Cherry Picked!

Hand-selected articles, guides, and more from the makers of Check Cherry, designed to help your business grow and flourish.

March 5, 2021 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Booking Forms [Tips & Tricks]

When you're ready to start accepting bookings for your photo booth rental business, it's essential to collect the right booking details to ensure the job goes smoothly, the client is happy, and your business gets more 5-star reviews.


In this article, we'll cover some best practices for collecting information when booking photo booth rentals. With these tips, you'll be off to a smooth start and avoid common mistakes we see new photo booth entrepreneurs make when taking bookings.

Event Type and Desired Package

Allow people to indicate the type of event they are hosting and the package they would like to purchase. Only show them the packages which are available for their type of event. For example, a photo booth at a wedding tends to focus more on capture memories and have fun. Meanwhile, a photo booth at a corporate tradeshow may be most valuable for lead collection and conversation starter.


Tip: Show packages and pricing before collecting contact information to reduce the number of low-quality leads who want to know a price, but will never be able to afford your base package.


Client Contact Infomation

Collect a name, email address, and phone number when allowing someone to book your photo booth. Your client's contact info will come in handy for sending booking confirmation emails, invoices, and payment reminders.


Tip: Develop systems that will help you deliver a consistent experience. Automate low-value touchpoints like payment reminders. 


Event Date, Start Time, and Venue Address

Be sure to collect information on when and where your company needs to be available to provide the service. If you charge travel fees or collect sales tax, you'll need this information to give an accurate price for the photo booth rental.


Suggested Article: Photo Booth Rentals & Sales Tax


Add-ons Options

Add-ons give clients a way to customize their experience and help you increase booking totals. Often, add-ons are only available for specific packages. Avoid confusion by only showing the add-ons available for purchase. 


Contract Signature & Deposit

Before accepting the booking, have the prospect sign off on your Terms and Conditions. Also, it's a good idea to collect an initial payment to hold the date. Deposits are a great way to ensure the client is committed and will not cancel. 


Tip: Set up a photo booth booking system like Check Cherry, which required both a signature and deposit before accepting the booking.


Use Digital Forms, Signatures, and Payments

While paper forms will undoubtedly do the job, digital photo booth booking forms will make both you and your client's life easier. For the best results, use a fully integrated photo booth booking system like Check Cherry. It will help you avoid duplicate data entry, prevent double bookings, and keep you're booking process client-friendly.


Suggested Article: Photo Booth Business Checklist


Avoid Overwhelming Your Prospects

It's best only to collect the data you need each step of the way. Don't present your prospective clients with a long and complicated form because it will make the process of hiring you look like a lot of work. Use a multi-step online booking process, so each step is minimal in appearance. 


Make Booking Your Photo Booth Easy

If you want to increase sales, it's a good idea to make booking your photo booth easy. Offering online booking is a significant step in the right direction. Check Cherry provides all the tools you need to do online booking right.


February 9, 2021 Judd Lillestrand

5 Tips For Capturing Last-minute Bookings

Accommodating last-minute bookings is a great way to acquire new clients, boost revenue and demonstrate you're ready for business. For some entrepreneurs, a last-minute client can be undesirable. However, by following the tips in this article, you'll be able to shorten your required lead time, capture more opportunities, outperform the competition, and charge more. 


I'm using the term "last-minute" to encompass the concept of accepting a booking with a tight lead time. Depending on the service, this could be as short as same-day bookings (real estate photography) and might even be a couple of weeks (wedding photography) to be considered last-minute.


1. Offer more than one package.

Your website should be the most helpful resource for people looking to hire you. For each service, it's best to have multiple packages. It allows you to cater to various price points, and with proper descriptions, it quickly gives someone a clear picture of your offering. By giving people options with packages, you're more likely to keep them on your website and provide something that fits their needs and budget.



2. Show your pricing and packages online.

Last-minute bookers don't have a lot of time to make their selection. If they don't see pricing on your website, there is a good chance they will leave to look elsewhere because they don't have the time to go through a lengthy sales process. Think of this as an efficient information gathering stage during the buying process and very logical behavior. Showing pricing and packages lets people know you are confident and ready to be hired.


3. Require payment in full before accepting the booking.

Often, last-minute bookings will be willing to pay in full for your services because they understand it's short notice. After all, when there is not much lead time, you need to make sure the client is serious and ready for you to start prepping for their booking. People hate extra fees, so you should avoid surcharges for the short notice and count on them being impresses and referring friends after delivering a great experience.





4. Offer Online Booking

Now that you're showing pricing and packages on your website, you should also allow someone to book online. Online booking makes taking the next step in doing business with your company just a click away. Clients love the feeling of locking in a service they need and doing it all online. Be sure to use a high-quality online booking system like Check Cherry because online schedulers are not designed to sell services online.


5. Offer Online Chat

Add a chat feature/widget to your website. There are even free options like Drift, which also offers iPhone/Android apps so you can see the chat come similar to a text message on your phone. Just like online booking, chat lowers the barrier and makes it easier for prospects to continue the process of doing business with your company. It's also a great way to uncover adjustments you can make to your website to ensure it helps answer the questions people often have before hiring you.


Not just about last-minute bookings

Keep in mind the tips above don't just work for last-minute bookers. They'll help you lower the bar and make it easy for website visitors to take that next step in doing business with your company regardless of lead time. 


Get everything you need to do online booking right.

Check Cherry provides everything you need to do online booking right. From limiting your availability to prevent double bookings to organizing and showcasing your packages online. Also, if someone starts but does not complete the booking process, Check Cherry will create a lead and alert you to follow up, close the sale, and you can send a proposal for signature and deposit.


January 5, 2021 Judd Lillestrand

Highlights From 2020

It's time for another annual recap. There's no way around it: 2020 was a rough year for most of Check Cherry's customers. A prolonged pandemic, restrictions on gatherings, and general uncertainty resulted in fewer bookings for our customers.


Adversity aside, at Check Cherry, we were still able to make substantial progress in improving the platform during 2020. We're grateful for all the feedback and ideas you shared with us to make Check Cherry better. The pandemic shifted our development priorities, and I want everyone to know we worked hard to adjust and help you navigate the market's challenges.


Here is a quick recap on how we Check Cherry platform improved over the last year:


The Postpone Status

Our first feature in response to the pandemic came mid-March as cancelations and postponements started rolling in. We added a Postponed status for bookings. By marking a booking as Postponed, it made it slightly easier to navigate the pandemic, stay organized, and salvage one's current book of business.


Brands

Check Cherry now allows for your account to operate with multiple brands. While this feature had long been on our list of things to offer, the pandemic made it a higher priority because many of our savviest customers branched into other services to diversify their business and keep earning.


Contracts [Enhancements]

Getting clients to sign the right agreement is essential, and over the years, we've had many feature requests/ideas in this area. In 2020, now you can set up multiple contracts, insert data based on package or add-ons purchased, and dynamically add merge tags—essential features for those operating various brands and offering unrelated services.


Checklists

Check Cherry is excellent at helping service entrepreneurs stay organized. With Checklists, you can build multiple lists for each booking automatically. This feature is perfect for creating pre-bookings todos, equipment checklists, and deliverable reminders. You can also add a list for your clients to help guide them through the process of working together.


Google Calendar Integration

A lot of Check Cherry customers operate their business while holding a full-time job or earning elsewhere. Check Cherry's Google Calendar allows solopreneurs to automatically block off company availability based on events they add to their Google Calendar.


Mini Sessions [Enhancements]

This fall, we received a lot of great feedback on the mini session scheduling features of Check Cherry. We reworked the feature in many ways to make it easier to use, more powerful, and more integrated into Check Cherry.


Message Queue

We believe business automation helps people free up time to connect on a more personal level with clients. You can now automatically generate an email or SMS/text messages for a booking but hold it in a queue for later review. At that point, the message can be manually reviewed, edited, and send out with a click by personalizing messages to a client meaningful impact on their effectiveness. 


New Online Scheduling Modes

The pandemic resulted in more of our customers offering services that are not anchored by an inflexible event/wedding date. People needed a way to let prospects easily browse their availability online before picking a date. We're happy to say Check Cherry now offers customers the ability to choose slots and tools for you to specify slot availability.


Booking Engine [Enhancements]

Online booking and scheduling are core to Check Cherry. In 2020, we were able to focus a bit more on the booking engine. You now have more control over the look and feel of the booking engine colors so they can better match their brands. One can direct someone away from online booking and into a traditional Contact From to collect leads for high-touch sales such as corporate bookings.


Places

It's common for our customers to provide services at the same places throughout the year, from popular wedding venues to their favorite photo shoot locations. Customers can now store those places in Check Cherry and add pubic and private notes. One can even include Places as a step in the online scheduling process, allowing clients to select a location while booking online which is great for booking photography clients online.


Calendar Refresh

The calendar is one of the most used features of Check Cherry. We distilled years of feedback to rethink how to make it better, from seeing Leads on your calendar to spot a hot date to better search capability and even some helpful filters to find specific bookings.


SMS Messages

We consistently received feedback from customers who wanted to send SMS/text messages just like they send an automated email. I'm happy to say in 2020, we got it done by integrating with Twilio to send the messages. Now one can send important staff reminders, proposal invitations to clients, and any of the other hundreds of combinations that else Check Cherry's powerful messaging automation provides.


Proposals [Enhancements]

Check Cherry's proposal system is simple, elegant, and highly effective. It's a feature that is heavily used to generate sales, and we made it even better in 2020 by adding the option for a client to choose add-ons and/or backdrops before accepting the proposal. Also, Proposals can now show staff members assigned to work the booking to help make a human connection and drive more sales.


Hourly Add-ons

Our customers frequently vary the price of services based on the length of a booking/event. We added a new option allowing add-on pricing to be calculated on an hourly basis. 



A bunch of smaller tweaks and changes

There were over 1600 commits/changes to the CheckCherry platform in 2020. Many of those changes were small tweaks or improvements to the underlying platform, which most people will never explicitly notice. However, all those little changes add up to help make Check Cherry easier to use, more powerful, more reliable, more enjoyable use as a customer, and more fun to build as a developer.


Looking at 2021

Internally, we're optimistic about 2021, the COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out, and we expect to see pent-up demand for our customer's services emerge in the coming months. The pandemic has really highlighted the value of getting together and the incredible role it plays in everyone's well-being. 


Thank you for the continued support and for allowing us to play a role in helping you grow, manage, and delivering fantastic client experiences. 


Good Riddance 2020. Happy New Year! 

January 3, 2021 Check Cherry

10 mistakes photographers make when redesigning their website.

At Check Cherry, we see a lot of fantastic photographer websites. We also see our fair share of websites that are in desperate need of a redesign. Below is a list of the most common mistakes people make when building a photography business website. There's good news if you are making one or more of these mistakes. The fix is easy, and it will increase your website's effectiveness and sales. 1. They make the home page about themselves.Your home page is the most important page of your website. Avoid making your home page feel like an "About Me" page. The best home pages introduce the services you provide because it helps people quickly understand if they should keep scrolling or hit the back button.

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December 9, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Mini Session Ideas [Inspiration]

Running a successful photography business often means developing a steady flow of business throughout the year. While your bread and butter may be seasonal, you can fill in your calendar with back-to-back mini sessions throughout the year. They're a great way to bring new people into your business and open up the opportunity for more sales down the road.We've curated a list of mini session ideas to get inspired and offer something people in your area are going to love.New Year Eve Mini SessionsPeople love posing with props displaying the new year. Be sure to bring glitter, gold, and your sequin backdrops. Champagne flutes with cider also add to the feeling of celebration.Valentines Day Mini SessionsPerfect for new and longtime couples.

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September 24, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Mini Session Packages & Pricing [Tips and Tricks]

Mini sessions present a fantastic opportunity for portrait photographers to earn more, attract new customers, and build their portfolio. They can also be a great way to get your name out there and reengage with past clients. What is a mini session?Mini sessions are miniature versions of the full photography sessions you already offer. They are less expensive, shorter in length, and produce fewer final photos for the client. To make them profitable, photographers often group several slots back to back on a single day and location.BTW, Check Cherry has some nifty features for scheduling mini sessions and promoting them to your audience via email or social media.When should I offer mini sessions?There are no set seasons for mini sessions.

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August 20, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Custom Branded QR Codes

Let's face it: QR codes are rather ugly. I suppose it's one of the reasons I've never been a big fan of using them, especially for customer-facing purposes. However, QR codes are a handy and downright amazing technology. With the COVID-19 Pandemic lingering, they are being used more and more by photo booth software providers to aid in contactless photo booth experiences.Have you ever wanted to add your branding within a QR code? We'll there is an awesome website https://www.qrpicture.com/ which does just that. Just upload your image, add some text, and it will generate a QR code.Have fun!

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July 29, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

How to offer online booking in 8 easy steps

Offering the convenience of self-booking is a great way to increase sales and make life easier for both you and your clients. By avoiding the back and forth texts of pricing, availability, and payments, you'll free up time to focus on more important things and make the process of booking you a breeze. Here are 8 easy steps to get your first online booking.1) Create A Few PackagesPackages make it easy for people to compare and pick the best option for them. Offer at least two and no more than three packages for each service such as Newborn, Family, Boudoir.For example, Family Packages might have:The Budget Package (Bronze) - great for those who are price-sensitive, but still need you.

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May 8, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photo Booth Business Checklist

So you're looking to start a photo booth business. We've got you covered with a checklist of things you'll want to consider as you progress from the initial inception to your first successful paid photo booth customer.Evaluate ViabilityWhy are you doing this?Take some time to evaluate why you want to start a photo booth business. Are you happy in your full-time job and looking for extra income? Perhaps you're unhappy with your current employer and looking to transition to running your business full-time. You might want to supplement your existing business with a new service.Market ResearchIt's a good idea to look at your potential competition. Do some google searches for "photo booth rental NEARBY-CITY-NAME" and see what comes up.

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February 17, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

Photography Contracts, Signatures and Deposits [General Guide]

Running a successful photography business means you'll be doing business with a lot of people. As your business grows, you'll move on from doing business with friends, family, and friends of friends to doing business with strangers. This article will cover the importance of requiring all clients first to sign an agreement and pay a deposit.Why should I make clients sign an agreement?A solid photography contract will spell out all the terms and conditions of your services. It's common to have not have covered everything during the sales process. For example, photographers often include a model release, allowing them to use photos from a session in their marketing materials.

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