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Is your newest competitor in India?

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  • Is your newest competitor in India?

    As many of you do not have storefront locations that you advertise on a regular basis, I'm sure that some of the competitive advertising solicitations that we receive that might directly impact your business might escape you.

    Yesterday we received a phone solicitation - directly from India! The solicitor was well spoken, very polite, quite knowledgeable and this is the important part ... agreed to mail us samples of their work to show that they are not just another bulk retouching house but one that can handle complex assignments at a much lower cost than is generally available Stateside.

    If you are doing any retouching for retail outlets, sharpen up - your accounts are no doubt getting these calls as well. You'll want to read every bit of sales and marketing advice you can in these forums and elsewhere. Your current advantage may be in being "local" but that is no guarantee that you can hold your clients without venturing into a few "home shows" for recognition, setting up some exhibits in your community to show your skills, providing your outlets with the literature they need to promote your services... or in other ways setting out to prove within your own community that your intent is to stay in this business at a professional level.

    Jim Conway
    Timemark Photo Conservators

  • #2
    I get a lot of emails from India asking if they can do my restorations for me. And probably the #1 franchiser for restorations has their work done in Peru.

    But I have so many inquiries fall apart when they learn I'm not close to their home town that this really doesn't concern me very much.

    And Vikki posted an example of the Indian work over in a thread about Walgreens, so I don't think any of us need to worry about them getting return business.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning

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    • #3
      There are going to be people who do quality work and people and those who don't in any country. I just did a job for a customer that the customer had first taken to the oldest/largest/best reputation studio in this town, who did a marginal job - we blew them away!

      My point is that there are going to be people in india - or wherever - who have the qualty, but are in a depressed economy. So it is good money for them at low rates, or the people are being exploited - but that is not always the case.

      In any case, software is becoming more dialed in for the novice, and people with little experience will do it themselves and think they have done a wonderful job. This ignorance is probably our biggest competition, the lost jobs we should have gotten from those that want a good job and thought they had done a good job themselves.

      Another reason to do what you can to keep spreading the examples ...

      Roger

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      • #4
        Originally posted by roger_ele
        software is becoming more dialed in for the novice, and people with little experience will do it themselves and think they have done a wonderful job. This ignorance is probably our biggest competition
        I think you hit the nail squarely on the head! Most of us can remember when we made our first corrections. Many of us probably used 2 sliders with levels, and thought it looked great. Those of us with a little darkroom experience could see there was more to be had. The general public many times can't see the subtleties, and are unwilling to pay for additional quality.

        Ed

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        • #5
          "The general public many times can't see the subtleties, and are unwilling to pay for additional quality."

          The other side of the coin Ed - Do you think the overall volume of business available may be actually on the increase due to the interest of "working on their own" ?

          ....As you know we have come full circle - home darkrooms that were so common way back when inspired the public into wanting better work in the long run and opened the way to finishing labs because they could do the work faster, better and at less cost than it could be done in the small darkrooms.

          My experience is somewhat limited here as our clients are not much into "do it yourself" projects - but the ones that we have seen are pretty disgusted with the amount of work that it takes to get a decent print from a digital image (once they have passed that initial awe that you spoke of and see their work for what it is)

          Roger - I'll agree totally - I doubt that there is any National exclusive on being able to produce shoddy work! In this case I am curious however so will give them a tough one and let you know if they really are a cut above. I'm not likely to use their services however as I now have two good retouchers on staff.

          Jim Conway

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          • #6
            Let them have their cheap labor

            I've never been one to completely buy the idea that cut-throat competition is bad. It's cheap, that's for sure!

            I am losing photography studios to the Utah (Peru labor) place and have completely given up seeking more studios. They can sell the studio a restoration for $30 (shipping and print included) for which I would charge $70 to $250. It's terrible (for me). However, the studio--already suffering losses to all the instant digital "photographers" out there--need the revenue. They in-turn sell the restoration for what I would charge them or more(!)

            There is a constant in the universe: Give and take. This is what I believe we are seeing.

            The good news is we, the retouchers, have a greater incentive to deal directly with the public. Whatever our niche market is, we need to find it, latch on tight and become 100% available and fully visible to them.

            We can use our creative processes to offer even lower rates than they might pay at the studios using third-party foreign labor--especially when it comes to VOLUME. Let the studios fleece their customers of $300 for one a restoration. As individuals dealing direct with our customers, we can offer them a flat rate or something similar for 3+ images.

            I'm no expert. I'm just a baby in the field. But so far, this is what I have considered. I'm just suggesting--like others have on this forum--that we take this as a good thing and re-tool our thinking in preparation for greater success.
            Last edited by Photo Grafix; 09-29-2004, 03:30 PM. Reason: spelling!

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