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  • Do you have a basic minimum package?

    For the least costly service you provide, what does the customer get in the way of services? Do you have an entry level package, or would you provide a scan only without corrections if the customer wanted it? Does the customer get a break with a "the more you buy, the better the deal" option?

    Ed

  • #2
    Ed, Our basic package consists of a scan, color/tone balance and print which usually takes about 15 min. from start to finish. This is REAL basic-NO scratch removal, etc. Most of these jobs are, interestingly enough color to Black and White conversions. For ANYTHING else I have a discussion with the customer, tell them what can be done, what to reasonably expect and then give them prices based on an hourly rate and my best estimate of the time it will take. We do provide an Archiving service for those customers who want their photos burned to CD. We scan, color/tone/sharpen/ resample, burn to CD for $2 per photo or simply "scan and burn" for $1 per photo, PLUS the cost of the disc PLUS an hourly fee. Volumn jobs get the same rate,as once someone has decided to get this work done, cost ( at least in my experience) becomes of secondary concern and quality/timely delivery of the finished product becomes of primary interest. For those who want to haggle price or complain about costs, I refer them to someone else., my experience being that these type of customers are not what I want or need. Chances are nothing you do will meet with their approval unless YOU pay THEM for working on their stuff. As the old saying in these parts goes; " Some folks would complain if you hung 'em with a new rope". Tom

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    • #3
      Photo CDs

      Hi Tom,

      I'm somewhat intrigued by your service of putting people's photos on a CD. I guess I never thought of that before although it sure sounds like a good idea. I have a couple of questions.

      Do you put them on a CD so people can view them and send them out via email using their own computer or do you create the CDs for archivability purposes only? Because you would need to save either as a TIFF or JPEG right? It seems like the average person wouldn't know what to do with a TIFF file.

      Do you provide instructions on how to open and view the files and such?

      Thanks

      Amanda

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      • #4
        Hi Tom,

        You're right about some people complaining about anything. We once put a roof on an addition for this guy, who was happy with the job, and paid us when it was completed. The next day he called and said the shingles were not laid properly. Naturally, we went to investigate. This guy got on the roof to measure up about 8 feet from the gutters. From one side of the roof to the other, there was a difference of 1/4 inch! He wanted us to rip the roof off, and reshingle it. Of course that was ridiculous, and we refused. He told us he would pay again for the job - up front. We refused, telling him that there was no way we could satisfy him. It really wasn't brain surgery. So I guess there's always some joker who cannot be satisfied, no matter how hard you try. Thankfully, this guy lived in an area where we rarely worked, so if he bad-mouthed us, it really didn't make a lot of difference.

        Ed

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        • #5
          Just me again Tom. I wanted to comment on your take about how you handle the ones who want to haggle, but I abruptly had to leave the computer. I couldn't agree with you more. From the short while we've been talking, I think we share basic business logic. I know when you're trying to start a business, and someone wants to haggle, it's hard to turn them away since you want/need the job. But in my estimation, when you allow yourself to sell below prices as listed, you are probably compromising your self esteem, and opening the door for more haggling from other potential customers who might have heard that you can be bargained with. The people who want to give their work away would not be the ones I considered as my competition. I would strive to do very good work, but there wouldn't be room to haggle. I think that could become the norm once you've done it. And that wouldn't do much for your bottom line.
          Ed

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          • #6
            Akj, Most of the CD's we put together for people contain two files- one for screen viewing/e-mailing and a second for printing by a third party source. (Those we burn in TIFF RGB as that is what the only place within 300 miles of here that makes prints from CD 's accepts.) We give written instructions on how to open and view the files( most people around here have computers and some type of image editing program although almost no-one knows how to use the programs). I make it a point to actually go to my customers homes, if they request it, and show them how to use their software to open and view/play with their photos. While this may seem odd, it has resulted in a lot of business coming my way as personal attention and service after sale mean a lot to folks. I am not the least bit concerned about training my "competition" as very few people, once they begin getting past the easy stuff in image editing have any desire to put the necessary time and money into training,software,equipment etc, necessary to progress past the home user/hobby stage. The folks I have instructed about how to use their programs are some of my loudest supporters. Hope this helps-thanks, Tom

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            • #7
              Ed, I couldnt agree more. I discovered that in 100% of the cases the folks who haggle and complain are well known to every other business owner for just those reasons. The first one I had to deal with decided after viewing the finished restores that even though they were good they were too expensive so why didnt I cut the price and " well they are not really good but OK. Why dont you give them to me"(EXACT QUOTE). I politely declined the suggestion informing this individual that if the work was not good enough to pay for it wasnt good enough to give away. To make a long story short, I advised this person to seek help elsewhere as I couldnt help them. As you pointed out word "gets around" and I have had very few bargain hunters to contend with since. Good talking to you, Tom

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              • #8
                I had a customer who came to me with a photo she actually tried first to ink her lower half out of the picture with a pen and then when that didn't look good she painted it with black paint. It was her son's wedding and she was dancing with him. It was a beautiful photo of mother and son but someone told her she looked heavy so she tried to color herself out.

                With her help, I managed to get the paint off the photo but most of her was still scribbled over in ink. She told me what she wanted. I was to do only the upper bodies and the mood light sconces in the background with like a hazyness around. There was an ugly shadow over their heads that didn't fit when you I added the haze setting so I took it out. The photo looked great. Turns out she didn't like her hair either and the shadow disquised that. Then she decided she wanted the dance floor and her son full size but not her full body in it. Buy that time I realized nothing would please her. What I gave her she liked and I kept hoping she would never show it to anyone because it was the worst I had ever done. I should have just sent her to someone else. It wasn't worth it. She wasn't unpleased with my work but she couldn't stand herself.

                I really have gotten so much out of reading all your thoughts on this subject. Thank you all for giving me some better guide lines to follow.

                DJ

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                • #9
                  Dj, Somewhere in a remote locale I think there is a factory,run by the evil twins of Santa's Elves who manufacture these "clients from the neither world" and turn them loose on unsuspecting and kindly Photo folks!!! I REALLY DO!!!! Tom

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                  • #10
                    DJ:

                    Did you keep her information so later on you could wish her on your worst enemy?
                    Learn by teaching
                    Take responsibility for learning

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                    • #11
                      Tom,

                      Sounds like you and I are from the same type area...small area where people have computers and are wanting photos on CD but don't have a clue on how to use the CD once they get it. I got a call from a lady locally and she wanted me to teach a class on basic photo restoration...needless to say I tried to explain to her that most people don't even have imaging software and those that do all have different types so the process would be a little different in each case. I suggested if they wanted to learn they contact me for a one on one session. Of course at $20.00 an hour no one has called yet. Oh well guess I'm just too expensive for them but I'm not about to lower my cost as I have put a hefty amount in to learn what I have learned. On any of the pictures we do we automatically do a tonal correction as well as spot removal unless the customer specifically asks not to have it done. And yes, I have also had the customer from he--. She appeared with all 82 of her photos and a type written letter with instructions on each and every one.

                      I do have a question for you Tom, how do you handle the issue of different monitors and printers displaying a picture differently? I know I have calibrated my monitor to my printer and I don't think what I see on my monitor or off my printer is necesarily what the customer will see on their monitor or printer? Just something that is bound to come up sooner or later.

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                      • #12
                        Oh Boy! I can see the differences in monitor settings being a problem. I don't remember who it was, but someone on Doug's old site had the monitor out of whack, and when Doug mentioned something about the colors being a little surprising, he/she said that they looked fine on the monitor he/she was using to do the challenge. But when the problem was pointed out, at least he/she knew and understood where the fault was. A customer might not be understandable of that. It should be made clear to the customer before scanning that the photos *could* look like the color is out of balance if his monitor is not set properly. At least that way, if it happens, they've been warned of the possibility.

                        Ed

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                        • #13
                          Chris, I think our general "locales" have much in common. Up here are mostly Farming/Ranching families and all other businesses tend to the "support " side of those occupations. I have gotten calls from people who are having trouble with their computer displays but this has happened only a couple of times and has always been from people with older equipment who have trouble with displaying any image from any source. I explain to folks who have us burn their photos to CD that there may be some differences in color between different monitors which doesnot seem to cause the customers any concern. I fully agree with charging some fee for giving any kind of course on Image Editing. Although I have thus far avoided doing any formal type instruction, keeping it on the level of " call if you have a problem or question and I'll see what I can do." This approach probably wouldnt work in a more populated area but in deeply rural settings it is a viable model due to the somewhat limited population and the willingness of most folks here to admit that perfection doesnot occur this side of eternity. Tom

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                          • #14
                            Chris, About your customer with the 80+ photos with instruction manual--I met her clone, except this on walked in with an old biscuit tin(vintage late 1890-1910 era) and a shoebox FULL of old photos and kindly told me " Make some copies of the ones you think my kids might like." and left. OH MY, with such detailed instructions how can you go wrong? Fortunatly I was able get back in touch with her and spent about 4 hours sorting out some of the most interesting old photos detailing daily life in the Northcentral Montana area I have have ever seen, so I guess every cloud does have a silver lining as it were. I love examining the old photos and these contained a wealth of detail about everything from fashion to farm equipment. Good talking with you, Tom

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                            • #15
                              Yes Doug I got her information. Not only that but when she paid I with a check and I was so eager to finish business with her that I didn't notice the check wasn't signed. Boy did I have a panic attack when I saw that. First I thought I was stiffed then I knew I would have to call her and deal with the situation. Turns out she really made the mistake innocently and gave me a new SIGNED one. I was lucky. God how I hate the business end of things.

                              I had another couple (real nice thankfully) who brought a 100 Russian document to be restored. It was all taped (probably 50 years ago) and folded. When I opened it in front of them it started to destruct even more. I told them what it would cost to even try to fix something like that and they left. I was glad because that would have taken months to fix.

                              I can't even imagine someone bringing a box of photos and aggreeing to the restoration prices to fix them all and I live in the "rich" Boca Raton. Most of these people want miracles for nothing.

                              DJ

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