To hear what they AREN’T asking.

January 18, 2016

“Can you make a copy of this for me?”

I’m going to be honest with you.  I have *NEVER* checked my air filter to see how it was doing.  You know who has?  The guys at Jiffy Lube.

But I went into Jiffy Lube for an oil change, because it’d been 3,000 miles, right?

It’s easy to say “Oh, here they go with the other stuff they want to sell me.”  But, in all fairness, I’ve been driving for over 20 years, and I haven’t ever checked my air filter, so I’m glad SOMEBODY is thinking about it.

When you hear “Can you make a copy of this photo?”  Do you just make the copy, and hand it right back over?

Who is the photo professional?  Who is going to suggest if the photo should/could be restored?  Who is going to suggest if it should also be put on a CD/USB?  Who is going to suggest if this would be a good candidate to turn into a photo canvas for gifting?

You’re hearing “Can you make a copy of this?”  But there’s an unspoken understanding that if there is something important you should be telling them about there photo, THAT’S the time to do it.

Don’t let them down!

Margins Matter

September 13, 2011

If you could double the amount of photo restorations you do, but you’d only get paid for half of them, would you do it?

We should treat photo restoration margins the same way we treat photo restoration quality. Just as you won’t put up with providing poor quality to your customers, you can make a decision to not put up with inadequate margins on your restoration service.

Studies have shown that most consumers are not aware of photo restoration. If a consumer learns about photo restoration, it will likely be through a display in your store, or interacting with a past customer. You are their source for photo restoration. You are only competing with yourself, in their mind. Don’t let an exception or two frame the way you view the value of your photo restoration.

We have created one tool to help as a sales aid for your counter staff in an effor to help both them AND your customer set and accept correct pricing. This half-page laminated sheet lists three critical steps to taking a customers order. By following these steps, your counter staff will be better equipped to serve your customers, and price with correct margins. To order, just email with the number we should send (3 maximum per location).

Restoring an old photograph means a great deal to your customers, even the chance to save these old photos has a huge value. Add to that the highly skilled artists that are required to do the job, and you have the ingredients for a valuable service that EDUCATED consumers are willing to pay for.

Let’s don’t let “not yet educated” consumers determine the value of your service. If your margins aren’t where you need them to be, increase them in conjunction with efforts to educate your customers – show them why this service is valuable – and they’ll gladly pay what you ask.

Out There Doing It

July 29, 2011

We have so much respect for our clients that are out there making business happen. There are clients doing TV commercials, clients using the power of PR and press releases to get their business out there, and clients out there making sales presentations to insurance companies and disaster recovery companies.

Here, Picture Perfect of Portland Oregon is trying out advertising on TriMet, Portland’s public transportation.

Our deepest admiration for those who are truly business LEADERS. Amazing.

Most people don’t know there IS such a thing as photo restoration. They learn it from YOU. And then they do business where they learned about it. How do YOUR clients learn about photo restoration?

A Mighty Oak

June 22, 2011

Among the pillars which make Hollywood Fotofix a great part of the services you offer, sure, there’s the large staff of talented photo restoration experts, and the client support staff that can answer your emails and phone calls quickly, but also there is an infrastructure that handles the transfer, handling and archiving of many terabytes of important photographs.

Steven Haslam is in charge of IT and web development. Through his nearly nine years with the company, he has supervised several programmers, but has been the main architect of our system. Much of what Steve does is behind the scenes – integrating our existing systems with clients’ special needs, providing tools for our internal use to manage the growing needs of the artists, and making sure we are ready for the different busy seasons throughout the year.

Currently Steve and his team are developing what we’re calling “Hollywood FotoFix 3.0″ for lack of a better term. This project goes beyond simply updating our website – but incorporates many services and features we’ve been working on for a long time. This project will revolutionize the service clients receive – the goal is to launch this service within the next 12-16 weeks.

Steven Haslam is a talented programmer and IT professional. He enjoys his job partially because of the mission of saving and preserving family history through photographs. We are very grateful that he’s chosen to make Hollywood Fotofix his professional home.

On behalf of all of our artists, clients, and coworkers – Thanks for what you do Steve!

The Oldest Profession

May 23, 2011

A funny and insightful exchange is often attributed to Winston Churchill (speaking with a socialite at a party):

Churchill: “Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?”
Socialite: “My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…”
Churchill: “Would you sleep with me for five pounds?”
Socialite: “Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!”
Churchill: “Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.”

If one difference between an amateur and a professional is that a professional does it for money, for as much as each of us love our jobs, can’t we all admit that we are ‘professionals’?

Do we find it easier to smile for large or otherwise important clients?  Do we find working late hours to get a long time client’s work done by their tight deadline easier than for a brand new, smaller client?  So we’re willing to do it if we need to…

The next time a small or new customer asks for the moon and we think to ourselves “What kind of business do you think we run here?” Let’s instead remember that we’ve already established what kind of business each of us run – and that we’re now just negotiating at what price we’re willing to be excellent.

And since you can’t get a customer to be a big customer until they’ve been a happy first time or smaller customer – it seems clear we need to give everyone the 5 million pound service.



The artists have both a great past and future

May 13, 2011

We returned this week from an extended artist training session with the artists.  Because of the distance between our offices, we find it important to spend as much time as we can together to build relationships, to provide feedback from the clients and to provide training related to that feedback.

This was my 8th training trip to Peru.

Usually these trips are all business – there is always plenty to cover, and the time with the artists just flies.

This trip was special in that our group, which also included my Dad, were able to make a side trip to Machu Picchu.

A beautiful valley on the road between Cusco and Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu was indescribable.  It’s hard to fully appreciate – all of the history, the engineering, the events that surrounded its creation and abandonment.  One of the high points of the trip was climbing Wayna Picchu, a peak which overlooks Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu with Wayna Picchu in the background

This climb was strenuous – the peak is steap and the cutbacks were pretty precarious at some points.  On the top of this peak are ruins with narrow stairs cut right into the rock.  It was quite a feat to climb it.

Me at the summit of Wayna Picchu. Just to get to know the author a bit!

In Cusco and Machu Picchu I gained a new perspective on the incredible accomplishments we’re all capable of with enough time and motivation, as well as for the artists and their incredible ancestors.  It’s amazing to think that each of us has the same abilities to build and create with exactitude just like the Inca did.

Stones at Machu Picchu

The artists remain grateful for the chance to work for you, and anxious to put into practice some of the things we worked on together.


Unbiased Customer Service

April 20, 2011

Have you ever had a client with unrealistic expectations?  One that couldn’t be pleased?  It’s easier to respond to criticism with a smile and a great attitude when it wasn’t an image YOU have spent several hours on.

For difficult orders, sending to not only allows you to give that kind of unbiased customer service, but also frees you from the risk of not being able to charge for your time.

HFF’s 100% satisfaction guarantee means that if you have a customer that is dissatisfied with a job that took several hours – there is no dilemna – you don’t charge them, and HFF doesn’t charge you.

Using makes it easier for your team to provide superior customer service.

Seeing The Value

April 11, 2011

What happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object?

When two forces come against each other, time and time again – often, one of them has an impact on the other.  The wind and the rain come against a mountain – with little obvious effect - but eventually the mountain is beaten down into a hill after trillions of raindrops and hundreds of thousands of years of relentless wind.

The effect this erosion has is clear in Canyonlands, Utah.  We have beautiful arches which have been carved, almost imperceptibly, by the wind.  We have deep pits which have been carved out of flat sandstone by a single pebble – rolling back and forth, round and round, by wind action.

You are a force, and your client is another.  When you come into contact – how is each affected?

What happens when a client of yours doesn’t see the value in a given service?  How do they impact you and how do you react?  Someone’s perception of value is going to change – even if just by a small degree.

Will the customer come away with an increased appreciation for the value of the service?  Or will you come away with a slightly decreased confidence in what you charge, or what you deliver?

You are making a difference in your customers’ perceptions when you show caution (approaching reverence) for their original image.  This was the image they had folded up in their wallet at some point, or that they had their thumbs on – but as they see how you treat it, their perspective changes. 

You make a difference when you explain to the customer “I’ll keep these under lock and key in a fireproof safe.”  And you DO.  It contrasts sharply with where it’s been stored previously. 

You make a difference when you ask them to tell you a little bit about the photo – who was in it – and why this photo is important to them.  You make a difference when you pull out a loop or glass, and examine the photo – noting areas of damage, and reassuring the customer that even though it’s damaged – you’ve been successful with repairing that kind of damage before.  Do they REALLY SEE how bad the photo is?  It isn’t just a spot, it’s the creases, the moire pattern, the fading, the discoloration on the sides.  Your value is in repairing all that – do they realize all that is going on with their photo?

You make a difference when you share how great you think it is that the customer is taking this step to STOP the continuing deterioration to the photo, that it would be PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to restore all of the prints in everyone’s basements and attics.  And all of them are chemically deteriorating at one pace or another.  There’s only so many photos that are even going to BE restored.  What a thoughtful gift to do for themselves and their posterity.

If we aren’t actively getting a customer to SEE THE VALUE, we can let our own perceptions of value erode away.

The Checklist

April 4, 2011


One of the advantages of working with Hollywood FotoFix is that one doesn’t have to do everything alone.  One can commit to a partnership and take full advantage of a wide range of marketing and other resources to make selling photo restoration easier for you.

Here’s a checklist of marketing tools we provide.  Make sure you’re taking advantage of:

[  ] The local photo restoration locator

[  ] Damage classification guide

[  ] Door decals

[  ] Several different restoration posters

[  ] Newspaper ads

[  ] Radio Ads in MP3 Format (Can also be put on a web page)

[  ] Tent Cards

[  ] Counter Stands

[  ] Stand-alone restoration site/link

[  ] Copyrighted Before/After Pairs

[  ] 4×6 Inserts

[  ] Restoration Brochure Files

[  ] Sales Guide For Your Staff

Take advantage of the leverage that these already prepared marketing tools provide.  Offload the time-consuming, fixed result photo restoration work to, freeing up your time for what you’d prefer to do:  increase sales.

If you’re having your staff spend time restoring, consider giving them a challenge to increase the amount of time they spend helping you market.  This list is a great place to start.



The Urgency

March 29, 2011

How many people in our town know about pizza?

And how many people in our town know they can restore their damaged photos?

So why then is it the pizza shops that have a guy on the corner waving around a sign like a mad-man?

What have WE done today to let the people in our community know about photo restoration or other services we offer?  Where’s our sense of urgency?

Specific action:  Some of the most successful labs I know have an A frame advertising their services out on the sidewalk or side of the building.  Order one today.  Switch out messages weekly.  Because you’re asking each of your clients where they heard about you – and writing it down – you’ll be kept motivated to put it out/update it as you see how it’s working.