CODB questions...I need help!

 
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Jon DeVaul
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:30 pm    Post subject: CODB questions...I need help! Reply with quote

I know that CODB is used to figure out your creative or shooting fee. I understand that this will be different for each photographer. I also know that usage fees should be pretty much the same for all of us. CODB is based on expenses...studio rent, utilities, equipment costs, insurance, promotion costs, and I know I'm forgetting something Embarassed I read somewhere that you add all of this up, and divide by an estimate of shooting days for the year. Here's my situation. I used to have a studio many yrs. ago, but I took a 14yr. hiatus to be a "Mr. Mom". I still have a lot of my lights, softboxes, stands and most lenses etc. from many years ago. I bought my digital camera, a couple of lenses, my computer and printer 2-3 yrs. ago. I've spent only a couple hundred on equipment, ink, and paper this past yr. How do I figure equipment costs into CODB...what it would cost to replace?

O.K. now my studio. I remodeled part of my barn yrs. ago into a workout area. I just turned this into my studio. I don't have any rent, but I do have utility costs. Do I put some value on my space, or just figure I can charge less since I'm rent free?

Last(I think) is estimating shooting days. Since I put up my website, I got one job already...nice, but this is the only job I've had in 14yrs. So how do I estimate/guess shooting days? I feel like one of those people in a "Hallmark" movie...you know, the guy that used to date, got married, got widowed, the kids make him go out and meet someone, it's not exactly his first date, but he's scared sh...less. So if you can help me out here, I would really appreciate this.

Jon

ps...I do have Fotoquote, Blinkbid, links from here for NPPA CODB estimates, and John Harringtons advice on the web(but not his book)
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like you have a pretty lean operation as you don't have a lot of overhead. Already owning your equipment and no studio rent payment allows you to charge the same as others who do have such expenses and make a larger profit or charge less than others because you don't have a big alligator to feed every month.

Working p a CODB like any other business plan. You spend a lot time and thought putting it together and use it as a guide but in the harsh light of reality you learn to adapt and change. The first year is probably wildly inaccurate but each year will get closer to the truth.
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Leslie
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you paying on a mortgage on your property? Then you have a studio cost as well. Also, by devoting a part of your property to studio use, you can't use it for something else--that is a cost as well even if you have paid off the mortgage.

Lots of money goes out that we don't think about...

-Leslie
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Leslie says if you are devoting part of your property to your business you lose it for other uses. But then you will be able to deduct that % on your taxes. Some people are a little afraid of raising the "work out of your home" red flag to the IRS but if it's legit it should stand up to any questions that may come up.
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Jon DeVaul
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leslie and Mike, thanks. I didn't think of that. We'll be doing our taxes soon and I'll make a note to go over this with our accountant.

What about the part of my question pertaining to estimating your shooting days? Although I'm coming back after a long layoff, this would seem to be pertinent to a "rookie" just getting out of school, or just starting out.

Jon
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Mike
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The amount of shooting days per year is a target (do you want to shoot every day for X $ or half that many days for XX $) in order to give you an idea of what you should charge to meet your goals in a perfect world, if all went your way.

Some people shoot less often on large costly projects and some shoot every day for lower budget clients, making it up on volume. While their CODB may be similar their "how much do I have to make today / on each job" is different.

What people could rely on for the last few years is going to be different than what is going to to happen this year especially the first quarter/half while clients try to figure out how keep their jobs and then figure out how to produce work on a diminished budget.
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shanekislack
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read a lot...so I'm not sure where I read this, but one article I read said 50 shooting days is a general place to estimate.
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Leslie
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is always good to UNDERestimate the number of shooting days. If you do that, you get a higher CODB number and then, if you use that number as some part of your fee calculations and you work more days, you earn more money. It's like building in a performance bonus.

Smile
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Jon DeVaul
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leslie wrote:
I think it is always good to UNDERestimate the number of shooting days. If you do that, you get a higher CODB number and then, if you use that number as some part of your fee calculations and you work more days, you earn more money. It's like building in a performance bonus.

Smile


If I could get one "Wall Street" type performance bonus, I could re-retire Laughing

Jon
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Tyler Mallory
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to make it over complicated, but there are several ways of breaking up your costs: you can think of them as four categories:

1. Ongoing costs: This is sort of a "burn rate": the costs that have to be spent wether or not you have a shoot that day. Employees, insurance, business loans, self-promotion campaigns, or specific rent or utility payments that would not be required without the business, and such. Things you may not necessarily have a line-item for on your invoices

2. Investments: Things you decide to purchase as strategic long-term assets for your business: Do you buy the super camera, or the super-duper camera? a 24-inch monitor or the 30-inch? Take a photo-lighting workshop to hone your lighting skills? These are more controllable, but again, may not be an invoice recoverable line-item.

3. Shoot specific costs: Things you know a shoot will cost you, but only when you are doing a shoot, and which you can most likely bill the client for, like an assistant, storage media, shipping, travel, extra gear rental.

4. Opportunity costs: Decisions you need to make that might preclude other decisions. Sometimes this doesn't have a clear dollar figure, but it's worth thinking about.

You may find grouping or rearranging/prioritizing those to be helpful in fleshing out your budgeting ideas.
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