At one time or another we’ve all received this call. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Client: “We have a project coming up, we saw your website and absolutely love your work. We’re looking for a photographer we can build a relationship with.”
Me: “That’s great, thanks for the compliment, tell me a bit about your project.”
The client gives you the details, closing with, “And as you probably know, we’re a non-profit, so please give us your non-profit rate.”
It’s at about this time I want to blurt out in response to their, “but we’re a non-profit”: “WELL, I’M NOT!”
But I stay calm, not wanting to look like a jerk, and knowing that when people move from company to company, they take their address books with them and the next time this person calls, she may really have a budget. Here’s how I handle these calls and what I say next. (By the way, I want to give credit where credit is due, but I’m not sure where I picked this up, but it may have been my photo pal Joe Pobereskin or Chicago photographer Marc Hauser.) BJD: Joe has indicated in the comments that it is Marc’s method.
If it’s a charity that I care about, here’s my offer: “I’m glad you called me Mr. Client because I do indeed have a special fee set up for charities such as yours. I work for half price! And here’s how it works. We’ll work together for your next six photo projects. The first time, I’m going to charge you 100-percent of my customary fee. The next time, 80-percent. The next time 60-percent. Next 40-percent. The next, 20-percent. And the sixth time, I’m not going to bill you a penny.”
I continue, “If you do the math, that works out to half price. And it works out great for both of us, you get quality photography at a below-market rate, and I have an opportunity to create great images for each of us. How does that sound?”
For more of Blake’s articles, visit his blog at blakedischer.com.