Here we are wrapping up the series on avoiding the pricing game! We’ve gone through how to approach clients and how to control costs through budgeting…now we get into how to physically reduce business costs to keep ourselves competitive and increase our budgets. The goal with these tips to hone in on a few things that you can do to reduce the business costs in some areas in order to maximize profit and/or increase your budget for something else (marketing, client incentives, etc.)
Tip #1 – Buy in Bulk
This can apply to anything. Web-hosting, gallery – storage, packaging, flash drives, storage. Many companies provide discounts for purchasing in bulk and can reduce your per client costs. Many times this “bulk buy” process can make or break your business decision in whether to offer prints vs digital, flash drives versus disc, etc.
Tip #2 – Save your Time
Time is money. Time is time. Time is something you can’t get back. One of the best ways to reduce your overhead business costs is to reduce your time – or better yet, it may not even have to reduce your costs but it can increase your profit margin for less work!
- Have a client worfkflow laid out – No Guessing. Get it done. Tools such as a printed workflow chart can help keep you on track.
- Blog quickly – Use tools such a BlogStomp to quickly watermark, export, and save web-sharing files for blogging and/or social media use.
Digitally deliver files – Check into online options such as Shootproof * (This one is free!)
- Outsource – Get some estimates and examples of work. Outsourcing may just be the key to reducing biz costs and regaining sanity.
Only the starred digital delivery methods are recommended by The Law Tog.
Tip #3 – Reduce Packaging and Delivery
See the theme? Reduction of money and/or find alternative methods. Determine whether you really need to provide X in a certain package or delivery method to give a certain customer service experience. If you are someone who loves to hand-deliver your products – consider meeting all clients at one location to reduce time and gas. Or maybe you prefer to mail. Check out the various rates based on sizes and weights to see if you’re getting the best deal. Many of the large mailing companies (Fedex, UPS) have business programs with incentive discounts on mailing rates that you can participate in. And don’t forget both of these aspects are costs for biz and tax deductible, so keep your receipts!!
Related Post: Top 10 Reasons I’m Ditching Discs for Flash Drives
Tip #4 – Reduce shooting and travel costs
Combine multiple sessions into an afternoon to reduce gas costs and prep time. Senior photographers can create a Senior shooting event. Family/children photogs can plan a marathon of sessions (mini or full) for the afternoon). Boudoir photographers may reduce hair/makeup fee + hotel/studio reservation costs by booking one day to shoot X clients.
Tip #5 – Resale
I’m especially talking to prop hoarders/lovers here. Can also include equipment “lovers” as well. Do you have items laying around that have sucked up a good portion of your budget that you can get rid of? Consider setting yourself a budget on an item, take for example props. At the end of a business quarter have a goal of reselling X before purchasing more.
Stay within that level budget goal to reign in spending.
Same goes for equipment. If you haven’t used equipment in X (your goal) months/years, consider whether you really need it.
Note: I am NOT talking about digital products. The resale of digital products is a no-no and as photographers we should know better. Be respectful of other’s intellectual property.
This list is just a quick five to start reducing large areas of costs that many photographers find to be large budget cost burdens. If you need help managing your budget, don’t forget about the Accounting Spreadsheets available at your fingertips. Or just simply get it on paper. Make a goal and stick with it.