Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves. So goes the old saying, and I thought I’d kick the new year off with a really exciting post about looking out for the details that can sometimes trip you up.
Yesterday I was making my way to the post office to send off a disc of the job I’d shot that morning for Men’s Fitness. I noticed I’d left the price sticker on the packet and it started me thinking about how much it costs to send jobs off. By the time I’d got home I’d worked out every factor, and was able to calculate it fairly accurately:
Jiffy Bag/Sealed Air packet – 35p
DVD/CD – 57p (they actually cost 19p, but I make an exact copy of the job disc myself, plus I burn a copy of the RAWS to disc as well)
CD Jewel Case – 32p
Paper for CD Inlay, ink for same and printing on CD – Roughly 2p
Royal Mail Next Day Special delivery – £5.05
So, a total of £6.31 for each disc I send.
Now, the problem is, despite having been in business for a very long time, having my accounts program all set up properly, generally being very thorough about business stuff and all that goes with it, I often overlook billing for posting discs to people. There’s 2 main reasons for this. First off, I usually write my invoices up in a hurry, and they’re normally very simple; fees, mileage, a handful of expenses and so on. Secondly I’ve always felt a bit funny about billing for small, sundry items like this.
I reckon I send 4 or 5 jobs out like this every month, not counting all the times I send discs of images to people when it’s not actually a job. It doesn’t take a genius to add up that 5 a month is £31.55, and therefore every year I’m underbilling my clients by more than £370. That’s the equivalent to working one average editorial job for free.
I’m glad this occurred to me yesterday afternoon – I intend to start charging every time from now on, and to check a bit more closely for anything else I may be “swallowing”!