PDA

View Full Version : Feeler: Any interest in self-printing and scanning service?



Darin Boville
27-Jan-2014, 15:09
As I mentioned in another thread, I'm opening a photo gallery in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. I'm kicking around idea on how to both pay the rent, have fun, and build community.

One thought is to offer a large format digital printer and scanner for people to rent, on site. I'm thinking that maybe people know how to print themselves, want to print themselves, but don't have room for a large Canon ipf8300 printer (44-inch printing width). I also have a Epson v700 scanner and an iMac.

People could (for example) come down to the coast for a day or two and print on the big printer on their own media (or what they have had delivered? Or what they buy from me?). Cheaper than having a lab do it and you get more control.

Ditto with scanning. The v700 does an amazing job and I have a BetterScanning rig if that is of interest.

Do you think there might be interest in such a service? Anyone else offering it now? Any thoughts on pricing?

What other services might people need? LFcamera/lens rental for people coming in from out of town (say, visiting Yosemite)? Self-service mat cutting? I provide the mat cutter to cut your own mats?

The key here for me is that I have all this gear laying about, sitting unused 95% of the time. Why not have someone else use it?

Kicking around ideas...

--Darin

Randy Moe
27-Jan-2014, 15:45
Here is an outfit offering just that in Chicago. I have not used it. But you can look at their website and pricing.

Seems almost too good to be true...

http://www.latitudechicago.org/membership-details/



As I mentioned in another thread, I'm opening a photo gallery in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. I'm kicking around idea on how to both pay the rent, have fun, and build community.

One thought is to offer a large format digital printer and scanner for people to rent, on site. I'm thinking that maybe people know how to print themselves, want to print themselves, but don't have room for a large Canon ipf8300 printer (44-inch printing width). I also have a Epson v700 scanner and an iMac.

People could (for example) come down to the coast for a day or two and print on the big printer on their own media (or what they have had delivered? Or what they buy from me?). Cheaper than having a lab do it and you get more control.

Ditto with scanning. The v700 does an amazing job and I have a BetterScanning rig if that is of interest.

Do you think there might be interest in such a service? Anyone else offering it now? Any thoughts on pricing?

What other services might people need? LFcamera/lens rental for people coming in from out of town (say, visiting Yosemite)? Self-service mat cutting? I provide the mat cutter to cut your own mats?

The key here for me is that I have all this gear laying about, sitting unused 95% of the time. Why not have someone else use it?

Kicking around ideas...

--Darin

BradS
27-Jan-2014, 15:56
I think it is an excellent idea.

Darin Boville
27-Jan-2014, 20:02
Here is an outfit offering just that in Chicago. I have not used it. But you can look at their website and pricing.

Seems almost too good to be true...

http://www.latitudechicago.org/membership-details/

Interesting but hard to figure the price out.

You have a ink price + an hourly charge + a membership.

So it looks like a 20x24 would run $14.40 for the ink, $20/hour for the printer, + $60 a day membership...

Or say you print for eight hours, two prints per hour. That would $230 for the ink, $160 for the rental + $60 membership and you supply the paper. So $450 for 16 prints.

By contrast, West Coast imaging would print the prints from your prepared files at $60 (on good paper) each times sixteen print equals $960--(with no paper cost).

The same calculation with bigger prints--30x40, say, ends up $576 + $160 + $60 = $796 do-it-yourself vs $2400 lab total.

Plus you get to print it yourself, which to me is a huge advantage. Interesting. Thanks for the link.

Of course with DIY you are paying for all the test prints, etc, too...but you can do small test prints, of course.

--Darin

bigdog
28-Jan-2014, 09:53
The Houston Center for Photography maintains a "digital darkroom" that is well equipped and seems to be used.

http://hcponline.org/pages/digital_darkroom_98.asp

I have yet to find a similar facility in the Dallas area (although there may be one) other than those associated with local college classes.

Randy Moe
28-Jan-2014, 12:16
Here is my alma mater's Service Bureau site, which has considerable good info, too bad as an alumnus, I cannot use it. :(

But they disclose all, including pricing. Knowing this school as I do, it most likely makes a profit.

http://crit.artic.edu/servicebureau/

ataim
28-Jan-2014, 14:19
I think having a service to rent LF gear would be a great idea. How 'bout a darkroom rental? Maybe just enough room to process film?

Darin Boville
28-Jan-2014, 15:04
Can't do chemical darkroom stuff. On the coast the run-off (i.e. sewage) during storms goes straight into the ocean. Not that we actually have rain here anymore. But they are working on it, with temporary storage tanks, etc. People here are very touchy about water quality, though.

What sort of LF gear would people rent? I'm thinking a nice, durable Toyo 45 series kit? A Chamonix 4x5 kit?

--Darin

brucetaylor
28-Jan-2014, 17:37
I think that if you already have the equipment and you have a commercial space in which to set it up, why not try? It might be fun. And if it isn't, you can just stop.

I can share a my experience: until recently I rented motion picture equipment and some studio space to (mostly) young filmmakers. I rented primarily to students and individuals making personal projects along with a few commercial fashion/music video shoots. My ambition was not to make a lot of money but to meet interesting people and have the equipment pay for itself. It worked out fine. 95% of the time the clients took wonderful care of the gear and treated it like their own. Over 7 years I never had an insurance claim. I met some interesting people doing interesting projects and the rentals did pay for the gear. Meeting, talking and sharing work with so many passionate filmmakers was absolutely the best part of it.

You'll have to do the research on pricing schemes and find the standards in that self printing/rental market, price yourself a little on the low side of middle, at least to get started. Spend a little to set it up and see where it goes, that's what I would do. If it turns out to be more trouble than it's worth you can just stop. But you might have fun and help create the creative community you're looking for.

Good luck!

Peter Langham
28-Jan-2014, 22:33
Rayko in SF offers similar services (scanning and print rentals). You could check their web site for pricing. It wouldn't be far for you to go if you wanted to check it out.

Drew Wiley
29-Jan-2014, 17:24
Maintaining equip might be more of a headache than you anticipate. And even for something as simple as a matcutter you'd need liability insurance. But combining
some sort of clean work space (matting, mounting) might help pay for your overhead, since print sales tend to be cyclical. Rental is a touch subject. They have rental darkroom right down the street here, but I'd never want any of those student monkey types anywhere near anything I own. Same reason I don't rent equip
to contractors here. Let someone else do it. I do make a heck of a lot of money selling the same stuff over and over again to the rental outfits themselves, cause
people just keep doin dumb things. But a tightly controlled collective, with precise rules of who's in or not in the club, might be realistic.

Bill Burk
29-Jan-2014, 20:34
I'll do my best to support, I'll definitely be a regular at your shop. I think a community is definitely brewing here on the northern California coast and I'm excited at the prospect.

Darin Boville
29-Jan-2014, 21:12
I'll do my best to support, I'll definitely be a regular at your shop. I think a community is definitely brewing here on the northern California coast and I'm excited at the prospect.

That would be great--my biggest worry is that I will build it and no one will come. It will just be me, all alone. But that's o.k., too. It will give me a great place to work on photos and to write. So I guess it is sort of a win-win. :)

--Darin

Drew Wiley
30-Jan-2014, 12:02
I have an analogous plan (but just for myself). Sliding walls for instant gallery makeovers, with floor space dedicated to clean functions like matcutting and mounting.My big flat files double as work benches, but I've made them look good for potential gallery use. Also the abilty to use the area for studio-style shoots.
I used to do this very thing in a large room in my own house, and it worked well for both commercial photog and print sales... but alas, marriage and a bunch of
cats have spoiled any attempt at the kind of housekeeping necessary to keep this area functional in an income sense. But it still functions for display mockups,
mat cutting, and uh, er, more unwanted furniture storage. I've got all the necessary shop equip to do nice display spaces, but not much spare time at the moment.

bob carnie
30-Jan-2014, 12:38
Darin - be prepared for that from the forums. Over the years when I would announce shows or workshops, the traffic very , very limited visits from here and APUG .
I don't think you should rely on sales from Forum sector.

You will need to market your self locally and make your place interesting enough so that they will come.


That would be great--my biggest worry is that I will build it and no one will come. It will just be me, all alone. But that's o.k., too. It will give me a great place to work on photos and to write. So I guess it is sort of a win-win. :)

--Darin

Darin Boville
30-Jan-2014, 15:20
Darin - be prepared for that from the forums. Over the years when I would announce shows or workshops, the traffic very , very limited visits from here and APUG .
I don't think you should rely on sales from Forum sector.
You will need to market your self locally and make your place interesting enough so that they will come.

Most (nearly all) photo forums are gear/shopping oriented. Not that many photo buyers. That's o.k. I'm sure I'll meet a few of the people here in person. Should be fun. The buyers, if any, will come from the local region or from all those visitors passing through.

--Darin

bob carnie
30-Jan-2014, 15:28
Thats how I see it as well, good luck with this project.


Most (nearly all) photo forums are gear/shopping oriented. Not that many photo buyers. That's o.k. I'm sure I'll meet a few of the people here in person. Should be fun. The buyers, if any, will come from the local region or from all those visitors passing through.

--Darin

Lenny Eiger
4-Feb-2014, 11:21
If I was going to offer scanning rental for a fee, I'd get a good scanner.

Lenny

Darin Boville
4-Feb-2014, 21:52
If I was going to offer scanning rental for a fee, I'd get a good scanner.

Lenny

If they want anything really good I'll send them to you! :)

--Darin