You’re dying to know what the heck I’m going to lead in with here, am I right? There may be nothing as humanizing and humbling as a porta-potty. So I wanted to go out on a limb, get your attention, and speak about a creative solution to a common challenge for architects, general contractors, construction managers, developers and owner’s reps.
It’s a challenge to plan for the cost of architectural photography that showcases your completed project work. If you didn’t know already, photography is an outside service that does not go to bid.
As you may have experienced during last year’s build season, if you miss shooting a completed project, chances are that the opportunity to go back will never come, at least not in the same way it presented itself the first time around. After a client has taken ownership of the new space, there is wear and tear to consider, even more staging declutter that needs to be done, and the extra costs that come with advanced photo retouching of the shots. But this year is going to be different, or at least it could be, with this fresh, new approach.
Consider carrying the cost of architectural photography at the front of the bid. General contractors, for example, could do this in the General Conditions, right there next to the cost of porta-potties, tools, water coolers and temporary building line items. For example, if you had a ballpark package cost for photography — a small project for $3K (3-5 shots), medium for $5K (6-8 shots) and a large job for $10K-$12K (9-12 shots), you could include it there. If you felt you could carry the cost in this area of the bid terms, would it be helpful to your firm? Would it help you consider what else you need to shoot, well in advance of when you need to shoot it, should you win the bid?
Here are some other suggested ways to consider carrying it up front:
Architects: Fee Proposal
Owner’s Rep: Owner’s Budget
Design/Build: Pre-Construction Budget
Lump Sum Bid: Allowance by Architect
Construction Management/GCs: General Conditions
I had this conversation about front-loading photography spend into a bid with a construction management client recently, and it was illuminating. Knowing a construction project will have to be photographed, I’m posing their suggested idea for consideration — and your input! I also understand that this is not a silver-bullet solution for every bid, every time. It’s up to each firm to know how much room they have to carry this cost, where to carry it, and still win the job when margins are tight. I’m aware it’s a bold suggestion.
If you’re thinking about how to qualify and choose which projects are photo-worthy, that show potential clients your accomplishments, capacity, and help you get more of the same work in the future, you’ll find it easy to get started on choosing which of your key projects to photograph this year.
So go ahead, cozy my photography cost right in there next to the porta-potties, I welcome the inclusion on that short list if it helps you secure the images you need on a completed project, and is a done deal when it’s time to turn the space over to the client.
I’d love your comments and other out-of-the-box ideas you’re willing to share on this topic. What has worked for your firm in the past? Together, we can develop strategic ways to maximize your project images and help you get more of them. All good for your bottom line and that next great project award win.