When you are working with a massive field service team, you might not be able to manage appointments and schedules manually. What you are required to do is invest in field service management software that will assist you with workflow management amongst other things. This software allows users to automate manual processes such as employee time sheets, service work orders and invoicing, customer management among other processes associated with key parts of your business.

How to Start a Successful Photography Business

If you have some creative photography chops, you might want to open your own business. You’re not alone. Photography is a popular profession and hobby right now—and that’s the problem. In the past decade, camera gear has become more affordable and consumer friendly, and as a result, everyone is a photographer.

But, that doesn’t mean you should toss your dreams of owning a photography business aside. It just means you have to work a little harder to set yourself apart from the flock of amateur shooters.

The planning stages

Before you buy a camera and create a website, you’ll want to do a little prep work.

1. Make a business plan

For starters, wedding and event photographer Peggy Farren says you need a business plan. Any serious entrepreneur will tell you that you need to organize your thoughts on paper. This detailed document serves as your roadmap, describing what your business is and how it will be profitable. It breaks down things like cash flow, expenses, ownership, and competition.

2. Access your financial startup needs

As part of your business plan, you’ll need to access startup funds. Camera equipment alone will cost at least $10,000, Farren says. You’ll also need business licenses, insurance, a website, and accounting software.

3. Secure startup funds

If you have enough money in your bank account to start your business, you may not need to borrow money, but most entrepreneurs need assistance. A recent study from the National Knowledge Commission shows that 63 percent of entrepreneurs “self-financed” their business, but that doesn’t mean every owner saved up their own money. Upon closer investigation, at least half of these entrepreneurs asked friends and family for financial support.

4. Figure out your personal finances

If you’re just starting out, realize that your business isn’t going to be profitable overnight. It took 18 months for Farren’s business, Avant-Garde Images, to make enough money to pay the bills. Like Farren, you might have to work another job to make ends meet until your business is generating enough money.

To help you learn when you’ll hit the break even point, use this calculator to crunch the numbers.

5. Get professional experience

You’ll need to show your prospective clients what you can do, and working alongside a professional photographer is a great way to get some experience and start to build a portfolio. Farren worked as a photographer’s assistant while starting her own business.

6. Buy camera gear

When it comes to camera gear, Farren says you’ll need two cameras, two high quality lenses, two flashes, and Photoshop and Lightroom to edit the images. Why two cameras? You need backup equipment. Even new equipment breaks, Farren says.

If you buy used gear, you can get everything for about $5,000, but Farren says $10,000 is more realistic. Of course, you can always upgrade gear as you go.

7. Come up with a pricing plan

How much will you charge for your services? It’s a tough question for every photographer, especially when you’re just starting out. Figure out what one hour of your time is worth. Let’s say you believe your time is worth $50/hour. For every hour you spend shooting, you’ll spend about three hours editing. You need to factor that into your pricing. So, in this equation you would charge $200 for a one-hour photo session. Of course, your pricing structure is your own, this is just a way to come up with a starting point.

8. Invest in a killer website

Once you’ve come up with a name for your photography business, you’ll need a website. There are free website templates out there, but your website is like your storefront. You want it to be impressive, so it’s best to have a website professionally created.

Your website should, of course, showcase your work. That’s what your clients will want to see. Keep your site organized by breaking your galleries up by category. Include a picture of yourself and a page that describes your background and experience. Contact information is also a must. It’s a good idea to list at least some of your prices. This helps manage customer expectations and keeps people from trying to negotiate for a lower price. Here’s what Farren uses as a pricing guide on her website.

 

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