What to charge for processing and darkroom work?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by edcculus, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've had a coworker and a few friends/aquantainces approach me about what I would charge to develop (B&W only) film and make some prints. I'd never really considered it so I said I'd have to look around and see what the going rate was. I've looked at Richard Photo Lab, and TheDarkroom.com to see what they charge.

    The people asking would more than likely only be shooting 35mm. I'm iffy about offering scanning negs. Leaning towards not. Since this isn't a full blown business, here is what I'm thinking:

    Processing
    $15/roll 135 film. Customer gets developed negatives and a contact sheet on RC paper. Negatives will be stored in a Print File negative page. If they really want scanning, I'll probably tack on $5 per roll.

    Prints
    8X10 - $30 fibre, $15 RC per image. Duplicate prints $5 less.
    I'd offer other sizes as well, smaller and larger than 8X10. I'm just using that as a base point.

    Does that sound fair? My idea is to cover the cost of chemistry and paper, then have a little left. I wouldn't be doing a ton, but it woud be nice to do enough to completely offset the cost of my chemistry and paper in the darkroom.
     
  2. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No way I would scan and save 36 frames for $5.
    It's fair if they like your quality, attention, and how much you (and others) value your time and skill.

    It's the point of any business to make a profit for food, shelter, and modest fun times. ( or not so modest, I guess ).
     
  3. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yea, scanning negs is a PITA, which is really why I'm not to hot on doing it at all. I really bought the scanner to scan in finished prints to put in my gallery online.
     
  4. thegman

    thegman Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I think if you're offering a quality service, $15 is OK. You can certainly get it done for less, but if you're offering a good service, with push/pull options etc. Then it's a decent price I think.
     
  5. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

    Messages:
    361
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    15-17$ per 135-36 roll is reasonable -- be sure and be ready to add in shipping. When I do developing for work it's 8$ per roll just to develop.
     
  6. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Its mostly going to be coworkers, friends and other acquaintances to start with. I'll float the $15 for develop and contact print and see how its received.

    The idea would be that I could provide the service to local B&W hobbyists that dont have darkroom access, just don't want to bother with the darkroom, or don't want to bother with the added shipping costs of sending it to a lab.

    Unless they drop off 20 rolls for me to develop, I would offer any push/pull or any other customization they need.
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Are your co workers fully aware of what's involved? If not, they will be comparing your prices with mini-lab prices and feel you are extremely expensive. I can see 30 dollar for FB and 15 for RC but if you have to do any manipulations (dodge, burn, etc), I don't think you can do it for that.
     
  8. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,597
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What is your time worth?
     
  9. batwister

    batwister Member

    Messages:
    919
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    dr_evil_one_million_dollars.jpg
     
  10. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,367
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    One BILLION dollars!!

    Processing one or two rolls takes a minimum of thirty minutes. Add to that the time mixing chemistry, cutting and sleeving negs, drying time, the time it takes to fill out the order, process the payment, handle your book keeping, client communications, etc. Photographers never charge enough!
     
  11. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the response everyone!

    I floated $8 for developing and $15 for develop and contact print. ~$30 for a 8X10 RC print. He seemed to think it was pretty fair, so I'll go from there. Apparently, there is nowhere in town that develops B&W. One camera shop sends out film, but they only do it every 2 weeks. None of the minilabs/CVS/Walgreens etc will develop B&W. They send it out, but I don't know turn time. So, even if it takes me a few days to process an order, I'm still faster than anyone in town.
     
  12. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

    Messages:
    3,430
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Be sure you make an agreement up-front about what happens when (and it's inevitable that it will happen sooner or later) you make a mistake.
     
  13. edcculus

    edcculus Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    May 13, 2012
    Location:
    Greenville S
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, I was thinking about that last night when remembering an ill fated experience while loading a reel. Lets just say the film didn't survive.

    Also, just to be clear, this is not a full fledged business and probably will never really get to that point.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. sehrgut

    sehrgut Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I roast coffee as a hobby. Occasionally I'll part out a batch in small jars to friends. At one point, several different people asked me to roast larger quantities for them, so I started charging with much the same goal as you: cover my own consumption.

    Didn't work out . . . Roasting when I want to roast is fun. Roasting because I have to have a pound of this and two half-pounds of that in a couple days is a pain, and sucks the joy right out of it. I'd recommend against doing hobbies for pay unless your enjoyment is VERY resilient against deadlines.

    Though, if you're curious, you can still see the "friends and family order page" I put up with my stock at the time here: http://sehrgut.co.uk/coffee/ .
     
  16. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

    Messages:
    3,430
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No, I realise that - but when people give you money for a service they can have a habit of thinking of you as a business as well as (or instead of) a friend or acquaintance. Even more so if you start to do work for people you don't know!

    On the other hand, you may be catching a wave and end up a wealthy entrepreneur ... :smile:
     
  17. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,082
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    Castle Rock,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back when my daughter was a gymnast I used to print 8x10 action shots of other girls on the team and give them to their parents. Lots of them wanted to pay me but I refused. If you take money for something you are selling them the right to complain. And I ain't takin' no complaints!
     
  18. MartinP

    MartinP Member

    Messages:
    1,458
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    35mm
    How does the IRS see this idea? It would be unfortunate to get a large fine for your hobby.

    To figure out a charge you would best add up your costs, rather than look at others in the market. If your costs are too high in relation to the alternatives then best not to start. Don't forget depreciation on all the equipment used. Typically a residual value of zero after three years, or possibly five. Also, applicable health and safety rules (including documentation, if required) over chemical purchase, storage and disposal?

    I'd suggest you should be charging a lot more, or zero. If you 'charge' zero make an accurate breakdown of costs (not including time, as this is not a business, right?), show it to the potential customers and suggest that the customers make a donation to cover your costs?
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,991
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    in the commercial world people usually mark things up 3x cost

    1=cost
    1=overhead
    1-profit

    in the case of photofinishing it might be a little more
    because waste disposal is included in the overhead.

    if you have a mini lab near you, or a school, or a household waste recovery center ... you might
    see if you can bring your photo waste to them ( and figure out what to do
    with your wash water ) ... and have everything recorded so if / when people
    who aren't your clients / friends knock on your door and wonder what you are doing
    with your "tailings" you can show them exactly what you are doing.
    where i used to live people would be fined lots of $$ for not paying attention to this sort of thing.

    good luck with your business!

    - john
     
  20. sehrgut

    sehrgut Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hear, hear!
     
  21. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,082
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    Castle Rock,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can always go buy all the cool stuff you want, start your business, and when it fails write it all off on Schedule C of your 1040. It makes a nice discount equal to your highest marginal tax rate and you get to keep the stuff.
     
  22. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,205
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I scanned 4 slides on my Imacon today and charged $5 each. Kodachrome has nice colors.
     
  23. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I charge $10 per roll just to soup film in D-76, and $7.50 for cutting and sleeving in a print-file page and contact printing an 8x10 on RC. I do not scan, don't own a scanner(or even want to own one). I have a regular list of clients who use my services, most have their own scanners, though I ocassionally print for them as well. Prices for finished prints is variable depending on size of print plus amount of work involved to obtain it.
     
  24. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    560
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2011
    Location:
    Chattanooga
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Don't forget to price in the extravagant cost of "environmental" compliance, which will apply to you once you act as a business.
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,213
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i enlarge any of your negs to 11x14 or 12x16the best of my ability for $100plus shipping. cant do it for less or i go hungry.
     
  26. urs100

    urs100 Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    is that price for a RC print? How about square prints?