Trying to figure out where to hold client meetings? It’s debate that most photographers go through, and there are no easy answers. On the one hand, if you have the space in your home to meet with clients, there are certainly advantages to that, but there are many drawbacks as well, as anyone who does client consultations in their home will tell you. I’ve done both, so I can share with you the pros and cons of each option.
Home Studio Pros:
- When you have appointment no-shows, at least you’re still home!
- Tax write-offs! Any space in your home that is 100% dedicated to business is eligible for a tax write-off.
- No commute.
- No overhead costs of a rented space.
- You control the environment: the temperature, the wall art, the noise level.
- Your artwork up on the walls.
- You can add lots of warmth and cozy touches-soft music, candles, wine.
Home Studio Cons:
- You have to keep the entire path from door to meeting space totally spotless.
- Family has to be virtually silent, go into hiding or leave the house during consultations.
- A key part of your home (like a living room or dining room) gets taken over by your business. Over time, this becomes harder and harder to live with, and family may resent it.
- When you have a scheduling mishap (um, like totally forgetting to put an evening consultation on the calendar) you might accidently open the door in your pjs to find clients expecting a consultation. I guess this is only a con if it actually happens (I don’t want to talk about it!).
- When the client is rudely 45 minutes late, you can’t just leave.
- Pets can be a…challenge. Not only for clients with allergies, but it can be very distracting to have a dog barking like a maniac through your (entire) presentation.
If meeting in your home is not an option, what should you do? First off, think of it as an advantage to the client and keep that attitude in your mind. A photographer’s confidence (or lack thereof) can be our own worst enemy, so don’t think about the negatives. Focus on the positives.
Outside Meeting Location Pros
- Can meet at locations convenient to the client.
- Takes the formality edge off the meeting, and sets a more friendly, casual vibe. This can help make everyone more comfortable and less “business meeting” and more “friendly chat.”
- Can keep your home space private. This will mean a lot to you, especially if you have gone the home meeting route for a couple years. (Trust me, hiding family gets old after a while).
- If the client is a no-show, you can leave. You aren’t trapped there waiting for them to show up at their convenience, like you kind of are in a home. What are you going to do, not answer the door?
Outside Meeting Location Cons
- You don’t have a dedicated spot, so you need to arrive early in order to secure a table and set yourself up.
- If you are a worrier type, you may feel uncomfortable with the lack of control. Practice and prepare until you are comfortable.
- You can’t permanently display wall portraits or have a large slideshow presentation, so a nice laptop, Ipad or tablet is going to be the way to go.
- You can’t always use your own music for slideshows.
What are your thoughts?