Can you really get a photo booth for $199?

I did a google search for “photo booth,” and I must have seen at least three 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?  Getting a photo booth for 3 hours will cost $600. Yes, it sounds better than saying a 3-hour package for $550 or $600, but it’s the exact 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 the 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 to what is included in the package.  The significant part is that 7 – yes, seven people bought this package. We wish them well.

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

86% off the regular price! $105 for a two-hour photo booth rental, $135 for 3 hours, and $165 for 4 hours!

OK….so we must be doing something wrong if this is 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 an 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 to planning any 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 have no reviews, event photos, or references outside of what’s on Groupon. Then I realized they never mentioned photo booth in this statement; that’s because they are not just a photo booth company. They are a bounce house company with 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 the photo booth industry.

So what’s wrong with $165 for 4 hours?  Without going into capital cost, depreciation schedule, hardware replacement cycle, and all….let me focus on event operation cost.
a. For a 4-hour event, staff will have to be paid for travel time, setup time, event time, and tear-down time.  We have done thousands of photo booth activation, and I can tell you from experience it will take ~1 hour on average for travel, 1 hour for setup, 4-hour event, and 30 mins to break down 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 costs.

b. Print cost – depending on the printer 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 other costs such as – props, backdrops, insurance, redundancy, etc.,   their $165 for 4 hours is below the price.
Now let’s take the 60% Groupon keeps from their booking.  $165 – $99 = $66.  This company will get $66 for a 4-hour event.

The 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 yourself:

Can a company survive (forget 16 years) if it gives away its product and service?
So what’s the catch….. bait, and switch.

We get at least one call weekly from clients saying, “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 many questions answered, and you will get an idea of what to ask other companies.  Regardless of who you choose, our office staff is 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.

Five Reasons Why a Photo Booth is a Hit at Graduation Parties

One of the essential times in your life is your graduation, which signifies the beginning of a new life out in the working world. Whether it’s for high school graduation or a college/university graduation, here are five reasons why you should include a photo booth at your celebration.

1) Photo booths bring people together. What other source of entertainment allows your grandma and former roommate to join forces and wear matching emoji hats? You can encourage both sides of the family to get in on the same frames-any old family grudges will be buried under all the feather boas! 

2) Photo booths are appropriate for parties of all shapes and sizes! They’re pretty compact so whether you’re having a substantial crazy bash or a small gathering for friends and family, be sure your booth will fit any venue and crowd. At Red Photo Booths, we have booth options to match any event size or medium. Photo booths are also great for capturing fantastic group shots without needing a professional photographer. 

3) Not every person has the audacity for karaoke, but even the quietest guests shouldn’t have a problem popping in the booth for a few photos. Kiosks provide an all-purpose, all-ages entertainment that won’t leave anyone feeling left out or awkward.

4) You can enjoy various party games with a photo booth, including face-making contests or “guess the guest.” Props and costumes can add much-needed pizzazz to liven up graduation robes and formal wear. The fun is endless when you can be creative, and photo booths encourage imagination. 

5) Sharing memories for the rest of your life – the most significant appeal for having a photo booth at a graduation party is the photos. Whether your keepsakes are hanging in your college dorm or an album you’ll share with your future grandkids, be sure they’ll forever remind you of the fun you had at your Dallas graduation when you book a photo booth

Since we opened our doors, we’ve done hundreds of different events across the DFW Metroplex. Having been voted the #1 Photo Booth Company across Dallas, and Fort Worth, for two years, we know what it takes to create a great event and keep our customers satisfied. If you want to rent a photo booth for your Dallas graduation party, contact us or call us at 469-751-7331.

How you can get a photo booth for free at your school or non profit event

Over the years, Red Photo Booths has worked with many Schools, PTAs, and non-profit organizations across the Dallas Metroplex. We know these organizations sometimes have budget limitations, so we offer them discounts. Our management team got together and brainstormed an idea, we tested it, and it worked every time, so allow us to share that with you.

Everyone loves photo booths. They like capturing that special moment with their friends, family, and co-workers. What cell phone cameras can’t do is that photo booths can provide instant printouts of their pictures….” the photo strips.”

At Red Photo Booths, we custom design the print templates for every event. We have the best graphics designers in the industry. Here are some samples of our work – Custom Photo Strips.  As you can see, our designers can incorporate logos, text, and other graphics into their designs.

Who would be a good candidate for a photo booth sponsor for your event?

The answer to that would be any small business owner, realtor, really any local business in your area that wants to promote and market to a targeted area. Realtors and small business owners are at the top of the chart in our market test cases.

How does this work & why do sponsors like this idea?
Because Red Photo Booths can custom design the templates, we can take their logo, contact information, etc., and have it printed on every photo strip along with the guest’s pictures.  They are used to passing out hundreds of business cards, and they know most, if not all, of those cards will end up in a trash can. Ask yourself (and ask them) when the last time you threw away anything with your photo on it was. It doesn’t happen…even if we don’t like the picture, we rarely throw it away.

As part of our packages, we offer unlimited prints. That means if there are ten people in the photo, we print ten copies. By the end of the event, we would have printed hundreds of photo strips with sponsor information. These photo strips will end up on an office or cube wall, in a book as a bookmark, refrigerator, or in a locker. Remind sponsor their contact information will be accessible for a long time, unlike a discarded business card.  Last but not least, it’s targeted marketing.  For example, most people that attend a school function are students and families that live in a specific market area.

Photo booth sponsorship is low-cost marketing that could yield good returns on their marketing dollars. It may also have tax benefits for them depending on if their donations are to a non for profit organization. Most importantly, it builds their brand, and supporting their community is always a good cause. It’s a win for you and a win for your sponsor!

Please check your organization and school’s policy about soliciting sponsors.

We want you to be able to have our photo booth at your next event. We hope this will help you find a sponsor so you can enjoy the photo booth experience for free!  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can provide you with more information and any questions. We look forward to speaking with you.

RPB Team

Four Key Things to Consider When Selecting Your Photo Booth Vendor

With so many different photo booth styles (of varied quality) and many companies in the market, it can be very daunting for customers to pick the right photo booth vendor. To add to the confusion, the prices can range from “dirt cheap” to “very expensive”….what’s the difference? What should you look for? How do you know who to trust and who to book for your very special day?

Unfortunately, I read an online review for a photo booth vendor that bothered me and compelled me to write this post. You can find that review here.

Any vendor involved in the event business must understand and follow this cardinal rule: There is no do-over or second chance. We must do all we can to be perfect at every event. We can’t come back the next day to finish the job. We must understand that our brides and hosts planned their special day for weeks or months. They have trusted us to be a small part of their celebration, and we must take that responsibility seriously.

Using my experience and knowledge about the photo booth business, I would like to list a few things for you to consider:

(1) Research the company

  • Are they a business or “one man/machine” working from home? 
    • Go to their website and see if they have an office address
    • Call their office number and see if you get an answer or an immediate callback
    • Do they have accreditation, such as BBB (Better Business Bureau)?
  • Does the company have a good reputation?
    • Read “verified” reviews online. Look at reviews from multiple sources such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, Wedding Wire, etc. Pick any review they may have posted and see if you can speak to that former client. No one will have excellent 5-star reviews but look at the trend. Look into their accreditation, such as BBB, for any complaints
  • Do they carry liability and professional insurance?
    • All professional companies should carry the required insurance policies. Many of your venues will require that all vendors are insured, so ask this question early on.

(2) Research the size of the company

How many photo booths do they have in inventory? How many staff members do they have? How many events do they average per week? Per month?

Most people do not consider this, but it’s crucial. Photo booths (equipment) are constantly being moved from location to location. Things can go wrong from time to time. If you are dealing with a “one man / one machine” company, they may be unable to correct a problem if/when an issue arises. If there are only 1 or 2 photo booth operators, you have to consider the possibility of an emergency or illness.

Often you are planning your event weeks/months. So to reduce the risk of something going wrong, work with a company with systems in place and a large team of operators. Also, please find out how many events they do per week or month. Most reputable photo booth vendors will average at least five weekly events. Good companies will plan for emergencies, so ask them how they handle unexpected issues during an event.

(3) Quality – Ask to see proof

Most reputable photo booth companies will have an online gallery of their events. From the event albums, you should be able to tell the quality of their photos, what type of props they use, how many events they have, etc. If you come across a company that is afraid to showcase its photos, then I would be careful about their quality.

Homemade photo booth – not a professional option.[/caption]

Find out if they custom design their photo booth strips from scratch. Many photo booth vendors will change the “writing” on a strip but use the same template over and over.

Ask for photos of their booth, enclosure, props, and event setups. If they can’t show it, then proceed with caution. Additionally, you should ensure they have an actual factory-made booth rather than a “homemade” system. Find out if they use a webcam to take pictures or a real DSLR camera with flash (here’s a hint – a webcam is not a good option).

Ask them if you can come to their showroom and see the system if needed. Another option is to attend one of their events before yours and see them in action.

(4) Process and Price

Please find out about their deposit requirements. All good companies will require a small deposit, but you should never have to pay in total upfront. Ensure there are no hidden charges such as travel, setup or breakdown, downtime, service charges, taxes, etc. Reputable companies will have an all-inclusive flat rate.

It would help if you never had to meet someone at the corner store to sign a contract or give a deposit. Professional companies will offer payments and event coordination online.

So what did we learn?

Please know who you are hiring for your special event. You already have enough to deal with, so there’s no need to add additional stress from a shaky photo booth vendor. You should be able to get answers to everything I mentioned above with one phone call to the company and a few minutes online. One more thing – save yourself the headache, and don’t go with “Groupon Deals.” Consider this: if a photo booth company has to be on Groupon, then they are desperate for business….why? Saving $100 is not worth the headache. The people that can do a 3-hour event for $299 don’t have the overhead to run a professional business, so you may not get professional service.

Bottom line: Ask a lot of questions. Demand answers and proof. If they can’t provide it, move on to the next vendor.