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  1. #1
    ZoneIII's Avatar
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    Seek advice for pricing hospital decor job.

    I am working up and estimate for work that I will be doing for a major Chicago hospital. This type of thing is new to me and I would appreciate pricing guidelines or suggestions that anyone may be able to share.

    For now, I will be producing from 12 to 15 20x24" b&w prints for decor in a wing of the hospital. The overall framed size for all will be 28"x32". Briefly, here's what the job involves: I am going to keep to a unified theme and I think the photographs will be Chicago city scenes... landmarks, architecture, neighborhood, etc. (I have great latitude in the choice of subject matter.)

    I will be shooting in 4x5". I may shoot some in 8x10" but I probably won't because I want uniformity as much as possible. They will be printed on double-weight fiber-based papers and receive archival processing including selenium toning. They will dry-mounted on museum rag board and have an over-mat of the same type. They will be backed by acid-free foam core and framed in aluminum frames with double-strength plexi (as required by the hospital for safety reasons).

    I have my cost basis worked out pretty well. Although I am published and my prints are in private collections, I am basically an unknown photographer but the hospital is buying my work for decor, of course, not for investment potential. The job will require frequent travel to and around Chicago (about 60 miles round-trip to likely locations. Of course, the hospital won't care about my travel expenses. They will only care about the price of the prints but I have worked those costs into my cost estimate. (I am not going to say what that estimate is here because I don't want that to influence any price recommendations I may get.) I want to know what a generally fair price range is for prints of this type (assuming very high quality) sold to a hospital or similar institution for this purpose.

    Does anyone have any rough starting point suggestions? Links to pricing guides?

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2
    jstraw's Avatar
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    I await the feedback you'll get with interest. I have no useful information but I'd be similarly at a loss to bid a job like this. It would depend in part on which Hospital it was and I'm not asking you to divulge that. If I had to roll the dice with no input, I'd ask for $5K. I'm probably nuts and need to hear that from people more experienced with this market.
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  3. #3
    mmcclellan's Avatar
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    Given that we're talking about 15 LARGE prints matted, I should think those would go for about 400-500 dollars a pop, even if just printed off existing negs. Add to that your travel and work needed to make the negs in the first place, and I think you're looking at 5-figures -- 10K minimum.
    Michael McClellan
    Documentary Photographer
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    http://www.MichaelMcClellan.com

  4. #4
    Daniel_OB's Avatar
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    I do not think they are ready to pay big $$. They are not buying artwork but pure decoration, and so selenium finish is not interesting, nor double weight paper. If they could find posters (cheap prints) they like, from your post I can conclude they will buy them instead. I would keep expenses at absolute minimum. I think that you should, unfortunately, sum up all expenses and multiply by profit factor, which I would set as 5-10, depend of the rain or sunny day. Your biggest expense will be the frames, I would try to make them myself, using this opportunity to pay off tools.
    I would not go unless I find out the price and get their agreement.
    By the way, I would walk around the hospital to see other “pictures” and what is it they pay for.
    www.Leica-R.com

  5. #5
    MikeSeb's Avatar
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    I think Daniel has it exactly right. I am a physician by day, and I have some experience with the mentality of hospital administrators. They are not free with a buck, in general. They don't care about selenium or double weight, and emphasizing such things to them will probably seem like an excuse for "jacking up" your bill.

    Pare your expenses to the bone, and mark the work up enough to make an acceptable profit. Cut out the frills, which they won't understand or care about, but of course don't compromise on image or presentation quality. Do your best to make sure your name appears prominently in conjunction with the prints, since there will be some foot traffic past the work. If there is going to be a dedication of the new wing, try to wangle an invite so you can shake some hands.

    Another thought--they are likely used to dealing with framers on other projects, and are familiar with what framing costs. It might be to your advantage to separate the framing from the photography, and just supply the images, unless framing is something you do all the time and can do profitably. I think framing can make or break your work, so it needs to be flawless. You might be able to reduce your estimate by a factor that's less than the cost to you of the framing, thereby increasing your margin. On the other hand, unless you or a trusted framer does the work it could be a jackleg job that disadvantages your work. Just a thought.

    Look at this as advertising and networking, and give it your best. Don't undersell yourself, but recognize that a hospital in general is not where the money is. It could lead to other things. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
    Michael Sebastian
    Website | Blog

  6. #6
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    Sounds like they are purchasing the prints-not contracting/commissioning you to take the images/shoot locations per se. So I would not factor that in.

    Give them an estimate for 12-15 prints (use your normal print price for this), finished/framed. Break it down (they like to see itemized lists) with cost of print (I agree-leave out paper weight/toning details), framing, time to hang. Show a discount for multiple item purchase (they like to see that too). If they accept then proceed. If not, don't do it.
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    You might PM or e-mail thomassauerwein. He hasn't been around the forums much lately, but I know he does this sort of work for the real estate/building industry--providing images for decor in model apartments and such. It's a slightly different case, since these images are essentially disposable, and the hospital images will be on display one hopes for a long time, but he's likely to have some thoughts on the matter.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    jstraw's Avatar
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    I'd advise against treating the images themselves as work-for-hire. Sell them prints, not the rights to the images. Shoot images that you may make future use of as you see fit. Shoot images that work for their needs...but not only for their needs. If they can barely pay you what prints are worth, they sure can't afford to commision the image creation.
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  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Yes, I think the way Tom does it is to sell silver or alt-process images for the fine art market and lower cost inkjets to the decorators (who probably discard the images when the apartment is sold).
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Barter for future heart surgery?

    You might consider working up two price ranges...one for archival printing/framing, and one with reduced standards of archivalness.

    Since you are dry-mounting, the mat board does not have to be of as high quality (the mount tissue acts as a barrier to moisture and chemicals)...and use an inexpensive foam core or even a ph neutral cardboard for backing. Buying simple frames in bulk (such as #11 profile in metal Nielson frames) will keep the costs down.

    You'll will want to maintain the process quality of the prints -- after all, they will be "advertisment"!) Nothing like a dis-colored print to turn off a potential sale!

    Good luck!

    Vaughn



    Vaughn

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