Business Practices Question

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by msf, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    For those of you that are the sole photographer of your family portrait business, I was just wondering how you handled the occasions that you were sick and were unable to go to the studio to photograph the scheduled appointments.

    I was just trying to think ahead and thought what if I get sick, and I have a weeks of appointments ahead of me. Do you force yourself to go in sick, and do the work, or do you try to schedule them at a later open date, or do you book them after regular hours to fit them in to make up for lost time?

    Same sort of thing applies to "snow days". Im in the mountains, and if the weather is bad, its not safe to even drive down the driveway which is a pretty big hill.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For things like portrait sittings, it shouldn't be too big of a deal if you just reschedule...just call the clients and explain the situation. You don't want to do this very often though, as it might gain you a bad reputation. I'm sure a client would understand about a snow day etc.

    For more important appointments...like weddings, for example. The event has to be covered. If you are sick or can't make it, you should find a replacement photographer or do something to remedy the situation.
    Here is where networking can really come in handy. If I wasn't able to shoot a wedding, I've got a few photographer friends that I would call first. Then I've got a wider circle of acquaintances that I could tap...photographer clubs or facebook groups etc.
    Really though, the best solution would probably be to join a professional photographer's association. That way, you know that you have a pool of qualified pros to call on for help when you need it. Around here, a member of PPOC could easily get help from other members if they needed an emergency photographer.

    It's also a good idea to have a clause in your contract that states what you will do in such a situation. For example; "If I am unable to photograph the wedding, I will do my best to find a suitable replacement". or something like that.
    You can't promise to get a replacement but as long as you try your best it should be OK.
     
  3. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply. I knew with something like a wedding, you would have to do your best to do it or find someone else, but im thinking more for things like a studio. Something I thought about was tossing in some sort of bonus to make up for the rescheduling.

    Another general business question, what program do you all use to organize appointments.

    I was thinking of simply using a paper notebook, which is easy to keep organized, and you dont have to worry about it getting electronically corrupt. I do like the idea of using the computer though, but the time to keep a backup might make it to much work. Plus if its on the computer at work and someone calls me on the weekend on the cell then I wont be able to access it. But if its on the computer, I could also keep additional information like upcoming birthdays and customer information in it.

    What method does everyone here use?
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just use common sense. Fortunately, I seldom (knock on wood) get very sick. If I think I might be contagious, I would not subject my clients to me. If I'm able to stand, I would phone them and discuss how difficult it is for them to reschedule. If it's big big deal, I'm there.

    Weather is an "oh well" thing. I've rescheduled outdoor portrait sessions due to rain, or even excessive heat and humidity (people have to look good).

    -Pete
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think I've heard of photographer specific software for this, but I can't think of the name right now.

    I just use E-mail and my cell phone calender to keep track of appointments...but my schedule is far from 'booked up'.

    I know one photographer who uses his phone (probably a Blackberry) and MS Outlook to keep track of his appointments etc. The neat thing is that it's set up to automatically sync with his computer. So all he has to do, is bring his phone within range of his home network and outlook on his phone and computer will sync up. He's mainly a wedding photographer, so he will meet with clients somewhere and put the details & notes into his phone...then it's all saved to his schedule on both devices.
     
  6. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    Cool. :) Id like to get a real cell sometime, I just cant justify the expense at this time. Right now I have a net10 cell that costs about $5 to $10 a month. Once we get high speed in this area is tempting to cancel the landline and get that cell or the apple one instead. :D

    My next business question - The sign. The room Im going to rent is in the same building as a hair dresser. They offered to let me put my sign below their sign by the road. Its just a regular post out there, no power for a light, etc. I want to go cheap on this, so I can invest the money im willing to spend on the studio itself.

    One idea I had was to get a large piece of wood, probably chipboard, the same wideth ad the post they have. Im guessing its 4', but I gotta measure it. Then make up the sign I want in photoshop, and chop it up into 8x10 pieces, then print it off on my good printer, glue it on the board, and cover it with some sort of laminate that you brush on. Would this look totally tacky?

    I was thinking of painting the board with a few coats to make it smooth *chipboard isnt that smooth* and then make some stencils for the lettering and paint it on, then laminate that. but I dont know how good that will look. Im not a master painter. :D

    I could go wtih a sign shop, Ill probably ask for a quote from a couple fo them, but im guessing they will charge at least $200. I need two of these, one for each direction.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes.

    Go to a sign painter. You'll be glad you did.

    -Pete
     

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