Since my post last Nov on computing your cost of showing up and writing a new section in my Business of Real Estate Photography eBook on tracking your cost of showing up I've become more and more aware of the fact that there are so many real estate photographers charging below $100 for a shoot. My "How much do you charge poll" indicates that about 13% of PFRE readers are charging less than $100 to shoot a 3000 SF home. This tells me there are a lot of folks that aren't even tracking their expenses.
Petrol prices are probably not your biggest line item expense of showing up but it's been increasing significantly in the last few weeks and the political instability in many of the oil producing countries will likely keep it going up for a while.
The thing is, if you don't have a good handle on all of your expenses you may be losing money in the long run. Everyone seems to understand including mileage, equipment costs and computer costs in your cost of doing business but I find many I run across fail to include the cost of health insurance, the cost of replacing your camera body and computer every two or three years and replacing your vehicle every 5 to 10 years.
Besides impacting your own financial well being in the long run I think there is a potential negative on your local competition from not making sure your price is high enough to cover all your expenses and a reasonable profit. Put differently, If your shoot price doesn't include all your expenses you are not competing fairly with your competition. I think that 13% of PFRE readers that are charging less that $100 USD for shooting a 3000 SF home should be taking a careful look at raising their prices.