Photo booths have been around since the “roaring 20s”, when one of the first prototypes, surfaced on Broadway in New York City. Inventor Anatol Josepho’s machine captured photos printed on 4 strips of film.
Since then, the popularity of photo booths have skyrocketed! It’s actually rare to not find a photo booth present at an event.
Photo booth frenzy in Hollywood
Celebrities love photo booths! Entertainment Tonight’s Comic-Con photo booth attracted celebrities who transformed themselves into superheroes. Photo booths were a hit with stars at this year’s 2019 Essence festival. Guests were captured displaying their personalities in booths decorated with props, a nice backdrop, and a host of cool accessories to complete each look.
Photo booth costs
Photo booths can range from $1,100 to $2 million, with innovative features that produce high quality photos, videos, music, boomerangs, and GIFs. Let’s face it, we live in an era where people love to document and record every moment of their lives.
Why not jump into a business that not only helps people to create memories, but has an earning potential of seven figures?
How one entrepreneur created a lucrative business selling photo booths
Brandon Wong, Founder of Photobooth Supply Co. earns seven figures a year. Yes, you read that correctly. How so? In 2009, Brandon Wong and his wife Katrina Santos started a wedding photography business. Brandon noticed that there was a wedding booth was present at most of the events he worked.
One day, Brandon decided to research the costs associated with purchasing a photo booth, and the potential earnings of adding the feature to his existing services. After much research and thought, Brandon and his wife purchased their first photo booth.
A year later, they created their first photo booth prototype. After testing out the product and adding additional features, Brandon and Katrina started using their new and improved product. The prototype was sleeker, portable and light weight.
The couple decided to showcase their photo booth at one of the world’s largest photography tradeshows and received great feedback, thus the birth of “Photobooth Supply Co.”
Today, Photobooth Supply Co. manufacturers and sells their own line of photo booths, which includes software, and marketing tools. The booths start at $2,999.00.
The photo booth business at a glance
The photography industry has evolved, thanks to devices such as photo booths. The evolution of technology and the concept of capturing memories is advantageous for business owners in this market.
Is a photo booth business profitable? Yes!
Do you need to build your own prototype? No.
Take Brandon’s story for example. Originally, he started out with a photo booth that he purchased from another company, and later built his own product. The pathway to success differs for everyone. You can still set out to earn six figures with your photo booth business, as long as you plan accordingly.
First, do you have the financial means to purchase a photo booth or build your own prototype?
What you need to know when shopping for photo booths
Here’s what you need to know if you’re purchasing a photo booth. Most companies simply sell the photo booth “shell” and not the camera, which means you’ll have to factor in that as an expense. Photo booth Kiosks have a camera built into the device, however, they run about $5,999.00 and up.
When researching photo booths for your business, learn about the features that you can offer users.
What are the digital amenities?
Can users create photos into GIFs or Boomerangs?
Is the software compatible with social media?
Does the booth include backdrops and props?
What are the costs for running a photo booth business? First, there’s the equipment costs:
Portable luggage to transport the equipment
Who is your target market?
Sure everyone likes taking pictures, but what events, people, and location will you target to market, advertise and promote your business? Photo booths are ideal for large, exclusive events, conferences, weddings, and parties.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your target market, it’s time to plan how to market to your preferred demographic.
Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing requires an existing list which you may not have off hand, because you don’t have customers at the moment, however it’s something to consider having in the near future. Email marketing enables you to market, promote and stay connected with customers.
Social media marketing is the least cost effective way to market, promote and advertise your business. Research social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find the best source for marketing your services.
The Local community is a great way to build your business. Visit your local city website and even Eventbrite to research upcoming events. You may even find the organizers of the events contact information to pitch your business.
Booth rental fees
Decide how much your rental fees are for the photo booth. The average costs, range $600.00 to $1,500.00 per event.
Create photo booth packages
A photo booth business makes money, by the hour in which the device is used, including, digital and photo prints. Create photo packages for both digital and printed photos.
You need to have a laptop to connect the photo printing software. This allows you to upload and print photos.
You will need a website to market and promote your business, as well as a channel for customers to book the photo booth.
Check your state website for licensing fees
Legalize your business
Choose a business formation that makes the most sense for your business. While some “business experts”, have popularized forming an “LLC”, understand the tax implications, filing, and reporting requirements first, before deciding on an entity.
Make sure that all of your equipment is insured. Think about it, you’ve spent a great deal of money on the photo booth and equipment, you want to make sure it’s covered. People can get really reckless with equipment. You never know how much alcohol someone may have had that night.
The last thing you need is to have something break your equipment. Consider this, uninsured means that any equipment that is broken will not be replaced by your insurance company, because you failed to insure your equipment. It’s not worth the loss.
Research any liabilities you may have as a business owner. If you’re using event space, find out what you may be liable for, as a business owner on site during an event. This prepares you for what to expect as you work certain events and locations.
You may have to register as a business for tax filing purposes through your state and or government website. Research this information asap! You don’t want to get hit with a tax penalty for being out of compliance.
Open a Business Account
For liability purposes, including tracking and monitoring your business expenses, open a business checking account.
Contracts are essential to securing dates, bookings, venues, while outlining shared risks, liabilities and responsibilities. Research online vendor contracts that outlines your services, booking, rental information, including deposit and cancellation information. More importantly, don’t forget to add a clause that details damaged equipment.
Understanding the fundamentals of your business
How long will it take for you to break even? Calculate as best as you can, when you will break even and earn profits.
Photo booth cost: $2,500.00
Equipment including camera: $600.00
Other business start-up fees $500.00
5 events per month $600.00 X 5 = $3,000.00
How long will it take to earn profits?
Choose a business name
Choose a business name that’s memorable and speaks to your brand’s image. Search the trademark website to ensure that your name isn’t already being used.
Register your business
Register your business on the state website
Is it possible to earn six figures with a photo booth business? Absolutely! With a well thought out plan, and of course finances, you can have your business up and running in no time. One of the great benefits of having a photo booth business is you don’t have work daily if you choose not to.
A photo booth business provides a level of flexibility that most businesses do not offer. As a business owner, you can earn profits, much quicker than someone who’s running, say, a bakery or a tech startup. Your overhead costs are literally non-existent. If you aren’t interested in full time entrepreneurship, you can at least create another revenue stream as a photo booth business owner.