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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 18 Sep 2016 (Sunday) 13:49
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Buying an existing photography business

 
happysnappy8989
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Post edited over 2 years ago by happysnappy8989. (2 edits in all)
     
Sep 18, 2016 13:49 |  #1

Hi,

I have an opportunity to buy an existing event photography business. The brand is currently number 1 in Google rankings in various local search terms and in the past two years has generated £20,000 (per year ) worth of bookings with quite a good client base. The owner is selling his brand with everything included ( website, social media logins, client base, etc) as he is moving abroad.

The owner of the brand has asked me if I would be interested in purchasing and how much would I offer, he has a figure in mind but he is looking at offers first. what do you think would be a good valuation for this particular business?

Thanks




  
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Bassat
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Sep 18, 2016 14:15 |  #2

happysnappy8989 wrote in post #18131942 (external link)
Hi,

I have an opportunity to buy an existing event photography business. The brand is currently number 1 in Google rankings in various local search terms and in the past two years has generated £20,000 (per year ) worth of bookings with quite a good client base. The owner is selling his brand with everything included ( website, social media logins, client base, etc) as he is moving abroad.

The owner of the brand has asked me if I would be interested in purchasing and how much would I offer, he has a figure in mind but he is looking at offers first. what do you think would be a good valuation for this particular business?

Thanks

I am certainly no business man, but I don't see paying more than a few cents for it. He is leaving, gone, out of business. That leaves his customer base available for the pickin', without spending a dime. He will be making no effort to hold on to them. Why pay him to do something he is going to do whether you pay him or not?




  
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PhotosGuy
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Sep 18, 2016 14:25 |  #3

Bookings? Is that £20,000 per year PROFIT, or £20,000 per year before taxes & expenses?


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happysnappy8989
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Sep 18, 2016 14:28 as a reply to  @ PhotosGuy's post |  #4

£20,000 Profit after taxes and expenses




  
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Bassat
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Sep 18, 2016 16:17 |  #5

I am not sure of the conversion rate, but $20,000 a year is a pretty crappy business. Walmart Greeters do nearly as well, with no investment in anything.




  
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Hogloff
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Sep 18, 2016 16:38 |  #6
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Bassat wrote in post #18132128 (external link)
I am not sure of the conversion rate, but $20,000 a year is a pretty crappy business. Walmart Greeters do nearly as well, with no investment in anything.

Depending on how many events he shoots in a year. Maybe it's just a part time business shooting 5 key events a year.




  
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happysnappy8989
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Sep 18, 2016 16:59 as a reply to  @ Hogloff's post |  #7

that's pretty much the case, the guy that owns the brand runs it as his hobby (shooting 4-5 events per month) , he has got the SEO and marketting absolutely bang on and it does have plenty of potential for someone like myself to take over Full Time. The area that the brand is aimed at, is the biggest city outside London, so it is not a small area with limited potential clients.




  
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happysnappy8989
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Sep 18, 2016 17:01 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #8

It actually isn't. The brand is aimed at high end of the market charging somewhere between £100-£200 Per hour. The owner runs it as his hobby and makes £20000 from spending 10-20 hours per month.




  
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TerryMiller
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Sep 18, 2016 17:21 |  #9

I think I'm with Bassat on this one. The only assets being transferred are the website and it's accompanying current success? This was a one man show and he won't be there?

The client list is an intangible asset. How much repeat work did he get? Has he shared the last few years bookings with you? Was he gaining many new clients from the web?

Let's assume his income did come mostly from repeat assignments with some new clients coming in. Would they be just as happy with your work?

Photography's deliverables are the service as much as the actual photographs. If you can be contacted, contracted and counted on to deliver what they're looking for with the lowest combination of money and time on their part.

Does his web site include booking and time management software?

It seems to me that you'd be better off making your own name.


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Bassat
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Sep 18, 2016 17:30 |  #10

TerryMiller wrote in post #18132200 (external link)
I think I'm with Bassat on this one. The only assets being transferred are the website and it's accompanying current success? This was a one man show and he won't be there?

The client list is an intangible asset. How much repeat work did he get? Has he shared the last few years bookings with you? Was he gaining many new clients from the web?

Let's assume his income did come mostly from repeat assignments with some new clients coming in. Would they be just as happy with your work?

Photography's deliverables are the service as much as the actual photographs. If you can be contacted, contracted and counted on to deliver what they're looking for with the lowest combination of money and time on their part.

Does his web site include booking and time management software?

It seems to me that you'd be better off making your own name.

My point exactly. And you don't have to buy anything from someone else to do it.




  
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sandpiper
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Sep 18, 2016 17:32 |  #11

One thing that you have to consider is that this isn't like buying a normal business. You aren't buying a retail business, where you can continue exactly as before, selling the same products. This brand is simply the name that an individual photographer traded as, you are a different photographer, the only thing carrying over is HIS name.

Clients hire a photographer because they like their work, their shooting style etc. As soon as you take over you will be somebody else. The brand name may remain but the product (your work) is going to be different. You will need to replace all the images on the website etc., with your own work, you can't advertise your services with somebody else's work - it's false advertising. You will need to pitch to the current clients again as a different photographer, the "brand" will be worth little as they will look on a different photographer as exactly that, somebody different and you will need to stand on your own work to get you bookings. With that in mind, it is not worth spending a huge amount on this business as you are really only getting a list of potential clients that you can try and get to do business with YOU.

You will be constantly having to tell potential clients who contact you, through the website or the social media, that you are not the person they think you are, you are a different photographer to the one who used to trade under that name. Do you have enough suitable images of your own to replace all the ones currently being used to advertise the brand? Do you have the skills to rehash the website and marketing to showcase your own work?

I haven't seen your work, but if it is not up to the standard these "high end" clients expect then using somebody else's brand name won't help you much. If it is up to that standard, then you should be able to get clients under your own name, without needing to use somebody else's name and reputation to attract them. If your work is not up to standard the brand you buy will quickly die as soon as you start disappointing clients.

You will need to make it very clear to clients, as well as on the website and social media, that you are a different photographer and the original photographer is no longer available. You cannot just take over and pretend to be another photographer.




  
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Scott ­ Spellman
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Sep 18, 2016 19:03 |  #12

Buying brand of another photographer only has value to you if he agrees to make you a partner in the current business for a year, he continues to work with the existing clients and you for that year, you build and advertise a portfolio of your work together, on the website, and then he retires from the business after introducing you to all the existing clients. Anything else is simply false advertising.




  
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Sep 18, 2016 19:14 |  #13

Other things that are relevant: What would you be buying besides a customer list? Is equipment included? Have the assets for sale been enumerated and appraised? Does the seller intend to recommend you to his existing customers?


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Sep 18, 2016 21:54 |  #14

Valuing a business can be quite complex. I would visit a business focused forum rather than a photography focused one. There are also lots of interesting ways to buy companies (such as a down payment and further payments over time to reduce initial outlay). Check out http://www.ukbusinessf​orums.co.uk/ (external link)

Having said that I tend to agree with the above comments. A one man photography business (as opposed to a massive team based operation) is mainly about the founder/operator. A list of clients/contacts isn't just a list of names. It is a list of people who know you and will take your calls. Otherwise it is just a list of prospects.


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F2Bthere
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Sep 18, 2016 22:11 |  #15

Good advice above. Important to get all assets "on the table" to determine a fair price.

If he is turning over the business very quickly, it's worth far less (and his motivation to close will be higher). If he will be around and you can work a good transfer of relationships and knowledge, that is worth more.

The business is worth nothing to him now. If he started from scratch he could do it again because he has made and corrected the mistakes and found a path he can follow. But without the knowledge and experience....

The biggest value is understanding how to deliver what the client expects.

I hear others concern about your ability to deliver the photographic product, but this concerns me less. As long as you are capable of competent work (I presume you have done that assessment), you will probably be fine.

Your ability to deliver the complete experience counts for much more. How are your people skills is a more relevant question.

The business of photography is 80% business and 20% photography, much as we might wish it were the other way.


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