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starting own business

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  #1  
Old 06-16-2005, 04:37 PM
jenjen jenjen is offline
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starting own business

I'm starting my own home business restoring photos and was wondering 2 things.
What is the best quality paper to print on? Matte, Glossy or premium? Is it still good quality when it says just photo paper? I was also wondering what all of you use.
Two, for any of you that have paying customers, when do you make them pay, half before then after? If so what is the case where they pay half first then get the picture back and don't like it. what do you do? Give them back there money? Try to fix it again? or do they take the lose?
I just want to tie up all my loose ends. Thanks for the help all!

Jennifer
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2005, 05:24 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Congrats on starting your business, and what an adventure it can be!

When you are setting up all the legal stuff, like permits, licenses, tax numbers, checking accounts and what ever it takes to be legal in your area, make sure to take time to write out some busniess policys that you will follow. If its written down it really impresses those customers that would like to argue with you.....

Since photographs are a personal one of a kind item, meaning that if they do not like it you cannot sell it to the next customer who comes in, then all fees are paid in advance, no exceptions. It has been my experiance that your worrys about a customer not likeing what you do are greatly over rated. If you have any skills at all, most folks will be impressed and since they usually have an emotional attachment to the image, its a pretty easy sell. However having said that, please do not promise more than you can do. Its easy to say "sure, no problem we can fix that", but when you do make sure you can!

As for the paper, I prefer the more matte type. I get my prints made at a commercial lab.

Good Luck!

Mike
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Old 06-16-2005, 06:08 PM
jenjen jenjen is offline
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Could you give some examples of busniess policys. My mind is swamped with so much info. I'm am having a lawyer draw up the contract. I'm just not sure what all i have to say in it. The hard part is started it all. Thanks for your reply.

Jennifer
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Old 06-16-2005, 07:14 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Moved to Work/Jobs forum.
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  #5  
Old 06-16-2005, 08:53 PM
jenjen jenjen is offline
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Sorry! Most people on this site own this type of business so i thought they could help.
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Old 06-17-2005, 09:14 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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jenjen,

matte and glossy refer to finishes that are put on paper and not the paper quality itself. matte is the lower luster and if you were talking about house paint, it would be similar to 'flat' or 'semi-gloss'. glossy refers to the higher luster, more reflective, shinier finish and again, in house paint, it would be gloss there as well.

with hewlett packard papers 'premium plus' is their best quality paper and yes, make sure it also says 'photo' or 'photo quality' or 'premium plus photo' somewhere on the package. in epson papers and kodak, i'm not sure what labels they use to designate all this, but you shld be able to find out in their advertising or at the store where you buy it.

you may also want to look at the 'weight' of the paper. this usually determines the thickness of a paper and sometimes its density. in fact, if i recall correctly, some companies will put the thickness rather than the weight on the package. the density of a paper can determine how well the ink stays where you want it as opposed to running a bit. in a normal 20 pound printer paper you can get a fair bit of running and blurring of your print as a result. this may actually be desirable if you're going for more of a water color type look, but generally you want to stick with the better qualitys for finished printing. i often will use normal 20 lb. paper for test printing, just to see how things look and because of the expense of the better grades.

but the best thing to do is to get a range of papers and finishes and do a test using the same image on all. then simply compare them yourself. and, if you have a walk-in business, it's not a bad idea to put these tests up somewhere where folks can see them so that they can see the differences also and then order what they want.

Craig
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2005, 10:40 AM
Mike Mike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenjen
Could you give some examples of busniess policys. My mind is swamped with so much info. I'm am having a lawyer draw up the contract. I'm just not sure what all i have to say in it. The hard part is started it all. Thanks for your reply.

Jennifer
In my mind business policys cover such things as:

Hours you are open, walk in or appointment only; do you take cash, checks or charge cards; payment in advance or ?; what services do you offer; what do you do when somebody requests a service that you do not do, do you refer to someone else or just tell them to go away; do they have to come to you or will you e-mail images back and forth; how do you handle disputes with customers; etc etc.

The important thing is to set up the policy, then stick to it. That way you always treat all your customers the same, and you know what to do when you get blindsided by a customer....

Hope this helps

Mike
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  #8  
Old 06-17-2005, 12:06 PM
jenjen jenjen is offline
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Thanks! You guys helped alot.
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  #9  
Old 06-17-2005, 03:03 PM
emarts emarts is offline
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Copied from a post I made in another thread:
I allow for a few revisions in my estimate. The customer knows that. But after a while I'll tell the customer we can go at this as long as he wants, but the revisions from then on are billed at my hourly rate. At that point I give him the opportunity to cancel the order for a full refund. However, if he accepted any materials (CD or prints) I will keep his 50% deposit. I don't take returns. BTW, it's never happened.

Most of my clients are corporate accounts and want terms. My terms are firm: 50% up front; 50% at delivery. If I've established a good relationship with the client, I'll waive the 50% up front and put them on 30 days from date of invoice.

Also, a money-back guarantee is a good confidence booster for your client. And is just good business practice.

As far as paper, I can't really help you as most of my work either goes directly to press or to digital transparency (LVT). But I guess I would just use MPIX or similar service like that.
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  #10  
Old 06-20-2005, 12:18 PM
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kaulike kaulike is offline
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Business plans

Business policies are good things to figure out. To run any business you need to know your policies on returns, hours of operation, and all the rest.

To run a successful business, though, you really need to go through the exercise of creating a business plan, of the type you would use if you were going to go to a bank to get venture funding. The steps to create even a simple plan will help you really focus on your business. The answers to policy questions fall into place much more easily.

In essence, a business plan is a statement of your values and goals, in language that makes it accessible for you to help ground your decisions. Example, if one of your personal goals is to be home with your kids after school, then making your business available until 6pm won't work.

You can find sample business plans all over the internet. There are also a spate of books on the subject, from the "Legal Guide to Starting Your Own Business" all the way to the "Business Plans for Dummies" variety. I like the Nolo Press books, particularly "How to Write a Business Plan". Look here for more info:

http://www.nolo.com/resource.cfm/cat...FB93D/111/228/

Another tool that can help you kick off your business is free advice from SCORE: http://www.score.org/ SCORE is made up of retired executives who offer advice to young entrepreneurs, at no cost. These are people who have been there before and are willing to help for free, what more could one ask?

Best of luck!
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