Good wedding photographers are not cheap and frequently on Facebook or other Internet forums, the advice given to brides looking to make the most of their budget is “Have you tried looking at Groupon for a deal?”
So the question is, should you be booking a Groupon wedding photographer?
Firstly let me just caveat this by saying this post isn’t directed just at Groupon. It’s just they are the most popular and almost the defacto standard. There are many competitors nowadays like wowcher, Living Social and even Amazon Local. They’re all very similar though.
What many brides don’t understand is how these deals work. Or more accurately don’t work. Especially for the poor wedding photographer who may naively have signed up to a deal to promote their business.
So I thought it would be a good idea to explain how their deals tend to work. Especially in light of the fact that a local Nottingham firm has recently been declared bankrupt and had been heavily selling Groupon packages to brides. Many of whom are devastated having lost their money. It also seems many were not notified by the company in question and only found out through social media, the news or if/when they called up.
HOW THE DEAL WORKS
Ok so as you can see, a seemingly irresistible package ¬£250 and you get a FULL DAY of wedding coverage by a professional wedding photographer including the disc and copyright! Wow sign me up straight away. Except no‚ wait‚ there’s also a music slideshow AND a 10×8 print! This really must be the bargain of the century. To cap it all off, it’s a 64% discount so it must be a bargain!
Well it is! If you are the lucky one who the photographer shoots the wedding for before going bankrupt. Let’s examine the figures.
So firstly Groupon is selling within the UK so that’s 20% VAT straight away to the taxman. So out of the £250, £50 goes straight to the government. That leaves ¬£200. Now of course Groupon are not a charity, they are a business who take a percentage of the deal to cover their sales/marketing efforts and administration of the deal. How much do you think they take? 10%? 20%? 30%!?!?!
Actually no. They usually take 50% of the sticker price. That’s right‚ 50%! So Groupon pockets £100. Leaving the photographer with the remaining £100 to photograph your wedding. Now some of you might be thinking “Well £100 isn’t bad for a day’s work!” And you’d be absolutely correct…..if that was the only overhead.
Bear in mind the package deal. There’s the 10×8 print. A music slideshow, the DVD of images itself, postage & packing to send you the items and of course petrol to get to your wedding. Let’s say it costs £10 for the print, disks, case and postage & packing. And let’s allow another £20 for petrol because his radius was within 80 miles of Nottingham so that’s 160 miles.
Still with me? Now the photographer has only really earned £70. Still‚ not bad. Some people earn less right?
But wait…..we haven’t allowed any costs for things like tax, depreciation of equipment, studio overheads, professional indemnity insurance, car insurance? What about food? Who can shoot a full day without even eating a sandwich and a drink?
Oh and that’s not forgetting that after the photographer gets home he/she will need to spend another 10-20 hours on top of the time they’ve just spent editing the photographs.
Before you know it, they’ve worked 2-3 days for less than £70.
Any wonder they’ve gone bankrupt? Do you still think it’s a good idea to book your wedding photographer through Groupon? Finally let me leave you with this question to ponder. Given what you may have just learned, what sort of wedding photographer do you think would use a Groupon style offer?
THE OTHER RISK
The point I’m trying to make is that by booking someone who is making so little profit from your wedding is that you are increasing the risk that they will fail to deliver. Of course I’m not saying for one second that it WILL happen. Just that the chances are higher.
A bride recently posted on Facebook how she naively booked her photographer from Groupon. Six months before her wedding date she got an email from someone claiming her photographer had a ‘mental breakdown’ and crucially that she should contact Groupon for a refund.
The problem is that Groupon promptly refused and referred her back to the wedding photographer claiming that they were not responsible.
To cut a long story short, it now appears that the bride has no photographer and has lost £300.
Lastly if you have read this article, still not convinced and still wish to take the gamble (because this is what it really is!), please please PLEASE pay by credit card. That way at least you are covered by section 75 of the consumer credit act. Do not pay by debit card or Paypal or you will not get your money back! Thank you for reading. Martin Cheung Photography will not be doing a Groupon deal anytime soon!