At HootBooth®, we find that many of our customers are new to the event rental business so we wanted to provide a helpful overview of how to start renting out photo booths as a side hustle or full time event rental business. Photo booths are popular and they are in most parties and events today including weddings, bar mitzvahs, festivals and even corporate events. Photo Booths are so popular that it is now possible to ditch that office or retail job and make incredible money doing something that is fun and that requires less than $2,500 (on average) to start your own photo booth rental business - even as a side gig. Our iPad-based Photo Booths range from $1500 - $4500 and our DSLR Photo Booths range from $6500-$9000.)
The trend of having photo booths at parties such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, holiday events, corporate parties and brand activation events continues to grow.
Just as with any business, there are many facets to learn and the best way to build a successful business is to start with a business plan. This will be your “roadmap” to the business direction, opportunities and overall business scope. Your plan should include business goals and targets so that you are working toward a measured baseline.
The basics to starting a photo booth business can be divided into five parts:
1. Photo Booth Hardware & Software
2. Photo Booth Business Model
3. How To Market Your Photo Booth Rental Business
4. Photo Booth Rental Prices
5. Financing Your New Photo Booth
6. Secret Tips!
Photo booths are made up of a camera, a light source, a touchscreen display, a PC or tablet, photo booth software a light source and a dye-sublimation photo printer (unless you are purchasing a 'social media photo booth' which we will cover later.) A photo booth requires each component to seamlessly work together. There are two (2) categories of photo booths in the market today - iPad Photo Booths and DSLR photo booths. Both types of photo booths are great options - it just depends which features are most important to you.
For example, the HootBooth® DSLR EventPRO photo booths, our exclusive line of DSLR photo booths, include a professional Canon camera (24MP), a professional ring light flash, an optional integrated printer and advanced photo features such as super fast photo prints, video, SloMo (slow motion video), animated green screen, social media sharing and more. DSLR-based photo booths are packed with advanced features and technology including our new Augmented Reality photo booth with integrated Snapchat Lenses filters.
The HootBooth® ILLUMIN8 photo booths are our line of photo booths that specialize in social media sharing. You may hear this type of photo booth referred to as a 'social media photo booth' or 'digital photo booth.' This line of photo booths utilize an Apple iPad's integrated camera, computing power and touch screen display. Because of this, they are lower in cost than 'DSLR photo booths.' Our line of ILLUMIN8 photo booths include a tablet mount for the iPad, a professional dimmable ring lights and our innovative photo booth software. Our software produces super cool photo features including animated GIFs, Boomerang photos, Burst photos and single shot photos that can include face-tracking and face-altering filters and digital props. The photos can be shared on all social media platforms including Instagram and Snapchat!
However, our new HootBooth® ILLUMIN8 MAX 12.9" iPad Photo Booth With Wireless Printing and HootBooth ILLUMIN8+ iPad Photo Booth With Wireless Printing blur the line between DSLR & iPad-based photo booths. We've integrated a wireless print server and professional dye-sublimation photo printer into these two photo booth models to bring you the best of both worlds. With this product, the photo booth prints photos wirelessly to the included dye-sublimation printing kiosk meaning no ugly cables to mess with or trip on!
Some photo booth manufacturers supply the photo booth hardware as part of your franchise start-up cost. Be wary of these - you will pay a lot of money up front and an ongoing portion of your revenue with the photo booth company. The other option is to buy a HootBooth® photo booth that does not require any franchise fees - just buy the photo booth and you never have to share your hard-earned revenue with anyone else. And with the average photo booth gig netting between $800-$1000 per event, your HootBooth® Photo Booth can be payed between 2 - 7 events.
The photo booth client who is interested in renting a photo booth can be found any number of ways but there are 4 tops ways to market your new photo booth rental business:
(1) Network with other event and wedding professionals.
(2) Offer free photo booth services for wedding venues' open houses. This way you can meet prospective clients and each photo taken in your photo booth is just like handing someone your business card!
(3) Be sure to have a great website with good photos, prominently displayed pricing and an informative Contact page with your phone number, email and links to your social media profiles.
(4) Post frequently to social media especially during and right after an event. Also posting specials or new service offerings are great topics to post on your profiles.
Getting your name out as a new business is super important. You'll want to get your website launched as soon as possible so customers can start finding you in Google search. Your website should have photos of customers using your photo booth and provide examples of what photo booth features you offer. You can usually charge extra for advanced features such as Augmented Reality, SloMo, video, photo printing and green screen. In our experience, it's really important that you list your pricing on your website. Clients today value transparency plus the easier you make it for prospective clients, the better your chances of gaining new customers. Also, make sure that your customers can contact you in various ways, such as through direct message on various social media platforms. Since weddings and corporate events are such an important ongoing referral base for photo booth gigs, the best way to get a constant stream of business is to network with wedding coordinators and corporate event planners in your geographic area. There are many national event professional organizations with local chapters including ILEA, International Live Event Association and NACE, National Association for Catering and Events.
The average continental US photo booth gig for a 3-4 hour event is between $700-$1,500. This does vary some by region so be sure to do some research of local competitors to get a good understanding of the prices you will need to charge. It’s a good idea to be priced competitively, but undercutting pricing is not the best business practice for a sustainable, profitable business. Remember, there are hard costs and they should be outlined in your business plan. Those hard costs go beyond the cost of the hardware and prints supplies. There is the photo booth attendant (this may be the owner at first), gas, website hosting fees and credit card fees which all add up. You'll also need to invest in good backdrop and photo booth props.
It can be hard to find financing for a new photo booth business / startup. While you can apply for a loan at your bank, we've found that the easiest, quickest financing is through Klarna, which is available as a payment option at checkout! Klarna offers up to 36 months of financing for orders up to $10,000. You can get an instant, 2-step credit decision when you choose the 'Pay With Klarna' payment option at checkout. Once you've been approved, you can manage your credit directly in the Klarna app,
Finding the best and lowest price props for your new photo booth business
Visit your local party supply store or Halloween Pop-Up store the day after Halloween and stock up on a year's worth of photo booth props the week after Halloween. You'll save up to 50% off and have fresh props to use at your events all year.
You may need to purchase business liability insurance
Some venues require that a photo booth rental company carry business liability insurance. Contact your local insurance company or a national company such as The Hartfordthat specializes in this type of insurance.
Remember that people who throw parties love photo booths and there is plenty of business for new photo booth companies!