Business

All-inclusive vs. Itemized Rates: What Am I Really Getting?

In my “life before Coyle,” I sold insurance. My least favorite part of the job was when a client would demand to know why we were so expensive when compared to quote from a competitor with a lower rate. (I still hate you, Geico). I’d have the delightful task of comparing the quote to their current policy and explaining the difference to clients.

90% of the time, the reasons looked like this:

“They’ve quoted you with higher collision and comprehensive deductibles. Right now, you’re at a $100 deductible. Their quote is at $1,000.”

“Your liability limits are 3x higher on your current policy than this quote. This quote has you at the State minimum limits.”

“They’ve quoted you with a discount for having a homeowner’s insurance policy. You DO NOT own a home.”

In order to get a true price comparison, the quote would have to have the same information as the client’s current policy. However, the client didn’t know enough about insurance to ask the questions needed to get that apples-to-apples quote.

This is a situation that happens in the photography world all of the time.

Just like insurance companies, not all photographers rate their services the same.

There are two types of quotes you’ll receive – one that is all inclusive and one that is itemized. An itemized quote will have a list that looks like this:

  • Shooting fee $__
  • Equipment fee $__
  • Travel fee $__
  • Post-production fee $__
  • Photo usage fee $__
  • Miscellaneous expenses $__

Itemized quotes are used for huge, expensive photo shoots – like a cover shot of Vogue. Smaller photographers use itemized quotes to give off the illusion of value. However, tally that up, and you may have a price that is the same or more than an all-inclusive rate.

Educate yourself.

Ask yourself, “What am I really getting?” Are you hiring a photographer with a full studio support or someone working in their basement? Are you hiring someone that has commercial insurance, project managers, and speedy turnaround time, or are you hiring a hobbyist?

When gathering quotes, ask these questions:

  • How do you shoot (JPEG vs RAW)?
  • What type of files do you deliver (JPEG, TIFF, etc.)?
  • Who is my point of contact and what are your hours of operation?
  • What is your turnaround time?
  • How much creative control do I have on the shoot?
  • Do you charge for scouting?
  • Do you charge for retouching?
  • Are there any unexpected costs that I need to be aware of?

For our part, we usually offer all-inclusive rates, and we work to educate our clients when we’re quoting a job. All-inclusive rates eliminate nonsensical emails and the paranoia behind an unpredictable invoice. It allows us to get down to what we do best – capturing the best photographs you’ve ever seen.

Unless you’re Vogue. We’ll itemize anything you want, just give us a call.

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