Chiming in, I think two hours is reasonable for a single 8x10 from entering the darkroom to hanging the print to dry. Once you get a print you like into the stop bath, dupes take a LOT less time, so you could probably have ten identicals done in 2h30 assuming no snags.
Remember to pay yourself first.
Figure out what two hours of your time is worth to YOU, without consideration to what's affordable or competitive.
THEN figure out your costs,
THEN figure out what price the market will bear.
At that point you can adjust what you're getting paid if it's worth it to you.
You pay yourself first for two reasons: you need to make sure that the thing is financially feasible, IE if the price you can charge is less than what your time is worth the project needs to be re-engineered,
and if you aren't getting compensated sufficiently for your time you will grow to hate your work, even if the activities of it are things you love. And that's the worst.
Monetizing your passion/hobby is a tricky thing, because if you do it wrong you can destroy something you love.
Originally Posted by rwreich
My average, excluding extremely quick one and extremely long one would be about an hour to two excluding washing time. With this, I can slap on a Kodak projection scale for a quick test, make 2 or 3 _quick_ small print, dry then in microwave, then 2 or 3 final size print. Usually - by then, I have a "semi-keeper". These usually go into my folder, not into a frame for wall display.
Probably this answer is more in line with what you are asking.
Since it's a business, your efficiency in the darkroom is of high importance. However, it is just one consideration among a whole host. The most important question is, are you doing a business plan? You really should. Use it to tie all of the considerations together into one easy to grasp bundle. Actively seek out every possible reason for failure, come up with a behavior to counter it and put it into the business plan. Decide ahead of time what will cause you to quit.
Best of luck to you.
If you are planning to print for others then the only timeline to consider is if the client likes your work, if you want to stay in business then quality is what counts, and how fast you can give that quality will determine if you make a profit.
Look at others pricing and you will place yourself near that, undercutting pricing will get you no where.
QUOTE=rwreich;1497690]Yes, Pbromaghin. I'm sorry that I didn't make that clearer. Please accept my appologies.[/QUOTE]
Thanks to everyone - my business partner and I are in the midst of this process at the moment. He has a background in business and, hopefully, that will keep us on track to stay on target. That's really why I'm trying to quantify all of this time and value.
I like the idea of "Actively seek out every possible reason for failure, come up with a behavior to counter it and put it into the business plan. Decide ahead of time what will cause you to quit." That's not something I am used to thinking about.
I need to think about how I can say what I'm thinking and then I'll get back to you. Besides, it's time to pick up the kids from school;-)
As a cop friend once told me, "There are 100 ways to screw up a crime. A genius can think of 50. And buddy, you ain't no genius."
The same applies to business. Assuming you don't yet have a business plan, I definitely recommend that you start by going to the library and bringing home 3-5 books that deal with the subject. Read them all. Have your friend do the same. Sit down together and hammer one out. Take turns editing it. Keep working on it until it sings. Then start your business and keep writing new versions of it every year.
Re printing for others, get real good, then charge accordingly.
A single 10" X 8" including making up dev/stop/fix to hanging print to dry, 30 minutes tops.
30 minutes is not out of the question for me... With fiber based paper, though, I expect to be a little more deliberate. I was thinking that a careful hour could save time in the long run.
Of course, if I only use a half-hour to make a good print, I'll have more time to post to the forum;-)
I'm wondering if things have changed so much since I was doing this a quarter of a century ago? Most prints - and especially tiny ones as you describe - will not be wanted to 'exhibition' standard. People will bring you film in rolls and sheets for development and 'good' prints. Generally those would have been on RC paper. You need to print these in a few minutes, with minimal wastage.
Consider finding yourself a machine-processor for up to, say, 16" prints - few people who are not printing themselves will even know the difference between RC and fibre, and the processor will speed your dry-to-dry workflow enormously hence enabling you to offer a wider range of services. A machine-printer is most likely overkill these days, but if you have large orders (for example, over fifty straight prints per neg, if that still happens?) then it would save you time also. Unless you already have a name as a printing god you will be doing a lot more RC than fibre, simply because you have to charge for the extra time needed for washing, toning and finishing on the fibre paper.
Being able to cut mattes and offer a mounted print ready for a frame is an extra 'something' you could look at as part of your package. Dev+print to 10x8 or 8x8, with one 12x16 matted, clients choice. That sort of thing. This will set you apart from mail-order type places for example.
Look at the prices for simple but 'good' prints in well-known labs and you will find that they are surprisingly low. It is that sort of product which will be your bread-and-butter I expect.