Start up costs for studio space!!!

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by SusieC, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. SusieC

    SusieC TPF Noob!

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    As of now, my business partner and I have had our "studio" (so to say) in her home. This studio's only purpose is a place to store our equipment, meet clients and potential clients, and have our prints on the walls. Its very nice an quaint. As of now, we do mainly weddings. But, to help supplement the income, we also do portraits, but are severly limited in space for a backdrop, lighting etc. so we do location shoots. Either early morning, or sunset.
    We have been talking about getting a real studio office space. That way we can set up a full studio with equipment necessary to have studio portraits and we will be able to schedule more of them if need be.
    Obviously, we have had very little overhead at her home. If any of you can give me an approximate on your studio overhead? What can we expect to encounter as "start up costs", etc. Can any of you calm my nerves??? :-|
     
  2. sfgp

    sfgp TPF Noob!

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    I don't want to be a wise guy BUT the way you asked your question makes it hard to answer.

    Kinda like asking "How many ping-pong balls will fit into a suitcase"

    Also the cost of space in Vero Beach, FL will be vastly more than in
    say Cozad, NB.

    You need to do some homework and come up with some numbers

    Floor Space (sq footage) 500 sq ft (small shop - 2500 sq ft - workable)
    Location
    Location
    Location
    Side road
    main road
    street parking
    parking lot.
    and on
    and on
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Plus all the lighting gear you don't have yet.
     
  4. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    Plus insurance, modification of existing power sources/lighting, painting a neutral color, telephone/internet/power bills, trash pickup costs, sewer costs, water costs (some of this may be included in your lease). Will you need to put up an internal wall to separate the entrance from the studio? You'll need a changing room with a mirror and hopefully a toilet. You'll need to add the location to your business license. Don't forget the cost of permits if you change anything electrical or structural inside.

    (We just opened ours. ;) )

    Marian
     
  5. SusieC

    SusieC TPF Noob!

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    Okay, okay. My question was obviously too general to get a real response. I wanted to know your personal experience...

    Maybe my real question is, "When you started your studio, what costs did you encounter that were unexpected? Not including the obvious power, water, internet bills. Or lighting equipment purchase/upgrade."
    Also, how did you market once you opened your studio? Did your business increase immediately or did it take a few months???
    I am nervous about taking the plunge and leasing office space... And I guess I was hoping to hear encouraging stories about how successful opening a studio is...
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am working on opening a studio in space we already have. So far we have invested about 20K in improvements. Not including a new camera, but it did include a mono-stand, background tracks, new ceiling lighting and wiring, gut and reinstall a small bathroom, and boxing in a small enclosure for the water heater and breaker boxes. (Work stopped abruptly Sept when my wife fell and broke her left ankle and wrist) We are over budget even though we have a space we already own on main street in a little rural town in S.E. Indiana, zoned business and already have lighting equipment and cameras. I did splurge on a D3 but that has not figured into the cost yet. I can see where we could easily spend double what has already been spent by the time office equipment, workstations and servers are updated and trim, molding, and nick-knacks are included. And business is expensive to startup, and the cost is almost always 2 to 3 times what most people expect. Good luck, let us know how you do, keep us posted.
     
  7. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    The thing that surprised us was the septic inspection that had to be done. Since we're in a rural area, we don't have sewer there, just septic systems. The adding of 2 extra employees made it necessary for the county to have to inspect the septic system and make sure it could handle the "extra load" of 2 more people using the toilets. :er:

    We also seemed to be running out of regular copy paper quickly, ha ha, and post-it notes.

    The biggest expense we had was putting up an inside wall, which required extra permits (3 of them!).

    Oh, and then the fire department has to come inspect! Plan on buying a fire extinguisher (or 2, depending on the size of your space).

    The local Chamber of Commerce can be REALLY a great source of information. Ours costs something like $35 a year to belong to it, so it is worth it! They list us on their website, have networking meetings/luncheons, and more.

    We put business card sized ads in our 3 local papers. Then, we talked to the paper about putting in a story about us.

    A great way to increase your exposure is to help out others. For example, if a local's house burns down, contact them and offer a free portrait. When a house burns down, people lose all their belongings, including family portraits. Once you do that, you'd better believe the word of mouth increases! :) Sometimes, a reporter will do a story about their loss and they'll mention you in the story.

    It took a few months. But that was good because it allows you to slowly adjust to your new surroundings.

    There are, of course, no guarantees when starting a business. But if you really work on marketing yourself, you'll do fine. :)

    Marian
     

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