You're thinking about being a full-time photographer, and you're wondering if financially, it's a good move or not? You don't know where to start, and what equations to juggle, to see if you're making a sound and calculated decision or risk? Been there, done that!
So, here's a little insight on the CODB (Cost Of Doing Business), surrounding the art of being a photographer as a profession, what expenses you can expect to be faced with, and what type of income you'll need to generate, in order to make it out there, in the real world.
Before you can price a product or service, you need to know your costs to provide it. This CODB calculator is one tool to help you get a handle on those costs. It lists annual expenses independent needs to account for. But it's only as accurate as your inputs, which can be hard to estimate.
Err on the high side, since unexpected things can catch up with you, and as you bill more, your expenses almost surely will increase. As high as totals from this calculator may look, experience will probably prove them low.
All things considered, Photography as a profession, (like all businesses ventures) is only as viable as the income/profit you can generate from such activity. Selling at cost, (or less than cost), or having to much overhead, will prove nothing else than eminent closure of your business is in your future.
Personally, I took a different route to calculate my "Overhead", but the outcome was very similar. I added all my gear, along with the life-expectancy of each piece of equipment, and came up with a yearly cost and depreciation for that gear. I added the all usual expenses, insurances, office gear/supplies, software, broadband, cell phone fees, vehicle, etc..., and came up with an hourly burden rate. It costs me approx. $32.00 per hour to work, based on the amount of yearly available assignment days. Yes, conducting a business properly, is costly. Take the time to do the math for yourself, then list the steps to make sure all "i's" are dotted, and "t's" are crossed, and take charge!
Be smart, prepare a business plan, approach clients that have a decent budget aside for such services, and don't sell yourself short. Remember..., "exposure" doesn't pay the bills, and in the end, you need not only to survive, but make a living as well. Good Luck!