A lot of you follow me on Instagram and saw my story about sending my equipment away to be cleaned/serviced and asked how it went! Honestly, I had a pretty great experience (besides the pricey repair) so I figured I’d share it all worked.
Back in the fall, I started a membership with Canon Professional Services (CPS). I knew that after the busy season I really wanted to have my equipment cleaned + prepped for the next wedding season, so it was super important to me to get a membership with CPS. It was super easy, too! Basically, you just give them the basic information about your business and register all of your canon equipment by the serial number. Each lens/camera gives you points, which determines which level of membership you get! I am a gold member 😉 (I can’t help but think of Austin Powers! HAHA!)
I got my membership back in the fall but never got my welcome packet because it was right in the middle of my move/between addresses. I contacted CPS and they sent back a very detailed email on everything I needed to know about sending my equipment in. I was definitely impressed with their customer service!
I printed off all the forms I needed to send with my equipment, then took my 5d Mark iii camera body, 50 mm, and 100 mm to FedEx. I spoke to photographers before this entire process and everyone said to let FedEx/UPS pack the lenses for me because they could do it better. From there, I insured the package + sent it off. That was Monday, and my camera + 100 mm were back on Wednesday! (My 50 mm needed repairs, and came back the following Monday! I’m still super impressed with that turn around!)
So, here’s what I learned + some tips I’d give for anyone else doing this:
- Next time, I will definitely buy boxes + bubble wrap and pack them myself. The ladies that helped me in FedEx were super sweet, but they moved my camera and two lenses to the counter beside the computer and left it there (which is very open to the public, anyone could walk up to that counter and take something)… So I stepped aside for them to help someone else and asked if they would pack my camera up while I was there for peace in mind. They said no, because they were already so behind and “they wouldn’t be in business if they did it for everyone that came in.” I’ll admit, I left the store very upset and disappointed that my camera and lenses were sitting there where someone could easily steal them or knock them to the floor. I didn’t realize they wouldn’t be able to pack everything right there in front of me, so lesson learned. Obviously, everything got back to me safe and sound, but from now on I will definitely do it myself!
- I didn’t send ALL my equipment at once! I’m paranoid and didn’t want to send everything at one time because I feared if something went wrong, I’d lose ALL my camera equipment. So, I kept my Canon 6D and my 24-105 mm at home. I’ll send those in next! Additionally, I hardly use those during my wedding season, so they weren’t a huge priority right now!
- Insure everything! I insured all three pieces and it was $95 for that and the box! If you’re looking to send in equipment, know how much it’s worth and be prepared to spend $100-200 to insure it. WORTH IT!!!
- CPS gave me a choice for the repair! I sent in my 50mm with notes that it was getting soft. They looked over it and sent me an estimate and from there it was my choice to either go through with just cleaning it, or to go ahead and repair it. Obviously, I had to pay for the repair because it’s my most-used lens for EVERYTHING! This was definitely a bummer because it was an unexpected expense and the lens is only a little over a year old, but it had to be done. However, I did get a discount because of my gold membership! (Still wasn’t happy about paying for it, though 😉
- Plan ahead! I knew I wouldn’t have any sessions for at least 12 days after sending my equipment in. I gave myself some time because I wasn’t sure how long the repair would take!
So, if you’re a photographer on the fence about sending in your equipment–I get it. Honestly, I think that’s why I waited so long! (I could have done this back in February!). However, it’s so worth it. My camera came back looking like it was brand new, and my 50 mm is finally sharp again. It’s definitely another costly business expense when you take in account the CPS membership, the shipping + insurance, AND a repair, but if it means giving my clients sharp images, it has to be done! I definitely had a great experience, and next time I won’t be as nervous 😉