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Author Topic: Another request for cheap work  (Read 7347 times)

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Shelma1

« on: May 24, 2017, 04:38 »
+11
I'm surprised when I see folks here saying they've gotten decent gigs from clients through stock sites. I only seem to get requests from people either wanting a discount on SS prices or custom work for pennies.

I promised myself I wouldn't respond to these people any more, but over the past couple of days I've been emailing back and forth with someone who seems to be from a legit marketing company (I'm not familiar with companies in the UK) to see if it would pan out. She asked for my rates. I asked for their budget. They don't have a budget, she says (yeah, sure...we always spent whatever we wanted in ad agencies, lol). So I quote her a very reasonable price for non-exclusive licensing, and sure enough she comes back with some hogwash about paying other illustrators 1/10 of what I'm asking for exclusive rights to amazing, high-quality illustrations (not [email protected] like mine...gotcha).

I politely explained that in my work as a Creative Director we've paid illustrators ten times what I was asking, and we've paid millions to license music (we once negotiated a Boston song for the incredibly low price of $250,000 for limited usage).

I guess as soon as they say they have no budget I should just say best of luck.

I think I'll go back to not responding.


« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2017, 04:45 »
+1
I'm surprised when I see folks here saying they've gotten decent gigs from clients through stock sites. I only seem to get requests from people either wanting a discount on SS prices or custom work for pennies.

I promised myself I wouldn't respond to these people any more, but over the past couple of days I've been emailing back and forth with someone who seems to be from a legit marketing company (I'm not familiar with companies in the UK) to see if it would pan out. She asked for my rates. I asked for their budget. They don't have a budget, she says (yeah, sure...we always spent whatever we wanted in ad agencies, lol). So I quote her a very reasonable price for non-exclusive licensing, and sure enough she comes back with some hogwash about paying other illustrators 1/10 of what I'm asking for exclusive rights to amazing, high-quality illustrations (not [email protected] like mine...gotcha).

I politely explained that in my work as a Creative Director we've paid illustrators ten times what I was asking, and we've paid millions to license music (we once negotiated a Boston song for the incredibly low price of $250,000 for limited usage).

I guess as soon as they say they have no budget I should just say best of luck.

I think I'll go back to not responding.
I just explain that if they don't want to pay the fee then someone else will or I will be making the same by doing stock work. If you are only asking what you're worth then it doesn't really matter what they think.

PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2017, 07:49 »
+4
I offer professionals such as ad agencies or design firms wholesale rates but I've gotten away from giving discounts. In fact, when someone asks for a discount or cries no-budget I now increase my price over normal rates. It's a surcharge for all of the extra effort that will be needed to deal with them. It has been my experience that people who ask for discounts or cheap prices are almost always high maintenance. They expect extreme hand holding, send emails to ask if you got the email or voicemail they left five minutes ago, can be indecisive, are demanding, or end up wanting to do a cancellation/refund after you've jumped through flaming hoops and spent a ton of time with them. It's usually not profitable. Why bother?

On my prints I offer a 30 day no questions asked return/refund policy. Most people are a pleasure to work with and I rarely have any problems. Most problems come from people who start off asking for a discount. Due to a recent high maintenance discount buyer I just changed my policy in the past week that I will offer a small discount but discounted sales are final with no returns, refunds, exchanges, or cancellations.

« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 07:57 by PaulieWalnuts »

Shelma1

« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2017, 08:28 »
+4
Why would you offer wholesale rates to ad agencies? These are the places with the highest budgets. The client pays, not them. You offer them wholesale and they pad the budget with extra hours for supervising you, then bill then client for their extra time. They have a set budget from the client and they're going to spend every dime of it, then negotiate for more at some point.

« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2017, 08:32 »
+5
Just had that happen to me, got a phone call about doing some video and photo work, he said in the past he paid $20.00 for a photographer to come
in and do head shots for the business. I said well that person won't be me!! sent him my rates and never heard back. Glad because I am done working
for nothing!!!

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2017, 08:58 »
+1
Why would you offer wholesale rates to ad agencies? These are the places with the highest budgets. The client pays, not them. You offer them wholesale and they pad the budget with extra hours for supervising you, then bill then client for their extra time. They have a set budget from the client and they're going to spend every dime of it, then negotiate for more at some point.

Usually when they ask for it. Such as when their client is who found my image on my website and already knows what the licensing cost is so the agency's ability to markup is limited. For designers, it's almost always expected. My licensing rates are single-use and normally in the hundreds of dollars so even at wholesale the prices are probably considered high.

So what amount was your reasonable quote?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 09:00 by PaulieWalnuts »

niktol

« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2017, 09:17 »
+2
Once every couple years I get someone with reasonable expectations, the rest are typically, for the lack of a better word, crazies from the get-go. Those with reasonable expectations have a tendency to eventually turn into crazies too. About a year ago I reduced information on how to find me through micros to bare minimum. Even writing emails to "potential customers" is a huge waste of time. Now I do exclusive work only for people who were found through traditional channels.

Shelma1

« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2017, 09:24 »
+1
Why would you offer wholesale rates to ad agencies? These are the places with the highest budgets. The client pays, not them. You offer them wholesale and they pad the budget with extra hours for supervising you, then bill then client for their extra time. They have a set budget from the client and they're going to spend every dime of it, then negotiate for more at some point.

Usually when they ask for it. Such as when their client is who found my image on my website and already knows what the licensing cost is so the agency's ability to markup is limited. For designers, it's almost always expected. My licensing rates are single-use and normally in the hundreds of dollars so even at wholesale the prices are probably considered high.

So what amount was your reasonable quote?

Ah. I see. So you're licensing existing work? Makes sense. This was custom work. I quoted them a price for the amount of time I figured it would take at my normal hourly freelance rate. It was less than I'd make in one year of licensing based on what I've made with illustrations in the same series. I figured if I could also put them online what I was charging them would cover my time getting input from them and doing revisions.

If they'd said the price was a little high but they were OK with not having exclusive rights, I might have continued negotiating. But saying other artists got 1/10 of what I wanted for a buyout was ridiculous.

niktol

« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2017, 09:43 »
+3
I stopped being insulted by ridiculous offers long time ago. If they can find someone's niece or nephew to make an illo for them for 1/100th of my price, good for them. I am not charging for someone else's time, I am charging for my time. I know how much it's worth, and if I can make more money by not making an illo for someone, both of us are happy and satisfied.

« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2017, 09:54 »
+2
I know from bidding on graphic design work online that generally my hourly rate in the US is more than what people in the UK want to pay. I don't even bid on jobs outside the US anymore, it's futile.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2017, 10:01 »
+1
Why would you offer wholesale rates to ad agencies? These are the places with the highest budgets. The client pays, not them. You offer them wholesale and they pad the budget with extra hours for supervising you, then bill then client for their extra time. They have a set budget from the client and they're going to spend every dime of it, then negotiate for more at some point.

Usually when they ask for it. Such as when their client is who found my image on my website and already knows what the licensing cost is so the agency's ability to markup is limited. For designers, it's almost always expected. My licensing rates are single-use and normally in the hundreds of dollars so even at wholesale the prices are probably considered high.

So what amount was your reasonable quote?

Ah. I see. So you're licensing existing work? Makes sense. This was custom work. I quoted them a price for the amount of time I figured it would take at my normal hourly freelance rate. It was less than I'd make in one year of licensing based on what I've made with illustrations in the same series. I figured if I could also put them online what I was charging them would cover my time getting input from them and doing revisions.

If they'd said the price was a little high but they were OK with not having exclusive rights, I might have continued negotiating. But saying other artists got 1/10 of what I wanted for a buyout was ridiculous.

Yes, for custom stuff the price is usually the price. If they want the price to go down then we start looking at reducing what they get for the price. If their request is unreasonably low then I normally thank them and let them know to contact me for other questions or to move forward with the quote.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2017, 10:23 »
+2
And a good tactic to avoid wasting time is to immediately throw an X-Y ballpark figure at them and see how they react. Nothing worse then spending a ton of time to come up with a quote only to find out their budget or cost expectations are nowhere near your estimate.

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Seller: Do you have a budget?
Buyer: No (Don't have one, can't tell you, etc)
Seller: Do you have an idea of what you're expecting this to cost?
Buyer: No (Don't know, cant tell you, etc)
Seller: Based on past projects I've done that are similar to what we just discussed the cost has usually been between X and Y ($1,000-2,000, $50,000-60,000, or whatever the normal range is), is that range what you had in mind?
Buyer: Yes (continue talking and provide formal quote) or No way I was thinking of no more than $25 (buh-bye)

Shelma1

« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2017, 10:24 »
+1
LOL. Yeah, that pretty much sums up this conversation.

« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2017, 13:57 »
+1
These small agencies, publishers, small business looking for design work are not making that much of a profit...they all use microstock. Even the mid sized do. I was lookign at a bird/ flower magazine, just by looking at credits all I see is all microstock. Rarely a credit to a photographer.

IN my limited experience answering a request, I endedup being harassed and nickled and dimmed and insulted, even when I said no...because they can't understand why you're selling something for cents and then quoting 1000 dollars for an illustration. And they can't understand why you won't work with them, because  in their heads "is so easy to draw whatever" and then it  becomes email drama, a waste of your time.






Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2017, 14:04 »
+3
And a good tactic to avoid wasting time is to immediately throw an X-Y ballpark figure at them and see how they react. Nothing worse then spending a ton of time to come up with a quote only to find out their budget or cost expectations are nowhere near your estimate.

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Seller: Do you have a budget?
Buyer: No (Don't have one, can't tell you, etc)
Seller: Do you have an idea of what you're expecting this to cost?
Buyer: No (Don't know, cant tell you, etc)
Seller: Based on past projects I've done that are similar to what we just discussed the cost has usually been between X and Y ($1,000-2,000, $50,000-60,000, or whatever the normal range is), is that range what you had in mind?
Buyer: Yes (continue talking and provide formal quote) or No way I was thinking of no more than $25 (buh-bye)

That's too many questions for me. I'd do it like this:

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Me: sure, the price is X (or between X and Y).

Then the buyer either accepts the quote or I never hear from him again.

If you ask beforehand what their budget is, you allowing them to negotiate from the get-go. If I walk into a bakery, the baker doesn't ask me what my budget is either.
Now if the customer says: "it's a little higher than I expected", then you could always start negotiating if you want (without immediately giving them a discount).

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2017, 14:08 »
0
I know from bidding on graphic design work online that generally my hourly rate in the US is more than what people in the UK want to pay. I don't even bid on jobs outside the US anymore, it's futile.

My experience with clients from the US is that they often expect lower rates than clients in Europe.

« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2017, 14:50 »
+1
I have found a mixture of expectations from all regions. I have recently had decent paying clients in the US and Germany. Some of my best most professional clients have even been in countries you would think have less money to throw around, like low average wage eastern European countries.


« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2017, 15:57 »
+7
Here is a FB exchange I had yesterday:

Hi xxx
I have a little question. We want to launch a new project (car blog/website). I found one of your photos on Shutterstock and we would like to use it as cover photo on FB and website.
For the time being, we have no budget for photo purchases. This is why I would like to ask if you could help us with that photo. In exchange, we can add a link to your website and mention you as a partner/sponsor
This is the photo we like: ......


my answer:

Unfortunately, I cannot offer free photos. Their cost on SS is anyway rather low compared with my production costs.
I don't believe you dare to ask your employees, your lawyer, your dentist, your handyman to work for free, only for glory. This is why I don't understand how do you expect a photographer to work for free driven only by the illusion of fame.

Please do not use my photos illegally!

Thank you


« Last Edit: May 24, 2017, 16:04 by Zero Talent »

« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2017, 17:13 »
+3
That's too many questions for me. I'd do it like this:

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Me: sure, the price is X (or between X and Y).

Then the buyer either accepts the quote or I never hear from him again.

That's pretty much it. Sometimes I chuckle when I'm writing a big quote because I'm thinking I'll never hear from them again. People surprise you though, so you never really know.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2017, 19:21 »
+1
And a good tactic to avoid wasting time is to immediately throw an X-Y ballpark figure at them and see how they react. Nothing worse then spending a ton of time to come up with a quote only to find out their budget or cost expectations are nowhere near your estimate.

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Seller: Do you have a budget?
Buyer: No (Don't have one, can't tell you, etc)
Seller: Do you have an idea of what you're expecting this to cost?
Buyer: No (Don't know, cant tell you, etc)
Seller: Based on past projects I've done that are similar to what we just discussed the cost has usually been between X and Y ($1,000-2,000, $50,000-60,000, or whatever the normal range is), is that range what you had in mind?
Buyer: Yes (continue talking and provide formal quote) or No way I was thinking of no more than $25 (buh-bye)

That's too many questions for me. I'd do it like this:

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Me: sure, the price is X (or between X and Y).

Then the buyer either accepts the quote or I never hear from him again.

If you ask beforehand what their budget is, you allowing them to negotiate from the get-go. If I walk into a bakery, the baker doesn't ask me what my budget is either.
Now if the customer says: "it's a little higher than I expected", then you could always start negotiating if you want (without immediately giving them a discount).

Disagree. If you ask what their budget is beforehand if it's too low you can tell them it's not within your range and see if you can work something out. So what about if you tell them your X-Y first, say $2,000-3,000 and their budget is actually $50,000? They're most likely not going to tell you the actual budget now that you've given them a cheap quote. If you knew their budget upfront that may have allowed you to offer them more or better options for more than your initial X-Y.

Not sure a bakery is a good comparison to a custom photo shoot unless you offer prearranged packages. Then I could see starting with A/B/C package range to see how they react.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2017, 19:32 »
+5
Here is a FB exchange I had yesterday:

Hi xxx
I have a little question. We want to launch a new project (car blog/website). I found one of your photos on Shutterstock and we would like to use it as cover photo on FB and website.
For the time being, we have no budget for photo purchases. This is why I would like to ask if you could help us with that photo. In exchange, we can add a link to your website and mention you as a partner/sponsor
This is the photo we like: ......


my answer:

Unfortunately, I cannot offer free photos. Their cost on SS is anyway rather low compared with my production costs.
I don't believe you dare to ask your employees, your lawyer, your dentist, your handyman to work for free, only for glory. This is why I don't understand how do you expect a photographer to work for free driven only by the illusion of fame.

Please do not use my photos illegally!

Thank you


LOL, I've told people similar things although not quite as bluntly. When they suggest they give me "name credit" I tell them the only credit I accept is Visa, Mastercard or AMEX. I also told someone else that I'd consider accepting name credit as soon as camera stores, gas stations, hotels, and airlines accept name credit as a form of payment.

I cant even imagine walking into a hotel and saying something like "I don't have any budget for a room but I'll post a picture of my room on Facebook and make sure to give you credit by including your hotel name".

« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2017, 23:11 »
+3
Would be comfortable charging $50000 for a project you know you would normally charge $2000 for? I would think that's as bad/ worse than a client trying to low ball you. I also just quote what I believe the fee should be.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 07:55 by Justanotherphotographer »

« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2017, 23:38 »
+2
Disagree. If you ask what their budget is beforehand if it's too low you can tell them it's not within your range and see if you can work something out. So what about if you tell them your X-Y first, say $2,000-3,000 and their budget is actually $50,000? They're most likely not going to tell you the actual budget now that you've given them a cheap quote. If you knew their budget upfront that may have allowed you to offer them more or better options for more than your initial X-Y.

Not sure a bakery is a good comparison to a custom photo shoot unless you offer prearranged packages. Then I could see starting with A/B/C package range to see how they react.

I mostly do the same types of projects, so I don't feel comfortable charging one person this or one person that. It's pretty much the same for everybody regardless of budget.

Noedelhap

  • www.colincramm.com

« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2017, 07:52 »
+1
And a good tactic to avoid wasting time is to immediately throw an X-Y ballpark figure at them and see how they react. Nothing worse then spending a ton of time to come up with a quote only to find out their budget or cost expectations are nowhere near your estimate.

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Seller: Do you have a budget?
Buyer: No (Don't have one, can't tell you, etc)
Seller: Do you have an idea of what you're expecting this to cost?
Buyer: No (Don't know, cant tell you, etc)
Seller: Based on past projects I've done that are similar to what we just discussed the cost has usually been between X and Y ($1,000-2,000, $50,000-60,000, or whatever the normal range is), is that range what you had in mind?
Buyer: Yes (continue talking and provide formal quote) or No way I was thinking of no more than $25 (buh-bye)

That's too many questions for me. I'd do it like this:

Buyer: Here's what I need. Can I get a quote?
Me: sure, the price is X (or between X and Y).

Then the buyer either accepts the quote or I never hear from him again.

If you ask beforehand what their budget is, you allowing them to negotiate from the get-go. If I walk into a bakery, the baker doesn't ask me what my budget is either.
Now if the customer says: "it's a little higher than I expected", then you could always start negotiating if you want (without immediately giving them a discount).

Disagree. If you ask what their budget is beforehand if it's too low you can tell them it's not within your range and see if you can work something out. So what about if you tell them your X-Y first, say $2,000-3,000 and their budget is actually $50,000? They're most likely not going to tell you the actual budget now that you've given them a cheap quote. If you knew their budget upfront that may have allowed you to offer them more or better options for more than your initial X-Y.

Not sure a bakery is a good comparison to a custom photo shoot unless you offer prearranged packages. Then I could see starting with A/B/C package range to see how they react.

That would be the only exception, but that kind of budget is rare and only big corporations will spend that much. Sure, when I'm dealing with a bigger, renowned company I'll charge more than usual, but you'll know soon enough whether you're dealing with a big customer.

PaulieWalnuts

  • We Have Exciting News For You
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2017, 07:52 »
+4
Would be comfortable charging $50000 for a project you know you would normally charge $2000 for? I would think that's as bad/ worse than a client trying to blow ball you. I also just quote what I believe the fee should be.

Just because their budget is $50,000 doesn't mean you charge them $50K for a $2K job. I would guess that most photographers quote the lowest amount possible hoping to win the work. That means offering the most basic options. If you know they have some budget room to work with you could find out if they want barebones low price or to look at options that are a better fit for their needs.

Kind of like someone who says they want a custom size 10x26 print. I could just say "ok a paper print would be $100". Or if I ask them their budget and they say $500 I could offer them the paper $100 print along with some options of canvas, wood, metal, or framed that they may not know existed and like better than paper. I could also ask them why they want 10x26 to figure out if the size they're asking for is really what they need. Part of what I like about working with clients is helping them find something they really like or need instead of quoting one option or the cheapest option. If you try to just sell them something you get into problems like "why didn't you tell me you offered canvas? I would like to return this paper print because I'd rather have the canvas". Now you have an irritated customer who no longer trusts you and you just ate the cost of the first print they returned. Part of selling is helping clients figure out what they want to make them happy that they made the right decision instead of dumping the option on them you're hoping will get them to spend money with you.


 

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