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I Finally Took the Plunge

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  #1  
Old 01-24-2005, 09:29 PM
Pope37 Pope37 is offline
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I Finally Took the Plunge

Hello everyone. I would like to begin by saying that I have been monitoring the forums for about a month and I am very impressed by how professional, caring and compassionate people here are, I had to join. I have finally taken the plunge and opened up my own small restoration business. I would be honored if some of you could give me some start up tips, do's and don'ts to get this thing off the ground. How did you become successful? I am doing this because my parents died in an automobile accident when I was 2 and all I have to remember them by is an old box of worn out photos, I know how precious photos are and I want to help people preserve their memories and be able to support my wife and kids at the same time. I would truly appreciate any advice you could give... Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 01-25-2005, 04:58 AM
Lasse Lasse is offline
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Hi
im also on my way in to the buisness. But my main problem is where to find the people wiling to pay for their memories.

/Lasse
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  #3  
Old 01-25-2005, 05:00 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pope37
Hello everyone. I would like to begin by saying that I have been monitoring the forums for about a month and I am very impressed by how professional, caring and compassionate people here are, I had to join. I have finally taken the plunge and opened up my own small restoration business. I would be honored if some of you could give me some start up tips, do's and don'ts to get this thing off the ground. How did you become successful? I am doing this because my parents died in an automobile accident when I was 2 and all I have to remember them by is an old box of worn out photos, I know how precious photos are and I want to help people preserve their memories and be able to support my wife and kids at the same time. I would truly appreciate any advice you could give... Thank you.
First of all congratulations for taking this step. It's an incredibly brave thing to do.

I do R&R occasionally as a hobby, so I can't speak (write) from a business owner perspective -- but I can from the perspectives of a customer (in general) myself and one who taught classes on delivering great service long ago in another lifetime.

For a specialty business of this nature your best and most effective form of advertising will probably be "word of mouth" from exceptionally happy customers. There are many dimensions that go into making a customer happy, starting with outstanding quality work delivered for competitive prices. Then there are the little things like completing work on time, follow up phone calls, etc. Bottom line: Do some research on customer service if you've not yet done so.

Do whatever you can to generate repeat business from existing customers.

I don't mind paying more for exceptional quality and service. That's how Nordstrom's made their mark.

As a consumer these days I expect just about any business to have a website -- maybe not day one, but soon so you can have something like

www.Pope37-Photography and Restoration.com

to put on your business cards. There's nothing like a professional looking website with several side-by-side "before and after" pics to illustrate your skills and what's possible restoration-wise.

Surf the Net for existing R&R business websites to get some ideas on how to (and not to) do it. A cheesy looking website sends the wrong message: "cheesy work." Go for classy.

I hope this gives you a few ideas. Good luck with your endeavor.

~Danny~
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Old 01-25-2005, 08:11 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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It's not enough to just put out your shingle, people have to see the shingle. If people know you exist, customers will happen. So take out a yellow pages ad, get friendly with every photographer and lab, go on the local radio as a guest to discuss preservation and restoration, and anything else you can think of to get your name out there. Don't count on the internet to bring you business, most of your work will come from within a few miles of where you live.
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Old 01-25-2005, 10:04 AM
MaryLynn MaryLynn is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Where are customers?

In addition to the business practice tips others on this forum will give you, consider where you might find people who will want your service.

Is your local historical or genealogical society having a seminar? Do they allow outside vendors to set up a table? Local street fairs are another place to show your "before and after" photos. An attractive display will give you exposure to people who haven't really considered digging out those old photos and doing something with them.

While many people are learning to restore photos themselves, nearly everyone has a special photo, either a difficult restoration or one with sentimental value that they would be willing to pay to have restored.

Good luck in your endeavor!

MaryLynn
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2005, 11:01 AM
Pope37 Pope37 is offline
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Thanks from the Pope

Thanks you guys for the words of encouragement and guidance. It is good to have people on your side with the same goals and passions
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  #7  
Old 02-08-2005, 12:16 PM
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Legacy~Art Legacy~Art is offline
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Talking Pope

Welcome to the forum, i hope you get the answers your looking for, maybe you could tell me which country your in, and tell me more about yourself, how did you get into this work? what programs do you use?
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2005, 01:59 PM
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Fizzgiz Fizzgiz is offline
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Thumbs down I just took the plunge, too!

It's exciting and frightening all at the same time. I also feel the same way you do about helping people preserve their cherished memories. I would recommend that you do a search for Restoration sites. It give you and idea about advertising, pricing, and more. One of the things that I recently learned from doing searches, is that it really picked up my self-esteem. I just started doing this and my skills are so limited. But, I decided to take the plunge because I felt that if someone were to give me a really difficult job, I could have the option of being honest and refering them elsewhere. Sometimes I would get so overwhelmed trying to learn new things, that I felt I was in over my head. Then, I found so many really bad artists online with their own businesses. It gave me the courage to keep going, and to continue to improve my skills. I also found that word of mouth was my best advertisment. A few tips: Get good quality business cards.Talk to everyone you meet. Make yourself a smalll portfolio. People you meet on the street want to see the work. I also have some small flyers with before and afters on them to leave with people. Make sure the porfolio is with you at all times.(I've run to my car too many times.lol) Go to every place of business in your area, and put up flyers. Even places that don't have bullitin boards, will sometimes let you post a flyer in their store, ecpecially if they see you all the time. Communities like to see and help others grow a local business. My first works were trades for goods and services in my community. I hope this helps, and good luck.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2005, 01:58 AM
Pope37 Pope37 is offline
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A little about myself

Here goes:
1. I am in the U.S. I moved with my family to Southeastern Idaho. I did not feel real safe raising my children in "the big city." I won't say which one, as to not offend anyone.
2. I am rich spiritually and poor financially as are many people in my community
3. I have a creative vein that runs deep throughout my family, I am captivated by the history and emotion that images contain.
4. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere, Encore and Lightwave.
No wonder I am prone to headaches.
I hope this gives you a little insight, usually I would be a little bit more reserved, but I feel like I am among friends, which is a good thing to feel, especially in this day and age.
To Frizzgiz. I think that you are really on the right track, word of mouth and the little inexpensive things like flyers are turning out to be very powerful marketing tools indeed. If you do a job with honest integrity and a sincere passion for what you are doing, it will show and your reputation will slowly grow until one day hopefully you will arrive at the place, either financially, emotionally or both that you truly wish to be at. I'll root for ya all the way.
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  #10  
Old 02-13-2005, 06:34 AM
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winwintoo winwintoo is offline
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Scrapbooking is alive and well..

A few years ago, I was in transition from my job into early retirement and thought I would like to do restoration as a business to top up my pension. As it happened my health prevented me from really pursuing the business, but there was lots of it out there!

Another interest of mine was "scrapbooking" and I joined a group that met once a week to visit and scrapbook together - I found more work than I could handle from that one group alone!

Many of the people in the group were creating "heritage" scrapbooks to preserve memories (like your box full of worn photos) but many of the photos they had were too large to fit in a scrapbook, or the medium was unsuitable for inclusion in a scrapbook, or the photos included people they didn't know (or no longer wanted included in a family memory - I heard about more than a few skeletons )

Might be an avenue to explore,

Margaret
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