How often do we hear the phrase:-
“It’s cheap there’s a reason for it?” or “You get what you pay for” or “too good to be true”?
If you’re buying a consumable product off a supermarket shelf, perhaps there is a benefit, after all one tin of beans is pretty much like another, isn’t it? I’m actually willing to bet you disagree and have your favourite, I’m also willing to bet that it’s going to be a ‘brand’ and that while you will consume and put up with ‘a tin’ you would 99 times out of a 100 prefer that branded option! (wink).
But what if you were extending your house? How often do you hear of problems on the consumer magazine disaster programmes on the TV. What appears to be the common theme or thread, unrealistic pricing or the “jack of all trades master of none”. We sit their on our sofa’s almost stunned that gullible home owner would in this day and age fall for it!
And yet, when it comes to planning an important event in our own lives, this is exactly what we see, weekly. Couples or family members paying for services and items for their wedding at ridiculous prices or from one multi-vendor.
In recent weeks we’ve had hundreds of couples let down by a single vendor, selling their services via the coupons sites and direct at prices beyond belief. I can only speak of our industry, photo booths, even selling direct £149 for a booking is well below cost price if it’s on the door step, these guys were going all over the place. Worse still many of those booking came via coupon sites, who take months to pay and when they do take 50% average cut, so £75 for a photo booth booking? And people believed it would turn up!
Worse still they took the internet afterwards and writing to every supplier they could find, demanding a similar replacement, and couldn’t grasp that in reality the typical average price for genuine professional was £450, clearly a significant difference.
Now while I could argue that photo booth is essential and everyone should have one, I would be naturally biased. Reality is we are in fact a ‘nice to have’ add on, great in that we are the only product in this category, ‘nice to have’ that produces and creates lifetime memories but really not essential.
“Jack of all trades”
The other issue that appeared prominent this week was the multi-vendor, these are the operators who will supply any and all of your event needs. There are some who have a list of suppliers they call on, or better known as a ‘list of experts’ and you can tell by how much they charge (price even has a bearing here). If they lump it in and say take X,Y&Z at the same time I can do it for HUGE%off, it’s just another product to them in the lock-up.
In this instance, the Bride concerned, bought on impulse after visiting said vendor to acquire one element of her wedding, mentioned her further requirements, yet to book in conversation and had them offered as a package. So without having done any further research, and having no way of knowing correct prices, accepted the deal. AND whilst the vendor did at least turn up, they may as well not have!
Lets be absolutely clear, turning up with a sweet stall/candy cart or a few chair covers is not complicated. Even some electrical stuff fairly straightforward – uplights, twinkly dancefloors, bouncy castles etc, technically not that much involved – they may have other issues for health & safety but operationally simple.
Sadly the same CANNOT be said for photo booths, I’ll repeat that the same CANNOT be said for photo booths. It’s like asking your mate who’s just bought a ‘snazzy’ new camera from Argos to do the wedding photography. You know 95% aren’t going to be right. You know your taking a gamble, but would you be happy if only 5% of the sweet cart was right on the night or the DJ only played 5% of the songs?
Now the manufacturers of photo booths will tell you, if you enquire to buy one, they are ‘plug’n’play’, anyone can use them (at least most manufacturers, as I will not!). They are in fact complicated buts of kit requiring technical skills in several areas, but mostly in photography! I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve gotten panicked calls from operators, not one of ours or using the software we recommend, but have a 3rd party product requiring urgent help at an event they are being paid to attend and clearly have no idea, a frightening thought!
Many go from week to week turning up at events using the photo booth and believing it’s working OK when in fact it isn’t?
That’s exactly what happened here with our request for help this week, this time from a Bride. Looking at the photos and subsequent albums in the offending operators facebook page, most of their former clients should have and would be entitled to a refund and they should stop including this package in their portfolio. It will only take a more vindictive client to start a social media campaign against the operator, resulting in an impact on other parts of their business. They shouldn’t be taking the risk but my WARNING is to you as a consumer, don’t do it yourself.
I’m happy to say our intervention, assisted in her getting her money back, without the need for further action!
Choose a photographer
Choose a decor specialist
Choose a DJ
Choose a photo booth operator and so on – all separate and all experts within their own fields!
Here you go, the bit you’ve all been waiting to see, the disaster, now I have removed the company name and other identifying marks, which by the number of black redaction’s, clearly they felt needed to ‘massive’ in the Brides album??
So no need to ‘Get Dom’, put in a call for ‘Matt Allwright’ or rope in ‘Watchdog’, just think about the product or service you require and hire a professional, who sadly will cost a few quid more initially than an amateur, but will be well worth it come the day.
Just for comparison, this is how a green screen photo booth image should look, clear bright, sharp images with the background clear, our logo appears because this was our own publicity session.and in close up