Why Photo Booth Business Success Isn’t About The Investment

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No matter how you slice it, there’s big money to be made in the photo booth industry. However, it may surprise you to learn how low your start-up costs can be! You can get your new photo booth business up and running for less than $200 and begin turning a profit almost immediately.

No matter how you slice it, there’s big money to be made in the photo booth industry. However, it may surprise you to learn how low your start-up costs can be! You can get your new photo booth business up and running for less than $200 and begin turning a profit almost immediately.

There are not many business owners or entrepreneurs in any industry that can say the same. What’s more, there are plenty of expensive pitfalls for business owners everywhere. So, we’re going to explore first why you don’t need to invest a ton to start making money, and then how you can get build your business inexpensively while avoiding those pitfalls.

Why are investments so low for a photo booth business?

To be clear, building a photo booth empire is not a get rich quick scheme.

Like any other legit business, it takes time, effort, and a true entrepreneurial spirit to get off the ground. What it doesn’t have to take, though, is a huge investment.

Business licenses and legal requirements aside, you can easily start a photo booth business for right around $160.

Such a low cost may seem unbelievable, but consider this: traditional cabin-style photo booths that you’ve seen in malls for years are on their way out. With iPad apps transforming the setup, mobility, and capabilities of photo booths, you no longer have to invest big bucks into hardware. Instead, you and your iPad can ride the wave of the future right into a successful business.

With a subscription to an app like Onebooth, your iPad, and inexpensive hardware like an iPad stand and mobile light ring, you’ll have everything you need to begin marketing your business. What’s more, you can start booking events almost immediately with these tools, and work on your marketing as you go.

You can bootstrap your marketing

The DIY spirit is alive and well for photo boothers everywhere. In fact, our Pinterest boards are full of creative, DIY-friendly ideas for backdrops and props you can use for your events.

Apps like Onebooth make starting out even more accessible because you don’t need to invest in backdrops or props (although you can if you so desire). Instead, the latest advances give photo boothers access to green screen technology, digital stickers and frames, and the ability to print onsite or deliver digitally.

But it gets even simpler than that. With great tools like Canva and Moo, you can easily design and print some gorgeous business cards yourself. Moreover, WordPress and Squarespace make it incredibly straightforward to create a simple website that gives you a web presence. (Read more about the essentials for your photo booth website here.)

If you have the capital, you may want to hire professionals for this design and programming work to save yourself time. However, if you depend on your business to support itself, you can save some money here. 

Because, while business cards and a website will be essential to long-term success in your photo booth business, an even more significant factor is how well you network.

Building a powerful network doesn’t have to cost a thing

Just as technology is transforming the photo booth industry, it’s also changing the way businesses everywhere market themselves and connect with their clients. Networking has always been essential to success. And these days, there are seemingly endless channels you can use to network.  

So where do you start?

Social media

The answer truly lies in who your customers are and where they hang out. If you’re planning on working with corporate clients, then while you can certainly hang out in some local business-oriented Facebook groups, LinkedIn will be especially helpful.

Similarly, if your target market is going to be private events, you can spend some time on LinkedIn. However, you’ll find your strongest success on Instagram and Facebook.

Regardless of the network that’s right for you, you’ll find the most business success by being highly visible. Follow the 80/20 rule—post helpful content 80% of the time and limit promotional content to 20% or less.

Social media should be mostly free for you to use. There are some great advertising strategies that you can employ when you do have a budget, but maintaining a presence and building a network are great places to start.

Local, in-person networking

Social media is a comfort zone for lots of us. However, don’t discount the power of local in-person networking opportunities for your photo booth business. Many local organizations have a free first meeting, some free events, and/or low-cost memberships for entrepreneurs.

Not sure where to start? Start researching your area to see how active these types of organizations are:

  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Economic Development Councils
  • Meetup 
  • Co-Working Spaces

Furthermore, don’t forget about the people you already know!

Make sure your friends, neighbors, and existing or past professional contacts know about your new photo booth business. Even if they aren’t planning an event that could use a photo booth, they may know someone who is. Better yet, they may be willing to share your business with their network as well.

Finally, once you have your business cards, always have one on you. You never know who you’ll meet, or if a business that you frequent allows other small businesses to leave their cards or flyers!

The bottom line for your bottom line

Your photo booth business can be successful even if you don’t invest thousands of dollars upfront. By focusing your efforts on your network, and DIYing the more costly aspects of your business, you may find yourself fully booked before you know it. 

Ready to build your photo booth business? Read our guide on getting started here!

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