Oh dear, it’s started happening!
Brides, would you let a plumber do your hair or make up on your wedding day?
I was recently in discussion with Bride who’d approached us a short while ago, along with several photo booth operators, regarding a quote for our booth at her wedding. We were as I expected not anywhere near the cheapest quote she got.
The reason for re-contacting us, well quite simply, despite several assurances from the outset regarding the price the nearer they got to the date, the less seemed to be included. To add insult to injury the provider was now asking for more as the had failed to consider the continued rise in fuel prices.
Whilst I sympathised with the bride and her predicament, on this occasion it would have cost her more to cancel than to engage another, I advised her the most practical solution was to stump up for the extras so as not to also incur the expense of losing her deposit.
There are clearly 2 types of photo booth operator, professional and unprofessional, generally from experience the full time operators and the part-time chancers. Sadly as the industry is in it’s infancy, there are a lot of chancers popping up, who believe all they have to do is offer a ridiculously low price to win the business. The downside is often it’s the buyer that loses out. The part-timers have less to lose, it’s a hobby business. The excited bride is inconsequential to them.
I took the opportunity to discuss this a lot further with the bride concerned, who went on to explain that we were one of a couple at the higher price end and there was another couple of the lower end, one of which she’d chosen. On furnishing me with all the names, I later managed a small amount of research on each company, and as I suspected, those at the higher end did this for a full time living and those at the other weren’t. To make matters worse, the part-timers had simply ‘bought’ a booth from a supplier, many of which operated with either a webcam or single standard light bulb. You may as well use the camera in your mobile phone! You would not believe the silly questions we get asked from other operators on issues they’ve got, both here and abroad.
The same has been said many times of photographers and the discussion forums are full of woeful brides who’s memories are ruined by ‘Uncle Bob’ who’s got a nice camera or Cousin Joe’s best mates, mate!
So our advice is simple, the old saying ‘Buyer Beware’ applies as much to hiring a photo booth as it does to any consumer item and whilst the cost of weddings for example can easily spiral out of control, it’s always better to work with a professional.
Finally, remember when you are given a quote by a professional, it is just that a ‘quote’, so don’t be frightened to negotiate and ask, whilst your unlikely to get the bargain offered by the chancers, many are open to discussing packages and options to achieve compromise that might be more suitable.