The Reality of Running Workshops

One of the most common issues we get are people asking to cancel (or come on a different workshop for no extra cost) – it could be work related, or a sick pet or anything life throws up. We have to say no in order to stay in business – hope this explains why! 

We love running workshops at McFade – it’s our way of doing photography we love AND sharing our passion for all things camera related.

But for our workshops to be worthwhile, we need to keep an eye on the numbers. Whilst it’s “fun” to do, it has to be done as a business.

This means that we always need to make decisions on whether to go ahead with a workshop based on how many are booked on the session, so I thought I’d explain how it works. 

The Base Numbers

To create a workshop, we need to work with numbers:-

  • Costs of the workshop – petrol + location hire + models + facebook adverts + misc (£)
  • Number of delegates needed
  • The actual number of delegates booked
  • “Worth doing” workshop rate (£/hr)
  • Workshop Length (h)

Example Workshop

So here’s how it works – the numbers are chosen for ease, rather than actual real values 

The plan –

  • Portrait workshop,
  • 4 hours,
  • 4 photographers and
  • 1 model

Costs = £5 (petrol) + £15 (hall hire) + £20 * 4 (model for 4 hours) = £100 COSTS

Lets say we need to make £25 per hour to make it worth while

We get the following numbers – Apologies if you’re not into spreadsheets…  

Number of delegates needed4
Number of delegates booked
“Worth doing” workshop rate (£/hr)25
Workshop Length (h)4
Model Rate20
Location costs15
Other costs5
Costs of the workshop – petrol + location hire + models + misc (£)100
Worthwhile if full (hrs * worth doing + costs)200
Costs per delegate (if full)50
Actual No. DelegatesTakingsProfitRate
420010025
31505012.5
210000
150-50-12.5

So in the above workshop, we have to calculate whether it’s worth running or not.

  • With 4 delegates – £25 – definitely yes
  • With 3 delegates – £12.50 – not ideal, but maybe
  • With 1 or 2 – £0 or -£12.50 – we are making nothing or losing money, so this would be cancelled

Hopefully, you can see the impact of cancellation – in this scenario we either half our rate or would work for £0. We could of course charge

We hate saying “no” to people who have to cancel – but if we did refunds, it’s pretty likely that we’re moving from a “worthwhile” workshop to working for nothing or losing money. 

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