Business

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Mama Mo, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Mama Mo

    Mama Mo TPF Noob!

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    My best friend and I are big into photography. We have photographed a few weddings, child portraits, senior pictures, etc. We would like to start a business together. Does anyone have any idea on how to do it?
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Find out what you need to do for business registration. You probably need to register with your local government (city/town etc).

    Then find people who are willing to pay you for your services ;)
     
  3. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    I think one good first step (if you haven't already done so) might be to go to the local library / Barnes & Noble to see if there are any how-to books on starting a small business. I think there may be good books that could get you headed in the right direction. (And I'd bet one of the more knowledgeable people here could recommend one or two specific to photography...)

    In any event, good luck to you guys.
     
  4. Bthornton

    Bthornton TPF Noob!

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    I think the first thing you should do is sit down and make out a business plan that out lines what you both want, how time, money, costs, gets split up. Now's a good time to find out what you agree and don't agree on. You also need to decide how much money you both have to get the company started as well as keep it running till you start making money. It could be a while till you make a profit.
    You need to contact your attorney as well as your accountant to decide if you will set up as a partnership, LLC or whatever. You will also find out at that time about what % of your money is going to be for taxes. Trust me it's not just your states sales tax. You will of course need to get insurance for the new company. Will you work from home or rent a place? If from home look for zoning rules in your area.
    You need to come up with a marketing plan to get you name out there.
    Start testing pro labs to see what ones you like. I have 1 main and 2 back up labs I use.
    You need to come up with prices but you can really only do that after finding out the cost of everything working that into you prices.
    No matter what don't set your prices to low. It's harder to raise them once you do that.
    Starting a photography biz is a lot of work and even more keeping it running but if you love what you do and are good at it you will get to where you want to be.
     
  5. dvduval

    dvduval TPF Noob!

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    Taking a slightly different view, I want to mention that lots of people do just fine "flying by the seat of their pants". If you are able to starting lining up some customers and generating profits, then it will be much easier to move to the next steps of getting an accountant, and getting your licensing and company stationary in place.
     
  6. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

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    ~ Agree on a business name that is available in your area and marketable.

    ~ Decide what form of business you want to have - partnership, LLC, Corporation, etc. You should talk to an accountant and an attorney about this as they have different benefits, particularly tax-wise.

    ~ Go to a lawyer and have the partnership, LLC, or Corporation papers set up right. The formation documents will decide what happens inthe event that you dissolve the company, the company has excess debts to be taken care of, you disagree on issues, one of you is unable to perform your duties, who should get the other half of the company if one of you wants to bail out or dies, and similar matters.

    ~ Make an appointment with an accountant to set up some sort of a bookkeeping system that you can handle yourself. Find out what tax obligations you have and how you should handle purchases and whatnot, as well as how to transfer property into the company name, if that is something you desire. Discuss who will own the equipment and how it will be replaced when need be. Set up a schedule for payment of various taxes.

    ~ Decide how to market your business - consider consulting your small business administration for ideas and for classes. Consider marketing promotions, advertising, and your target customers.

    ~ Decide on your products and services, including pricing and packages.

    ~ Set up a professional-looking web page and publicize it.

    ~ Purchase insurance, as needed - on the studio, equiment, business interruption, and for general liability if desired.

    ~ Schedule meetings with the lawyer and accountant annually to keep everything in check - it's worth the price.
     
  7. judson

    judson TPF Noob!

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    Before you do anything, get it in WRITING. Write down your agreement, then take it to a lawyer to have your entity properly formed. What ever you do, DO NOT DO BUSINESS ON A HAND SHAKE! Do you know what you call business partners who do business on a handshake? MORTAL ENEMIES!

    If you are in Tennessee and want to shoot me an email, I can give you some more advice on how to get started.
     
  8. JodieO

    JodieO TPF Noob!

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    After just being cheated out of money through a workshop that I did with someone else -- and she was supposed to be my good friend....

    GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING and personally? I would suggest being colleagues who have their own businesses and not combine it.
     

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