Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best Value

Recently, a commenter suggested

Education can be done till you are blue in the face, and the bottom line is the lowest bid will win.
The poster was anonymous (and I am considering turning off that option), and couldn't be more wrong. I win bids alll the time where I am not the lowest. I know of PE's who will NOT award to the lowest. The government considers "best value" as a better way to bid than "lowest cost...". Read this for a few insights into that concept.

What you must bring to bear, is "best value". That means you make things work, produce exceptional visuals, solve client's problems. Or, have a track record of producing and delivering, and these clients will recognize "Best Value" when they see it.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Anonymous said...


It would be sad to see you turn off the ability to post without leaving your name. It is understandable.

I was surprised to see the post about unions and the lowest bid. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the belief that the lowest bid always wins was disturbing.

In my career, I have often found that my clients are most concerned with what I bring to the table, my vision, crew, personality and ability to complete what my client needs. That trust is never based upon the lowest bid. It is a shared vision of the completed product.

Sometimes my estimates are high, sometimes in the middle, rarely if ever at the low-end. My experience has been, if I work with a client that is focused on price first, that the job suffers from a variety of factors.

Thinking, expectations, planning and trust tend to be lower. Often times the expectations are unrealistic and the demands are higher. I have found that clients that appreciate and pay for good photography bring out the best in me. I will go to the ends of the earth for the clients that trust and appreciate my abilities. They are the clients that if they get into a budget crunch that I will gladly make it work for them.

I am a well known photographer and would prefer to not post my name on any forum. Your blog is very good and I enjoy reading your thoughts and many of the comments left by your readers.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like sour grapes to me. The anonymous poster ends up saying more about himself/herself than about the reality of the market. They're essentially saying that they only get a job when they lowball a bid. That may be a factor of their work or their work ethic or it could simply be that they've priced themselves to appeal to the bottom feeder and that's who comes calling.

I too, would hate to see anonymity go away as there are some folks who may not post. Moderate the comments. If the post is valid you give it the thumbs up and if not it never sees the light of day.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the last place I want to be is the lowest bid! I'm working hard to position myself as the "high-end" and "high-quality" provider in my market - a much happier place for me as the work is both more challenging and more rewarding.

On the other hand, I've never understood the fetish for anonymity on the internet. I think that all these "handles" contribute to much of the rudeness and thoughtlessness we see on forums, because people aren't held accountable for their words. Much like the shield of our cars permit us to act like lunatics behind the wheel!

Anonymous said...


You make a valid point. But remember, clients often research vendors and if you make an off-handed comment about a client or say another vendor, it can easily be misconstrued or placed out of context.

Also, some people (myself included) value what little privacy we are all able to hang onto. If the choice came for me to have to post my name along with a hopefully) thoughtful response, than I would choose to not contribute to the conversation.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of reasons to turn off anonymous comments, some good and some not.

I'd categorize comments like the above in the "not" group? Why? Because it gave you the opportunity to write this new post to explain, quickly and succinctly, why "lowest bid" isn't always the bid that will be chosen.

Even bad comments can be useful - as examples to help you illustrate what's incorrect or to correct common misperceptions.

Anonymous said...


Anonymity is important for some people. I agree that there are those who take advantage of it to become bullies, but there are others who are often the victim of bullies who can sound off because nobody knows that they're a 98 pound weakling (to quote the ads that used to appear in the back of the comic books). There are others that might like to comment but won't do so if their clients could google the remark, and so they would be either silent or not feel free to speak their minds. Still others are in countries that are oppressive and the poster might not feel comfortable about saying something that could be misconstrued (or even telling the truth about a situation they face) for fear of retribution.

There are good reasons for preserving anonymity. Since none of those fit me, I choose to post as myself on various forums.

Anonymous said...

Well, call me old-fashioned, but I don't think it's appropriate to make negative comments about clients or colleagues on a public forum, whether I'm anonymous or not. I don't talk publicly about other people unless it's something I'd be comfortable saying to their face.

As for being bullied -- isn't that also a fear when in a real gathering of people? Would you refuse to give your name at a party for fear of reprisals over what you might say?

Over at Strobist.com, David Hobby (his real name) has been talking about photo buyers browsing Flicker accounts and finding talent, and he (David) advises people to "clean up" their accounts to look professional, just in case. Here is a situation where it just might make sense to use a pseudonym -- for posting the mundane family vacation photos, for example, so they're separate from your pro stuff.

Just my 2 cents!

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