in no means asking for money to pay a babysitter, that is not the issue. The issue is my time spent and not recieving anything in return for it. So are we saying that I charge an extra $5 an hour and take that at the time of booking?
09/30/2010 11:26:27 AM · #11
Originally posted by cbondar:

Ok so I do get paid an hourly rate for shooting. I am in no means asking for money to pay a babysitter, that is not the issue. The issue is my time spent and not recieving anything in return for it. So are we saying that I charge an extra $5 an hour and take that at the time of booking?


If you get paid by the hour, as opposed to a per-event flat fee, then you ought to be getting paid at your hourly rate for these meetings. I had assumed, and I think most of us had assumed, that you were getting paid on a contract price, per event. If you're an hourly hire, there's no excuse (IMO) for your principal to be dragging you in for 3 hours of meetings with no compensation at all.

If, as EL ROI points out, you WERE working at a contract price, then that price should be worked out to include compensation for pre-event coordination meetings. Whether you would receive part of this payment at the time of deposit is negotiable, but it would not be the norm; deposits to to the photographer to reserve a time slot are not usually disbursed in advanced to the assistants/second shooters etc. If only for the obvious reason that when the actual event comes around you might no longer be the go-to gal for this photographer.

R.
09/30/2010 01:28:34 PM · #12
what does everyone suggest as a possible solution?
09/30/2010 01:44:52 PM · #13
Originally posted by cbondar:

what does everyone suggest as a possible solution?


Only you can answer that, based on your relationship with the principal.

R.
09/30/2010 02:01:41 PM · #14
If you get paid hourly, then you should be paid for the sales meeting as well if they require you to be there (but not drive time). As hourly they are paying you for a service and the sales meeting is part of that service.

I thought maybe you were getting a straight pecentage of the take and were in a partnership. in which case you probably should not be paid for the sales meeting as you are a partner with a vested interest.
09/30/2010 03:05:08 PM · #15
This has been the first year for me shooting, and I feel like I have learned a lot, and now I think that I deserve to be paid for my time. Just like any business we have to grow right? Cheers!!!
09/30/2010 03:59:55 PM · #16
before i received my first PJ assignment with the local daily, the photo editor made it clear to me that there might be some times that they would send me on an assignment where something would be screwed up (bad directions, someone fails to show, etc). he made it clear that as long as i showed up and took a photo to prove i was where i was sent, i would be paid. what amazed me was how many other publications would try to go in the exact opposite direction, trying to justify not wanting to pay me because they hadn't run a photo. sorry, that doesn't wash.

as i mentioned before, being a part of the sales process is typically not part of being an event-day second shooter. it's a separate function that should require separate compensation.
10/02/2010 09:45:07 PM · #17
Hey , so I approached this subject with the photographer and the answer was no. She said I didn't need to attend all of the meetings anymore, I could attend the ones that fit better into my schedual. She has said she already increased prices for the upcoming year and that there is no room for her at this time to pay anyone anything else, and was very understanding of my position. I am dissapointed. I am still going to do the weddings, and I hope that our clients choose to have the engagement session (most do) so I am able to meet them prior to the wedding day.
10/02/2010 10:13:07 PM · #18
That worked out ok. You get to skip those meetings, so, as well as having your time back, you keep the cost of mileage and sitter services, which the business owner was getting for free.

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