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Photo Booth Rental Business Plan

A photo booth business can be your full time job or just a side hustle

A photo booth business can be a great side hustle, or it can even be your full time job!

Here at the Photo Booth Vault, we are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs start and grow their own companies, no matter the stage you are in.

Photo booths are popular, and according to The Knot, over 75% of weddings hire a company to provide some kind of photo experience for their guests.

They are also widely popular at festivals, bar/bat mitzvahs, corporate events, and corporate brand activations.

Let’s not forget how many people like to get silly in the photo booth at the annual holiday party!

You can buy a photo booth and everything required to start your own rental company for under $5000.

With the growing trend of companies and individuals looking for quality entertainment for their special events, this is a growing industry.

As with any business venture, there are many things to consider and learn as you jump into creating your own business plan for a photo booth rental business.

Be sure to include all of the different goals and targets that you want to hit, so you can know that you are working towards the end result as you start this new venture.

3 Things You Need To Know When Starting A Photo Booth Business

1. Photo Booth Hardware & Software

2. Photo Booth Business Model

3. How To Market Your Photo Booth Rental Business

4. Photo Booth Rental Prices

Photo Booth Hardware and Software

Modern photo booths are simple devices, made up of a camera, a light source, and a PC or tablet running the photo booth software.  Many companies include a dye-sublimation photo printer which is needed if you want to be able to provide instant photo prints.

Whether you want to build your own DIY photo booth, or you are planning on buying a turnkey photo booth solution, you will need to make sure that you have the necessary components to make everything work.

iPad booths vs DSLR booths

There have been great improvements in the photo booth industry thanks to the power of both the iPad hardware, as well as the software available on iOS.

Everything you need to run a successful photo booth exists on an iPad Pro:

  • Camera (Front Facing Camera)
  • Tablet w/Touch Screen (the iPad itself)
  • Photo Booth Software (like Snappic or Curator)

The only thing you would need to add is a light source, and many companies rely on a simple LED ring light to be the constant light source.

And if you want to print, you can use Air Print, or a wireless print server to be able to print the photos taken with your iPad photo booth.

That is not to say that modern DSLR based photo booths aren’t still viable options.

The quality of the iPad’s front facing camera still cannot match the quality of a DSLR camera with an actual lens.

Being able to take a high resolution 18MP or 24MP photo means you can print out larger scale prints on 4″x6″ paper or even larger 5″x7″ formats.

Pairing a DSLR camera with a PC or windows tablet like a Microsoft Surface Pro lets you use any number of great photo booth software options.

Software Is Where the Magic Happens

Now that you have the hardware chosen for your photo booth rental business plan, it’s time to pick the software you want to use.

The photo booth software is what creates the user experience on the touch screen, including the countdown timer for the camera to flash, to the buttons that users can press to share the photo with others by texting or emailing it to themselves.

Almost all of the major photo booth software companies provide the primary features:

  • Taking still photos
  • Making animated GIFS
  • Making animated boomerang burst GIFS
  • Social media sharing
  • Email & SMS sharing
  • Video booth recording
  • Green Screen backgrounds

How to Market Your Photo Booth Rental Business

Before you start marketing your brand new photo booth rental company, you need to identify what kind of customers you want to serve.

Do you plan on marketing to brides & grooms who are planning weddings?

Are you going to market to parents who want to book a birthday party photo booth rental?

What about advertising your holiday party photo booth service to companies and event planners in your city?

Each different type of event has a different kind of client that you are going to market to.

You can be just like every other company out there and promote your photo booth and sequin backdrop with a box of props, or you can stand out from the rest and create a marketing message that resonates with your specific customer.

Create your customer avatar

Identify WHO you are selling your services to. 

  • What kind of person are they?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they care about?
  • What are their desires, wants, and fears?

Attract Customers To Your Business

Once you know WHO you are marketing to, now you want to attract them to your photo booth rental business.  You can do this in various ways.

  • SEO – Rank your website for popular photo booth rental keywords in your area
  • Paid Ads – Run ads on Facebook, Google, Instagram, & YouTube
  • Trade Shows – Collect leads from relevant trade shows such as wedding & bridal fairs.
There are numerous ways to market and attract new customers to your company.  Whether you are just starting out, or if you have been in business a while.
The added benefit of being in the photo booth industry is that as you provide your services to clients, your photo booth will be creating tons of content & marketing materials for you (the pictures taken inside the booth).
So it’s very easy to start blogging and creating marketing content as you work events.

Automated Follow-Up & Sales Process

A growing business needs a way to automatically follow up with leads so that you don’t miss out on customers that would otherwise be forgotten.

When a new lead comes in on your photo booth website, they should go into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Database.

This will let you keep track of how many leads you have, where they came from, what part of the booking process they are in, and how many bookings you are getting.

When you are just starting out, you can use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of your leads, but as you grow, you will want to consider getting a more powerful CRM like Keap.


Photo Booth Rental Business Model

Coin Operated Photo Booth

There are several different models when it comes to the photo booth industry.  

There is the unattended, long-term lease with coin-operated photo booths.

This model is the kind you see at amusement parks, malls, boardwalks, etc.  They consist of investing in large, permanently installed booths, and you just have to schedule time each week to go around and collect the money from them and replace any photo paper & supplies.

The more common business model for photo booth rentals is the done-for-you rental service.

With the advent of powerful portable computers and high quality digital cameras, photo booth kiosks can be made incredibly portable and lightweight.

So a new business model emerged in the late 2000’s, the open-air photo booth.

Open Air Photo Booth

The open air photo booth is a portable kiosk that you bring to an event, such as a wedding or company party.

It typically includes a nice backdrop, and is set up so that people can have their pictures taken out in the open air against the backdrop.

The actual service that customer pay for is the whole experience.  So you will need to include a backdrop, and usually props for the guests to use as they have their pictures taken in your booth.

The original Open Air Photo Booths were large, bulky, wooden flight cases with the computer, camera, flash, and printer inside.

Now, there are many styles of open booths available on the market, each with their own features and benefits.  Some include printers inside, while others require a printer (if used) to be on a separate table or stand.

open air photo booth
Flight Case Open Air Photo Booth
Open Air Photo Booth
A Booth Masters Open Air Photo Booth In Use

Photo Booth Manufacturers

There are a variety of different photo booth manufacturers on the market today.

One of the best places to go to meet with many different manufacturers at once is the International Photo Booth Expo, held in Las Vegas NV every year.

Here is a short list of the top makers of photo booths for sale:

These companies offer a wide range of styles of photo booths, allowing you to provide your own customers unique and fun experiences.

Photo Booth Rental Prices

How much should I charge?

A very common question asked in photo booth Facebook groups by people who are new to the industry is: “How much should I charge?”

This is a somewhat complicated question that has a simple answer.

Really, it depends on the market that you are targeting, and your costs to provide services to your customers, and the amount of profit that you want to make.

Don’t be afraid of the word PROFIT.  A good business needs to make a profit in order to stay in business and be there for future customers.

A simple formula to figure out how much you should charge:

(10% of Total cost of equipment + Cost of labor to work the event) x2

Your equipment has value, and a good rule of thumb is that the rental cost for equipment by itself should be 5 to 10% of the replacement cost.

Then you will have a cost of labor to work the event, even if you are the person who is working the photo booth at the event, you need to pay yourself a wage for the hours worked.

A good rule of thumb for the margin is 50%.  So that means your cost of goods sold (equipment + labor) should be no more than 50% of your revenue for the event.

This margin is what you will use to pay for marketing, overhead, and owners profit/pay.