Why you need to know your hourly rate

Marketing, Money and Finance

Do you know your hourly rate?

No…not the hourly rate to your client…your real hourly rate. The amount of money made divided by the real amount of hours worked. Those hours late at night, those hours on weekends, the hours you spent working on your business. That rate. That number is hugely powerful to know for two big reasons.

Determine your hourly rate.

First, knowing your hourly rate can help you determine what to charge for a product or service. The easiest example is an hour shooting. The time involved includes the hours prepping plus the hours editing etc. It is more than just showing up for the shoot – it is all of the hours before and after!

Another example are albums. Creating albums for clients is not just about the price of the book itself, but all of the design time, time to make changes, and time to prep the order, as well as managing it. 

Why wedding photographers need to know their hourly rate - Jenny DeMarco Education

Make better business decisions.

Perhaps the most important reason to know your hourly rate is that it can help you make important business decisions. And the biggest decision is helping you decide what tasks are worth your time, and what you should outsource. 

For example, let’s just say conservatively you want to make $60k a year. And let’s say you are giving yourself 2 weeks vacation and working 40 hours a week. That is $30 an hour. Then, if you can outsource a task for much less than that, you might want to think about it. Or if you can hire an assistant for $15/hr.

$60,000/yr ÷ 50 weeks/yr ÷ 40 hours/week = $30/hour

The other day I needed some simple graphic design work to be done. It would probably take me an hour to figure out and do myself. But I could go onto a site like Fiverr and get it done for $5 then. That makes it totally worth it!

The big outsourcing tasks for me is outsourcing the bulk of the editing for wedding photos. It’s a task that takes me way too long, and I am not the best at large batch editing. I am better at putting final touches on a photo. So that is where I choose to spend my time. By hiring someone to do a bulk of the editing, I am able to save hours of time, and use that in other places of my business. It is important to start looking at what you love to do, and what is taking you too much time.

And keep in mind, this doesn’t just have to be items in your business! I have hired someone to help with household items, like laundry. It is not worth my time to fold laundry for hours every week! So I have outsourced that task, so I can spend more time working or enjoying family time.

The bottom line.

As a bottom line, if you want to make $100K a year, then your hourly rate needs to be at least $50 per hour. This will allow you to have room to cover expenses and outside costs that might be associated with each wedding (gifts, editing, hiring a virtual assistant, etc.)

By taking the time to look at your numbers, and figure out the correct hourly rate, you are able to set up your business for success – and profit! It will also let you set goals for your business, and give you a clear understanding of how many weddings you need to book every year, and at what price. 

Why wedding photographers need to know their hourly rate | Jenny DeMarco Photography Education