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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Do I need to join the Better Business Bureau?
Paul Yates, Photographer
Vancouver | BC | Canada | Posted: 11:07 PM on 05.08.14
->> My Company is me; I hire out like some of us do when events get large or double bookings etc, but basically its me. I have no membership at the local BBB, question is, do I need it? Pretty expensive at 1K a year. I have had one complaint against me since 2006 (late delivery) that was resolved long ago so my rating is clean but 'not rated, no complaints' etc. Not sure I see the advantage other than helping with a web search (they rank high). Is it worth it? One of the problems I have is that if someone does have a complaint (which I hope never happens, but wanna be realistic) you have to join to respond! That bugs me, but what do you guys think? Necessary or no?
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 05.09.14
->> What is the UP side of spending $1k a year? What do you get back that is worth the money? Do you get referrals? Do you get advertising? And if so who is the target market?

The BBB is not a governmental agency, but a non-profit organization the same as your local Chamber of Commerce who also charges a hefty dues.

If you were a store that sold widgets in competition to other stores then how you conduct business in terms of selling and refunds may be important enough to warrant BBB approval. But being in a photography business where all your work is essentially custom made to the client's wishes then comparing one job to the next is like comparing apples to oranges -- unless your in the studio portrait business where clients come to your place of business on an hourly basis.

I was approached to join my local Chamber of Commerce when I formed my company. All their promo offers as part of joining had little or no value to my business model.

Make a two column Pros/Con list of being a part of the BBB and see which side weighs more. Personally, I don't know of any one-person independent photographer/company that is a member.

Here's another thing to consider. How many times have you ever investigated a camera store or whatever in advance to determine if it is a BBB member before patronizing it? Do you make it a point to only go to BBB member restaurants? How often do you visit the BBB website to look at current reviews of B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon, Apple, etc. before making a purchase from them? If none, then what makes you think people will do the same with your business?
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 11:41 AM on 05.09.14
->> No. My wife used to sell for them and they are one step above being a scam. They use intimidation tactics to recruit members and it's just a complete waste of money. If you're willing to pay the money, you get in. Having that BBB sticker is just a receipt for the payment. It's an outdated concept and really out of touch with today's business environment.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 12:48 PM on 05.09.14
->> The things photographers should look for when joining an organization are a few things.

I think you need to join organizations where you can network and find clients. The local chamber could be good if the members are those that need your skills.

When you join something, don't just pay the dues and look at the membership names. Get involved and volunteer to help the organization. The person that volunteers and helps with registration desk at an event will get to meet everyone that comes to the event and they meet them. This is just one small example of how it helps grow your business.

Organizations like NPPA and ASMP are great for education and some of the membership benefits like insurance.
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Pat Lovell, Photographer
Bloomington | IN | US | Posted: 6:46 PM on 05.09.14
->> One of the best local networking groups a photographer can join, is BNI (Business Networking International) http://www.bni.com/

I was in BNI for many years and if you want to build up your commercial, portrait and/or wedding clientele, BNI is a great group.

If you don't know anything about BNI, in a nutshell, its a referral group with one member per business classification, that meets once a week. (ie...one photographer, one realtor, one electrician, one insurance agent, etc...)

BNI is great for networking, building trust locally and growing your business. It is a commitment with the weekly 2 hour meetings but, highly worth it.

Check out the main website www.bni.com (or search for your local BNI) for more info, they do let you visit the group to see how it works and learn more about it. Most cities have several groups that meet during breakfast or lunch. Cost is about $350 per year with a ($20-40) monthly fee to cover meeting cost and food.

I've referred several photographers to Indiana BNI groups over the years and every one of them love it.

I was President of our local group for a year and a member from 1998 to 2012 and would gladly answer any questions via email if you don't want to ask them here.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 7:34 PM on 05.09.14
->> No value to it.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Davis Barber, Photographer, Photo Editor
Fullerton | CA | USA | Posted: 1:12 AM on 05.10.14
->> A wide variety of response here! Here's my two cents: Much depends on your geography. In my market, BNI works for plumbers, bankers and realtors who have no money for photography. Not a good fit.

Better Business Bureau has been a scam in my experience. Every time I have acquired a new DBA (business name) I get a call from them…. within the hour. They say they have had an inquiry about my company (the one I just registered but does not yet exist) and that I need to join the BBB to find out what the inquiry was and how to improve my ranking. Total scam.

In my town, the Chamber of Commerce has been great. I'm told it's an unusually good group. I've gained lots of well-paying clients through my membership. The key is to network, talk, and be patient. It won't happen quickly. But some chambers suck. One I went to seemed to have had a botox explosion.

I am often told I should join Rotary. They say "in the chamber you deal with managers. In Rotary you deal with owners!" Probably true. But Rotary is an odd beast in and of itself, and not for me. At lest not my local one.

Ultimately, they are all as valuable as you make them. Joining isn't enough, you have to work them, hard.
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Pat Lovell, Photographer
Bloomington | IN | US | Posted: 11:27 AM on 05.10.14
->> Davis, I've gone to our local Rotary. I'm 47 years old and i'm a good 20 years younger than the next youngest member. You are right, it really depends on your market and we should check out all the local business type groups.
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Paul Yates, Photographer
Vancouver | BC | Canada | Posted: 2:05 PM on 05.12.14
->> Great feedback y'all and much appreciated. After more review and your feedback I'm going to pass on this.

Thanks for the support cheers
 This post is:  Informative (0) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

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Thread Title: Do I need to join the Better Business Bureau?
Thread Started By: Paul Yates
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