Q&A on Kickback Options
Going back tio connecting with clients dougie ass are kind of offering incentives does yes are there any ethical pitfalls that you need to stay away from like incentives that might border on bribes or kickback great question and if you're giving money back to the school it's not a kickback I mean let's think about it you're using their electricity using their space their a c they're like everything you're even using their teachers maybe to assist you while they're getting paid their regular salary to me I'm just paying to use that service that's the way I look at it then you have to just just determine how much you want to pay for it basically and then he goes back to if I have to compete with the national companies know I compete with the national companies donald of black and white monetary thing but more with the customer service making it personal all those things that they can't provide but I give a lower monetary value generally not always because sometimes a national companies i...
s low on that we'll get into a little bit later but since you brought it up I like a flat fee over a percentage when we have to give back money and the reason why is I know exactly what I can budget now I know exactly what's coming out of my budget especially I haven't unknown I don't know exactly how much you gonna make up this job I have a flat fee so I know I have to make that much money it's also nice on the other end because they know how much is coming in we've had several jobs where we gave fifteen, twenty, twenty five percent whatever it doesn't matter percentage and on full today they just see the money rolling in the school or the sports in vienna where they just see money orders envelopes just piling up the sea huge stack of well, they don't know if it's a twelve dollar package or it's a sixty dollar package they just see a ton in their mind you're making a ton of money, they're not looking at all the equipment you're using all the employees you have to pay, you know all this stuff and then the money to to develop all the way to get all the prints, all the add ons and then you give him a check twenty percent of the profit and lots of times I'm going to go you made way more money than this this is not right this is not right you're patting the book somewhere that that percentage if they don't already trust you, which a lot of them you're going to find don't because they've been burnt over and over and over again by volume photographers that percentage can also leave again that doubt in their mind and you could be is honest as possible if they have doubt, reality is perception and they think you're cheating so always try to set a flat fee if I could get away sometimes it didn't work, but it didn't and then on the bribery and stuff, everything I do is on contract everything is on paperwork every single thing that we give I'm not going to take anyone to the horse track for gambling or out to dinner, I'm just not going to do it if we happen to meet a dinner, I might bother dinner is a friend, but I'm definitely going toe plan anything don't give them any kickbacks because that'll get you in trouble. Of course, every state and every every country has different laws in that area, but for us here in america that's a felony, I'm not going I'm not even gonna know I'm not even gonna touch that subject I want to be around that subject so everything we do when it comes to what I provide and we're gonna talk about that in the next segment what I provide, what we are going to give you, what you were going to give us is in paper on paper because I want to protect not only them but me is well and stay away from that bribery concept good I think russ has a question yeah, we when we bit of district just recently we were battling between do we give him a flat fee kickback or is a percentage? And one of the challenges we had is we didn't know how much money we might make and sort of come up with that number was was tough so is there a way you can look at the size of the population? Maybe your average package price and come up with maybe a what a percent would be, especially when you haven't done the school yet? That was and that is a really tough it's a great question but a tough one to answer because in our so called rich economic schools, the ones that are on less free lunches and you can find this information on different websites online we don't do as well sometimes that in our poor social economic schools because the richer kids so to say, the richer schools they know they'll be in softball thereby softball photos though go to track oh seniors and have the two thousand dollars average sales or whatever else they can afford, that in the social lower itself of economic schools this is it. That school photo is all they can afford it, so they're going to buy it so it's very difficult to know what you can afford now one way is if you go to a school and they're going to pay you to photograph film, you're not going to get any sales that's that's one one sign red flag that comes up because we have certain schools that come up and I'm ready and I'm doing my research and I like you I have no clue what's going on and when I just talk to them again, I ask probing questions before I'm just going to throw out what I'm going to give him I'm going to try to ask every probing question I can about what they've already gotten and most of time that they're in need they're going to tell you exactly what they received in the past because they need some help and if they come to you and say we will pay you a dollar a head or a dollar quarter ahead general, you're not gonna make any money that's all you're going to make it off so that's one thing, but the best thing to do if there's a contract and again every country is different, every state is different, but generally most of it if it's a public school here in the states and so you're taxpayer's money pays for it there's going to be some form of open records so you have to go down to fill out some paperwork because they need to keep track of who files what but generally that stuff is open records and you can find out exactly all the details so that would start there first we're gonna find some schools some school districts have any contracts all where mouth, that kind of stuff and those were the harder ones to deal with and it's a catch twenty two minutes a double edged sword if you gripe about them not allowing you to put in a bid to share put into because legally you can but then you're blackballed so you gotta play that fine line. You got to just learn the old saying what battles to pick and choose and so you kind of back away from it but the general rule of thumb is is you just go with your gut. I know that's not the best thing but if you know the school you study the school, you go on the social economics, odds are you could put in probably fifty percent of kids buying package is on the low end and then I would probably go with probably right around, even on low in opinion on what your packages are go between an average between your lowest in your second high second lowest package that's a conservative probably bid that's kind of what I look at there's no black and white there's no magical pill in that area but that's that's generally when I look at I'll say fifty percent so there's two thousand kids all say thousands going to order my low package of seventeen my second little packages twenty to so I'll just say twenty dollars a package maybe I'll take that thousand times twenty that's the money I'll make that's what I would take a percentage off generally if I don't know if they're not giving me any information because most of time they're not going to know how much that whoever photograph is going to make they just know how much they're going to get back so if you can't do that or if you're really good friends with him you can say I'll give you twenty five hundred dollars and if we make this much I'll give me another thousand or whatever this first year and they're going to say that's cool I get it you know it's first year you don't know and I'm happy with this or it's amazing I just go how much do you need? I mean what is what is fair for you again? Ask those probing questions and you're thinking your head I'm gonna get three thousand dollars and they'll say I think too thousands great I say man you know what let's let's do twenty five hundred and I I feel happier doing that for you or if you could say yes that's final two thousand but then if you even give twenty one hundred there going oh man this guy's great this is also what one hundred dollars is nothing on the whole scale of things it's no big deal even five hundred dollars is no big deal, so you're happy make quick question a great question from c j b we have a couple of school contracts and they want to use they want to I received a commission on every portrait session that we do at the studio with one of their students. So if the student comes for our high end portrait's the school still wants a piece of it do you ever encounter this? We do we say no that's completely separate if he has nothing to do with our our packaging that's for volume the rest is our business that's that's not theirs now they're going to try obviously they're going to say I want that money cause schools any money but that's where we draw the line if it's a it's a volume based client, a volume based product or package that they're going off of from a pricing structure absolutely will honor that and go to the school. What if it's ours? They're absolutely they're not gonna get any of it that's not theirs is like me asking get money from the science department so no do you come that money, the kickback money in the into the packages can absolutely and that's that's another way that you can look at it and actually when you buy this program, you're gonna have some of that information given to you you could do a bit of multiple ways if they're really into that and they want a higher percentage and they're absolutely stuck on that higher person is that you're willing not to go, then you could say, well, I can just raise my package is and so you can actually give them a bit of light. My first package, if you're going to take ten percent, I'll do a packages from, you know, it's starting off ten dollars and fifteen dollars, but if you want twenty percent now, the packages start off in eighteen dollars or whatever you raise him up to cover that percentage and you give him a gradual bid. So if you choose this much money is a payment back. This is what my package is going to be if you need that much, this is what my packages will be, but you don't get too carried away with that because ninety nine percent of people that still new photography company going toe look, they're going to open up the order form and say what's the lowest pack and if your two dollars more than the other one, all this person's too expensive uh these people horrible two bucks, so you don't want to raise that lower package too much that is that's what everybody looks at you can have a big daddy three hundred dollar package it's no big deal and if he longs that low packages in the same price range the other one you're cheap you're fine I can handle this so you don't want to get too carried away in that lower in because that will hurt you are you open to one more question from the internet before we move on somebody is asking you to clarify when you are giving to a school teo give to the school board or the district or the student government or something where you actually that is a great question every school district is different if you have a districtwide contractor usually going to give it to the district and this is stuff that you need to set up in that contract who is my payment to who is my mean literally what's the check made out to who's my payment going to is my go to person all this is in the contract all of us plain and simple because I promise you anywhere you're gonna get in trouble is in the money area plain and simple that's where people going to get you so we clarify it all each areas different for our area the principles or the athletic director's which is kind of the principles of the sporting they're the only ones that actually have contract will powers along with the superintendent of course so I give mine check to either the principal or to the person that he or she assigns two which is usually the yearbook staff but the disc the check is made out to our school district and when I do this I give payment when I've performed all my duties they performed all their duties for the contract and every both sides of the party you're happy when I give them this I usually give them the check with their disk that they need for the yearbook and everything else which we'll get into and then I make them sign a piece of paper saying they received it that they received it that I've field my part of the contract you filled your part of the contract and everybody's happy and I'm giving you the money sign thank you very much here's a copy and I will put it in my file because let's say the czech disappears well, you never paid us well if someone someone cashed it you need to have records of everything you do that's the business side of this don't trust anyone you can trust him believe me you can trust him but business is business personal is personal and this is business so any time you're dealing with money or anything else everything needs to be on paper because it protects you it's a pain you feel like it's a paying you trusted me with pain on your backside but he will come back to haunt you if you don't have it on paper just like a wedding you need a contract this is no different you have to have that to protect yourself like another quick question from david g in san diego do you ever promise a fixed amount and then later give them a bonus cheque because you earned it more absolutely counting we kind of went over that absolutely I think even I like to fix him out more than anything that's that's my goal in any volume job is fixed him out because it's easy for me to figure out my budget it's easy for them to figure out their budget there leaves no even if if I say I'm gonna give him a hundred dollars back and only make five hundred dollars well I lost money on the job but I'm still honor that a hundred I know going into it that I have to make this much money to make good on this job that gives me a comfort feeling in many ways to give me a goal to set towards a cz well and then if I give a hundred dollars back and I made fifty thousand dollars whatever absolutely I'll give him I'll give him a cheque yeah, absolutely on we'll give fun stuff too like the yearbook teachers and everything else and cody one time gave one of our yearbook teachers some squirrel underwear it's all a little something in a store it was a little squirrel that had a pair of little tighty whiteys on it and he bought it and gave it to her because it was just something that they had a conversation about that reminding you know it's fun so we're going to do that but that's friendship that's the fun part about it but when it comes to money everything is on paper every single thing yeah that might not work for everyone right correct put your own spin on it exactly absolutely don't go by so yeah um develop a database this is easier today because you have so many references for us we use google calendar a lot or something of that nature because there's four of us if there's notes everybody can look in on their iphones or the phones or droids looking on computer so any of the notes I little pop up my phone I look at my notes right before I go into the presentation if cody amy susie has found something that can add to it and we find it but I have a database who did I talk to what did they say what other plans what what is there and your next step all this I developed for every single one of our possible clients and this helps me toe breakdown everything so if for some reason someone called us which has happened and wanted us to do there their photographs for sports league or something and I'm not there suzy answers the phone cody or amy they're going to answer these questions for the most part they're going to ask these questions going to find out all this information they possibly can put it in the calendar set up a time for them either for me to get go see them I always like to go see them there have a school board meeting if they're having a sports league meetings usually someone's house again it's they're mostly volunteers so it's casual I want to go see them I want to bring my products and I want to come in they're showing everything instead of them coming to me I want to go to there I want to be in charge in there they're community now they come to me that's fine too because it shows off everything else and it helps show that we know how to take photographs as well but either way, no matter who talks to who we answer these questions and the big one is who do they talk to him? What did they say? And then finally, what are their plans? That's a big one so we always develop a database and so we literally have a database and could be exhale I mean could be any simple problem you don't have to go crazy you don't have to have an office management program or anything else, just something that you know, where it is. You could look up same thing with our database, we have a database of the soul earlier is that families that seem to always lose their photos that never receive them. We have a database of that and those again, as I said earlier, those names constantly pop up year after year after year. They call and say I didn't didn't get my photos, and so you take time. So this year on some of them, we actually dropped them all off at school, except for those handful and we actually set then we hand delivered to their kids in school did lunch and they signed for it sign that card and guess what? Those things they didn't call back so it's a pain but it's a way of handling the situation and databases help that so collected data base on everything use like said google calendar keep track of all adam's everyone within your business will be on the same page. I can't explain it, but it's extremely important you have multiple people and you don't have to use google calendar use whatever you want, but it's free there's lots of things out there, you have a duo partnership in your business, it really, really helps talking to decision makers, try and set an appointment, dealing with rejection in person, be polite, let them know that you will check in from time to time, make a note to follow up and do it again. Basic information, but most people never use it. You will get rejected. I'm pretty used to it. It was my dating life. Most of my life. I'm used to rejection, so handle it. Well, I just kept coming back and kept coming back. I'm a thorn in their side on that rash. I don't want to get away from it, so dealing with the rejection, be polite, and then let them know that you're going to come back in a polite way. Let it know you're not going anywhere, because most of time, they think you're just a fly by night photographer, let him know you're here.