Sorry to pick on the pictures above but this thread is educational and do not take it the wrong way.....
That dog pictured above is when a crop goes wrong. See how the ear is leaning and standing up correctly on it's own? That is from a lack of proper taping, the ears have to be trained to stand up correctly or you will get crops that look like that. I have had to tape ears as long as about 7 weeks to get them to stand correctly and some just do it on it's own each dog and crop is different. If you just want cropped ears and do not care how they turn out then I guess it is ok but if I am going to spend that kind of money I want them to look correct and I also show my dogs.
You can have the best crop job in the world but if you do not do proper after care they can look like crap and not turn out right, you have no one to blame but yourself for not taping properly. Just something for you to think about.
IMO I would NOT use the hard plastic cones they hurt the dog and can cause the ears to eal incorrectly because they push on the ears. My suggestion is to get a soft cone like this. I use these on all my crops now and they work wonders. I am taking 4 dogs in next week to get cropped and I have bough soft cones for all of them. I too have to drive 3 hours to get the ears cropped then 3 hours back.