Starting a Small Business: Tips on Invoicing and Pricing

Posted by Mrs Money on June 10th, 2010

facebooktwitterpinterestfacebooktwitterpinterest

Remember when I was talking about creating multiple income streams to help me be able to quit my job and do things I love? Well, I have some good news!  I’ve actually had a few photography clients that booked me for photo sessions, and one family even booked me again!  The first time I took family portraits, and the second time I took prom pictures for their daughter.  It was nice to do something I love plus earn a little extra money.  Awesome!  There are a few things that I’ve learned from this experience that I have learned from.  Hopefully if you’re looking into starting your own small business, you can learn from my mistakes!

Enchanted
Creative Commons License photo credit: JuditK

Under Charging for Time and Work

One of the families I took pictures for was my best friend’s mom.  When I went over there, she asked me how much I was going to charge her.  I honestly had no idea, so she said “two fifty?” I told her that she could look at the pictures after I shot and edited them and then decide how much she thought my time and energy was worth.  Instead of having her figure it out, I should have set a price before hand and we should have agreed on it.  Luckily, this was a friend’s mom, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Not invoicing quickly

She was willing to pay me when I did the family portraits, and then said she’d like me to take prom pictures as well.  I told her that she could wait to pay me altogether.  She said that she thought $100 was fair for the family portraits, and I agreed.  I then planned on charging her $25 for the prom pictures.  After I shot the prom pictures, she asked me how much I owed her, and before I could stop myself, I told her $100.  I didn’t want her to feel like she was getting ripped off.  I should have charged her $125 like I was planning on.  I worked hard taking and editing the photos.

Not treating it like a real business

If I really want to get serious and start doing more photography for other people, I need to treat this as a real business.  I need to invest time, money, and energy into it.  After all, people need to realize that I’m serious about this.  At this point, I’m not sure that I want to go full force into photography, so I’m not going to put forth the same amount of effort as I would if I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

Starting a small business can be pretty tricky.  I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned, and I’ve already made some mistakes, so at least I got them out of the way early, right?

Would you ever start a small business? What kind of small business would you start?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...facebooktwitterrssfacebooktwitterrss

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you
Subscribe to my RSS feed!

17 Responses to “Starting a Small Business: Tips on Invoicing and Pricing”


  1. eef says:

    I have my own business, and I agree with you. I’m probably under-pricing myself right now, but I feel weird asking for more. It’s a tricky situation for me as I’m not “well known” and am not sure I can charge the same amount as all the “popular” people. I probably should bump up my prices, but then I worry that I won’t ever sell anything! =[

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    eef- I agree- I feel the same way! I don’t want to over price myself. I’d rather get $100 than $0!

    [Reply]

  2. Little House says:

    Years ago when my husband and I started our own business, we had a similar problem with pricing. We were under-charging. Over time we realized that our pricing had to be adjusted from time to time to better reflect our services. We email our list of clients at the beginning of each year letting them know our prices have changed.

    As for invoicing, we use Quickbooks, which I highly recommend. You can customize your invoices and estimates. When you go on a photography assignment, and haven’t quoted them a price formally beforehand, take a blank invoice with you then fill it out at the end of the session.

    Hope this helps and congratulations!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Little House- Those are some great tips! I really appreciate it. I’m going to have to really work on this if it’s something I’m going to take seriously. It would be wonderful to be able to work for myself!

    [Reply]

  3. Don’t forget to see if your local state and government wants you to collect taxes for photography. I don’t know if your state charges a tax, but Arizona does: http://www.azcommerce.com/BusAsst/SmallBiz/SBS/IC/ICah.htm

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mrs. A- Good point! Thanks for the tip!

    [Reply]

  4. Becky R says:

    When I ran my in home daycare I had a policy and procedures handbook and a price list. Make those up with what customers can expect and prices. That way you are not put on the spot. You might even charge $300 for a job, but then have a family and friends discount of 10% off. So if you do someone close to you, show then price list and say, but friends and families get 10% off. That way they realize you are giving them a deal.
    Get prices of other local photographers and be comnparable.
    Also get business cards made up (can get very cheap online) so you can hand out wherever you go.
    You might also ask local schools and daycares if you can hang a flyer in a lobby.
    At daycares you might even offer the owner a commission off any families that come through them if the hand out a flyer to every student. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
    Also ask some realtors if you can add a flyer to the packets they give out to new homeowners in the area. My mom is a realtor and she likes to give potential clients a welcome to the neighbothood pack with local schools, restaurants, etc.
    I wish you were closer I would love a family photo.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky R- Wow! You have a lot of great ideas! I love the family and friends discount. That is great! I would love to do family photos for you. :)

    [Reply]

  5. I advertised my rates for pet sitting on Craigslist and set my willing-to-travel distance and everything. I had 3-4 jobs by the next day.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    BITFS- Wow! That’s great! That’s a lot of jobs. I wish you could come dog sit for me!

    [Reply]

  6. Karly says:

    I have my own etsy store. Sales aren’t every day, but it’s been fun to make reusable and natural products.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Karly- Your items are so cute! I hope that your business picks up very soon!

    [Reply]

  7. H Lee D says:

    I am within two weeks of opening my own small business in personal training. My two biggest concerns right now are appropriate pricing and recruiting clients. I gave up half of my teaching job, so come August when we go back, I get half my salary, and this gig needs to make up the other half. I am usually confident that it will go well…

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    H Lee D- I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. You seem very innovative and motivated, so I hope you are very successful!
    xoxo

    [Reply]

  8. Consider “charging” by the hour

    Figure out an hourly rate – $30/hour for example

    Then think of how long it would take to do the pictures, crop, edit and so on, and then you will come to a good ballpark.

    Fixed prices for projects are never fixed because they’re based on the work it takes. If it’s just 10 pictures, it’ll be cheaper than someone wanting 100.

    Also take into consideration gas, travel time, set up, and so on

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Those are great ideas. I need to decide if this is something I’m really serious about so that I can pour the time and energy into it. There’s no sense in me going all out if I’m not going to be interested in it for the long haul!

    [Reply]


Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Starting a Small Business Tips: Invoicing and Pricing | Ultimate Money Blog- Save Green and Live Green!, Ultimate Money Blog- Save Green and Live Green! | Starting a Small Business: Tips on Invoicing and Pricing, Ultimate Money Blog- S 10 06 10

Leave a Reply


  • Archives

  • Links

  • Find Us on Facebook!

  • Categories