TSS Photography

TSS

TSS Photography is ideal for the professional photographer or the hobbyist

looking for a new business opportunity.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

TSS Photography has been capturing childhood memories for more than 30 years. Having perfected its business model over the last three decades, TSS Photography gives photographers the framework for a profitable business and satisfying lifestyle.

“TSS is appealing to potential franchisees because of its flexibility and price point,” Marketing Director Alison Counts says.

“It’s a home-based business, so they don’t have the expense in brick-and-mortar or the risk involved with retail space. It’s appealing to a lot of people because unlike the retail world, this business doesn’t have set hours and people enjoy that flexibility.”

Candid Color Systems acquired TSS in 2014, bringing with it more than 40 years of experience in photography and franchising. “Candid has been in the business of photography, professional production of products and franchising via the Glamour Shots® brand for more than 40 years,” Counts adds. “We had a lot of experience to bring to the table.”

The ideal TSS franchisee enjoys working with children, sports or outdoor activities and photography. “We believe sports has the most TSS Fact Boxpotential for volume photography and that’s where we start people. It’s our core competency,” says Jack Counts, CEO and Alison Counts’ husband. “Sports can range from youth leagues, middle school and high school sports to collegiate athletics. When we talk about sports it’s really a broad context because it can be dance or martial arts as well as the traditional sports such as football and soccer.”

Franchisees range from seasoned photographers to novices looking for a new business opportunity. Some of the company’s most successful franchisees started with no photo experience.

TSS is also seeing an increasing number of women franchisees partially because of its flexibility. “We have a lot of women in our network who choose to not take on many or any jobs during the summer so they can stay home with their kids,” Alison Counts explains. “There can be a strong weekend element to what we do, so we have a number of franchisees who have full-time jobs during the week and photograph on the weekends.”

Strong Support

TSS offers training programs and continuing education for its franchisees. A photo trainer spends four days onsite with a new franchisee to provide hands-on training and the company also offers additional training at its headquarters in Oklahoma City.

“To start, we give them basic information about how to form their business if that’s not something they are familiar with or have never done,” Alison Counts says. “We have a pack of equipment that we purchase on our franchisee’s behalf and go out and train them using every piece of that equipment. We attend their first picture day and stay by their side while they take team and individual photos.”

Like with any business, there is a sales element for TSS that involves scheduling appointments with local leagues and schools. “Doing sales is what’s new for most people unless they came from a sales position,” Counts says. “We have a call center to schedule appointments. It’s unique and helpful to the franchisees because not everyone is great at making cold calls. We take that stress away.”

TSS’s call center will schedule a photo shoot discussion appointment for the franchisee for an introductory period and then the franchisee can choose to pay for the service or make calls themselves. In addition, a protected territory is developed by TSS for each owner to achieve his or her desired level of success. “Territories help with the spirit of fairness and sharing,” Counts says. “We have 180 territories and 96 franchisees with more potential franchisees coming in all the time.”

Superior Software

When Candid acquired TSS, it gave franchisees access to the most technologically advanced systems in the industry, including online and mobile pre-ordering, advanced green screen solutions, patented Virtual Groups and its proprietary PhotoMatch system for matching and transmitting images onsite. “We, Candid, provide the software and professional production of plaques, prints, posters or banners,” Alison Counts adds. “We produce all of the TSS franchisees’ products.”

TSS franchisees submit orders, post and organize images online to sell through Candid’s retail interface. “The software that we create gives us a real advantage in the marketplace,” Jack Counts says. “We deliver pictures back much faster than what’s going on in the industry. Franchisees can deliver photos within the week of an event, which typically takes more than three weeks for other companies.”

“That’s where we spend a lot of time and focus is on the future and software is a big part of that,” Alison Counts adds.

Candid also developed facial recognition software that allows its consumers or its franchisees’ customers to find images quickly and also helps the photographer get them online quicker with less labor. “We take an individual shot of a person and identify his as Tommy Smith, for example,” Jack Counts says. “Now we can shoot other events going on, whether it be buddy or family shots and it recognizes Tommy Smith. Parents or the photographer can search his name and every image he is in will come up.”

Photographers can upload images to the website as they are taken, which gives parents an online proof immediately and allows Candid to process the image even faster. In the future, Candid will implement 3-D images and printing. The company is currently working on a 3-D replica business model to roll out.

Moving forward, Candid’s main priority will be to continue to improve the business and innovate for its franchisees. “We are committed to constant innovation that will help our franchisees sell more and help make their businesses easier and more fun to run,” Alison Counts says. “That in itself will help our franchise system grow.”

 

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