3 Essential steps before you estimate a job

19 May, 2023

When an amazing brief lands in your inbox, are you sometimes tempted to say ‘yes’ straight away?

Even if you wait until the full briefing meeting, you might feel pressured to have all the answers, and again, to agree to changes and suggestions which may turn out to be unachievable or out of budget.

You may have this buttoned down, but if you’ve been guilty of over-enthusiasm (and honestly we all do love an enthusiastic photographer), I’m here to tell you don’t have to have the answers straight away.

When you’re first briefed, there are 3 simple steps BEFORE you really need to provide all the answers:

1. Be enthusiastic and show you’re genuinely interested.

OK, no brainer. Respond quickly and positively. And if it’s a phone call do not let anyone bully you into a quick on the spot ‘it’s just a ballpark’ commitment. Let them know you’ll get back to them.

2. Get to know the brief.

Research the brand/ client/ product. Identify the holes and gaps you don’t understand. Find the problems and think of possible solutions. Get a producer involved EARLY if needed or call your rep. They will think of questions you may not have considered.

3. Ask questions.

Set up (or have your producer/ rep set up) a call/ meeting to get clarity on questions identified in your research. Find out why they asked you to bid. (It might not be what you expected.) Have a standard checklist of questions to ask, as well as the more unique ones, so you don’t have to guess when you’re busy. Then, let them know you’ll work on solutions and come back to them.

By doing this, you will have given yourself time and space to stop, think rationally, and address their real issues, and when you do submit your estimate (and treatment if required) you’ll be solving their problems, and far more likely to win the bid.

It doesn’t always work out perfectly, but every time you take a brief, you have the opportunity to show you’re a problem-solving, professional collaborator.

You won’t be getting great briefs if you are not sending the right messages in your marketing, so if you want help with this, book a free strategy call with me here. We’ll look at your goals and I’ll suggest actionable steps.