Upload & Sell: Off
My assistant uses Miller's Pro Lab Remote Suite for order uploads. It's the best system we have found.
It's an incredibly fast and efficient program for teams and individuals.
Once you set up your packages, you select the league or school's set of custom templates, you type in the player's name and team and then you can select your individual photos per item ( buttons, wallets, fridge mags, trader cards...etc.) and crop and adjust accordingly.
As an example...our package B includes one 5 x 7 individual, one 5 x 7 team, 8 die-cut wallets, two 3 1/2" photo buttons and a fridge mag. When this package is selected for a particular school or youth league, all of the photo items in that package appear with custom graphics on one page with the player's name in position.
You simply select the photos for that player and drop them into position and crop as you see fit and then hit finish and go to the next player.
The photo products for each team order come back shrink-wrapped in their own package ( usually in one day via overnight Fedex at no charge ) so they are easy to sort and place in envelopes for delivery to schools, coaches booster club or youth league rep.
My assistant has edited, uploaded, packaged and delivered some teams of 20 players or less in two days. You talk about happy customers!
In a pinch, I had to edit and upload two junior high teams of about 50 players on a Monday morning and the photo products were back in my hands the next morning by 11:00 AM, ready to be packaged and delivered to the school the next day.
We tried the complete order fulfillment services offered by a few nationally-known photo labs and the results were unsatisfactory and in some cases...a first class nightmare and disaster. At 50-60% of your total order amount, that wouldn't be so bad...if everything was perfect...but it wasn't.
The biggest flub occurred when one of the labs was to mail out the completed photo packages of a 300 member youth football and cheerleading league to each household. That sounded like a pretty good deal.
Unbeknownst to me, they chose a discount mailing service that sent the completed orders to a U.S. Postal routing center where all parcels were placed in their own bin.
Problem was, the individual orders didn't go out until that bin was full and that took three weeks of orders from my studio. I had clients calling me and asking where their pictures were and I told them they had been mailed out 3 weeks ago.
The packages left the lab three weeks earlier but were sitting in a postal mailing bin waiting to be filled to the brim before any were mailed to my clients. The local postmaster gave me the scoop on this practice and showed me how companies were using that service for bulk mailing of junk mail...not to be used on time sensitive photo orders.
The lab admitted that the parcels were lost in transit and agreed to reprint the order at no charge and over-nighted 10 boxes full of print orders to me which were then passed out to the teams.
Within three days, the bins at the postal center were filled and all the parents started receiving their packages in the mail so everybody in the league who ordered pictures got doubles.
Boy was the lab surprised when I told them how the local postmaster ratted them out.
Pretty embarrassing situation for a studio owner. The parents didn't care...they thought I was a crook who took their money and ran.
As was previously stated, you are placing your reputation in the hands of a photo lab when they select the images, type in the information, crop, process, package and mail to your client...sight unseen!!!
Never again for me.
I like seeing the finished product before it goes out to the client.