You're about to book your first gig, congratulations! While you may have an idea of some of the booking procedures you should follow, we've come up with a list of some things that you should be mindful of.
After all, the last thing we want is for you to work hard and to get burned because of something silly.
Let's dive right in!
Deposits and Retainers
Make sure you're taking a deposit or retainer. You don't want a client to cancel and be out 100% of your money despite the hours of work you've put in. You also could've also turned down events because you were booked, losing you money.
Whatever you do, collect it. There are various ways to do so whether it's by cash, check, or credit card.
Credit card tends to be the easiest and most modern option, but this will also depend on your region, market, and clientele.
If you don't have a CRM tool that assists in taking credit card payments, you can always use your PayPal account to create invoices. It's an easy way to go about getting your money!
Also, do some research or, ideally, speak with a lawyer. We'll get into the reasons why you should speak with a lawyer later when we talk about your contract, but depending on where you live, the verbiage can matter a lot.
For example, in Canada a "deposit" is concerned something that is refundable regardless of when the client requests it to be refunded. On the other hand, a retainer can be 100% non-refundable.
Like we said, this can vary depending on your state, country, or region.
Just go to a lawyer. It'll be one of the best investments you make and will save you a headache later on.
Like we said before, go to a lawyer. We hate to keep repeating ourselves, but with laws varying so much between states and countries, we can't guarantee that everything we say is 100% true for you.
You're going to want to check regarding taxes as well, because depending on where you live, it's possible that your clients don't have to pay tax. Some places consider services to be tax-free, while others not so much.
Regardless, write taxes down as a reminder for when you make that lawyer appointment.
Alright, we're going to say it for the last time ... go to a lawyer.
With that said, we are going to break down some general guidelines and good concepts that are important to have in your photo booth business' contract.
- Information about the client
- General event details (When, where, etc.)
- Additional Contacts - This is especially important for wedding events as the last thing you want to do is reach out to the bride on her wedding day to ask a silly question.
- Service Period (80%) - You want to mention that with your photo booth you'll be operating 80% of the time. You will, inevitably, have to change ink, reload paper, restart the photo booth in case of any glitches, etc. It's just good practice to set the proper expectations upfront.
- Cancellation Policy
- Access Requirements - Any special loading/unloading instructions for that particular venue, whether or not you must use a venue's loading docks, space and height requirements, and/or power requirements. You don't want to be sued for things outside of your control!
- Model Release - Permission to use the photos for marketing purposes later on and that the client will go to bat for you if one of the guests try to sue. After all, not every guest can sign a model release form.
- Hold Harmless - Protects you and your business in the event that the photo booth falls and hurts someone, starts on fire, etc.
- Design Guidelines - How many revisions will you be making for the template?
- Package Information - Total cost of their package, what it includes, prints, upgrades, anything you can think of. Whatever service or add-on you're providing to the client, should be mentioned in your contract!
Again, these are simply our guidelines for you to use. It's always best to seek out a professional.
Seal the Deal
Once you've sent the client the contract and it's ready to be signed, you have to figure out how you're going to get that signature.
You can collect it physically or have them sign a PDF, but both of them are slightly inconvenient and not everyone knows how to sign a PDF.
Your best option would be to use a service like Docusign or Echosign as that will allow you to send a link to your client and it'll add their signature to the PDF automatically.
Easier for them, easier for you - that's what we like to see!
Send Out a Questionnaire
Last, but not least, it's important to send out a questionnaire.
What happens is that often clients will book a photo booth / photographer early in the event planning stages. Sometimes this means that they don't have their color, theme or even venue picked out yet.
It's good practice to send out a questionnaire asking a lot of those questions (Additional contacts, location, colors, etc) to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Around 30-days before the event is a good rule of thumb.
And that's it! If you follow these general tips and guidelines, you should have a good idea of what's going to happen before your event.
Again, congratulations and we wish you the best of luck!
Want to learn more tips and tricks on how to have a successful photo booth business?