It is an obvious fact that not everyone would find a regular 9-5 job fascinating. And you’re probably like many others seeking profitable business escape routes from the daily work routine.
Photo by: Studio Z Photo Booth
A photo booth business offers you a profitable business opportunity that is growing in popularity. Unlike other companies, photo booths don’t have high startup costs and yet provide considerable profit margins. An increasing number of people are placing demands for professional photography services at their events.
Do you find yourself taking multiple pictures often to preserve your unforgettable memories? If yes, you don’t have to feel weird. More than a trillion other photos, statistics say, are shot annually! Of course, the ubiquitous presence of smartphones contributes mostly to the number of pictures taken annually.
However, there are those events that require expert photography for their coverage. Such occasions include weddings, convocations, workshops, and professional photoshoots.
We bring you a complete guide on how you can begin your own photo booth business. You’ll read about all there’s to know, from financial implications to promoting your photo booth business.
Why Would Anyone Want to Start a Photo Booth Business?
There are a plethora of reasons why people are drawn to starting their phone booths.
If you’re a photography lover and seem to love the technology behind cameras, you’re home. Many people would prefer to earn a living doing work in line with their passion. That way, they escape from the boredom that work routines can be.
Also, doing what you love often could make you feel more fulfilled. For instance, sharing in the memorable events of other people brings happiness to participants. And featuring your phone booth services for such events could get you that feeling of fulfillment.
You also get to spice up their memories by producing quality pictures.
Some other prospective photo booth business owners don’t care an inch about passion. Such folks are more interested in a profitable startup—and they’re home too!
A photo booth business does not require excess funds to kick off. The relatively affordable startup cost of phone booths make it easier to source funds.
Moreover, phone booths do not necessarily need complex office structures. You can quickly start at a basic level and add more facilities as your business grows.
Phone booths are financially rewarding. A typical phone booth charges based on the number of pictures produced. Prices range from $20 to $100, depending on either client or occasion. Of course, some photo booths are more extravagant than others.
With an average running cost of $50, phone-booths can generate up to $35,000/year.
Recovering the startup capital of a phone booth can be quick, following several events. If you have a corporate client, you’ll get to shoot periodically. Also, hiring staff and employees for a photo booth isn’t costly or complicated.
Unlike many other businesses, a photo booth is relatively easy to manage and can serve as a side-hustle.
Is There a Demand For Photo Booths?
We’ve seen reasons people go into photo booth businesses. One question you’d likely want to be answered is the source of your potential customers. You’d also like to know how often the potential demand is.
There’s a high demand for photo booths all-year-round. Photographs are taken at virtually every event across the country. Also, the latest photo booths are more portable and modern in styling than older phone booths. Their high adaptability and professional photography services compel many events to require photo booths.
The high demand for phone booths could be directly traced to the range of events they cover.
Life celebrations such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, and anniversaries are widely held all the time.
Corporate events also require professional photo services to retain treasured memory. Corporate events, including product launches, trade fairs, workshops, and grand openings aren’t scarce to find.
Then there are recreational events that need the services of photo booths. Carnivals, concerts, travel events, and formal parties: the list is endless. A typical photo booth example is this photo booth in Las Vegas.
Photo by: Studio Z Photo Booth
Inside Zach Schiffman’s Success Story
We look into the inspiring success story of Zach Schiffman, the CEO of Studio Z Photography. The 30-year old turns in a six-figure income from photo booths as a side hustle! His report shows how you can set up and manage your photo booth. Much of the information gotten here was adapted from an interview with Zach Schiffman.
Zach Schiffman: photo by Studio Z Photo Booth
Zach is a lifelong photographer; he’s always been into photography. Beginning from middle school, Zach learned the basics of photography. At college, he went further to learn about digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) in detail.
Zach had been a TV major at college and got a TV job after graduating in 2009.
Photo Booth Idea Eureka Moment
You’ve probably had scenarios where a good idea pops up while you’re at some public event? That’s it. Schiffman’s phone booths were born through similar eureka moments.
Few years after Zach began his TV job, a cousin had a wedding, and he was present. At the ceremony, he observed that they had a photo booth to cover the event. It was a surprising sight. Zach had never seen such an elaborate photography session, having props, and special lighting equipment. All his life, he’s attended several weddings, but none of them had anything like that photo booth.
To Schiffman, the idea of a photo booth felt exciting. Then he had the significant epiphany, “I can do this too!” Within a couple of years, Zach started towards materializing the idea but limited to weddings.
With funds left from some family heritage, Zach launched out into the photo booth business. The $2,500-3,000 he had left was used to begin a wedding photography company.
Utilized Groupon in Marketing Infant Studio Z Photography
After Zach Schiffman decided to begin his wedding photography company, he handled two wedding events. According to him, those events were so heated and gulped lots of energy. Then, he thought to ask Groupon to advertise his company.
Starting on a Friday, Zach had the weekend free to retain his ads on the advertising website. Much sooner than he thought, Zach was receiving calls from different clients.
After that first installment, he never thought he needed to advertise on Groupon anymore. He ditched the idea of marketing after garnering his capital from the first series of jobs. According to him, he did that because he wanted to avoid debt, by all means.
Running a Photo Booth Part-Time
Zach set up his photo booth to get supplementary income to hang out with friends and have fun. He never expected it to be the big widely-talked about photo booth business it is today.
Zach’s TV job had an irregular schedule that made it difficult to plan for the long-term. Getting and planning photography jobs was, therefore, slow and challenging. Nonetheless, he started with small events and family functions.
Zach Schiffman’s photo booth business turned around positively when he got a new job in New York. This TV job had a regular 5-days-a-week schedule and allowed him to plan more photography sessions. Since then, Studio Z photography has grown in leaps and bounds.
Zach Schiffman’s Secret to Success?
When asked what his secret to success is? Zach had two crucial things to say. Don’t turn down an idea from a customer because you can’t do it. Have enough know-how of technology and the industry to grab new ideas before they trend.
For instance, Zach’s company had been running 3600 pictures more than a year before most studios. While he got those ideas early, he’d quickly plug in the demographics and make money. Schiffman moves on to the next potential big deal when the industry gets used to such ideas.
Schiffman’s Big Advice to Startups
To Schiffman, there are two things new or struggling startups need to note.
First, charge your worth. Charging a decent premium would make you save lots of money without struggling to pay bills. Finances in business should be adequately managed. It could be tempting to excessively use a credit card. According to Zach, buying equipment in the hope that it will be booked is not advisable. His counsel is to purchase equipment already requested by events. The income from the events should pay off any debts from the equipment’s purchase. The standard rule is not to pile up debts.
The second piece of advice is to know how to set up a business properly. No one starts in business being a pro. People make mistakes in business—and so has Zach Schiffman. Understanding concepts such as employee welfare and the legal status of the company is crucial. Factoring such an idea into your pricing would help with profitably charging customers.
Zach’s Favorite Marketing Strategy
According to Zach, word-of-mouth happens to be his best-discovered marketing tool. He also feels that having a viable website contributes to the popularity of his photo booths.
Zach still works in the TV industry. He says he sometimes utilizes the network he’s got at the workplace in advancing his business.
Having a good relationship with clients would also help in sustaining your network of clients. If you treat customers well, they’ll keep coming without even battling with your charge rates.
Today, Zach Schiffman’s no longer the struggling novice in the photography industry. And he’s moved from covering only weddings to corporate and recreational occasions. He’s become internationally patronized and earning a six-figure income while still an employee.
Photo Booth Business Plan
In generating a business plan for your phone booth business, ensure to make proper background research. At the end of your research and planning, take note of the following:
- Have an idea of products you want to offer
- Have a general mission and vision statement. What do you want to achieve, and how?
- How many are going to be on your payroll? What would be their roles and responsibilities?
- Do a thorough SWOT analysis of the business you’re starting.
- Conduct a well-researched market analysis. How do you plan to get your photo booth equipment? Who makes your target market?
- What will be the marketing sales strategy of the business?
- What are your sales forecasts?
- Do you plan to expand the business afterward? What is the business expansion plan?
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Photo Booth Business?
When starting a photo booth business, your startup cost is proportional to your intended business scale and goals. For instance, renting a large facility certainly costs more than a small facility.
Nonetheless, photo booth equipment has a near-constant price everywhere. The following is a photo booth business checklist based on prices in the United States.
Digital point-and-shoot camera (Basic): $500
Camera tripod: $24
Hammer and nails: $35
Large clamps: $5
Remote shutter release: $3
Lightning umbrella (not compulsory): $20
Backdrop stand (not compulsory): $18
Spotlight (not compulsory): $235
Business registration fee: $750
Legal license and permits: $1,300
Website launch (optional): $600
Renting a photo booth goes for prices between $200 and $300 per hour.
There’s a broad range of prices in buying a photo booth. Costs range from USD1,500 to USD9,000.
Setting Up Your Photo Booth
There are two basic booth types: an iPad photo booth and a DSLR photo booth.
An iPad photo booth uses an iPad’s camera and screen to produce digital pictures. They are less costly because they don’t involve more hardware components. The price range of an iPad Photobooth is between USD1,500 to USD4,500. To print from an iPad booth, you could use a consumer-grade photograph printer.
DSLR photo booths use a DSLR camera device. They’re connected to a different PC and include a photograph printer. The additional hardware need for DSLR booths makes them more expensive.
Once you’ve gotten that settled, you can proceed to set up your photo booth.
How to Promote Your Photo Booth Business
You can market your photo booth business by taking note of the following.
- Ensure you have an excellent website, with top-notch pictures and displayed prices
- Introduce some discount offers for special deals
- Use social media to your advantage. Post pictures of your work regularly.
- Network with other professionals, family, friends, and colleagues. Photo booth businesses are very lucrative and are in increasingly high demand.