Choose your partner and make more profit

If your operation truly a "full service" operation, or do you find yourself saying no to customers too often? If customers hear you say "no" too often, they'll find another place to take their money - and they will probably stay with the vendor that tells them yes.

In today's market "full service" covers a lot of territory:

  • Develop and print
  • Photos and digital cameras to CD
  • Passport photos
  • Print to print
  • Restoration
  • Wide format printing
  • Slide development and printing
  • Greeting cards
  • Photo mugs
  • Calendars
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Group photos
  • Package prints
  • Photo business cards
  • Photo plates
  • Photo tee shirts
  • Video transfer

The first item on the list - simple developing and printing - is the one item that is both highly price-competitive and low in profit potential. Unless you've got a lot of expensive lab equipment, however, it's one of the few things you can do on-site. But it won't put enough money in your piggy bank. (In a little while I'll tell you how to sell piggy banks and make a few more dollars.)

Here's how you can do some of the others with little or no capital investment:

Passport and ID photos are profitable. Here's how.

You can get into print-to-print for about $1,200 starting from scratch. Hook up a computer, a scanner and a computer - add Adobe Elements - and you're there. Learn about it in my article The $2,000 Digital Imaging Station and note that prices have plummeted since I wrote that article! You can also use that same equipment to copy customer memory cards to CD if you include a CD burner.

If you can't retouch and restore photos yourself in PhotoShop, scan them and e-mail them to a source like Hollywood Fotofix. Their artists will retouch your picture files and e-mail them back to you for printing. 

Even if your lab isn't equipped to make all those profitable little Christmas products, you can find a partner lab to do so.

If you currently use a wholesale lab such as Qualex or Fuji you'll find they offer a wide selection of gift products. There are also other retailers, such as Allen Showalter of King Photo in Harrisonburg, Virginia, who have wholesale photo finishing labs. That's the source I use for ornaments like the one shown here.

Allen is a frequent speaker at PMA conventions and conferences and has developed sales of ancillary products into a major business. He's got great promotional ideas to grow his business using photo mugs. 

Until we got our own digital lab, we had him make our photo greeting cards for us. He uses the stylish Phototidings masks, gives you a great catalog, and provides excellent service with quick turnaround time. Often we would scan photos and e-mail the photo file to the lab, speeding up delivery.

His address:

Harrisonburg Photo Finishing
889A E. Market Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
800 434-0680