Can you really get a photo booth for $199?

I did a google search for “photo booth” and I must have seen at least 3 ads that said “photo booth for $199”.  This made me realize I must write a post explaining the dangers of these types of bait and switch tactics.

  1. Read the fine print.   “$199 per hr.”    What does that mean?  If you get a photo booth for 3 hours it will be $600. Yes it sounds better than saying 3 hour package for $550 or $600 but it’s the same cost. It’s a bait to get you to call them.

One of the links took me to Groupon. wow….Now Groupon is filled with even worse tactics.  Some are funny and some…..well let’s look into it.

First the funny!

What in the world is that? That entire section of “digital photography has nothing to do with photo booth…..unbelievable!
Now to “The fine print” – “valid only within 30 miles of zip code DFW Airport” – What is that? oh…”extra fee of $1 per mile outside service area”.
No reference of what is included in the package.  The amazing part is that 7 – yes 7 people bought this package. We wish them well.

Now here’s another example: I looked into this because this one had 24 reviews and almost five stars.

86% off regular price! $105 for 2 hr. photo booth rental, $135 for 3 hours and $165 for 4 hours!

OK….so we must be doing something wrong if this is really the case.  Below are some facts, I will not insult your intelligence so you can decide for yourself.

1. I did a google search for this company but NOT a single google review….strange.

2. I went to their website and  it stated

With over 16 years of experience in the industry our goal is to make your event planning process a amazing experience. Our team of specialized coordinators will build packages that will fit your exact needs and your budget. We understand the finances and time commitment that goes into planning any type of event. Ensuring your event is full of fun and memories is our top priority!”

So this is tricky. If you noticed they have been in business for 16 years but no reviews, no event photos, no references outside of what’s on groupon. Then I realized they never mentioned photo booth in this statement, well that’s because they are not just a photo booth company. They are a bounce house company that has a photo booth on the side. If you don’t read between the lines this statement is designed to make you think they are experienced in photo booth industry.

So what’s wrong with $165 dollars for 4 hours.  Without going into capital cost, depreciation schedule, hardware replacement cycle and all….let me just focus on event operation cost.
a. For a 4 hour event a staff will have to be paid for travel time, setup time, event time and tear-down time.  We have done 1000’s of photo booth activation and I can tell you from experience it will take ~1 hour average for travel, 1 hour for setup, 4 hour event, 30 mins to breakdown and remove the equipment. In our industry photo booth operators are paid by “event hours” or “package”. A four hour package will cost $140 to $175 for staff cost.

b. Print cost – depending on the printer that’s used it can cost anywhere from .14 to .19 cents per print. Again that’s just paper and media. No capital cost. So let’s assume about $75 in consumables for this event.

Without going into any other cost such as – props, backdrops, insurance, redundancy, etc.   their $165 for 4 hours is below cost.
Now let’s take our the 60% Groupon keeps from their booking.  $165 – $99 = $66.  This company will get $66 dollars for a 4 hour event.

Math just does not add up. Anyone can add a stock picture to their ad and make you think you are getting quality for $165 dollars but ask your self:

Can a company survive (forget 16 years) if they gave away their product and service?
So what’s the catch….. bait and switch.

We get at least 1 call every week from clients that say “our photo booth company canceled on us”.  When you are planning your special event make sure you select the proper vendors. There are many reputable photo booth companies in Dallas. Make sure you ask a lot of questions. If you review our FAQs we have a many questions answered and you will get an idea of what to ask other companies.  Regardless of who you choose, our office staff are available to answer any questions you might have. We wish you all the best in finding the right provider to meet your requirements.

Thank you,

RPB Office Team.

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