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Author Topic: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?  (Read 869 times)

Dan Berg

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Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« on: August 05, 2018, 11:48:12 AM »

For almost 10 years I have have been charging by the sq. in based on the printed face dimensions.
My paper waste has been going up and up so much that I am considering charging by the paper size dimensions.
No matter how many times I repeat this to my clients they keep coming back with these small orders/small funky sizes.
I cannot tell you how many 12x12's I have printed on 13x19 or off a 16" roll. The waste on those is consecutively 103 and 112 sq. inches for one print.
Do 20 at a time and the waste is very substantial.
Do a dozen 20x20's on 24" paper and the waste is 176 sq. inches @

The two options I see are charging by the sq. inch for the paper size I start with. Example 12x12" printed on 13x19" paper, charge for 13x19.
Or, charge more per sq. inch for the finished print face surface?
Not asking anything about other businesses prices, just curious what others might be doing with regards to charge by sq. in. or charge by printed face.
With 3 - 44" and 3 - 17" printers the waste has been getting out of hand for some time.
All this being said I still need to stay competitive.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 12:02:13 PM by Dan Berg »
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framah

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2018, 12:41:41 PM »

Bump it to cover your costs. All of our costs are going up all the time and in that light, so must the cost to the customer.

I used to charge for the size of the image PLUS the border of white around it and realized that, like you, i'm throwing away paper from a roll. So now, like I do with glass, I charge by what the piece comes from.

A 19x32 piece of glass has to come out of a 24x36 so that is what is charged.
A 19x32 print including white border  would have to come out of a 36" roll so that size is what is used to figure the cost... 19x36.
 
Think about how to charge for something that is 7x37?? That can only come out of a piece of 32X40 glass. I do find it hard to charge for the whole piece of 32x40 glass so I charge for half. Either way, my materials cost are more than covered.

Yeah, people wanting one 8x10 print and I only have a 17" roll... I charge min of $15. Still not really worth the time to make that print, tho.

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Mark D Segal

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2018, 12:45:23 PM »

Go by what the products are and what the range of market prices are for the various products. Make sure all your fixed and variable costs are covered with an adequate margin reflecting the value of your time to the extent the market range allows.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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BrianBeauban

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 01:16:25 PM »

Calculate you costs by the linear foot instead and charge accordingly.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2018, 01:25:38 PM »

Don't be married lock-step to costs in pricing; pricing is a market issue. Uses costs as the floor and charge to market as long as you are above the floor. When you calculate your cost floor make sure you add enough margin for wastage, ink for maintenance, machine depreciation, other overheads.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Dan Berg

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2018, 02:09:20 PM »

I have one of those issues probably like everyone else here.
75% of my work comes from maybe 25 individuals. The important ones!
All the rest are one offs that I never really make any money off of based on the small print sizes.
My pricing is all over my website so I try not to change it too often but I must keep it accurate.

Mark D Segal

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2018, 02:48:48 PM »

What do you think are the fundamental principles of product pricing in a market economy? Perhaps it is best to start from there, so you develop a pricing philosophy that maximizes your net income as a function of your costs on the one hand versus what the market will bear on the other. When you are too cost focused you could be missing pricing optima by quite a bit. That doesn't mean you pay no attention to costs - you do by minimizing them to the extent reasonable for whatever product you are selling, regardless of what the market pricing is. In the first instance it isn't a matter of how often the prices change, but importantly what the pricing basis is. Changing them is a second-order consideration which only becomes important when you get market signals or accounting signals that change is warranted.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2018, 11:23:51 PM by Mark D Segal »
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mearussi

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2018, 06:01:15 PM »

I charge by the total amount of paper I use, so basically it's by the linear foot. The actual sq" I use to calculate ink costs.
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BobShaw

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2018, 06:11:47 PM »

If you do that then you need to charge a fixed cost plus a variable cost.
The variable cost accounts for the paper and ink used including wastage.
The fixed cost accounts for the fact that there is virtually no difference in the work involved. You need to cover the asset cost, the set up cost and the cost of getting out of bed.
Then you need add a margin to make a profit
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stevenfr

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2018, 06:29:36 PM »

I charge the paper size. Not the print size.

Generally, I print a show for a customer and they get the priviledge of sitting with me, when I do their prints. They get exactly what they want out of the prints plus my advice and eye.  I don’t charge for my PS time, I give one free strip with each print, so they get a sense for the final print.  The prints are larger, smallest might be a 16” x 24”.  It is easies to make money on larger prints as you have stated.

I also don’t print for anyone that is difficult. It is to close a relationship when they sit with me in my studio to deal woth someone that I don’t like. We may end up doing 15 or 20 prints and it can take a few days to finish.

enduser

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2018, 08:52:56 PM »

For many years we went to markets with our prints of my wife's art.  They were canvas stretched items of about four sizes and many different images.  We began with very high prices and just gradually brought the prices down until people started to buy.  After a month or two we increased  by very small amounts until the customers thinned out. Then down a little until we hit optimum for that method.

Later on we watched the sales of other image sellers, but didn't vary things much.  If we'd charged for my wife's time we would never have sold anything.  She didn't mind because she thought she'd not be using that time to earn money  anyway.  So the business model was that we bought canvas, ink, stretcher bars and protective spray at wholesale and sold at retail - hours worked by her or me were never possible to charge for.

Lost opportunity costs? Possibly, but I always went to the wholesalers premises for supplies and learned  a lot about the image and printing business from them and their staff.
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2018, 07:17:01 AM »

I charge the total print size when borders are within 2 inches. On top of that an added percentage for paper waste. Having different width rolls helps to minimize paper waste. Qimage Ultimate for nesting helps. Sheets I avoid as it always increases waste.  With wider borders a slight reduction but a print that goes in the bin then is costing way more on paper than ink so it is in fact a stupid reduction.

Anyway if the margin between media costs and print selling price becomes that problematic something else is wrong.

There is some analogy to the following; If I laminate an art print on polystyrene, dibond etc (framing by third party) then the price of that material comes close to the media costs of a print yet I can not add the same margin percentage as the market dictates another price. It usually is more work than printing though and has more risks in ending with a defective product that then has twice the media costs. I know a shop that directs its customers to companies that do that work and it only does the print part. Enough customers remain it seems and the other companies do the lamination work correctly. I have other experiences here so run the risk.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

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« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 07:24:59 AM by Ernst Dinkla »
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Stephen Ray

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2018, 03:51:47 AM »

For almost 10 years I have have been charging by the sq. in based on the printed face dimensions.

Just wondering what the rational was for you to make this decision. Seems you're still married to square inches.
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Dan Berg

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2018, 07:27:00 AM »

Print size 8x10 = 80 sq. inches x .08 = $6.40 Just a very easy way to get to a square foot price that customers can equate with.
If you charge by paper size almost impossible to build any sort of graph showing prices.
People want to know what prints are going to cost. I have an extensive graph and price calculator to give customers the price upfront.
Many cruising the net do not want to make contact with anyone and just want to see what things cost.
They can look at my pricing graph and instantly see what any size print on an assortment of papers will cost.
If I went to some sort of lineal foot charge or charge by paper size all of the upfront graph/calculator pricing goes out the window.
I would lose half the people that do not have the patience to call or email me asking how much is this and how much is that.
Been doing this a long time and know pretty much about business costs.
This all has more to do with trying to price smaller print orders more in line with the time that it takes to do them.
Once we get to 12x18 and larger it is never really a factor. I just get tons of folks that want smaller prints with a small quantity.
One option is to set a minimum print order or minimum price. Example $20.00 minimum order.
I am starting by eliminating my 20% discount to professionals and first time buyers for their small orders/small prints.

« Last Edit: August 07, 2018, 07:45:51 AM by Dan Berg »
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2018, 08:20:48 AM »

One option is to set a minimum print order or minimum price. Example $20.00 minimum order.
I am starting by eliminating my 20% discount to professionals and first time buyers for their small orders/small prints.

35 Euro minimum order. 

I used to give a discount to art academy students here before the dip in the economy really hurt. Say up to 2010. The population on the academy changed over time, middle class Dutch students went for careers in better paid jobs than the arts due to the crises, the Academy found a market in foreign students, as I understand it is 70% of them now, some courses up to 95%. They do not have the means to spend as much as the middle class girls did in the past, living abroad is expensive. They tend to leave the country after their study and last but not least they negotiate more on price than we are used to here, cultural differences I guess. You do not create a steady customer base with discounts in that market type.

Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

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March 2017 update, 750+ inkjet media white spectral plots





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Mark D Segal

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2018, 09:14:18 AM »

Print size 8x10 = 80 sq. inches x .08 = $6.40 Just a very easy way to get to a square foot price that customers can equate with.
If you charge by paper size almost impossible to build any sort of graph showing prices.
People want to know what prints are going to cost. I have an extensive graph and price calculator to give customers the price upfront.
Many cruising the net do not want to make contact with anyone and just want to see what things cost.
They can look at my pricing graph and instantly see what any size print on an assortment of papers will cost.
If I went to some sort of lineal foot charge or charge by paper size all of the upfront graph/calculator pricing goes out the window.
I would lose half the people that do not have the patience to call or email me asking how much is this and how much is that.
Been doing this a long time and know pretty much about business costs.
This all has more to do with trying to price smaller print orders more in line with the time that it takes to do them.
Once we get to 12x18 and larger it is never really a factor. I just get tons of folks that want smaller prints with a small quantity.
One option is to set a minimum print order or minimum price. Example $20.00 minimum order.
I am starting by eliminating my 20% discount to professionals and first time buyers for their small orders/small prints.

Dan I agree with you that upfront pricing people can see on the Internet before ordering is necessary - I don't think that's an issue; more importantly the question you initially raised is about the basis of that pricing. Stephen Ray is making an important point questioning how married one should be to square inches. You are experienced in this business and say you understand your costs. What in your mind is the most important cost of all? I would venture to say it should be the value of your time. I would then venture further that the next most important cost is the combination of overheads and depreciation. So the most important cost elements: time and overhead/depreciation, hardly vary by the square inch. Ink and paper do. Then you need to look at the market and see what you can charge, regardless of your costs. People who only look at costs see only half the recipe that goes into a pricing structure. Where Ernst mentions his floor price of 35 EURO, that undoubtedly reflects his view of fixed cost recovery (i.e. time and overheads). From there up, as size and paper quality increase, it makes sense that the price would increase, but whether in proportion to variable costs again depending on the market and what kind of service you are providing.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Dan Berg

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2018, 10:12:43 AM »

Good points Mark, thanks for your input.

Rand47

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2018, 10:32:23 AM »

My brochure lists price, “... for any size image printed on 13 x 19” paper ...”

The unit price is determined by assuming that the image will be 12.5 x 18.5” on the 13x19” paper.  That way I’m covered for materials no matter what.  Since every print requires the same care / time / effort on my part to produce the finest print from the file, the materials end up being the least expensive component of my pricing. 

I offer three levels of service.  A straight print with no subjective involvement by me.  A “trust my expertise in getting the most out of your file.”  And a “come and sit down with me and have direct input into file optimization, paper selection and print approval.” 

Rand

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Stephen Ray

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2018, 01:20:52 PM »

If you charge by paper size almost impossible to build any sort of graph showing prices.

The attached image is from a price guide from over 25 years ago. The local photo lab is long since retired and closed. Your print sizes seem aligned but formula, not so much. It might help to know that a single price per square is often too simplistic.
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glyph

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Re: Charging by the sq. inch for print face size or paper size?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2018, 03:31:41 PM »

For the last ten years, I've printed almost exclusively on rolls, and I use wider substrate with ganged prints whenever possible. My pricing has typical waste factored into it, and I charge by the square inch of the trim size, not the image size. I find this to be relatable for the client and predictable for both parties. My website lists first print prices at a higher square inch price than subsequent prints, although I waive that for regular clients and charge the lower rate for everything. The higher price is there to cover additional time needed for one off prints and to provide a mild deterrent to small orders.
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