The Online Marketplace Chaos

Is there a way to streamline work inquiries in FB Groups? A good number of clients have vague details about their shoot, then would immediately ask for pricing. Us (Suppliers) on the other hand, would swarm them with links, comments, and photos, (and sometime lame marketing lines) thus drowning out the conversation without even knowing sometimes what the original post was all about.

An open market in Kyoto may not be the best example of a chaotic marketplace, but at least it’s an image I took of a marketplace.

There is no meaningful match between client and supplier. Client gets downed out in the noise and ends up not getting the best option for the project. Suppliers on the other hand, waste so much effort putting up their services with slim chances of getting hired.

FB Groups were not designed as a marketplace to handle job inquiries and the FB Marketplace on the other hand was meant to sell goods, not services.  There more robust platforms off-FB that can better handle these inquiries, but reality is a good part of the audience, market and clientele are here.

So… is there a way for us to be on the same page when it comes to work inquiries?

To Would-be Clients

We thank you for the business, especially in these trying times. For us to help you, help us understand your project better. We are not mind readers. What you know, we don’t, so the better you articulate, the more we can gauge if the job is within our capabilities or our fees.

Please detail your job requirements. What/Who. When. Where. Payment terms, Personal / Commercial, etc…

  • Client / Brand / Family or Personal Use (What / Who)
    • For commercial use (whether start-up or otherwise), please specify the number of products and variants
    • As for use, let us know where the images are appearing so we can plan out accordingly
  • Where and when the shoot would be. This is particular for event coverages.

Please understand that what might be “easy” at face value, might be more complicated to execute. You can also have us suppliers articulate how we can help you with your imaging.

PM is not the key

You would get drowned out with replies and chances are, those messages are filtered by FB since some of the people replying might not be connected to you personally. It is not really in (y)our habit to check message requests regularly.

Course all correspondence through email or a more direct medium to you. This benefits both parties in keeping better record of the conversations and at the same time weeds out casual suppliers who are just grazing posts with images without intending to follow up.

To Industry Colleagues

We need to practice common courtesy among each other. We cannot drown the inquiry threads with our images or replies. At some point, clients might end up getting too tired to look at every reply. We all end up losing the chance.

Let’s help our clients understand the value we put on the table.  Be open to ask details and flesh out the project so we can properly show what we are made of. Starting such conversation puts us in the same page as the client and from there we can gauge our appropriate rates.

  • Always have a written down cost estimate (CE) and signed by the client. It doesn’t matter if you’re friends or not. This is an important piece of document formalizing the engagement of your services. This is also what you would be referring to when things are put into question.
  • Deliver what is on paper, but be open to throwing in an extra or two. Good rapport would always win clients for the long run.
  • Never bite what you can’t chew. Don’t force yourself into a genre you are not familiar just to land jobs. If you want to shift genre, build your portfolio first.
  • Charge your rates accordingly. While I am not an authority in how much you should be asking, here is a handy guide on putting out costs out there that can justify your output.

It all boils down to basic and clear communications between both parties to get something meaningful out of these transactions. The more details you get to lay out on the onset saves us the time (and trouble) or having to talk about the project.

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