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Makeup Artist
Andrew James Makeup
Posts: 335
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


Right im sorry but i need to ask here because im kinda shocked at the amount of people who would defend someone for this

How many of you would undercut someone if you wanted a job someone else had?

if there was one thing ive picked up as being the most important thing in this industry is to not undercut someone

i got a comment on a discussion about this:
"if its anyone's job & you really want it then you should do what it takes, even if it means offering your services for free"
Oct 25 12 11:15 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B R U N E S C I
Posts: 25,319
Bath, England, United Kingdom


If you can't take the heat....





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com
Oct 25 12 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Ms BSK
Posts: 886
Brooklyn, New York, US


I wouldn't undercut and I especially wouldn't work for free. If you work for free once on a paid job why would they pay you. Also if a client wants to use a free artist maybe they aren't the right client for me. I have rates and they are flexible depending on what the job is but if you are making money on this shouldn't I?

I say don't worry about it and focus on the good clients who pay for the work they want.
Oct 25 12 01:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
FacesByNiki
Posts: 51
Germantown, Maryland, US


Ms BSK wrote:
I wouldn't undercut and I especially wouldn't work for free. If you work for free once on a paid job why would they pay you. Also if a client wants to use a free artist maybe they aren't the right client for me. I have rates and they are flexible depending on what the job is but if you are making money on this shouldn't I?

I say don't worry about it and focus on the good clients who pay for the work they want.

This ^^^^^

Oct 25 12 01:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
kberryphotography
Posts: 22
London, England, United Kingdom


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
If you can't take the heat....





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

How is this a helpful comment? If this is her full time job and pays her bills how is she meant to survive if people will do it for free?

Its the same with photography, say you charge £200 to do someone a professional portfolio and then another photographer saying I'll do it for free, not once but every time you get a potential client, you would not survive no matter how talented you are or how bad the other photographer is.

Oct 26 12 11:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,177
Salem, Oregon, US


in photography people undercut all the time. it's very competitive. i guess the alternative would be to have the government ration the number of photographers who are allowed to compete.

imagine a town that has a nice field where a few people have some sheep. but then over time there are more and more sheep and eventually all the grass dies from overeating. that seems to be how the free market works in fields where the cost of entry is low. our town has a zillion photographers and a zillion hair salons and a zillion car repair shops. does our town really need so many options? is there enough demand to support all those players? is that something the government even cares about? my suggestion is go work for the government or find a tightknit area to work in where if you undercut word will get around and people will ostracize you.
Oct 26 12 11:20 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ClickMore
Posts: 559
Cranleigh, England, United Kingdom


kberryphotography wrote:

How is this a helpful comment? If this is her full time job and pays her bills how is she meant to survive if people will do it for free?

Its the same with photography, say you charge £200 to do someone a professional portfolio and then another photographer saying I'll do it for free, not once but every time you get a potential client, you would not survive no matter how talented you are or how bad the other photographer is.

Happens all the time. People contact me about having photos taken then they get back to me and say they have found someone who will work for free. Also I get potential clients who cancel as they have found someone who will match my quote. I hope they were happy with their images. It happens in all business'. Unfortunately you have to live with it as it won't be the only time.

Oct 26 12 11:24 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
David Kilper
Posts: 434
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


If the "client" doesn't want to pay me, then I'm not the right photographer for them.  I do test work, but never undercut anyone.  Maybe it has something to do with being in St. Louis and the industry being so small here, but doing it once or twice is a great way to ruin a lot of professional relationships.  There is a lot of "heat," but I control the burner.
Oct 26 12 11:25 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
kberryphotography
Posts: 22
London, England, United Kingdom


I've got to say I agree with all the replies, it's a tough old world out there, certainly making me think twice about going into Wedding Photography full time next year.

I've seen it quoted a few times that undercutting, especially in the Wedding Business is really frowned upon and will gain you quite a reputation with other photographers.
Potential to even backfire in the long run if you need/want help from fellow photographers who have been burnt by this.

Was in Photo Pro magazine sometime last year I think.

Sorry just realised I'm stealing the thread a bit here, basically what I'm trying to say is ignore the people doing the undercutting and keep your rate where it is, as long as your skill level is on the up and can get that reputation for high standards and professional attitude you'll be on to a winner, I hope.

All the best either way.
Oct 26 12 11:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
M Pandolfo Photography
Posts: 12,113
Tampa, Florida, US


Regardless of whether you think it's right or wrong, the market always seems to work itself out and the rules of supply/demand and profit/loss don't change.

In other words, sure, someone can come into the market and undercut everybody and/or provide their services for free to "get the job." And how long will that person stay in business before they're closing their doors?

I could open up a hair salon and charge $1/cut to steal business from my competitors, but how long can I keep that up? Eventually, I'll go out of business and the market will return to "normal."

I will say that the people who perform services for little or nothing with the objective that it will "get them in the door" and lead to paying jobs, are delusional. They've priced themselves in the market and set their value and they will be expected to deliver at that price until .

As for morality and fair play in business? There is none.
Oct 26 12 11:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bunny 007
Posts: 274
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


You might build the best mousetrap, but the sad fact is that most people will buy the cheapest one.
Oct 26 12 12:01 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
Mary
Posts: 7,117
Coronado, California, US


Andii James wrote:
Right im sorry but i need to ask here because im kinda shocked at the amount of people who would defend someone for this

How many of you would undercut someone if you wanted a job someone else had?

if there was one thing ive picked up as being the most important thing in this industry is to not undercut someone

i got a comment on a discussion about this:
"if its anyone's job & you really want it then you should do what it takes, even if it means offering your services for free"

Every business person out there is going to get the best they can afford.  The issue is, what can they afford and are you the best in that price range?

    If artist A charges $800.00 a day and artist B charges $400.00 a day and they are equally talented, artist A has a problem... artist A either goes down to $400.00 or takes her/his marbles and goes home (artist A may need to find a better paying career if artist B with the same talent level brings the value of the art down to half price)...

   You are never going to talk people out of undercutting or doing whatever they can to take  the jobs (trust me, I've tried for years)   You just have to be better then they are and retain the clients at the top of the food chain...  But even the top clients like to get the best they can for their money and so the bottom line is..You have to be the best in the price range you're charging. If you have people equal to you in talent that are charging less then you are, you need to improve your own portfolio and skills to be better and more competitive, or you need to drop to their price level and retain those clients.  Those are the only choices I see in this climate and economy...  The other option is to find another way to make money, and that's what many artists have done...

Nov 01 12 12:11 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Laura UnBound
Posts: 26,984
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


kberryphotography wrote:

How is this a helpful comment? If this is her full time job and pays her bills how is she meant to survive if people will do it for free?

Its the same with photography, say you charge £200 to do someone a professional portfolio and then another photographer saying I'll do it for free, not once but every time you get a potential client, you would not survive no matter how talented you are or how bad the other photographer is.

Nobody owes their peers anything when it comes to business. You are the only person responsible for keeping your head afloat, its not anyone elses job to help you make money. If you dont have the skills (talent, marketing ability, whatever) to do your job successfully then its not the right job for you.

Outback doesnt complain that Mcdonalds charges 9 dollars less for a cheeseburger. Burgerking and Mcdonalds have always had competitive pricing. One doesnt gripe when the other lowers their price. Both have business plans to stay alive, and both have loyal customers.

Nov 01 12 12:29 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Star
Posts: 17,903
Los Angeles, California, US


this thread is filled with fail.
Nov 01 12 02:34 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
ArtistryImage
Posts: 2,706
Washington, District of Columbia, US


Andii James wrote:
undercutting

Perceived worth is a precious commodity… branding is about creation of such perceived worth… style narratives for many, many of my commercial assignments are totally focused on creating genuine value for prospects i.e. clients/customers… this perceived worth is oft divorced from the actual product…

Case in point… a pair of hollister jeans are at a price point that is nearly double low end commodity outlets such as Target albeit the fabric and finish does not reflect the differential… you are paying for the persona they create and the “shopping” experience of their boutique establishment… 

But then again for those who require the ultimate in persona and price point Diesel fulfills that lust. 

What makes one think that make-up artist are any different?  Create a brand and they will come and throw money at you… how to effectively brand yourself?  Celebrity clients are a good first step… professional training in facial massage is another excellent marketing ploy… successful counter reps can/do approach four figure weekends at prime upscale retail outlets… they are extremely adept at relaxing their clients with facial massage to create a loyalty that endures…

Yes, as mentioned above by an accomplished professional… only those who can take the heat will prosper in a highly competitive industry where independently wealthy emerging artist will work for free… how many young emerging musicians would take a gig pro-bono at a renowned venue to glean the notoriety it brings…

Yes Andii price point is but one of many marketing strategies… knowing when, where and how to use it is entirely another story… 

Food for thought: Andii, as a male artists you have a unique attribute that could be used effectively to differentiate your artistry for the background noise in a high competitive marketplace…  think about this, k?

yes Coco Chanel got it right...
"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different"

And may the odds be ever in your favor…

Nov 01 12 06:31 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ultimate dream
Posts: 843
London, England, United Kingdom


Nov 01 12 07:03 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Don Pool
Posts: 95
Plano, Texas, US


-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
If you can't take the heat....

Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

Cheap shot, and wins the prize as the least relevant response in this thread. Maybe the OP is thin-skinned and can't "take the heat", or maybe her skin is thicker than every other member on MM. Regardless, that is NOT the point. How about considering taking the helpful approach and offer some advice on how she can retain the client or get new clients? Other posters have done that and kudos to them.

As to the OP, undercutting does happen in every business. I don't like it, and don't do it myself. I name my price and live by it. Once in a while, like in the case of my most recent wedding bid (which I lost), I'll adjust the package to get the cost down for the client, but I don't ask what the other photographers packages are pricing at and then slice mine based on that. I think Laura UnBound makes an excellent point about comparing burgers, and ArtistryImage nailed it when she said "Perceived worth is a precious commodity." kberryphotography also correctly identifies one of the problems that folks incur on themselves by undercutting. When word gets out in the community, you're on your own.

Nov 01 12 07:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
annie lomowitz
Posts: 257
WOODY CREEK, Colorado, US


If you're 'breeding' for thick skin, all you get is Rhino, Dino, and Crocs.


annie
-- in the kitchen playing with knives and fire
Nov 01 12 07:43 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Jojo West
Posts: 972
Silver Spring, Maryland, US


Andii James wrote:
Right im sorry but i need to ask here because im kinda shocked at the amount of people who would defend someone for this

How many of you would undercut someone if you wanted a job someone else had?

if there was one thing ive picked up as being the most important thing in this industry is to not undercut someone

i got a comment on a discussion about this:
"if its anyone's job & you really want it then you should do what it takes, even if it means offering your services for free"

I believe in doing things the right way. Do onto others...

Nov 10 12 11:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AJScalzitti
Posts: 12,200
Atlanta, Georgia, US


kberryphotography wrote:
How is this a helpful comment? If this is her full time job and pays her bills how is she meant to survive if people will do it for free?

Its the same with photography, say you charge £200 to do someone a professional portfolio and then another photographer saying I'll do it for free, not once but every time you get a potential client, you would not survive no matter how talented you are or how bad the other photographer is.

That happens all the time and in every business but somehow people are still I business... I wonder why, it's almost like those other people working for free need to eat as well and start charging or something

Nov 10 12 12:04 pm  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Makeup Artist
KJB
Posts: 1,183
New York, New York, US


Michael Pandolfo wrote:
...In other words, sure, someone can come into the market and undercut everybody and/or provide their services for free to "get the job." And how long will that person stay in business before they're closing their doors?

I could open up a hair salon and charge $1/cut to steal business from my competitors, but how long can I keep that up? Eventually, I'll go out of business and the market will return to "normal."

I will say that the people who perform services for little or nothing with the objective that it will "get them in the door" and lead to paying jobs, are delusional. They've priced themselves in the market and set their value and they will be expected to deliver at that price until... .

BINGO! (I've lost count of how many times we've explained this).

Nov 11 12 12:58 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Looknsee Photography
Posts: 20,825
Portland, Oregon, US


Yeah...  Makeup, modeling, photography, etc. all are competitive businesses, and clients will (nearly) always choose the cheapest option of all acceptable candidates.  That's what it means to be in business -- if you can't be competitive, you won't survive in business for very long.  It's a law of nature, and complaining about it means that you will fail.  Adapt or find a different career.

Those people who "undercut" you...

...  Some are more efficient than you are, able to produce acceptable results cheaper and/or with less profit than you do.  They are challenging you to find cheaper ways to deliver acceptable results.

...  Some are working at a loss, hoping for an introduction or a networking opportunity or an impressive addition to their resume.  In general, no one can operate at a loss for any significant length of time, and when they need to quote bids that are profitable to themselves, they will be competitive.

Bottom line:  it's a dog-eat-dog world out there.


My advice:

1)  Understand the competition -- what are they delivering, how much are they charging, how are they marketing themselves, are they profitable, etc.  Like I said, if you can't compete, you need to consider doing something else.

2)  Understand the client base -- what is it that they are expecting, what is their minimum expectation, how are they choosing the people they work with, etc.  If you are far exceeding their expectations at a significantly higher rate, they will instead choose an acceptable option at the cheaper rate.  Deliver what the client wants/needs, and not the high priced, high quality stuff.

3)  What do you offer that these undercutting competitors don't, and do potential clients value these things?  If they don't, make an offer without these things (perhaps offering them as an add-on option).

Final thought:  A makeup business is 10% makeup and 90% business.
Nov 11 12 01:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Nicholas Fischer
Posts: 40
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada


When I did my first wedding, I did not realize until during shooting that the bride told me she actually had a photographer until she heard that person's price and I guess I charged 1/3rd of what that person was charging and I was chosen over her.

And in eight months I have another wedding to do and I gave the bride my price and during the Engagement pictures she told me the same thing, that the person she had for the photos was charging a lot more then me. I was chosen for my price and the fact that I also do video of the wedding.

Would I have still charged what I charged ?

Yes, because I wanted to get into weddings and quite frankly after I showed the brides my other photography they were happy and relieved they chose me. If I was that other photographer, yeah I would have been upset but perhaps their photos they showed the brides were just not as strong.
Nov 11 12 01:27 pm  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Simire MUA
Posts: 91
London, England, United Kingdom


I am still at 2 minds regarding this. I worked at a shoot with another Mua who revealed that she charged £30 for bridal makeup with a free trial thrown in!! I was too shocked to comment on this ridiculously low rate at the time. I understand how demeaning it is to undervalue yourself personally and professionally but then again i get her survival instincts triggering her desperate measures.

It is a tough one for Mua's like myself new to the business side of our trade, trying to maintain a stiff upper lip, sticking to our guns whilst watching our fellow artists sell their souls at bargain basement rates.

This is why i currently work part time only.
Nov 13 12 04:07 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 775
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


Laura UnBound wrote:

Nobody owes their peers anything when it comes to business. You are the only person responsible for keeping your head afloat, its not anyone elses job to help you make money. If you dont have the skills (talent, marketing ability, whatever) to do your job successfully then its not the right job for you.

Outback doesnt complain that Mcdonalds charges 9 dollars less for a cheeseburger. Burgerking and Mcdonalds have always had competitive pricing. One doesnt gripe when the other lowers their price. Both have business plans to stay alive, and both have loyal customers.

Agreed ! Don't cry, dry you're eyes.

Nov 13 12 06:05 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Amul La La
Posts: 775
Plymouth, England, United Kingdom


It's not really an anomaly in my opinion.


No one works for nothing?.

Everyone works for something?.


Some creative people are prepared to work for nothing, because who there working for can give them a lot of exposure, clout, notoriety etc.

^ Some creatives won't... whether: they have similar skill, less skill or more skill - which is sub/ob/ factual etc

Some creative who charge, will question the motives of creatives that don't charge, there under cutting, they are evil... does it make the person not charging any less talented?...

The creative who doesn't charge, may feel the creative charging is somewhat scrupulous because they only work if their getting money for it, aren't they prepared to give a little of their time for nothing?  < it's that precious.. >

time is money, or is that fast money

Or does the real money come in time? after you've done loads of un paid assignments to get a bigger pay off.

Lots of if buts, maybe, why, when, where, who,

I reckon it's just comes down to the person, each and everyone to their own.

smile
Nov 13 12 06:20 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Aaliyah I
Posts: 226
Stevenage, England, United Kingdom


Simire MUA wrote:
I am still at 2 minds regarding this. I worked at a shoot with another Mua who revealed that she charged £30 for bridal makeup with a free trial thrown in!! I was too shocked to comment on this ridiculously low rate at the time. I understand how demeaning it is to undervalue yourself personally and professionally but then again i get her survival instincts triggering her desperate measures.

It is a tough one for Mua's like myself new to the business side of our trade, trying to maintain a stiff upper lip, sticking to our guns whilst watching our fellow artists sell their souls at bargain basement rates.

This is why i currently work part time only.

I have been quoted £30 by MUAs on here. But they are like the bottom feeder fish they will only pick up the shitty jobs leftover from the hard working MUAs. I don't think the under cutters (especially the ones that aren't that talented) are anything to worry about. "The quicker your here, the faster you go"

Nov 13 12 08:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
730372
Posts: 1,952
Abbeville, Alabama, US


The notion that undercutting is poor business etiquette was kicked out of touch many years ago. Nowadays organisations put a lot of effort into differentiating themselves based on factors other than price - and make bloody sure they communicate them well to clients - both existing and prospective.

Of course if you're playing in a market that differentiates ONLY on price then you're ALWAYS going to be on a hiding to nothing. Best to lift yourself out of that at the earliest opportunity - and modernise your approach to business at the same time.
Nov 13 12 08:27 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Simire MUA
Posts: 91
London, England, United Kingdom


Aaliyah I wrote:
I have been quoted £30 by MUAs on here. But they are like the bottom feeder fish they will only pick up the shitty jobs leftover from the hard working MUAs. I don't think the under cutters (especially the ones that aren't that talented) are anything to worry about. "The quicker your here, the faster you go"

I totally agree.

Nov 13 12 08:31 am  Link  Quote 
Makeup Artist
Simire MUA
Posts: 91
London, England, United Kingdom


T B O L wrote:
The notion that undercutting is poor business etiquette was kicked out of touch many years ago. Nowadays organisations put a lot of effort into differentiating themselves based on factors other than price - and make bloody sure they communicate them well to clients - both existing and prospective.

Of course if you're playing in a market that differentiates ONLY on price then you're ALWAYS going to be on a hiding to nothing. Best to lift yourself out of that at the earliest opportunity - and modernise your approach to business at the same time.

There is an acute difference between healthy and competitive business dealings vs shooting oneself in the foot in order to clinch the deal. How on earth is a mua going to survive by charging these ridiculous rates without cutting corners (quality and safety of products/tools, health and safety, professionalism, set etiquette, etc etc etc)? They end up giving us all a very bad rep (smelly, dirty, on mobile phone all the time instead of paying attention to the shoot, in and out at record time, not willing to touch up etc etc etc).

I do agree with modernisation of my business approach however....just trying to whip out my eureka moment for this :-)

Nov 13 12 08:37 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
FlirtynFun Photography
Posts: 12,870
Houston, Texas, US


Bunny 007 wrote:
You might build the best mousetrap, but the sad fact is that most people will buy the cheapest one.

actually the FACT is that people will buy the best MARKETED one.
OP, focus on YOUR business and the quality of that business and making customers ecstatic about your work and you'll not have to worry about competition.

Nov 13 12 08:48 am  Link  Quote 
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