Rant time again...
There are now companies jumping up who claim to make things easier for clients (in my case, for clients looking for a photographer).
They do have a database of photographers, right. And they are usually free for potential clients, right.
What is under the bonnet, however, is sometimes rather hefty fees on the photographer's end of the picture.
One company (I leave out the name, being nice), asks the photographer to buy a packet of credits. And you can only buy them in packs ($240 plus GST). You use up a certain amount of credits to answer to a lead you get from this company, regardless if this lead is actually genuine, if the client has already hired someone or if you just want to tell them you can't do this job.
Amount of credit varies with lead.
You run out of credits, you need to buy a new pack.
Their only guarantee is a statistic that says you get hired at least once in 5 leads.
They are also, helpful enough (being sarcastic), suggesting a price for my work... Without knowing the slightest bit of what I actually do.
I did the math behind this business model. I found out, that in a 1 to 5 risk scenario, those 5 leads cost me about the amount I earn in the one shooting I get out of this.
The only way to cope with such expenses would be to adjust prices to their system, which then hits, of course, the client.
Sorry, that's not a system I would like to use.
I prefer to work for myself, not wanting to feed other people who just look for opportunities to squeeze themselves between client and business, leaving the actual work and the full risk to the business and offer a ridiculous minimum of actual service.
Please, people, if you need a photographer (or any other business), look them up on Facebook, Yellow Pages etc. Don't fall for those "easy fits all" agencies - Because the only ones who really get something of it are them!