I've been using PSP as an amateur user for about 2-3 years. I've did two 5th grade graudation slideshows for my two children graduating classes as a volunteer parent last two years. The two shows were basically played at the graduation party. The PTA & Graduation Planning Committe did not have intention to make DVD copies for all the graduating kids. I did received a lot of WOWs & OOs and compliments after the show. My two children are now in middle school. Upon reading some threads in this forum I know that some forum users have done similar slideshows in the past. I am thinking about approaching the PTA and Graduation Planning Committee and asking if they wil be interested to let me making a slideshow with DVD copies for this year's graduating classes. it will be a wonderful keepsake together with the yearbook they will receive at the end of the party. I've offered with a very low price per DVD copy and thinking that a sale of mass voiume will allow me to jump start a slideshow business. I sent out an e-mail two days ago to the PTA Chairperson expressing my proposal and have received a pretty prompt reply that the school district does not allow to hire anyone or business for profit on a school activitiy.
I was a bit surprise to receive this response. I've read some of the threads in this forum and have not seen discussion about how companies doing businesses related to school activities. In my view, public schools do businesses with private companies all time. Are there more restrictions with the PTA, or PTA sub-groups like the Graduation Planning Committee? Will anyone be able to provide me some suggestions? Are there alternatives I can pursue that will convince them to reconsider:?:
Thanks for any advice.
acl wrote:I am a new member with this forum. This is an amazing forum that users are so friendly and helpful in sharing information to other users.
I sent out an e-mail two days ago to the PTA Chairperson expressing my proposal and have received a pretty prompt reply that the school district does not allow to hire anyone or business for profit on a school activitiy.
In my view, public schools do businesses with private companies all time. Are there more restrictions with the PTA, or PTA sub-groups like the Graduation Planning Committee? Will anyone be able to provide me some suggestions? Are there alternatives I can pursue that will convince them to reconsider:?:
Thanks for any advice.
I could be completely wrong but think this person is feeding you a bunch of baloney to put it mildly. How do they explain the magazine companies that pimp out school children to sell subscriptions no one wants, or cookie dough. What about school photographers, yearbook companies, class rings, whatever! Those companies aren't doing that out of the goodness of their heart. It costs money to produce those products for heaven's sake. Those companies have to pay employee salaries to make a living. If people want it, they can pay for it. If they don't want it, they don't have to pay for it.
Once you give this stuff away, people often expect it to be done for free from that point on and you have a really hard time establishing a value in something that was free before.
Maybe there's someone else less clueless that you can talk to that has some say on the issue. Can't say who that would be though as I've never worked with schools. I would find a way to present/play a demo sample to several other people face to face, not do it by way of email. Who knows if that will work for sure but might be better than the faceless email approach.
As for giving shows away not being a good idea, I've done it for 5 years in my school, and word of mouth is priceless! Each family gets a dvd of the year in review, and my pricing structure is obvious so if they want a baby shower show, family show, whatever, they know up front what my work looks like and just how much it will cost them. Granted I am in an extremely depressed area and have not done many shows this year, but everyone knows who to go to when they want one done!
Grade 2/3 teacher
Somebody's Nanny all the time!
As for giving shows away not being a good idea, I've done it for 5 years in my school, and word of mouth is priceless! -snip-
Tina - I agree that word of mouth is priceless. It's just very difficult to establish worth of something that was known to be free. If you're able to get business after that and cover all your costs, time and effort, thank goodness for that. Most people don't price themselves at a level to be able to stay in business very long or burn out trying.
There's a way to do donate to a non-profit and still maintain a sense of worth in the eyes of the recipient. I invoice with the total amount (subtotal) and show the discounted amount subtracted, then come up with a final amount due. When people see what I would normally charge, they're more grateful for the discount being provided.
In my personal experience, the principal was the contact for the elementary schools and as far as the high school sports teams, the coach was the contact.
If you have done these shows in the past, my guess is that the parents already know about them and want to have one for their child as well. It is tough when you have supplied the show for free in the past. But, the school also has to understand that your children have moved on, and now your services will need to handled differently. I would try and talk to someone else, someone with authority, but also somebody that has seen your shows and know the value of them.
I totally agree that the e-mail reply "they are not allow to hire anyone or business for profit on a school activity" is clueless. A very good example is about making the yearbook. Last year, a parent spent her own time to create the 5th grade yearbook, but she still needed to pay Office Depot to do the binding of the yearbook. I just don't understand the difference of services between binding and creating slideshows.
I actually gave them a very good deal that is from almost a free service to making no profits. The two reasons that I offer them with such a low price are 1) My two children who were graduated from this school and this is in a way that I want to make contributions to the school, and 2) The slideshow DVDs will be distribute to about 70 parents and hopefully in future some of them will use my services to create personal DVD slideshows. I've learned something of reading threads in this forum: --You always have to give out something before you can take back something--
I do not know that person who responded my e-mail in person but some other members of the PTA committee know me well beacuse I did two slideshows in the past and I also donated copies of the slideshow to the school library that they can view the slideshow using the library computer. I have to dig out where and what is the policy that will not allow them to pay my services. Stay tune.
Thanks for your suggestions. I will need to talk to the school principal who has the sole authority to say yae or nae. The pricnipal knows me and I know that he appreciate my works. He also knows that many parents like the slideshow. Last year at the Celeration Party he did say thank you to my work in front of the crowd after finishing the slideshow. However, I do think that he will not want to see that I am selling slideshows and making big profits from his students. This means that I have to keep the DVD price to very low, or almost no profit, in order to get his approval.
As for the parents, it probably is not a big issue because most parents probably do not know me. Those parents who know me left the school together with their children who graduated during the last two or three years. Most important, I'll need to convince the 5th Grade Planning Committee to buy the service and to include the DVD as part of the graduation packet that each parent has to pay for (a fee that will include the cost for the yearbook, food at the party, etc).
However, I do think that he will not want to see that I am selling slideshows and making big profits from his students. This means that I have to keep the DVD price to very low, or almost no profit, in order to get his approval.-snip-
Hard to say what he'll say until you ask. "Big profits"? What exactly is does that equate to? Whatever that is, it's probably a huge misconception, the perception of "big" profits. Speaking of big profits for no work, I wonder what his yearly salary is (and after he retires does he receive %100 of his pay for 20-30 more years)? Sigh... sore subject!
Your time talent and skill is the contribution to the project. That's worth plenty. They shouldn't expect you to go into the hole for the cost of goods too. If you're able to get the cost of goods before the party, you won't be in the hole. Can't make the DVDs without the money. Compute every single thing you pay for, gasoline, mileage, 70 DVDs, jewel cases, ink for labeling (printing on the DVDs) everything. None of this is free - someone has to pay for that. The parents are probably getting a good deal from you as it is.
I see the problem is that it's bundled with the entire grad party. That is the obstacle. If it doesn't work out with the bundling, then it would be hard to offer them privately once your children aren't part of the school any longer. No one can stop another parent from buying the slideshow from you privately if they want a copy. That might be a way around the problem if you could figure out how to make the contacts and sale.
Hope it all works out for you either way.
Seeing that it is bundled as the grad package, I would think that it may even be a easier sale. This is what is done with a high school that I do the cheer video at the end of the season. Before the season starts the funds are paid upfront by each student to cover the cheer outfits, training, and for the end of the year party and the video. I have been doing this for them for years, and now the parents expect the video as part of the end of the year party, and they have paid for it in the original package.
Another idea for schools would be to... say you charge $25 per DVD sold to the parents. The school collects the money from the parents and of each sold DVD a portion of the sale goes back in the pot for the funds for the grad party. Kind of a win-win situation for you and the school. This is how one school choose to do it years ago when I created their DVD for their sporting event. Seemed to work just fine. The parents love the DVD and the committee has extra funds to work with for the party. You can also throw in a free DVD for the committee members, assuming they have children in the fifth grade class. Incentive never hurts.
Your price would have to depend on how many would actually purchase, or you would think they would purchase. For me, when I do teams, I have to make sure all team members purchase. I have to have a guaranteed dollar amount. Lots of time is put into these as you know. Do not give your service away. I would get a good package together to sell to the principal that has enough profit in it for you to be happy. You want repeat business form this school, but you also want to know each year you will have a good enough profit from your time and effort.
Good luck and keep us posted.
For projects from the school or PTA, If they agree to give me the work, I probably won't mind to spend the upfront expenses and I will trust them to hand me the check before the project is completed. I certainly will not do that if it is for individual customers.
I think one of the reason I want to go for bundling is because students who came to this school vary from a mix of income groups. There are several quite large middle-income subdivisions within the walking distance, same as two large mobile home parks. The rest are on-street housings. On the whole there are no wealthy neighborhood kids come to this school. Bundling with a volume discount price seems to me is the only way to go. Selling DVDs withopen order and a higher price probably will not attract too many interest from parents in view of today's economy.
acl wrote:-snip Bundling with a volume discount price seems to me is the only way to go. Selling DVDs withopen order and a higher price probably will not attract too many interest from parents in view of today's economy.
That makes a lot of sense - the more DVDs sold the less the "each" price turns out to be for everyone involved. Hope it works out well for you. It's nice that they're able to work it out so everyone has opportunity to have the special things for graduation, isn't it?
Thanks for all your suggestions. I admire your skills that be able to make the cheerleader team be your regular customer. That's not easy! Most important you've been able to maintain a good relationship with the coach. In Comparing to the 5th grade graduation committee and the PTA I am dealing with, the personnels change every year and it is much difficult to establish a relationship with them. i have just received an e-mail from the PTA chair that they are considering finding a volunteer parents to do the show. This is really the differences between the group of people I am working with than the groups you work with.
dtpitts wrote:Another idea for schools would be to... say you charge $25 per DVD sold to the parents.
It seems that you don't collect all $25 with part of it return to the pot. Am I correct? Again, what make you success is your good marketing strategy.
I am going to give up working with that 5th grade committee and the PTA. I don't think they have any interest to work with me. I am going to send out mass mails to local PTAs, both the middle schools and elementary schools and ask if they will be interested to have me to create graduation slideshows. I can bring my past slideshows and present to them if they are interested to meet me. I am working on my website and hopefully will be up in 2 weeks. what do you think? The grudation season is coming. I have to try.
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