Employee wages

mfphoto
I did a few searches on here and did not find anything on this topic.



I have had my photo booth business going on 3 years. I have 3-4 individuals who work for me. They are people i personally know.



For a 4 hour rental I pay $100. If there is idle time, they get $15 (and usually a really nice meal at the reception when invited by the couple). They have to pick up the booth, setup, run it, tear it down and return it to me within 2 days. I feel that $100 is more than fair (I figure they maybe have 7 hours into it for a local event. Although it should be less).



That being said, I have a employee who wants $140-$150 to work a 4 hour event, or one who thinks they should get $25/hour including local travel, setup & tear down. One did a 2 hour event and gets paid $70 (I add $15 for each additional hour worked) and says it isn't worth it. My employees know nothing about photography (I am a professional photographer for over 20 years.)



What are you paying your employees? Looking for some honest discussion here.

Comments

  • 27 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Mike
    I pay $25-35 depending on the individual and the duration. I also give the $0.50/mile for travel from my location, I do not pay them mileage to get to me. So a typical 4 hour event that is say 20 miles from my location would cost me $100 - $140 + $20 (40 miles round trip).
  • Unknown
    Don't let your employees see this, but I have a guy I pay $35/hour. I pay him 3hours over the length of the event, so it gets expensive. On the other hand, I usually only do one event per day, myself, and I only need him when I either accidentally overbook or have a family obligation that I can't or don't want to get out of. I also never send him far out of town, so I don't pay mileage.



    That being said, I don't think I would pay anyone else more than $15/hour, but I would like to send out 2 attendants at a combined $25/hour, not $25 each. That is, unless I can get the client to pay more for double the staff (good luck with that).
  • Unknown
    We pay out operators $20/hour. Unless it's a special circumstance they arrive an hour early and usually a half hour for tear down.



    We're still easing into not operating things ourselves, so it might change eventually, but I'm happy with how things are working now.



    For comparison, we charge $1100 for 4 hours with a scrapbook, and we'd have 2 operators at the event.
  • mfphoto
    Thanks for the feed back. Would love more discussion on this.



    To me, it should take 1 hour set-up and 30-45 minutes to tear down. ( I can tear down and be at my car in 30 min.) They are taking into account also the time it takes for them to come to my place to pick up and return the booth. I will give them that they have to come twice for the same job. Therefore, 1 additional hour. Any other job has commute to and from work.



    I have one employee, who actually is the guy I hire for my IT work. I would not have a problem paying him more, because he does more for me. He almost never calls with a question and has no problems with what I pay him.



    The guy who wants more almost always has questions, even when he has done it before. He is a reliable worker who will show up when scheduled, but is also the one who doesn't want to work a 2 hour event, because it isn't worth it. Doesn't want to work post proms, doesn't want to travel, doesn't...... He is also the only one who when I call him about an event to work, wants to know what does it pay.



    I also called the company that does my payroll and she laughed when I told her what he wanted. I realize that you get what you pay for, but an average of $15/hour is pretty darn good.



    I have another employee who has been with me for almost 3 years and is a good friend. I was saying to her about how easy this job is, once the booth is up and running. She disagreed. Hard because she has to answer questions and dealing with all the kids. I said what questions, she said about the cost to rent the booth. I told her she should be referring them to me or the website. (we had quiet the discussion about this) She also thought that she should be getting $25/hour for travel, set-up, tear down and running the booth ("Don't I think she is worth it?"......If she could do everything I do, then maybe yes, but not for travel etc)



    I know that I am doing a little venting here. I guess I always thought that I was being more than fair and am just amazed that people want $20-25/hour. Also for comparison, a 4 hour rental with memory book is $800. This is average pricing for this area.
  • bassqee
    Whats the US minimum wage? I assume lower than what your paying.



    In the end you are running a business and you have set your rates of pay for your employees at a rate that still makes you a decent profit. If he is not happy then its time for him to quit and you can employ someone who is happy to work for that wage.
  • mfphoto
    Mike,



    So you are paying them per hour for the duration of the rental, i.e. 4 hours x $25 (depending on the individual & not for set-up & teardown). This is essentially what I am paying them. I have not include mileage, but could be a good addition to add.



    If you have a client who doesn't want you to start until after dinner, say 8pm, what time are you doing the set-up?



    If you do it before the reception starts,at their request, do you charge the client extra?
  • Mike
    @mfphoto wrote:Mike,



    So you are paying them per hour for the duration of the rental, i.e. 4 hours x $25 (depending on the individual & not for set-up & teardown). This is essentially what I am paying them. I have not include mileage, but could be a good addition to add.



    If you have a client who doesn't want you to start until after dinner, say 8pm, what time are you doing the set-up?



    If you do it before the reception starts,at their request, do you charge the client extra?

    Sorry I forgot that to include 1.5 hours setup/teardown
  • Minh
    you guys are cray.. i pay my people 10$ph for training, $12.50 for assistant (set up/manages props/album/backdrop), and $14.50 for a lead (operates/sets up the photo booth) Then i pay whoever drives .555 per mile as it says in the IRS website.



    for a 3 hour ever, they go early to set up usually arriving 1.5-2 hrs early. it only takes like 30 mins to set up, but I dont like to deal with any issues or tardyness or traffic delays, etc. that's why i pay the extra to get them there. then 30 mins usually to pack up. then i even pay them to load/unload to my garage which takes another 15 mins.



    so 3 hour event, usually 5 hour pay.



    and sometimes i give them bonuses like extra $20 if i get a yelp review from that event. etc. wiht the cheap wages, i can do that and still look good :)
  • Classybooths.com
    Minh,



    Do you run any events yourself or do you have employees run them all?
  • jasoncphotobooth
    I've been having issues as well I pay $0.50/mi and $45-$60 for a 2 hour event ($15-$20 each additional hour) and my employees don't seem to want to work. I have 3-7 events a weekend so someone could make some really good money if they wanted to work weekly. I keep doubting myself but this thread has definitely shown me I'm not far off
  • Unknown
    @Minh wrote:you guys are cray.. i pay my people 10$ph for training, $12.50 for assistant (set up/manages props/album/backdrop), and $14.50 for a lead (operates/sets up the photo booth) Then i pay whoever drives .555 per mile as it says in the IRS website.



    for a 3 hour ever, they go early to set up usually arriving 1.5-2 hrs early. it only takes like 30 mins to set up, but I dont like to deal with any issues or tardyness or traffic delays, etc. that's why i pay the extra to get them there. then 30 mins usually to pack up. then i even pay them to load/unload to my garage which takes another 15 mins.



    so 3 hour event, usually 5 hour pay.



    and sometimes i give them bonuses like extra $20 if i get a yelp review from that event. etc. wiht the cheap wages, i can do that and still look good :)



    That's about where I'm at. The lead get a higher wage than the assistant, and the driver gets to pocket the mileage. I was paying per hour once they left my house, but it's better to pay mileage because that does not get computed for social security, workers comp, etc..



    I also have a problem where I have very reliable and willing workers, but not very technically inclined so if ANYthing goes off script I'm getting a call. (The worst feeling in the world ha). For instance, photo booth buttons not working because PSremote is not in focus. (We run a slideshow on an external monitor, so if you click outside the application PSremote does not respond). Picture the phone conversation, with loud music, "ok, move the slideshow app to the other screen", "how do I do that? Ugh.
  • Unknown
    Are you using a button that sends an F4 keystroke? If that's the case then there is a script somewhere on breezesys.com that forwards all F4 keypresses to the program even if it loses focus.
  • Unknown
    @ppb wrote:@Minh wrote:you guys are cray.. i pay my people 10$ph for training, $12.50 for assistant (set up/manages props/album/backdrop), and $14.50 for a lead (operates/sets up the photo booth) Then i pay whoever drives .555 per mile as it says in the IRS website.



    for a 3 hour ever, they go early to set up usually arriving 1.5-2 hrs early. it only takes like 30 mins to set up, but I dont like to deal with any issues or tardyness or traffic delays, etc. that's why i pay the extra to get them there. then 30 mins usually to pack up. then i even pay them to load/unload to my garage which takes another 15 mins.



    so 3 hour event, usually 5 hour pay.



    and sometimes i give them bonuses like extra $20 if i get a yelp review from that event. etc. wiht the cheap wages, i can do that and still look good :)



    That's about where I'm at. The lead get a higher wage than the assistant, and the driver gets to pocket the mileage. I was paying per hour once they left my house, but it's better to pay mileage because that does not get computed for social security, workers comp, etc..



    I also have a problem where I have very reliable and willing workers, but not very technically inclined so if ANYthing goes off script I'm getting a call. (The worst feeling in the world ha). For instance, photo booth buttons not working because PSremote is not in focus. (We run a slideshow on an external monitor, so if you click outside the application PSremote does not respond). Picture the phone conversation, with loud music, "ok, move the slideshow app to the other screen", "how do I do that? Ugh.



    Sounds like you need LogMeIn! I've started using it due to the exact same situations, and it's fantastic. We have virtually the same setup (although our second monitor is built into the booth) and I find it's actually easier doing it all remotely than doing it on site with the tiny wireless keyboard.
  • Lucktech Photobooths
    I have used LOGMEIN professionally for the past 8 yrs or so! I love it! I think it is the best remote access software out there with maybe the exception of Alteris, but that is really a different basket of apples!
  • Grinnin Booth
    We pay $12 per hour but always add 2 hours to each event for set-up and breakdown even though it takes less time than that. Our area is $675 for a 4 hour booking with album, I am currently looking for a techie type that will pick up the booth from our location. If I can find that, I am willing to pay a lot more, It will make my life soooo much easier so even if the profit is less, the stress is less. We have 3 bookings many Saturdays in April/May & September/October and now December is filling up. I'd really like to not have to drop off and pick up the third booth each week.
  • pammygb
    Quick question about employee wages for those in California, do you pay workers comp, EDD etc. for employees to run the booth? I own another business and pay quite a bit in taxes just to have employees. If so, how do you factor that cost in when considering profit per event?
  • Mike
    If they are W-2, much discussion around that, then yes. Workers comp, unemployment, auto insurance, etc.
  • PhotoBoothBuddy
    Drinking alllll of this in... We have had a lot of setbacks in getting our booth set up and running - Murphy's law has been very busy in our home! I just have to believe that it's a precursor to an amazing business and praying it will mean I will have to pay people too! (don't wake me up if I'm wrong!)
  • necheez
    I have a friend who runs our extra booth with her daughter when we are double booked. We pay them roughly $21/hour each. It's a LOT more than I would pay anyone else but she is a single mom who I want to help, and I can count on her to represent us well.
  • PicinaBox
    I am so glad I found this thread! This is an issue I have been having trouble with. I currently am paying a family friend $100 per 4 hour event. That includes set up and take down (which takes only about 15-20 min a piece). My event prices are pretty inexpensive though. I was very curious to see what others are paying. I think it is a fair wage. Seeing that the other options for a "side" job would be your waitressing, bartending etc. Those have late hours, and the pay is unpredictable. Any and all comments on this topic are GREATLY appreciated:)
  • Lucktech Photobooths
    That's the key! I don't care what you have to pay, but going with cheap labor is a terrible idea, Period! I earned the business of several clients because the big competition in town can't control their employee quality. You can't have a dozen booths and think your quality control won't suffer!
  • Unknown
    @Lawrence wrote:Sounds like you need LogMeIn! I've started using it due to the exact same situations, and it's fantastic. We have virtually the same setup (although our second monitor is built into the booth) and I find it's actually easier doing it all remotely than doing it on site with the tiny wireless keyboard.



    Hi Lawrence, actually I do use Logmein. For my crew that keeps their booth full time, they just lug the computer booth portion in the house, and dropbox syncs everything up, and I can use LMI to prep it for the next gig and shut down.



    I never had Mifi cards for my booths until now. (Bought PicPic social) So yeah, I guess I can remote in and help if needed.
  • nzphotobooth
    for a 2 hour job I would pay for 4 hour hours plus $0.50 per km, at the moment my son does the extra work I cannot do and I pay him $50 per hour! (generous dad!)
  • diamondphoto
    It really depends on what kind of worker you want at the event and what their responsibilities are. I know a company in my area that sends out a van to set up the booths by one worker the day before the events. This person sets everything up and maintains the booths and troubleshoots them ahead of time so that they can fix any issues before they arise. This person they pay highly while the attendants that arrive solely to interact with guests, they troubleshoot if problems occur, and make the scrapbook. The original person then returns the day after the event to pick up the booths. To me, this is a logistical nightmare that incurs additional cost.



    I pay my guys $20 per hour of the event and one hour extra on each side of this for setup/teardown and some transport time. An example: 4 hour event = 6 hours of pay at $20/hr = $120. They also get mileage outside of the area we service based whether it's inconvenient or not. I just pay $1 per mile one way (or 50 cents two way) and bill the couple for mileage. If we set up early or need to break for dinner I ask for $20 per hour...the cost of their wages. My employees arrive at the office to pick up the booth and transport it to the event in their own vehicle. They operate the booth, run the scrapbook, manage the line, and prevent drinks (and drunks!) from entering the booth. They then take the booth back at the end of the night. There are times I have to pay 7-8 hours for an event. I honestly don't care to nickel and dime my employees on their wage because I prefer to have a very high caliber employee. Those kinds of wages attract exactly the moonlighting professional you want in the business. My employees: one has a PHD in biomedical sciences, one is an IT security analyst, one is a college student with a high degree of technical aptitude. I couldn't ask for better employees and I'm happy to pay them well.



    One thing to note is that regional pay structures vary. Someone from Wyoming would probably be happy with $16-$17 an hour due to the reduced cost of living. Someone in upstate NYC might require upwards of $30 per hour.
  • DazzlingPhotoBooth
    [quote=19403]I pay $25-35 depending on the individual and the duration. I also give the $0.50/mile for travel from my location, I do not pay them mileage to get to me. So a typical 4 hour event that is say 20 miles from my location would cost me $100 – $140 + $20 (40 miles round trip).[/quote]

     

    That is what I basically pay in CO and feel it is a g0od range!  Around $130-150 per 3-4hr event and I have a sweet lady attendant for my 2nd bookings.

    Quality is what I believe in giving and seems to pay a little more I get Quality Back!
  • Soundsations
    So seems that we are all within a few bucks of each other.  Next question related to this....I was going to start a new thread, but this is too close.  HOW do you pay your employees?  I use a payroll service, PAYCHEX, has been an amazing service.

     
  • Blackstripe
    I pay $100 for a 4 hour event and require that they show up 1 hour early even though set up is only 20-30 minutes. I like the 30 minute cushion in case of traffic, some unforseen booth issue or whatever. If they're set up and ready to go 30 minutes early they need to find and introduce themselves to the event host, DJ, photographer, catering company etc and bring me a card from each.

    We're on the very low end of price points and if I could charge 1K like many others are able to do, I would likely pay them $150-$200. I'd rather pay more for awesome and reliable people personally. That said, everyone I use is happy with the $100 I currently pay.

     

     

    I Wish I could charge what it seems everyone here charges, but anytime I quote a price above $600 I here "WOW!", "WHAT?!" "Are you SERIOUS?! You're double that of all the companies I've called before you!!"

     

     
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