What Did I Do....

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I worked as an executive for a very large computer company for 33 years. In recent days/months - it was becoming less and less fun. The basic principles that I was raised on - trust, honesty, leadership and taking care of your people - seemed to be making me a dinosaur...

About 5 years ago, I started a small (very) photography company - focussing mostly on figure skating. Sales were good, the business grew - but even the success I had in no way could replace my day job.... I currently do about 35-40 different 'events' a year - skating, high school sports, weddings, etc..

Back in the early months of this year, I had enough (with my day job). I asked my boss to 'give me a reason' to leave - and they came back with a package - thus I am now a retired person.

My goal now is to grow this little photography company into something that will put food on the table and maybe pay a few bills. It is interesting though - for 5 years all I did with the profits was to turn around and buy more and more equipment - and the thought process in doing so was very little. After all, it was all play money... :smile: I have already noticed my buying cycle is getting more reviews (by me). I hope this does not deteriorate on me...

So where am I rambling to? I decided that after 5 or so years at 'playing' at this, I need to write business plan to get me to the next level. Has anyone who is doing something similar every written a business plan for a photography company? If so, can you share any 'ah ha's' or learnings or pitfalls?
 
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You might want to check your local community college. I know our's has a continuing education class in writing business plans, along with other aspects of running a business.

Carole
 
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Thanks Carole - i was hoping that someone here had done something similar that I might learn from. I wrote business plans for years for my company, was just looking for something more specific to photography. I guess no one has or if they have, they don't want to discuss... is ok :frown:
 
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Not sure if they don't want to discuss, or it's just too much to type out here.

There are a number of good books out there on running a photography business. I also posted a link to a series of 4 videos that are presently online and you can watch them for free. They don't pertain to my kind of photography, but if you are into shooting people, doing portraits, weddings, that kind of thing, they are good.

Not sure where you have your website, but Zenfolio also has some great online webinars on having a photography business. If you can't attend live, they do record them and you can watch them whenever you have the time. I think you can attend them even if you are not a member.

Carole
 
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Hi Kevin,
I have been shooting sports for about 6 years +, as with you the money earned pays for the equipment etc.. My plan is to retire from full-time work, in 3 years, and then have the photography become more of a business and less of the "hobby". I haven't thought about a business plan yet, but I did make sure to get a "business" insurance policy and take the photo equipment off my homeowners policy. Not sure if you have given that any thought yet. I went with Hill and Usher..At least now I have a bit more peace of mind on the insurance side.
 
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Hi Barry,

Can I ask you what you are paying for your insurance? I have a policy with State Farm, but it's not a business policy. I just insured my equipment. Now I have people telling me that if something happens to my equipment, they won't pay out because I have a website and I sell prints. At this point, I'm not making any money from it as it's costing more to have it up there than I made in the few prints I sold. I'm hoping that changes at some point, but I'm not holding my breath :) So it's more of a quasi-hobby for me.

Thanks,
Carole
 
Joined
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Hi Carole,

The business policy has a liability portion as well as coverage on the equipment. I'm sure the pricing varies depending on where you live. I am paying between $525 and $600
 
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Orland Park, Illinois
Hi Carole,

The business policy has a liability portion as well as coverage on the equipment. I'm sure the pricing varies depending on where you live. I am paying between $525 and $600

I'm paying close to $500 for coverage...but I'm glad I have it. Last summer, my 24-70 fell several hundred feet down into a valley at Glacier National Park--and my insurance company paid for my new replacement lens. It gives me peace of mind to know that my gear is covered--even if the damage is my own fault!

Glenn
 
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Bellingham, WA
Hi Carole,

The business policy has a liability portion as well as coverage on the equipment. I'm sure the pricing varies depending on where you live. I am paying between $525 and $600

Thanks, Barry. I don't need liability coverage as I don't shoot people or even around people. I just want my equipment covered :)

Carole
 
Joined
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Chicago, IL
I'm paying close to $500 for coverage...but I'm glad I have it. Last summer, my 24-70 fell several hundred feet down into a valley at Glacier National Park--and my insurance company paid for my new replacement lens. It gives me peace of mind to know that my gear is covered--even if the damage is my own fault!

Glenn

Glenn who are you with? I was with State Farm, but the cost was growing higher and higher. I was only covering the higher end bodies and lenses. I switched to PPA last year - but not sure that was the best option. They do not require each piece be listed they just put an upper limit. I do have liability insurance - and that is through State Farm (business policy not an add on to my home policy). But again, they seem to be getting more expensive and PPA has a less expensive alternative. Some of the rinks I shoot in require that they be named on the policy as an additional insured - others just me want me to have it.

Kevin
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
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San Jose, CA
Hi Barry,

Can I ask you what you are paying for your insurance? I have a policy with State Farm, but it's not a business policy. I just insured my equipment. Now I have people telling me that if something happens to my equipment, they won't pay out because I have a website and I sell prints.

I think they're wrong, Carole. If you were shooting weddings it would be a different matter, but I doubt State Farm would be concerned about your website. You should have a candid conversation with your agent. I've been covered by a State Farm personal articles policy for 5 or 6 years. I switched to a pro policy because I was doing a lot of event work, and the increase in premium was nominal. My annual premium is about $125 to cover $10,000 worth of gear against loss, theft, or damage.

Btw, I dropped an sb800 flash a few years ago, and State Farm bought me a new one. So the coverage is real, but if I made a habit of it, I'm sure they'd drop me.
 
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Frank .. is that for equipment loss only? I have a State Farm Inland Marine policy that includes a liability component. It costs around $400/yr. I can't remember the exact limit on the liability, but I'm thinking around $300K.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2008
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Location
Bellingham, WA
I think they're wrong, Carole. If you were shooting weddings it would be a different matter, but I doubt State Farm would be concerned about your website. You should have a candid conversation with your agent. I've been covered by a State Farm personal articles policy for 5 or 6 years. I switched to a pro policy because I was doing a lot of event work, and the increase in premium was nominal. My annual premium is about $125 to cover $10,000 worth of gear against loss, theft, or damage.

Btw, I dropped an sb800 flash a few years ago, and State Farm bought me a new one. So the coverage is real, but if I made a habit of it, I'm sure they'd drop me.

Thanks, Frank. I'm paying about half what you are paying for around $5,000 worth of gear, so I guess that's about right. I'm not really making money on my website anyway. Every so often someone buys a print, but it costs me more to have it up there than I make, so it's still operating at a loss. I have it there more so that friends can check out my photos.

Carole
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
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Location
Orland Park, Illinois
Glenn who are you with? I was with State Farm, but the cost was growing higher and higher. I was only covering the higher end bodies and lenses. I switched to PPA last year - but not sure that was the best option. They do not require each piece be listed they just put an upper limit. I do have liability insurance - and that is through State Farm (business policy not an add on to my home policy). But again, they seem to be getting more expensive and PPA has a less expensive alternative. Some of the rinks I shoot in require that they be named on the policy as an additional insured - others just me want me to have it.

Kevin

Kevin,

I'm with the Travelers.

Glenn
 

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