Welcome to Estimates and Bids

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

This business of photography is changing. Constantly. Yet, fundamental business principles remain the same, which, while I created Photo Business News & Forum for that, the idea for this blog was born from the ongoing and regular inquries I get from friends and colleagues with the question - “How do I estimate this job?” They usually have an idea, but want feedback to make sure they’ve not forgotten anything. Sometimes, this job is the first time they’ve estimated this particular type of assignment. I am happy to help. Further, one of the more popular features of my book, Best Business Practices for Photographers is the actual, concrete real-world examples of requests I have had, and the back-and-forth I had with clients negotiating along the way.

Here at Estimates & Bids, I am hoping to take the mystery out of the process (well, as much as possible) of estimates. I’ll be posting requests from recent clients, and interactions, where I have them.

In a departure from Photo Business News & Forum and Assignment Construct, you too will have the opportunity to have inquiries that came to you put forth to the collective community. Send them over for consideration, and I’ll post them. This endeavor will be so much more beneficial to all if you send inquiries and interactions that you’ve had. I won’t say that it won’t work without you, there will always be lurkers, but it will just be so much broader and colorful if you do.

Your opportunity to participate as a respondent to the request will be moderated. I don’t want off-topic comments to seep into the dialog, and I don’t want to be going through and deleting those types of posts, so, your response to the post/inquiry should be thoughtful and complete,  or it won’t make it up.

This process does not presume that you are actually qualified to complete the job. But, do you know what you’re talking about? We’ll see.

Further, because some people think “collateral” means one thing, and “buyout” means one thing, we won’t be using vague terminology. We’ll be using PLUS codes for the uses requested. The PLUS Coalition did such a wonderful job of demystifying every type of use under the sun, that we would be derelict in our obligation to clarity to try to define the uses any other way.

Further, there will be a “Hot” or “Sticky” post type. These will be jobs that you, dear reader, are working on with an active client. They require a timely response, and I urge people to especially respond to these as they come across an RSS feed. Doing so will help your fellow photographer properly estimate the job, and they will be able to read your responses while they are preparing their estimate, or, perhaps to learn where they forgot something.

So, what is an Estimate, and what is a Bid?

From PLUS:

Estimate - A outline of approximate costs, including fees and expenses (and potential additional expenses), including the licensing, terms of payment, and other elements critical to the execution and completion of an assignment. Final dollars involved may be more (or less) than the estimated total, but not by much, unless approved by the photographer and client.

Bid - A “do not exceed” and “will not be less than” outline of costs, fees and expenses, including the licensing, terms of payment, and other elements critical to the execution and completion of an assignment.

Thus, we’ll be discussing both.

Would you have done it differently? Maybe, maybe not.

I encourage you to sign up on the main page, and get updates and information, and set your RSS reader to pick up my entries. You’ll get full feeds, of course, no short-changing here.

For the seasoned professional, there’s always more to learn, and it is my hope that you pick up insights as to how to better estimate, or even to share with your fellow photographer estimate inquiries you’ve been presented with yourself. For the aspiring photographer, you’ll hopefully take away wholesale solutions and systems to use to approach the estimating process.


Your Turn:

So, how would you estimate this assignment? Do you have all the answers/information, either from the client, or me, to provide an estimate? Please give it some thought, and post your estimate details. As you learned in math class - 'show your work'. In other words, don't just present a single dollar figure. Break it out, creative/usage together (or separate, your call), and outline expenses, both probable and possible.

Setting aside how your estimate would be nicely and neatly laid out, put the crux of the estimate in your entry.

All entries are moderated. Your entry must be thoughtful, (and considerate of others when you're making a response) for it to be approved.

Posted by John Harrington on 01/01

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