My recent post “I Declare War on David Jay” has taken off way beyond anything I expected. I’m grateful for all the supporting comments but also thankful for all the opposing voices as well. A healthy, professional discussion benefits us all.
Lest you think that I’m just a bitter old schooler who hates change, I’m going to get into the specifics of why I think PASS Prints is a bad idea.
Let’s look at some numbers; let’s say you’re a wedding photographer who charges $2,000 for coverage only. If you’re like most photographers, your profit margin from that wedding, factoring the time/expense of post-production editing is about 70%. Here what the numbers look like:
|Coverage Only Price||$2,000|
|Total Gross Profit||$1,400|
Now let’s look at the numbers from selling an 8×10 print at $25.
$23 in Gross Profit for a print isn’t a huge amount of money, but let’s see what happens if we scale that number upwards. Let’s say we book 30 weddings and, on average, sell 3 8×10’s. (Keep in mind this is an average, you might sell six to one customer and none to another.)
Here’s the Gross Profit calculated for selling 3 prints per wedding:
|Number 8×10’s Sold||3|
Now let’s multiply out the Gross Profit from 8×10’s over our 30 booked weddings:
|Number of Weddings||30|
|Gross Profit from 8×10 Sales||$2,070|
Given that our Gross Profit from a Coverage Only wedding is $1,400, earning an extra $2,070 from selling 3 8×10’s per each wedding is like shooting an extra 1.3 weddings per year – but without doing any of the work!
Now let’s factor in the cost of the pass system for 30 weddings:
|PASS Price Per Wedding||$29|
|Number of Weddings||30|
Based on the numbers above, if you use PASS Prints, you’re potentially losing $2,070 in sales plus you’re spending $870 per year to use the service. That’s a loss of $2,940 per year which translates to the profit for more than two whole weddings per year. That means that the PASS photographer must shoot two more weddings than a similarly priced non-PASS photographer just to earn the same amount of money.
Now, I’ll grant you that competing services such as Zenfolio, Smugmug etc do cost money – but they’re a third of the cost or less.
“But Our Clients Love It!”
Finally, I’ll address a point that seems to be made over and over. That being that “Clients love it!” First, let me share some wisdom I carry around with me from days working for companies like Copy 4 Less NY; Just because clients love PASS doesn’t mean that they won’t love another service. Secondly, of course clients love free stuff. They’d love it if we shot their wedding for free. Does that mean it’s a good idea for your business?
Of course not.
In this debate, people have brought up iTunes/Napster etc. These technologies are great for the consumer, terrible for the artist. Unfortunately for musicians, they had no choice when it came to downloadable music. Insofar as PASS is concerned, we do have a choice. We don’t have to support businesses and technologies that negatively impact our bottom line.