Adding Up The Numbers

Adding Up The Numbers.

So how do the numbers add up for photographing in the schools?

Working for Lifetouch (or other large school photography company)
$10-17 per hour.
The most profitable jobs in these companies are in the sales or district management positions.  Photographers are a commodity.


Photographing Schools for Yourself:

Web Hosting Service:
Monthly fee: $10-75 per month
Percentage of sales: 10-20%

Volume affects these fees.  If you photograph a lots of heads your fees are less,  but your workload is higher.

Merchant fees: 3-4%

Sometimes included in web service fees, but not always.  Volume allows you to buy down your fees, though seasonality affects these numbers as well.

Sales Tax: 8-11%

You are responsible for all accounting and submission to State Boards.
Cost of Goods: 28-35%

School service items (ID Cards, School Record Images, Yearbook and Admin CDs, etc) proofing envelopes, photographic prints, packaging materials, shipping fees.

These costs are also volume sensitive, you pay more the fewer the heads you photograph.

Cost of Doing Business: 35-65%
Office Staff, Production Staff, Customer Service, computers, printers, office supplies, postage meter, graphic designer, marketing staff, public relations person, utilities.  Larger production space to handle volume business.  Bounced check follow up.  Accounting and sales taxes.

A limited number of students are easy to manage within your existing services but if you photograph more than a few schools you will soon find your business is impacted with the volume impact of school photography.  We refer to it as the “teenage syndrome”… too large to manage alone, too small to manage itself.

Additional production/customer service hours:
Priceless distraction from your personal wedding and portrait business.

Cost Totals:

Small Scale: Web Sales:20%+Cost of Goods: 35%+ Cost of Doing Business: 35%= 90% (10% profit to photographer)

Large Scale: Web Sales: 10%+ Cost of Goods: 28%+ Cost of Doing Business: 35%= 73% (27% profit to photographer)


Certified MugsyClicks Photographer

33% of gross revenue on most photography related products.
(after sales tax, shipping and customer discounts- photographer responsible for all photography supplies and assistants).

How do we do it? We spread the cost of goods and business over more photographers and use our numbers to purchase lab services and printing at discounted prices.  The same is true of merchant and banking fees.

Our goal as a company is to allow our photographers to function at the higher end of the revenue generation aspect of business- Sales and image creation and amortize the support services over more of us.

So how much can you make photographing in the schools? For a detailed answer- contact our photographer representative.  To amuse your imagination- guess a sales average and a buy rate for your local school and multiple those numbers by the commission percentage.  Back out some assistant costs, and maybe a doughnut or two, and you have your profit for the day.

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