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Author Topic: Charge clients for data storage?  (Read 55848 times)

Niels_Patrick

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Charge clients for data storage?
« on: July 02, 2014, 11:01:53 am »

Aloha forum,

since everybody gets use to 36mio pixel look and feel - itīs important to talk about file storage and how professionals like us deal with the immense cost of hardware.
I invested a lot of money in raid systems, servers, etc.

Question:
1. Do you charge your clients for backuping their files?
2. How much? E.g. 10 % of total production volume / per year? Charge by GB?

I am thinking of finishing with the following sentence in my invoices:

Important Notice: Due to the data volume of the project - files will be stored for 0,5 year for free - then automaticlly deleted from our server raid system - without a notification. If you wish to store you project longer then this time period feel free to contact us any time.

What do you think? Thanks for sharing your thoughts  ::)
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john beardsworth

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 11:27:05 am »

I doubt you can get away with that. Disc space is cheap, and I suspect my book or magazine publishers wouldn't be impressed if they came back to me and found I no longer possessed copies of  work I'd done for them. Even if they were at fault and didn't expect I would retain backups, I'd rather be in a position to help them out.

Niels_Patrick

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2014, 11:59:38 am »

yes makes sense if you have 1-2 clients. I was offering this service in the past. no problem.
Now I film 4k video + nikon d800 files + phase iq160.....
Plus clients asking me .... ohhh do you have this photo from 1992 .... it is costing me time to find&send the picture.
Plus harddrives for my raid system.

maybe i raise my daily rate being a photographer and this topic is covered?
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john beardsworth

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2014, 12:25:38 pm »

I just don't think it's any different now. Larger files, sure, but disc/tape space is bigger and cheaper, plus you've got cloud services like Amazon s3. Finding stuff, well, a cataloguing system can find stuff quickly even on drives that are stored offline.

Anyway, I can't recall encountering anyone who does charge like you're proposing, and wonder if small print on the invoice would be effective when the client comes back for an old image, but let's see what others say.

Chris_Brown

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2014, 12:33:28 pm »

Charge for the file retrieval service & delivery.
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Niels_Patrick

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2014, 01:26:03 pm »

thanks all for the quick feedback. I understand your thoughs.
Looks like I am to hard to my clients.
Fact is I am offering a service - which is not being paid.
Trying to hide this cost in an other position on my invoice and being friendly to my client.
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jjj

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2014, 01:42:49 pm »

Charge for space taken on discs exactly as you would do film or tape. I've charged for storage space as it's a legitimate expense.
Some jobs can easily be a terrabyte+, a colleague did 1.3TB in a single day recently. Video particularly 4k is humongous.
Obviously it has to be on two discs and archived as well for disaster proofing and if possible offsite storage as well. So quite likely 3 drives and two computers are needed which all cost money.

Simply explain to client what you are doing and why and how it costs you time and money to do.
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jferrari

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 11:23:34 pm »

Unless you include it in your day rate storage should definitely be a line item. Just like film in the old days, you either absorb it in your flat rate fee or charge for it separately. The issue is to open a dialog with your client. Make them aware that project storage is non-trivial and present them with realistic solutions. They, then, can decide to provide storage in-house or pay you for the service.    - Jim
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Colorado David

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 12:58:36 am »

The company I formerly worked for stored thousands of tapes and films at Underground Vaults and Storage. That is the storage company in the Hutchinson, Kansas salt mines.  It is the Armageddon storage facility.  If you've ever worked in the major motion picture or the financial services world, you'd know about it.  When they first started using UVS for storage, it was a small cost.  Over the years it grew until it became a real burden on the company as an expense not funded by the clients.  Every now and then we would meet to discuss how we could begin to recover the cost of storage from our clients.  That was an issue that was still unresolved when the company went out of business.

Craig Lamson

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2014, 07:55:57 am »

I've been charging a "file fee" for every file I deliver to a client.  This goes way back to 2001 when I first started delivering digital files.  My logic then was that it sort of replaced a cost for film and helped defray the huge costs of digital hardware.

I don't deliver massive amounts of files so this has worked well and I've never stopped.  It adds a nice total to my gross each year. 

I don't charge for storage and I do have a archive retrieval fee listed in my price list I can't remember the last time I used it.  If a long term client asks me to find a file I just do it for them.  That said I don't get that request more that once or twice a year. 
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louoates

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 09:40:02 am »

If you've been storing lots of info free for a client and it's a burden, why not offer them the choice of dumping the info at no charge to them, continuing to store it at a set fee, or provide them ownership (and responsibility) of the files (on DVDs or hard drives) at a higher fee? A few years ago I recouped some good money by offering inactive clients CDs with their images at a set fee.
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Niels_Patrick

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 10:50:54 am »

Thanks for all the input. Seems like itīs a hot topic. Everyone should think about data storage combined with $$$$$.

@Yelhsa:
i have many use cases, because of shooting classic photo and 4k video now.
Sometimes I sell my pictures "total buy out" - all files went to the client. So you can say they are responsible now.
I also made the expierience itīs easier to call the photographer instead of searching a DVD  :)

Now I try to find a good way to explain it to my clients. Transparent and effective.
I found a nice link abou pricing. Unfortunatly in german: http://aws.amazon.com/de/s3/pricing/

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PeterAit

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 12:33:43 pm »

No no no. Cost of doing business. And, the more files you have from a client, the better customer they are - right? If a photog tried to charge me for storing files, I would tell him to go sit on a cucumber.

But, you are not going to give your RAW files to the client so they can store them, they are your property. So, your contract might stipulate that you will use reasonable efforts to maintain digital copies of their photographs, but that you do not guarantee that they will be available in the future.
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jjj

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2014, 01:38:44 pm »

No no no. Cost of doing business. And, the more files you have from a client, the better customer they are - right? If a photog tried to charge me for storing files, I would tell him to go sit on a cucumber.
So I guess by that logic, one wouldn't charge for say film either? As that is just a cost of doing business too. Now normally you charge clients for the specific costs relating to work you do for them [plus overheads] this could be considered just another specific cost. Alternatively if you simply charge more for say doing the job in the first place then the cost is hidden rather than being open. Is that better or worse?
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BobShaw

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2014, 07:18:14 am »

Charge for the file retrieval service & delivery.
+1
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PeterAit

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2014, 09:40:15 am »

So I guess by that logic, one wouldn't charge for say film either? As that is just a cost of doing business too. Now normally you charge clients for the specific costs relating to work you do for them [plus overheads] this could be considered just another specific cost. Alternatively if you simply charge more for say doing the job in the first place then the cost is hidden rather than being open. Is that better or worse?

That's how I would look at it. With all the discussion in other threads about how the photographer owns the raw files/negatives, it would actually be YOUR property that you are archiving, right? And they are items that could bring in more income down the road. It doesn't seem right to tell a client "These files are mine and you can't have them, but I am charging you $X a year to keep them."
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chez

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2014, 11:34:19 am »

Well you bury the cost of equipment depreciation, licensing costs, insurance costs etc  in your price...why wouldn't the storage of the raw files fall under these same costs? Why would you break out this cost and not say $0.25 per actuation cost?

So I guess by that logic, one wouldn't charge for say film either? As that is just a cost of doing business too. Now normally you charge clients for the specific costs relating to work you do for them [plus overheads] this could be considered just another specific cost. Alternatively if you simply charge more for say doing the job in the first place then the cost is hidden rather than being open. Is that better or worse?
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chez

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2014, 11:37:08 am »

That's how I see it. It's only in your best interest to store the originals in case the client wants more work done with them in the future...which translates into more future income from past work. You'd look kind of stupid if a year from now a client comes to you with money in hand wanting more images and you can't deliver them because you deleted the files.

That's how I would look at it. With all the discussion in other threads about how the photographer owns the raw files/negatives, it would actually be YOUR property that you are archiving, right? And they are items that could bring in more income down the road. It doesn't seem right to tell a client "These files are mine and you can't have them, but I am charging you $X a year to keep them."
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Iluvmycam

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2014, 12:39:58 pm »

OP, sure charge if you can.
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pixjohn

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Re: Charge clients for data storage?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2014, 01:17:05 pm »

Warning, you're opening a big can of worms and liability if you are charging for backup. If something ever happens to the files  your client would be able to sue  for damages. As previously  stated it is best to have a disclaimer on your contract stating that you will hold images as a courtesy but they're not guaranteed as a legitimate backup service. A few times a year I have clients ask me for backup copies of images that I do as a courtesy, otherwise you can can state on your contract that you charge a research fee to find old images. My system is very organized and only takes me a few minutes to know what hard drives the images would be on. I keep one set of hard drives in house and another set off location. I also burn a DVD of the final images and keep them in the house

I personally don't keep all my raw files I keep my final tiffs and the raw files that I produced the tiff or Photoshop file to minimize the amount of storage I need.
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