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Rate Negotation

In recent business, I’ve found that there’s been a desire on the part of clients to really try to push down day rates, even if the client says that you can make it up with travel expenses, etc. How are you dealing with pressures to reduce rates?

by John Louis Lassen Perry at 2012-03-21 20:23:35 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Tell ‘em no thanks, if the rate is really too low. The whole deal looks like a setup. They seem to be inviting you to cheat on the expenses, which you should never do. Even if the editor doesn’t police expenses, some auditor in their finance department might well, and as a result you may never get either the day rate or your expenses.

by Neal Jackson | 21 Mar 2012 21:03 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks, and I appreciate the response, Neal. I don’t think it’s a setup, really, and it seems to reflect the way some people are doing business these days. If I quote $500 as a half day rate for basic service, then I sometimes get an editor saying something like “well, we will pay $300, and between mileage and some expenses, you can make up the difference”. If I question this, I get a response that is something like “well, we have to keep budget items down because the owners say that they want to keep the basic fee at 300, I know that that’s not right, but we’ll just try to bring you up to what you want in some other way”. I’ve been thinking, as some others apparently do, that the whole “day rate” concept is outmoded. Are people changing the way of billing to keep up with the bean counters? Any ideas on the way forward?

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 22 Mar 2012 03:03 | Califon, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
It’s funny this comes up—I recently had a “what is your budget on this?” —with the answer being, “oh we have 350 for the assignment plus expenses!” with the inflection being down on the day rate but up on the expenses, like I could take the whole family in the car and we cold eat pizza, burgers, soda, cheetos and haggen daz all day in the car and it was all covered under expenses—it was a good gig and worked out but set me to thinking with the way it was brought up.


by David Bro | 22 Mar 2012 05:03 | orange county, california, United States | | Report spam→
I don’t get it – why would it make a difference to the client ?
Unless they are working on downing rates for future and capping or nixing expenses at that time.
Is a lot more work their end to track reimbursable receipts, with no tax advantage as far as I’m aware.
Very odd!

by Angela Cumberbirch | 22 Mar 2012 17:03 | New York, United States | | Report spam→
Yeah, I don’t get it either, Angela, it does not seem to make any sense, unless it gives an initial impression to the owners that those assigning work are keeping within a budget. But it seems totally unrealistic; I mean if photo editors and photographers know what a reasonable cost is, why the subterfuge? I was thinking about revising my way of quoting, but so far, it seems that people are wedded to the “day rate”, “half day rate” concept as a way of starting the discussion, and they seem to think it’s like haggling at a yard sale. Of course at the moment, there are more people chasing work, and less work to be chased than there was a few years back, so maybe buyers just feel that they can apply this kind of pressure.

by John Louis Lassen Perry | 23 Mar 2012 14:03 | Califon, New Jersey, United States | | Report spam→
Some times publications have a cost structure that handles the budget for an assignment differently than the budget for expenses. They come out of different “piles of money” if you will. So the editor may well be doing you a favor by suggesting that you “extend” your expenses since his/her bean counters will have a fixed (low) idea of what is okay for a day rate but have little idea of how expenses are incurred. An invoice of $1000 where $350 is the day rate and $650 the expenses will be quickly okayed whereas a $1000 invoice with a $500 day rate and $500 in expenses will be argued about or rejected by accounting.

by James Colburn | 24 Mar 2012 04:03 | Omaha, Nebraska, United States | | Report spam→

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John Louis Lassen Perry, Photoanthropologist John Louis Lassen Perry
Califon, New Jersey , United States
Neal Jackson, Neal Jackson
(Flaneur, Savant and Scapegrace)
Washington, Dc , United States ( IAD )
David Bro, freelance editorial David Bro
freelance editorial
Orange County , United States ( LAX )
Angela Cumberbirch, Photographer Angela Cumberbirch
New York , United States
James Colburn, Photographer/Photo Editor James Colburn
Photographer/Photo Editor
Omaha, Nebraska , United States ( OMA )


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