William Epps is the owner of Eazy Rentals. Started in 2010 out of Baltimore, Maryland, Epps business provides all aspects of entertainment including photo booths, DJ services, bounce houses and overall needs for events. Having no prior photography experience, Epps decided to use photo booths just two years ago and hasn’t looked back since. His business now does over a hundred events a year with photo booths serving as a catalyst for his entertainment endeavors.
Putting together the right set of tools is a crucial first step for photo boothers. With today’s technology, anyone can set up a photo booth with a camera/iPad, computer, and stand. William says one of his biggest regrets is going out and buying an expensive booth right off the bat. “If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen to start with a DIY booth.” He explains, “You need to build up to the big time booths, sit on your investment and evaluate your decisions from there.” Going through your first couple of events allows you to get a feel for how you want to present your booth and run your business. With each boother offering different experiences, it’s hard to develop an identity when you have yet to run an event. Start with the simple setup, establish the experiences you want to deliver, and then shape the booth around your vision.
Getting those first customers is one of the toughest hurdles to get over when starting a business. In an industry where references are the name of the game, how does one find business without ever having done an event? William has a solution for this: “Donate your services,” he says,“ People need to experience you. Even if you’re not being paid, you are still showcasing your business.” This method presents boundless opportunities and your donation bears many fruits. Not only are you going out of your way to help a client, now you have the platform to showcase your booth to other potential clients. This puts you in a position to experience hands-on learning like finding out what clients are looking for, how events are handled, and most importantly, what experiences bring the most business.
William keeps it short and sweet when talking about the first steps in marketing your booth, “Market yourself.” He talks about immersing himself in the industry itself. “Attending conventions and developing relationships is what elevates you over that wall,” he explains. Becoming a part of the community is a necessity. With everything you do, learn from those who have come before you. Joining Social Media groups can be a huge asset as well because the information that flows in and out of these platforms acts as a digital encyclopedia and a meet up for the best of the best in the industry. Reach out! One of the worst things you can do is isolate yourself.
I asked William what the hardest part about starting a photo booth business was, and his response was something that even the most experienced boothers have a problem with. “Getting people to understand the value.” However, his counter was what resonated with me the most, “We are creating memories, and that’s value that lasts a lifetime.“ The mentality that you provide along with your booth is your most important tool. No tool can generate compassion and no software can create enjoyment; that’s what makes this industry so exciting. For it is the people that drive these photo booths. So go out and drive yours.