Business Necessities
/forum/topic/1140574/0



Aaron Cowan
Registered: Aug 10, 2004
Total Posts: 2973
Country: United States

For a few years I've been wanting to start guided tours or even workshops near where I live (the Palouse). I know the Palouse sees lots of photographers and many tours do happen but I also feel that areas such as Hells Canyon, the Salmon River and even the Camas Prairie (more farmland) hold lots of photographic gems that people are unaware of. Besides justifying my reasons for starting tours, I was wondering about the method. I know that advertising muct be done, some information on the web is necessary but I'm wondering more about the nuts and bolts of the business. I've been a client before and had to sign a waiver. Even if I'm just driving people around with little to no hiking I assume having a waiver would be best. What should it say? How thorough should it be?

Also, from the outset do I have to establish myself as a small-business? I would like to think I would become successful but I don't believe people will be knocking each other over to hire my services. So if business trickles in very slowly at first how necessary is it for me to establish, for instance, an LLC or anything official other than a guy showing photographers around a region as a second job. I've looked in books and on the web for some specifics but can't find anything helpful. I have a website and blog which it a good starting place, I believe, but how do I begin the process of selling my services as a photo guide?



billkoe
Registered: Aug 28, 2009
Total Posts: 169
Country: United States

My inclination would be to speak with someone doing it though, perhaps, not in your geographic area.



cwebster
Registered: Oct 03, 2005
Total Posts: 3432
Country: United States

Start with a business plan. Decide who you will sell your services to, how you will market to them, what you will offer them, how you will charge them, how much you will charge them.

Write it all out, make sure it's grounded in reality, not fantasy, then go do what you plan.

There are a lot of business plan templates on the web that will help you with the specifics. You don't have to be fancy, and you don't have to cover every little detail, but you have to have a plan.

<Chas>



Aaron Cowan
Registered: Aug 10, 2004
Total Posts: 2973
Country: United States

Thanks for the feedback Chas and Bill. I guess the main thing I want to know is if I necessarily need to come up with a waiver for any potential clients to read over and sign.



cwebster
Registered: Oct 03, 2005
Total Posts: 3432
Country: United States

A waiver is generally intended to limit your liability. Only an attorney can advise you on whether this is a good idea and how to do it so it actually works.

Don't expect a waiver to negate the necessity of you having liability insurance for the venture.

<Chas>



photosenior
Registered: Aug 04, 2004
Total Posts: 1508
Country: United States

Contact your local small business administration. They will help you develop the recommended business plan for FREE!
Good luck,
Ben



Monito
Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Total Posts: 10110
Country: Canada

As above, start with a business plan. Get it reviewed.

You will need liability insurance, especially if you are running tours or workshops.

Make sure you budget everything. The newly improved Cost of Doing Business Calculator will alert you to some expenses you may not have thought of.

http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/cdb/cdbcalc.cfm



RDKirk
Registered: Apr 11, 2004
Total Posts: 8976
Country: United States

cwebster wrote:
A waiver is generally intended to limit your liability. Only an attorney can advise you on whether this is a good idea and how to do it so it actually works.

Don't expect a waiver to negate the necessity of you having liability insurance for the venture.

<Chas>


This is true. A waiver does not protect you from being found negligent and responsible...you still have to prove due diligence to safety.



alohadave
Registered: Jul 26, 2005
Total Posts: 843
Country: United States

Aaron Cowan wrote:
Thanks for the feedback Chas and Bill. I guess the main thing I want to know is if I necessarily need to come up with a waiver for any potential clients to read over and sign.


Considering that you don't seem to know anything (not a knock on you), look up your local SBA or SCORE office and talk to them. They have classes and one-on-one counseling for new businesses.

Talk to the other operators in your area and the ones that operate in the Palouse. Perhaps getting a guide position first to get familiar with the industry and how to actually operate a tour.

Randomly creating forms for customers to sign without knowing why to use it, or what the implications of those forms mean is a recipe for disaster. Talk to a lawyer before you draft anything like that.