Bill T, I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
Ken, the thing is I'm not a photographer. I don't sell images. I print for photographers. Right now I'm focusing on only canvas. I want to expand my business and offer other services such as printing photo's for photographers. My client has the image. He took it. So I don't really have that "but it from me" option. Thanks Ken for the reply. Got some good info on why they should come to me instead of use big box stores.
As others have said, it is unwise to piggy back the competition. YOu must differentiate.
I was a retailer in a previous life (owned my own store although it was not photography) and competed head on with big box. Or more accurately, I didn't.
Your problem (as was mine when I had the store) is that certain services and products sold in retail are the SAME. A box of Tide is a box of Tide. It does the same thing no matter where you buy it - but Walmart may sell it at a loss for $2 a box - and this is the actual wholesale cost of a small Mom and Pop.
So, back to photography, if your service is printing photographs and their service is printing photographs - who do you think will win if the only thing you can claim is "friendly service" (I am not a fan of Walmart).
People who pay for these kinds of prints don't want to be overwhelmed with techno-crap. They don't care how big your printer is, or how many profiles it has (they view their best shots under flourscent lights as proofs - what more can I say :0-). They may visit you to check you out, but if the service is basically the same, you will waste time.
n my view, you need to do what they cannot - and not even attempt to attract their customer base. Its like trying to move a mountain.
I'm not in the business of printing - and don't want to be. But as a consumer, and a person who would consider purchasing the service, I would not pay you to do what I can get done in a pharmacy or big box.
HOwever, recently, I have been working to get a collection together. I am considering trying to exhibit my work (hopefully next year) and I have been pricing printers who will do perfect quality prints on paper, or mounted on board, or on canvas. And frames.
I called around recently (I'm in Ontario Canada) and the pricing for a 20x30 print on paper is around $50.00 - about the same for a simple frame - which means I'm at $100 a print before travel, set up, booth rental, tent, and my time.
Its pricey - but if my current printer bites the dust (smile) - I would consider it.
Art exhibitions are happening (usually in the summer) and get last years' catalogue of artists and mail them. How many of the exhibitors actually have their own printer - I have no idea. It may be another dead end - but that's all I got.