One of the best ways to advertise your business is by showing proof of your craftsmanship. Posting photos of your finished jobs on social media and website is a great way to show new prospects what kind of work you’re capable of. Images can also save you from ornery customers who call about issues that might not have any merit.
Taking great photos isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Who should take the pictures – the installers, a photographer, or the customer? How do you motivate your team to take great photos? What kind of equipment should you provide, if any? And lastly, how do you make sure it happens every time.
Two Reasons Countertop Installers Should Take Photos of the Finished Job
Great photos of the finished countertop serve two purposes:
- Prevent miscommunication with the customer in case they call about a crack or chip.
- Help you promote your shop by showing new prospects what you’re capable of.
A customer might call in after the job and complain about a crack or mark in the stone. Ideally, you can quickly reference the completed job by pulling up the photos in your software system (more on that later).
Was there a crack in the photo, or did something happen after the installers left? That can be a great starting place as you go through some questions with the customer. You may find out they stood on the countertop to reach a glass in a cabinet, but would you have gotten the same answer without your photos?
Photos serve as a bit of “insurance,” if you will, by providing proof of what the countertops looked like when your crew finished the job.
Promoting Your Business
Great photos can help you showcase your work online. Prospects can get an idea of what you’re capable of, and they can also gather inspiration. They may see an island they like and say, “Can you do something similar for us?”
A prospect might also wonder what kind of splash would look good with white quartz, for example. If you have a body of work to pull from, you can help clients visualize their dream kitchen based on combinations you’ve already done.
Providing great photos helps with lead generation, and it can assist you during the design process.
Who Takes the Finished Countertop Photos?
We know great photos are better to have than not. But who should take them – the installers, a photographer, or the customer?
The easiest solution is to have your installers take photos before they leave the job site. They can take pictures and upload them directly into the job management system, something customers and a professional photographer can’t do. Installers also know what sections might warrant a close-up photo, such as the sink area and seams.
Many shops find that Instagram is an excellent channel for advertising their shop’s work. Having the installer take a photo or video of the final product and uploading it to a shared place can allow you to use that content in multiple ways.
If you’ve got a training program, you can even include having your installer posting the images or videos on Instagram right away. This can be a great way to promote your shop. It’s also easy to make this a part of your process – every time an installer finishes a countertop, they take a video and upload it to Instagram before leaving the home.
Some shops will store a camera in the truck and require sign-off to use it. Others will have installers use their cell phone, though you lose control over the images’ quality. Also, this assumes all installers have a cell phone. If they don’t, will your shop provide everyone with paid phones? If you’re a smaller shop, you may work through this on a case-by-case basis, though larger shops might benefit from a dedicated camera that stays on the truck.
Having customers take photos isn’t foolproof because not everyone will do it. However, if a customer does snap some shots and posts them on social media, you benefit from social proof. Their friends and family can see the work you’ve done, and you expand your reputation with virtually no effort.
Some shops incentivize customers to take photos and post them online. One of our favorite incentives is a free trivet. It’s inexpensive for your shop to make, and it’s something many homeowners would like to have.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t rely on customers to take photos every time. If they do, consider it a bonus, but you need to have some other process in place to make sure every job gets its five minutes of fame.
Hiring a professional photographer to take photos after every job doesn’t make sense in this industry. Margins are already low, and your installers can take photos without much effort.
However, there may be some jobs that stand out from the rest. Perhaps you’re doing countertops for a luxury home or commercial application and would love high-quality images for your website. That might warrant hiring a professional photographer to ensure you have stellar images.
In any case, your installers would ideally take photos (or gather the photos from the photographer) to upload to your software system, such as Systemize.
Storing Photos of Finished Countertops
Storing the photos is equally important as taking them! If you can’t find them quickly, what’s the use in having them?
Some shops have a shared DropBox account and will upload the photos into job folders. Everyone has access to the same account, so anyone can get the photos at any time.
A big step up would be storing your photos in Systemize, our scheduling software, with the job. Having those photos handy and in real-time makes it easy for any staff member to see pictures when programming or to see the completed job for social media marketing.
Plus, you’ll also have access to the before photos of the job site. Before and after photos can be an easy way to impress prospects with your skill level.
Systemize has the benefit of storing everything in one place – you can see photos for a job, contact information for the customer, any paperwork and documentation, scheduling information, and more. When using something like DropBox or Google Drive to store files, you’re a bit disconnected from the other moving parts of the job.
Read More: Do Countertop Fabricators Really Need Scheduling Software?
Finally, when you store photos, you might consider a naming convention. If this slows down your installers and stops them from taking the pictures, don’t mess with it, but a naming convention can help keep your files organized.
For example, you might name every file with the job owner’s last name and the year. That level of organization may come in handy later on, and you’d be glad you spent the extra 10 seconds, but it’s not a huge deal. Having the photos stored is what matters!
Getting photos of your finished jobs will pay dividends, both in limiting unnecessary reworks and by turning more prospects into paying customers.
Consider adding a few little steps to your current installation process:
- Take photos and upload them immediately to Systemize.
- Take a video and post it immediately to Instagram.
- Tell customers if they post photos or videos of the finished job and tag your shop on social media, they will get a free trivet (or another incentive of your choice).