“That will be five hundred and fifty-five dollars.” The Passer says with a smile. “Check, Cash, or Credit?”
Yes, a five hundred dollar sale does happen from time to time. Last year the largest order one of my Passers(salespeople) had was $1600. That’s one thousand and six hundred dollars spent at an Assembly Line Portrait Studio for pictures. While this may be small potatoes to the likes of Anne Leibovitz, it’s a very good sale for me.
A good sale is over five hundred dollars. An ok sale is over two hundred dollars. Anything less than a hundred dollar sale hardly counts as a sale, it just keeps the person from falling to the worst category-the Non-Buyer.
The Non-Buyer likes to announce to the world that they are Just There for The Directory, The Special, or Some Person that told them to come and have their portrait taken. They like to say that they would rather be anywhere than having their picture taken-and you can believe that we would rather they were anywhere else as well.
We get paid on Commission, which means everyone that strolls in and doesn’t buy something is a waste of our time and taking money out of our pockets that a real customer in that spot would have spent. Our business is not giving away directories or portraits-our business is selling portraits. The Freebies are how we get in the door, I’m here to make a living.
There are still enough paying customers to make it all worth while-and I thank each and everyone of you for buying portraits.
My best year I made about $50,000, not too bad for someone with no college, no special training, no mad skills like Lance Armstrong, or good looks like George Clooney. There are guys out there making $90,000 a year taking the same kind of Assembly Line Portraits that I am taking.
If you want to do this job and make the big bucks, be sure to suck up to the Boss. The Managers are the ones who make the schedules and decide whether you work five days a week, or five days a month. Whether you’re at a church filled with wealthy people willing to speed a bit of that money, or your sitting at some dying church with an average age of 75 waiting for the last few hardy souls to move on to the next life.
They like to tell you that how much you make is all in your hands, but whenever you shoot for one of the Assembly Line Portrait outfits, little is ever in your hands. Of course, you do control you attitude and how you interact with the people-but there are places that it’s not about quality or politeness, some people just don’t have enough money to spend for me to have a good day of sales.
I still manage to make about $200 a dollars a day, where I used to make $300 dollars a day. The daily range flows from my best day ever of $650 to those days of little to no sales with little to no money to show for my efforts. It’s the hope that those all but forgotten good old days will return that keep me hanging in there.