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Why a Completion Schedule is Important to Your Business

One of the first steps of business is to initiate policies and implement these through client education and contracts.  A sticking point can occur when clients are not fully and appropriately educated about the completion timeline of their galleries and/or products.  We can’t really blame them though right? I mean come on, they spent hours finding outfits, preparing, shooting and now they are super anxious to see the product.  While for us, as photographers, we know how much goes into processing, designing and ordering of portraits – we can’t blame our clients for not knowing and understanding if we don’t tell them!  To add onto that every photographer uses a different lab with varying turn around times.  Just because your client may have used another professional photographer before does not mean you can assume that they “get” how long turn around may be.  It is your job to inform.  So that being said, let’s take a look at the specific important details of completion schedules to be relayed to client.

  • Delivery of Gallery or In Person Ordering – Let the client know up front at inquiry and booking how long the turn around on gallery or in person ordering session will be.
  • Approval of Client- In order to eliminate frustration of clients and lost money on goods the client should approve all designs and details (for example, depth of canvas, mounted prints or not, etc.).  This also gives you an opportunity to sell upgrades of products.
  • Turn Around of Specific Products – Another way to avoid frustration in the client is to let them know that not all products may have the same turn around time.  The best course of action is to forewarn this but reiterate the time line upon order.  It can help to reduce confusion and cohesively bring together the experience by quoting a timeline for the enter order based on the product that will take the longest from the order.  For example, if prints and an album are ordered, quote the length of time it will take for custom design and album printing.
  • Advanced Notice – Ask your clients to give you advanced notice if they are wanting to have these products for a specific event/reason.  This is a great customer service tip to open the door to communication and interest in what your client will be using the resulting portraits for.
  • Expedited Fees  – Always quote that there will be expedited fees to compensate you for any fees you may have to pay to the lab for expedited shipping and printing.
  • Warn The Client – (This is a good contractual provision) Warn the client that delays may result from the processing lab during high volume times, such as around Christmas. This may add a little fuel to fire to get them to moving on ordering their final products.

These are just some basics to get you started on client education, safeguarding the business relationship so that both parties are happy and to make you more efficient at the processing and ordering time.

rachel800x800About Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke, owner of The Law Tog, has many hats including author, photographer, lawyer, business consultant, social media marketing strategist, just to name a few. She is currently helping creative industry professionals all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and marketing plans through various mediums of consulting resources and legal direction.

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