According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of individuals interested in positions as commercial and news photographers is usually much greater than the number of openings. In fact, the number one question on the minds of professional photographers is, “How do I make my business more profitable?”
This is where Future Stars Sports Photography and Pegasus School Images enter the picture, no pun intended.
Future Stars Sports Photography is a franchised sports photography service, providing youth sports organizations with a variety of photo products and, as they describe it, “unparalleled service.” It is complemented by Pegasus School Images, a growing school picture company.
Future Stars and Pegasus combine to provide unique opportunities to prospective franchisees. You can choose to become a Future Stars franchisee and become involved in the sports market or choose the Pegasus model if you are interested in school photography. “Of course there is great synergy if you choose both brands because it provides dual-revenue streams that allow consistent year-round sales in two fast-growing industries,” explained Joe Bruno, the founder and president of Future Stars Sports Photography and Pegasus School Images.
Mike Meuret and Keith Hodkinson are great examples of professional photographers who turned toward franchising to increase their revenue streams. Already the owner of Michael’s Photography in Nebraska, Mike Meuret decided to augment his business offerings with Pegasus after realizing the huge potential in the school picture business. “Consumers are asking industry experts to provide services beyond their typical offerings and photographers need to find ways to meet this demand while increasing profits,” said Meuret. Meuret runs Pegasus full-time while still photographing weddings and other events on nights and weekends.
For Keith Hodkinson, franchising allowed him the opportunity to keep up with the proliferation of digital photography. Since 1987, Hodkinson has been involved with sports photography. He opened Great Lakes Photography in Ohio, but as the industry digitized, Keith decided to convert Great Lakes Photography into Future Stars rather than invest in all new technology and equipment.
Clearly, the improvements in digital technology allow more individual consumers and businesses to produce, store, and access photographic images on their own. These technological improvements are expensive for the self-employed.
“I decided to convert Great Lakes Photography into Future Stars because they have a proven system in place and an outstanding customer service program,” said Hodkinson.
Details in Hand
Future Stars and Pegasus corporate headquarters assumes all customer service responsibilities with an in-house centralized, toll-free, 800-customer-service support team as well as a 24-hour online customer service program. The production facility handles the data entry of all orders, “giving franchisees time to focus on the components most important to building their business – acquiring customers and taking photos,” Bruno adds.
In addition to handling customer care for schools and sports leagues, the company also works with the parents who ordered the pictures. That frees up time, they explain, for franchisees to concentrate on selling and photography and helps them to build their business.
Hodkinson now has clients throughout Northwest Ohio and he tells us his services are in such high demand that the company plans to open at least 15 more locations in the state. Furthermore, Future Stars and Pegasus are targeting more aggressive growth throughout the year, projecting the addition of six Future Stars franchises and four Pegasus School Images in the U.S. In Canada, plans for 2007 include adding three more Future Stars franchises and five more Pegasus School Images. By the end of 2010, the plan is to have at least 50 franchises in the United States and 20 in Canada.
The estimated initial investment for a Future Stars franchise or a Pegasus franchise ranges between $25,600 and $49,500, and includes a franchisee fee determined by the number of 5- to 17-year-old children in the franchisee’s territory. A typical territory has a population of between 50,000 and 100,000 children ages 5-17. A territory with 50,000 children ages 5-17 would have a franchise fee of $12,500. A franchisee can purchase a combined Future Stars and Pegasus franchise and get a discount on the combined franchise fee.
“One person can very easily launch the businesses from home with additional space and employee requirements addressed as the business grows. Future Stars can be operated as a part-time business, as most shoots occur during the evenings and weekends. Pegasus and a combined Future Stars and Pegasus must be operated as a full-time business,” Bruno said. “Ideal candidates are highly motivated individuals with strong sales abilities who are able to promote their business to schools and youth sports organizations. We feel the concept is suitable for both small and large markets.”
Bruno also told us that instead of paying royalties, franchisees participate in a revenue-sharing program based on each franchisee’s sales of products and services. Various photography programs have different revenue-sharing percentages ranging from 20 to 75 percent.
“This program makes it very simple for franchisees to account for their revenues while also ensuring that neighboring franchisees are offering the same programs at the same prices,” he explained.
There’s one other overriding factor that points to the strong growth opportunities of Future Stars and Pegasus both in the United States and Canada. The businesses are virtually recession-proof. If you doubt that argument, just walk into the home of any family with school-age children and see what is on the walls, tables and stashed away in drawers. yy
Headquartered in Stoney Creek, Ontario in Canada, Future Stars is a sports photography services franchise. Pegasus School Images is a school picture company with three dual U.S. locations in Ohio, Arizona and Nebraska and 12 Canadian franchisees. For more information call 800.461.6575 or visit www.future-stars-sp.com or www.pegasus-si.com.