Different Sales Methods
How do we get the forms to the league, how do we get them into the parents' hands, how do we process everything together? We do tie revenue sharing, not kickbacks. Revenue sharing. To the league's participation in handing out the order forms. They don't hand 'em out, they don't get anything. And that does happen, there are several leagues that just, they have a commission built into their contract and we don't pay ever. Because I make less when I show up to do their job. Which I would think would be a thing that they would take care of right away, but every year it's the same thing. So you just go in knowing that. We distribute all of the order forms in bundles to the leagues, so what they'll get, whether it's a high school or it's a huge soccer league or a huge baseball team, they will get bundles of 25. So we will take and produce thousands of order forms and we put rubber bands around 'em, we listen to some music, drink a bunch of Diet Coke, we spend an afternoon makin' order forms,...
it's awesome. And we put 'em all together and we send 'em over set up that way, 25 it just an easy number, there's not a lot of teams that are way smaller than 25. The only exceptions to that might be like tennis might be smaller, but even that's not a big deal. But it's easier for track, where there's 160 kids. They just grab the bundles, go. We do encourage everyone to order online. We like the prepaid online systems that we use, and I'll walk you guys through that. But if they prepay online, we see that they spend a little bit more, not a ton more, but they do spend more. And the organization level of those parents, those are like the awesome parents that got everything dialed in and make it so easy to do work with. So the prepaid ordering system is something we push towards and the other advantage is we don't have kids that forget order forms. It's done online, it's hard to mess that up. So, we do zero online viewing. We talked about that, where I will never ever put a league online. Now sometimes I will get push back from parents, I never get push back from the league. So how do you handle it when a parent calls you up and says I want to do an online viewing, I want to see 'em online, I need to see 'em online, that's the only way we wanna buy, that's the only way we wanna do our consumption. I will usually say something to the effect of there are several federal privacy laws that play a part in displaying kids', minors' images online without consent forms. We find that it's very tricky for us to get the consent of all the parents in the league to agree to have their children's images online, and so for privacy reasons we do not do that. We want to ensure that every parent is happy with the way we display their images. Now, when we get into big, big, big, big schools, which we haven't done the big monster schools yet, we'll have to, that'll be something we'll have to do. And at that point we'll have to invest in software that will create individual passwords and email the parents. But until then, I'm at, what I think a lot of photographers do which is putting a gallery up, and you can go in and see it. I don't like that. It doesn't encourage them to order quickly. It delays my ability to start working on the job. And they'll just spend less money. So we don't do it. Use federal privacy laws as an excuse.
Do you sell digital files?
Yeah, absolutely, I'll sell anything I can make money on.
On the order form? I mean, do you have it on the order form?
So, we sell digital files. Digital files are available, we'll only sell the individual, you cannot buy the team, you cannot buy the poster, it's 30 bucks. Full resolution, that's what you get. I don't have a problem with selling digital files, I don't, like it's okay. And we still give 'em a CD, we just like literally burn a CD, we toss it in an envelope, we slap a little sticker on it, done, out the door. The digital files we have been pushing the sales of on some of our preschool accounts and some of the other things we're working on, what we're actually doing, buy this package we'll discount our digital files if you're already investing in prints, we'll knock half off the price. Some parents just want, it's like a security blanket, they just want to have the file. And they don't really do anything with it. And if I've already sold a package to 'em and I get another 15 bucks outta the deal, like the chances of them coming back and buying more eight by tens from me a year later is pretty small. So, like we'll sell it, yeah, we'll sell it, we just won't give it away for free and there's conditions.
I have a question about the gallery. You were sayin' that you won't put up images on a gallery or whatnot, is that something where so that they don't go in and just like screenshot it and then never buy anything? Or is it an option where you could actually have them kinda purchase a password to it. So even if they don't buy anything, they've already purchased your minimum package for it? Or is that more, it seems like it's gettin' into a headache.
No, no, no, well here's the thing. Fundamentally, at it's most basic form, the key to being successful with volume photography is this. We are going to do this type of image this type of pose, you're gonna place your order this way, it's gonna be processed together, it's gonna be printed together, it's gonna be delivered together. You start sacrificing your profit when you're doing one, two, three, four, at a time. It's like I want a bucket of work. I wanna go and do my shoot, take this job and finish it. That's where we make money. And so when you start doing online galleries, when you start having late orders, when you start having stuff like that it's just chipping away your ability to efficiently knock out this job in the least amount of time. So, online ordering like that, the only way that I would see it as something that would be viable would be if we were doing like action shots, which is not something we do because we've done 'em, and I don't make any money off of it and some of the schools would have us as part of our contracts where they would say for the yearbook you have to go out and shoot one game of every sport for boys and girls. And we'd go out and we'd do it and two things would happen. One, I'd show up, and there'd be a mom who's really really excited about her kid and she'd have an $8,000 camera and a $4,000 lens and she would go to every single game and hammer out 10,000 photos and god bless her she's doin' it for free and she loves that kid and that's awesome, not throwin' shade at it. I think that's great, but I'm not like, they go to her. They go to her 'cause they're like man she's got a gallery of 100,000 images, she's got every kid, she's got the kid that quit after the second week. She's got pictures that make him look good. And so they go to that and the schools that we work with, the yearbook departments have three or four or five Rebels and lenses and all those kids are out there shootin' it. And so for me coming into that and trying to make a business out of it where I would have to donate my time on spec for doing prints or digital downloads, I haven't found a way to make it worth my time.
So with your bucket of work that you do, do you have a deadline in which they have to order by so if they don't order it then it's, you know, sorry 'bout your luck, but we'll see you next year?
Listen, I'll always take your money. I'll always take your money, it just costs you more.
It costs you more. So we'll talk about late orders a little bit later. But like I said, we keep everything forever, so I have a heart, if your print got destroyed, I wouldn't charge you a late fee. Like if there was flooding in your basement, that really happened, we had a baseball family and we'd photographer the family or this one kids for years, and they had a flood in their basement and it wrecked ten years of photos. She brought 'em in, I had 'em. (pow mouth noises) She paid, she paid, it wasn't a big deal, she had insurance claims, it was alright, she was okay, I was okay, but I had all of the stuff. But the late order fees come in if the orders have started, when we go and we take a job, and we go back to the studio, we have like a folder of all the orders, if you get your order in before we've opened and processed those orders, there's no fee, there's no charge, nothin'. If we've already started work on it, we're gonna charge you two bucks to put it in, or five bucks to mail it to you. So it's not a lot of money, but it's enough that parents want to get their order in. People lose their mind over two dollars, people lose their mind over two dollars. It's like a $38 package and they're freakin' out over two bucks, and I'm like you ordered a month later. I'm sorry, but we do put a price on it.