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This is perhaps one of the most challenging parts of being an agent, or a consultant negotiating on a photographer’s behalf. I have done this as an agent for the talent I represented for over 10 years and it is always a combination of intuition, relationship and experience. There have been countless books written on the “art of negotiation,” and while the ideas may be the same, there are some techniques that I find especially relevant for photographers.
The Lab’s had such a great response to our Creative Collision video series that it’s decided to mix things up a bit! Here’s The Lab’s first round of your questions, interview style, with art producers, photo editors, reps and more.
With over 11 years of experience as an art producer at McKinney, we're asking Kellie to weigh in on estimating and negotiating – everything from sure-fire things you should avoid to promising line items that may “plus” a bid.
I think the best answer to this question is to make any assignment work to your benefit. Don’t look at only the creative fees as a “rate,” but look at the estimate or bid in a big picture context. There are several areas to create a profit center in the first part of the estimate.
There is both art and science to pricing. The science part is easy, but most of what matters is the art of the deal.
Estimating is one of the most important steps in winning new jobs. When estimating a job there are quite a few things you need to remember.
The more details and variables your estimate includes, the easier it will be for your client to understand. Showing that you have anticipated all the details for production also helps build trust with your client.
Of course, I somewhat laugh when I hear this question being asked, as if I have a crystal ball with the exact answer OR like there is only one answer to this question. Pricing needs to be based on five things in each situation: the client, the challenge of the project, the amount of shooting or longevity of the project, the media usage and the creativity.
When the call comes in for you to put together a bid for a project, how do you handle it? Do you ask the right questions to create an estimate that’s going to give you the best advantage for winning the project? It’s okay to ask questions and in fact, I encourage it wholeheartedly. Ask questions like: Who is your competition? What’s the budget or range? Will the lowest bid win the job or will it be a combination of bid and creative choice? Does the creative have a first choice to win the project? You may feel uncomfortable being so forward, but if you want to put together a suitable bid, making sure that you have asked enough questions to appropriately prepare your estimate is KEY to winning the bid.
The perfect resource for the working artist, The Lab is our monthly newsletter that answers your burning questions on marketing, business and creativity.
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