In this segment, what we're gonna cover, is I want to go over the start of the digital workflow, as well as, the start of processing order forms. How we're gonna get money to the bank, how we're gonna go through and sort stuff out, and begin that work. The next segment, I'm gonna show you guys actually editing the images that we went through, but there's kinda a couple of steps to it. So we will go through those files, but it's not gonna be until another segment. So, pictures are done. Now what? We've taken all the photos. We showed up, we had a great session. We got all of the order forms in that job folder. It's all sealed up, we get back to the studio. It's our big, big, big days that we do, everything gets locked in an office in the studio. So we lock everything away until we get to it. The back end of the workflow is where your money is. This is where you're gonna make or break it, because wasting all the time is wasting profit. So this is a huge, huge, huge aspect that we need to...
get dialed in and done right. First thing we do is processing the order forms. We have to do this right away. Reason why is it takes a couple of weeks sometimes to find out if checks bounce. I need to know if the payments go through before the work goes out the door, and I don't want to hold stuff up in production waiting to get checks to the bank. So, checks get, as soon as we're done, the first thing we're gonna do is open up those envelopes, process those payments, okay? We sort all of the teams for our big volume days. The fist thing we'll do is go through and we'll sort them. Kindergarten one, kindergarten two, kindergarten three, kindergarten four, first grade girls one, first grade boys one, we go through and set those up. So we're working in a very systematic manner. That just means that when we get to the digital part of the work flow, as we're going through the teams, I don't have to click through finding different teams. It's just one, two, three, four, five. So sorting them out is the first step for the extreme volume stuff. We print out all of the prepaid order, we did that prepaid systems we talked about yesterday. The prepaid systems online stuff give us receipts. We print all of those out as well, just to make sure that we got them, if the kid didn't bring them in, we want to make sure that that order doesn't get overlooked. So we print those out, have those in a stack, we'll put those in just to make sure that all of the orders are accounted for. Like I said, organization is key on this. One job folder on the table at a time. We don't do multiple teams, so I can have an assistant, or an employee hanging out, working on stuff with me, but we aren't working on a team at a time. So we aren't crossing checks, crossing order forms, okay? Literally, this is just what it looks like, that's me. True religion sweatshirt, hanging out. We go through, we dig the first order form out, we open them up, one by one. And we process all of them in a way so that, this teams done, that money's set aside, so that we know that that money was with this team, that team's paid up, or someone owes us money, or someone paid too much. All of those things happen. We open every single envelope no matter what. Which is kind of a weird thing, cause sometimes you'll see them where somebody might stamp it paid because they ordered something, they paid for something there, the day of, but maybe they also had a second order inside. So we always make sure that we open them up. Always, always, always. We open them up, we stamp them, we just have a rubber stamp from Amazon, it's like six bucks, paid. We stamp it over the amount that was in the envelope, okay? So if they have, on the order forms it will have, it will say on one line, package is 20 bucks, and a button's six bucks, and wallets are ten bucks, so it's $36, we would stamp paid over 36. That means that we are acknowledging the amount that they put in, okay? You have to double check people's math. Kind of sounds ridiculous. I don't know if people try to cheat you, they'll pay and then they'll try to add something on to it after they pay, or if they just don't do the math right. A lot of times we will get people that overpay us. That'll happen with our half off the digital files. And so we have to put refunds in, so we'll do partial refunds. It's important that you do a partial refund, that you get the money back to someone if they overpay. Cause it can lead to one of those situations. You don't want them to call you three months later, and they say hey you ripped me off 15 bucks, you know. Just be honest, give them their money back. But going through and double checking their math is critical. If they submit a form without payment, what we used to do was we had a stamp on it that said no money, no order. There's no money or order included with this, if you wanna order give us a call. And it would have the order form, it would have the image number on that order form, we put that envelope back in the job folder, and go back to the coach, so that the kids would get it when the pictures were delivered, they could take it home to their mom and dad, and say oh I didn't get photos, here's my order form. Alright, that's what we did for a long, long, long, long time. Two years ago, we got done photographing football, and I noticed that most of those order forms also had phone numbers on them. So we actually just started calling parents, the next day, and we'd say, "Hey this is Matthew from Kemmetmueller Photography, I see we did John's football pictures yesterday. We got an order form but we don't have any order or payment, just curious if you want to order photos." Everybody orders that way. I did an extra $450 in sales that day off of that sport, and after that, we don't send them back, we reach out. We call, we try to initiate that conversation. And the sooner it is to that picture day, the better the orders will be. So we call them the next day, it's better than calling two weeks later. You have to not be pushy about it, so you just call them and say, "Hey we got this, I don't know if you want to order or not, if you don't wanna order, it's cool." It's not like a salesy pitch. It's really just one of those situations where more than likely, the kid didn't bring the order form home to mom and dad. That's probably what happened. And so, you call, you give them the option. They don't want to order, cool. The other thing that happens when you do that though, is you'll get the parents that will say I just wanna order online, and we have to politely and gently remind them that we don't do online viewing. And remind them of our guarantee. So that again encourages them to place an order at the time. We can wait, but this is, we aren't gonna put it online for you, and if you wait longer, you're gonna have to pay a late fee, and if we get your order in right now, it's just is what it is, okay? So super, super, super, super low pressure. And then if we can't reach anyone, if there is no way to get in touch with that parent, we will send the order form back then, okay? So once all of the order forms have been done from that team, put them back in the job folder. So all the money is out of the envelopes, and they are marked paid. Then they are back in that job folder. Now for those extreme volume days, it still has that sheet of paper we talked about that says the coach's name and the team, the coach's name and phone number. So all of that is still in that job folder. Then we go downstairs and we photograph the order forms to archive them. Photographing them is a big thing, because if you go to an excel spreadsheet and you just document what people order, it's your word against them if they call later on and say I didn't get what I ordered. You don't have any proof unless it was an online order, they filled out an order form, it's what you have in your spreadsheet. We find that keeping an actual copy of the order form, so if there's any questions we can just email them, and say, "Oh you didn't order a button", and they go, "Ahh, I ordered a button", and we'll just say, "No, I have a copy of your order form if you'd would like to see it." It deescalates the situation, and it makes sure that you have all of the right answers right away. Yeah, it avoids a lot of confrontation doing it that way. We use a copy stand. Most of you probably don't even know what a copy stand is. Old school photography stuff, but something my dad has probably a dozen of in the basement. I put a Canon 20 d, I think actually it might even be a Canon 10 d, it might even be older than the 20 d. So we put the oldest camera there on it, we got fixed focal length, we shoot natural light, ISO 1600, it's grainy as all get out, it's not a portrait, we don't care. We photograph it so it's literally with a cable release. So you have a stack of order forms here that haven't been done, a stack that are, and you just go click, click, click, click. You photograph that sheet of paper for the next team, this is the team it's for. Order form, order form, order form. That way we have the visual cue, so when we go to download those order forms, we know which teams folder those order forms go into, and we have actually copies of all of their stuff, and it's way faster than what, like, scanning one at a time would be, yeah?
Why take pictures of them, and not justleave all the original order forms in a folder, filed away?
So the order forms that they fill out is gonna follow the whole production of their order. So when we take it through that folder, that job folder, when it goes to be printed, that whole job folder will go to Jordan, and he'll take all of those order forms out, we will print off of those, then those order forms get put back in to deliver the product, that's how the kids know which orders to go in where. So the actual physical order form that the parent's filled out does go back to them. Instead of us making, typing up labels, and slapping them on the bag, it gets packaged in a clear plastic bag. We were talking about that package A, where it has that black cardboard thing, and there's your picture, and the envelope goes on the back side, print out so they can read it.
When the envelope goes back with the order, is that also how you deliver change back to parents?
Yep, and that's a good question. That is how the change would go, and we would write on it and highlight, change inside envelope so they know to look for it. So otherwise they'll just through it out, they don't think about it. We used to put magnets and stuff in the envelopes, cause we thought it would give it a little more protection, but we had parents that they just never look in them. And they'll throw them away, and they'll call and say we don't get our magnets. And we knew that, there was so many, we knew that they weren't scamming us. Like it literally was just that was the issue, so if you put something in the envelope, you have to make sure that people know that they have to look in the envelope, cause otherwise they just think the order forms done and who cares, okay? So once your done photographing every team, everything gets, all of the order forms are photographed, they go back in that job folder. And again, for our big big jobs, we're doing this in order. Kindergarten one, kindergarten two, kindergarten three, kindergarten four. That's the process to keep it systematic, yeah?
This is a little bit random, but I can see this happening, for families that have multiple kids that your photographing do you have issue with one check from one family? This is a question from Bob McConnell. Like if it's one check split out for multiple envelopes.
No, what we have them do, we ask that they write two checks, some parents won't, they say, "We just wanna do one check", that's fine, then what we say is, "Write on the order form: payment for Grace is in Cindy's envelope with the coach's name and team number." And then on that check, on that order form with the bigger check, we say, "Check for the other girl too." So we have it written on both order forms so it makes sense. But yeah, that happens a lot, and it's not that big of a deal. We just kinda know, we'll put out, we'll just write a post-it note on it, okay we got this team coming up, we know that this girl paid for and then take it from there, okay? Then as soon as your done with all that, we go to the bank. That's great day. Generally a Wednesday, happy hour too, it's awesome. Get the money in, make sure their checks don't bounce. I get in all the sports stuff that we do, and all the account that we work with, I get probably less than 10 checks bounced a year. So it's not a huge thing, it's not a huge thing in our market, but it drives me nuts when I get a bounced check, and they got all their stuff. Not only do I get the bounced check, I get the bounced check fees from my bank, drives me crazy. So I don't want them to have their pictures for free, when I got to pay more.