In a recent post, I extolled the virtues of buying a photography franchise as one of the best ways to start a photography business.
You can catch up on all the benefits of a franchise in that article, but the short version is that you get an established name, a proven strategy for success, and support from the franchise for things like marketing your new business.
And though there are plenty of other benefits of going with a franchise, there are some pitfalls that need to be avoided at all costs.
Let's take a closer look at four mistakes photographers make when buying a franchise.
Not Doing Your Due Diligence
Not all photography franchises are built alike.
By that I mean a couple of things.
First, some franchises, like Spoiled Rotten Photography, are wildly successful, giving you the opportunity to hit the ground running once you buy in.
That means that you're more likely to see success sooner rather than later because of the work that the franchisor has already done.
But, other photography franchises might not have that same kind of established reputation and business model, making it much more difficult for you to make a successful foray into the photography business.
Second, franchises are a lot like people in that there are values that drive the business, just like you're driven by personal and professional values.
If the company has a solid mission like providing an excellent product, respecting each client, advocating for others in the community, and doing so with integrity, then you're in good shape.
But if the franchise is all about money and getting as many people into the franchise as possible, you might find difficulties ahead.
The point here is that it's necessary to do some research on the franchises you're interested in pursuing.
Don't just talk to the folks at the franchise headquarters; talk to franchisees, their clients, and other partners to get a feel for what the franchise is all about and whether it aligns with what you want for your future.
Not Thinking of the Long-Term Investment
Though opting for a photography franchise can certainly be an easy and effective way to get your photography business off the ground, it isn't a one-time thing.
By that I mean that you don't pay a one-time fee, get all the benefits of the franchise, and then say "see you later!"
For example, you still have to pay for things like rent, insurance, gear, commission, and royalties. All of that cuts into your bottom line.
Where some franchises might only offer you about 50 percent of your gross sales, others offer much more - along the lines of 65 percent.
Given that most home studios only operate around the 45 percent mark, that represents a significant increase in money in your pocket.
Again, knowing this sort of information comes from doing your due diligence and will help you make the best franchise decision.
There's also a significant time investment involved in being a franchisee.
You might benefit from things like an established business plan, accounting software, and ongoing training, but you're still running a business.
That means long hours, long days, working on weekends, and doing things that aren't all that fun, like chasing clients for non-payment, returning emails, and other business-related tasks.
Thinking You'll Be Totally Independent
Remember - the benefit of a franchise is that you're buying into an established system.
That means that branding is done a certain way, marketing is handled for you, the accounting software and website design are handled on your behalf, and so on.
That makes it much easier to get your business off the ground, but it also means that you give up a little control over those things.
Some franchisees find this difficult as they want to do some things their own way instead of trusting the franchise system to work on their behalf. Therein is the mistake.
If the franchise is well-established with a solid reputation for providing excellent photography services, why would you not trust that it will work for you?
It's like asking an expert for advice and then totally ignoring it. It just doesn't make sense!
If you want to get the most out of being a franchisee, use the franchise and its broad resources to your benefit.
Trying to Expand Too Quickly
One of the great things about joining a franchise is that you can start one, two, three, or many more separate franchises.
Thinking about building a photography empire is certainly a nice thought, and it's something that's possible with a franchise.
But a common mistake for franchisees is that they try to expand too quickly.
In other words, even though much of the system is set up for you and the franchise will train you, there is still a learning curve.
Rather than diving into multiple businesses too soon, take the time to master the ins and outs of the franchise to ensure the success of your first business.
Only then should you think about expanding because you'll be comfortable with the system and it will be far easier to implement it in another location.
Wrapping It Up
Starting a photography business is no small task, even when you do so by buying a franchise.
There are plenty of mistakes to be made, that's for sure. But if you go into your franchise agreement as an informed consumer, you'll come out the other side in much better shape with a business that's ready to go from day one!
That's especially true if you partner with a franchise like Spoiled Rotten Photography.
These guys and gals do it the right way, putting the customer and the quality of the product above all else.
For well over a decade, this company has been providing parents with adorable photos of their kids. That means they have the proven track record of success you want your franchisor to have.
You get a business plan, ongoing support and training for things like composition, post-processing, customer relations, and marketing, and face no minimum quarterly purchases like other franchises require.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg...
If you want to get a photography business off the ground that's built for long-term success, consider partnering with Spoiled Rotten Photography. Learn more about Spoiled Rotten in the video above.