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Photo Booth Business Plan [Beginner's Guide]

Updated April 20, 2020 Judd Lillestrand

If you're thinking of starting a photo booth business, it's wise to write up a business plan to understand how it will work and whether or not it's something worth pursuing. While your business plan will constantly evolve, you'll learn a lot during the process of creating a photo booth business plan.

In this article, we'll cover several areas of your photo booth business plan you'll want to cover as you work your way towards opening your new photo booth business.

Local and National

Most photo booth businesses service a drivable region and are considered local. That's because it allows them to transport the photo booth, staff the photo booth, and ensure guests have a positive experience at each event at a reasonable price. Most entrepreneurs start with a small local operation. 

Another type of photo booth business serves events nationally or even worldwide. This business model does higher-paying, more customized experiential marketing where the photo booth is just one component of a much more extensive and customized service. Such services are valuable for collecting leads, building brand loyalty and often require a fair amount of creative pitching, planning, and custom development.

💡This article assumes you are interested in starting a photo booth company for your local market.

Full-time vs. Part-time

It's essential to determine if your new photo booth business will supplement your primary income (your current job) or it is going to serve as your primary source of income. Most start doing a photo booth company on the side and, over time, may go full-time and even add related services. Many like to keep it as a supplemental source of income. Keep in mind, events/bookings are often nights and weekends, but clients will need attention through the week.

💡 ProTip: Use a quality photo booth CRM, like Check Cherry, to allow customers the option to book online, pick a photo booth template, and make payments, so you look professional.

Local Market Analysis

The type of photo booth business you can successfully operate will depend on your local market conditions. For example, if you an urban area, you might have more corporate event opportunities than a suburban or rural market. Furthermore, prices can vary significantly for each location. Analyze your current market to know where things stand and where your new business may have an advantage or unserved niche.

Pricing Models

There are several strategies for pricing your services. Again, prices vary by market, so a survey of the providers in your area makes a lot of sense. Take note and document the price ranges, equipment and customer they target. Simply because someone is charging a rate, it does not mean you can or should demand the same rate, more or less. It's all going to depend on your business plan and goals.

Low-priced Strategy

Being the low price leader is undoubtedly a valid pricing strategy. It's often going to make the sales process easier. However, it presents its challenges because you'll need to do a lot of booking volume to make the same amount of money as the following two strategies. It will also be harder to pay staff (and yourself) well for woking each event, and you might experience a higher turnover of photo booth attendants.

Both new and experienced photo booth entrepreneurs use this strategy. Just remember to factor in all the costs of doing business before setting your prices aggressively. Remember, not everyone is interested cheapest service, and those who are can often be less desirable to have as customers.

Premium Pricing Strategy

Another valid pricing strategy is to come in at the top of the pricing range with a premium offering and price tag. If you want to work fewer events and make more money per booking, this can be a great option. You're also going to need the discipline/patience to lose sales based on price.

The high-end pricing strategy is often employed by more experienced photo booth entrepreneurs. Keep in mind, to justify the premium price tag; you're going to need high-end equipment, a stunning website, polished marketing collateral, and the expertise to deliver an impressive service before, during, and after the event. 

Mid Range Pricing Strategy

Perhaps the most popular strategy for new photo booth businesses is to hoover around what they see as the average market rate for photo booth rentals in their area. This pricing strategy allows you wiggle room to come down in price if you want a booking, and you can probably close business at this rate with good equipment, a decent website, and reliable software.  

💡 Pro Tip: You can accommodate both lower and high-end customers with packages. Group packages based on customer profile (wedding, corporate, etc.) and offer base, mid and high-end packages.

Common Photo Booth Busines Costs

In business, it's not what you make (gross revenue) but what you keep (profit). To know your profit, you also need to have a solid understanding of your photo booth business's expenses.

Photo Booth Equipment/Hardware

Perhaps the most obvious cost in starting a photo booth is the actual costs to buy the photo booth and related hardware (camera, iPad, laptop, etc.) There are many varieties to photo booths these days, and when analyzing your local market, you should note what others currently offer. There may be an advantage to providing something different. Varieties of photo booths include DSLR booths, iPad Booths, Roaming Booths, 360 Video Booths, and Video Booths.

Photo Booth Software

You're also going to need software to accompany your photo booth hardware. Depending on the type of booth you opt for, you'll find software that can accommodate various features and needs. Software costs and pricing models range from one-time purchases, recurring monthly fees, and per-event fees.

Photo Booth Add-ons

Allowing customers to start with a package and purchase additional add-ons will let them pay for only what they value. It also gives you an excellent opportunity to increase the average value of each booking and observe what your target customer values most so you can reconfigure your packages for maximum effectiveness.

Photo Booth Business Insurance

Regardless of whether you plan to operate your photo booth business part-time or full-time, you should carry insurance to protect you and your clients if something goes wrong. Some venues will require proof of insurance for you to be allowed and operate on the property. Get this task done soon; the cost is more reasonable than you think, and it can help cover you in the event of a lawsuit, damaged equipment, and more. The worse time to shop for insurance is after you need it.

Your Time and Payroll

Even if you plan to manage everything yourself, you're going to want to factor in the time it takes for you to sell, manage and service your bookings. Typical photo booth rentals range from 2-6 hours, and that does not include the time it takes to prep, pack up, travel, set up, and break down the photo booth. Put systems and processes in place early to save time. 

👉 Suggested Article: Reasons You Need A Photo Booth CRM

Subscription Fees (Monthly and Annually)

Your website, photo booth booking system, email hosting, photo booth template service, and more will likely be monthly fees. By looking professional, you'll give prospective clients confidence and close more sales regardless of price point.

Legal Fees

You're likely to encounter paying legal fees from time to time. For example, your photo booth rental contract should be crafted and/or reviewed by an attorney familiar with the laws in your area. Also, you may want to set up a legal or pass-through entity for your photo booth company. If you hire employees, you may need advice from a specialist in employment law.

Professional Fees

Logo design and website development and are two types of professional fees most new photo booth companies incur. Another one is paying for the services of an account for advice or complete management of your books. 

Travel Costs

Often overlooked by those new to the photo booth business is the concept of charging a fee for traveling to the event. Typically, photo booth companies will travel at no charge up to a certain amount of miles/ kilometers. It's best to look at a map and decide how far you are willing to travel, given your pricing structure.

Sales Tax 

You may be required to collect sales tax for each booking. In the United States of America, this can depend on the location where you are operating. Furthermore, sale tax rates may differ for each booking because you are traveling to a new address each time. Speak with an accountant familiar with your area to get sales tax right from day one. Also, keep all money collected for sales tax in a separate account because you will be required to transfer it to the State periodically.

👉 Suggested Article: Photo Booth Sales Tax Guide

Client Acquisition

Sales will be a key component of your business plan. Thinking about how and where you will get customers is essential. Without a steady flow of new customers, your business will wither and slowly die.

Friends and Family

Often people start with their existing network and do a few events for a reduced or no charge. This works because everyone who steps inside your photo booth is a potential customer and is experiencing the service. 

Friendly Organizations

If you belong to any organizations with large seasonal gatherings, there is probably an opportunity to set up your photo booth to help get the word out. 

Free Online Advertising

Another way to acquire customers is to post in local community groups such as Facebook or Nextdoor. Often you can do this for free. Be sure to follow the group's rules and aim to provide value, not just pitch your photo booth rental service.

Paid Online Advertising

You can also pay to advertise your business online with Google Adwords, Facebook, and Instagram. Consider offering a special with an expiration. Discount codes and free add-ons can work well here.

Client Referrals

Word of mouth represents a tremendous opportunity for you to get new clients. Do your best to make people happy when interacting with your company so there is a greater chance they will recommend your photo booth company to others.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there is plenty to think about when starting a photo booth business. I hope you found this article helpful in your journey to starting your new photo booth rental business. 

👉 Suggest Reading: Photo Booth Business Checklist

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