Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, and you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, friends, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca. And today, we're diving into pricing your mini sessions. This is a topic that I'm really passionate about. Because if you don't price your minis, right, you're losing out on a lot of profit. In fact, you may be making a whole lot less per hour than you probably think if you've never run your cost of doing business, which I'm going to walk you through today. So get your pens or pencils ready because we're going to really break down what it means to run your cost of doing business and how to price your mini sessions so that they are profitable. Before we get too far, I wanted to let you guys know about some live free classes I am hosting next week and would love for you to be a part of this class is called three steps to running fully booked, mini sessions is going to be live and it's completely free. And we're having a q&a at the end. And we're going to have some surprise bonuses and all kinds of stuff. And so if you want to join in, I would love to have you this is a class that I only do twice a year. And actually I've never done this class before. I usually only do live classes twice a year, this year, I'm only doing two chances of live classes. But this is the very first time I've ever done this one. So if you want to be a part come join us you can sign up at Rebecca rice It's going to happen next Wednesday and Thursday it will be recorded if you're not able to join in live, but you have to be registered in order to be sent the replay. So I would love to have you this is always so much fun. I love going live with you guys. Usually we have hundreds of photographers sign up. And so I am super, super excited and can't wait to have you join us. Now let's get into pricing your mini sessions. One of the biggest things that I noticed when I'm working with photographers on growing their revenue through mini sessions is that most photographers either structure their minis wrong or price their minis wrong. So for the sake of our example, I want to make sure and define what I call a mini session because I need us all to be on the same page, understanding what a mini session is and what a mini session is not before we get into pricing. So when I say mini sessions, my working definition is a short session 10 to 15 minutes session with five images included. It's a limited number, we are not giving a full gallery. And it's on a date at a location that you the photographer chooses. So that photographer chooses the time slots and the location. mini sessions are not just short full sessions, okay, if you have a 30 minute quote unquote mini session that a client can book anytime they want. That is not a true mini a true Mini is something that is booked in time blocks. So maybe you're doing minis this Saturday, from four to 6pm. That would be considered mini sessions there every 15 minutes in a time block. They are never to be stand alone sessions. So let's say we have the structure correct. The next piece in making sure that our minis are profitable is pricing them correctly. So I'm going to walk you through an equation that's called your cost of doing business. And if you're not a math person like me, don't forget, I'm going to try to break this down as super simple as I can. I really enjoy math, but I know not all people do. So if you don't, I want to break this down so that it's really, really easy for us. So I encourage you grab a notebook, something that you can write on and take notes because this is going to be a lot easier if you're writing stuff down as I'm talking about it. If you need to pause at any point to do your calculations, do that pause it fill in your information and then resume from there. So I would have a piece of paper a pencil or pen and a calculator handy. I just use the one on my phone. So the very first thing that we are going to calculate are your expenses okay? So we want to know in a single Little month, how much does it cost to run your business to keep the doors open, I want you to think about things like Lightroom, your gallery delivery system, your website, host and domain. Any rentals that you may have, you know, the set of minis that you're wanting to run your, you know, CRM, your client management system, I like to use dubsado, maybe use HoneyBook, or sprout or studio ninja whatever. G Suite, if you have a custom domain email address, like I do, hello, at Rebecca rice It costs money every month to have that, and then your email system. So I love to use Flow desk, I know there are many out there. But these are all expenses that you have every single month just to keep the doors open. And of course, we have taxes, which we'll get to in a little bit. But for now, I want you to add up all of your expenses. And I'm going to be kind of walking you through an example. So for the sake of our example, I'm going to say that the expenses come out to about $200, yours may be more yours may be less, if you own a studio, it's for sure gonna be more because you have, you know, the rent of your studio and things like that. I don't know what your expenses are for your business, but you do. So I want you to add up all the expenses. For the sake of our example, I'm going to say our expenses are $200 for a month, the next thing I want you to do is to come up with what your desired hourly rate is going to be. The best part about working for yourself is that you get to set your own hourly rate, right, I would encourage you to as you set your hourly rate, please pay yourself more than a teenager can make at Costco, you don't have to say, you know, I want to make $500 an hour, but you know, don't say $20 an hour, give yourself an you know, the space to pay yourself appropriately for your time, because here's the deal. Anytime that you're spending in your photography, business, it's time that you're spending away from the people that matter most in your life. So you want to be compensated appropriately for that time. So pick your hourly rate. For the sake of our example, we're gonna say $50. Honestly, I think $50 is on the low end. But it's a nice round number. So that's what we're going to use right now the next thing I want you to do, and we're you know, in this example, we are running a set of mini sessions in this month. So I want you to calculate the total number of hours that you're going to be spending towards this set of mini sessions. Typically, it depends on how much time you spend editing and, you know, marketing and you know, shooting driving to the spot communicating with clients, there's so many things that go into this. But a typical, like ballpark estimation on the low end photographer is usually spent about six times the number of hours that you're actually shooting the you know, process all the things that go with the session, again, that's on the low end, if you take a long time to edit, your number may be higher, you spend a long time blogging the session or whatever it is, your number may be higher. But for our example, we're gonna say that we're wanting to run two hours of mini sessions. So we're going to multiply that two by six to get about 12 hours that we're spending on this one set of mini sessions. So that's why it's important to consider all the time you're spending on this set of minis not just the time you're shooting, because you could look at a mini session and be like, Wow, I made all that in just two hours. And think your hourly rate is great. But in reality, you're spending a lot more time on those families and those mini sessions than just the shooting time. So for example, we are spending about 12 hours to process you know, fully booked out all the things that go with this set of minis. So to recap, we have our expenses, which in this example are going to be $200, we have our desired hourly rate, which for this example is $50. Again on the low end, and then your total number of hours that you're going to be spending on this set of minis, which for our example is going to be about 12 hours total. So here's how we're going to set up our equation for our cost of doing business, I want you to multiply your hourly rate by the number of hours. So we're going to do 12 hours times $50 an hour that comes out to $600. Ideally, $600 is what you would be putting in your pocket after this is all said and done. Okay? So you have $600 Then we're going to add the expenses. So add $200 Because that's how much it costs to keep your doors open. Now we're up to $800. From there, we need to include taxes. Now, typical taxes that you want to consider is about 30% That's probably going to be on the higher end of what you actually end up owing But it's always better to put aside more money than not enough money when it comes to your taxes. So, you know, if you're wondering how I got that 30% for taxes, if you're like I'm in the 12% tax bracket, what you have to remember is that with photography, because you're self employed, you have to pay regular income tax and self employment tax on what you make. And so self employment tax is about 15%. And so we're putting in another about 15%, of regular income tax. So if you're in the 12%, bracket, you're going to be putting aside a little bit more than you need. If you're in a higher tax bracket, you should be putting aside more for your taxes than the 30% total. But just don't forget that 15% of whatever you're putting aside goes straight to self employment tax. So for easy numbers, the sake of this example, we're going to be putting aside 30% for taxes. Okay, so once you have your $800, we're going to put it into our calculator 800 times point three. And what that is, is we're saying what is 30% of $800. Now, I realize when you're actually running your tax calculation, you're going to want to take 30% of your total revenue, and not just you know, your desired expenses, or whatnot. But for the sake of this example, and easy math for running your cost of doing business, this is how we're going to run it in our calculator. So we're going to take that $800, what we're wanting to make times point three, and then if you hit Enter, that comes out to $240, we're going to add that to the $800. Okay, so that leaves us with $1,040. That is how much revenue we need to be bringing in for that single set of minis. And that's at the very minimum. So like I said, your hours might be more your expenses might be more, whatever it may be, but on the very bare minimum, you want to bring in at least $1,040. Okay, so if we divide that by the number of mini sessions that we would be shooting in those two hours, which for us would be eight, I'm going to divide it by eight. And that comes out to $130 per mini session. And that's if you fill every single spot, and that you don't spend more than 12 hours on your minis. And your expenses are not more than 200 and all the things. So with $130, that would be your absolute bare minimum, what I would suggest is giving yourself some buffer on your revenue. So if I have to absolutely have to bring in $130 per mini session, I'm going to raise the mini session price so that we for sure, clear our margins. So for the sake of this example, maybe you're charging 150, maybe you're charging 185 Whatever you choose, but make it above your bare minimum. Now keep in mind, if you guys are students mine and you you know have been following me for a while you know that I love upselling mini sessions, I believe that if you don't upsell your mini sessions, you're leaving a ton of money on the table. You don't know what that means, go to my blog and search upsell, and you'll find blog posts about it. But one thing to keep in mind is you never want to include your upsell in your revenue for your cost of doing business. You don't want to count on getting that upsell. Because you want to make sure that you reach your revenue, you know the goals that you need to hit without the upsell, because a client might buy the upsell and they might not and if they don't, then we still need to be clearing your numbers of your cost of doing business. So don't include your upsell numbers in your total revenue. Okay. Obviously, when you're doing your profit and loss that would be included, but it's just a bonus, that's just extra money that you'll be getting. So if you're following along, in this example, we should be charging somewhere higher than $130 per mini session. I am a firm believer that you shouldn't charge anything less than like 150 for mini sessions. Because once you do, you're getting into all the price shoppers and super difficult clients. Last week we talked about how to deal with difficult clients. I will say the lower your mini session price is the more difficult clients you're going to have to deal with my associate team is priced lower than my mini sessions are. And I'll say they deal with a higher percentage of difficult clients then I do just because the price point is lower. So the higher you get in your price point, the less difficult clients that you're going to be dealing with. Typically I won't say that's always true, but typically, just because clients that are paying more and have a larger investment aren't usually as picky. They trust the photographer a little bit more. And those are just things that come with that more premium pricing. So whatever you choose to purchase ceremony's at make sure you run your individual cost of doing business to make sure that they are profitable, because there's nothing worse than running mini sessions to lose money on them. Or to make $5 an hour, I can't tell you how many students that I've worked with, that after the run their cost of doing business, they realize that they've been making five $10 an hour to spend all this time away from their families, like it's just not worth it. So pay yourself appropriately run your cost of doing business and price your minis accordingly. Because I want you to succeed as a business, I want you to be profitable and to be paying yourself a wage that you deserve. And in doing so, you are, you know, showing your kids that they can do hard things that they their time is worth it, and that your time is worth it because it is so price accordingly. As we head into mini session season. Keep all this in mind. If you have any questions about pricing, or you know your area. I know, first of all, I do want to address. A lot of times after students run their cost of doing business, they freak out. And they say, well, there's no way I could charge no, in my area, it's oversaturated. I'll say every area is oversaturated. Okay, I've heard it a million times. I know you say you're in a small town, I know you say that there's a million photographers around. But hear me out. That does not change the fact that your time is worth something. So you need to still run your cost of doing business and charge a profitable rate. I promise there are plenty of clients out there. Even in an oversaturated market or a small area. There are plenty of clients that can work with and that you can serve. And so be confident in the prices that you need to charge and just move forward and decide 2022 is the year that you're going to make money 2020 is the year that you're going to pay yourself accordingly for
your time because it's worth it. So I hope this episode was helpful. Again, if you have any questions, find me on Instagram at Rebecca rice photography, you can DM me and we can chat there. I have students every week that finally reach out into yum. They're like okay, Rebecca, I've been listening to your podcast and I know you always say DM you so I'm finally going to DM you. And they ask their questions and we get to chat and I really do love chatting with you guys. So be that person this week. Reach out to me in DMS. You're not bothering me, I promise. And it really is me in there. I do have team members that help in other areas, my business when it comes to my DMs it's me that you're chatting with. So let's chat I would love to see how I can help you have an awesome mini sessions season. So can't wait for all that we have coming up. Don't forget we have our free mini sessions class. Coming up next week. It's going to be on Wednesday, February 2 And Thursday, February 3, I'm like looking at my calendar right now so I don't mess it up. So on Wednesday, the second we have one chance to catch the class and on Thursday the third we have two more chances all of them are going to be live they will be recorded. So if you're not able to make it with us live still register and we'll link that here in the show notes if you want to type it in it's Rebecca rice So you can join us I would love to have you and we're just gonna dive even deeper into the world of mini sessions. So can't wait and I will see you then. Bye guys.

53. Pricing Your Mini Session