Running a real estate photography business can be a fun and rewarding experience. By helping realtors showcase a new listing, you are part of the process of helping people find incredible new homes. As the market continues to grow and thrive, real estate photography is becoming a more and more sought-after part of marketing a new listing.
In this blog post we have compiled a few tips to help you, the real estate photographer, grow and manage your business. Whether you have been in the industry for many years or are just starting out, we hope that you find these tips helpful for running your real estate photography business:
1. Manage client expectations. We all know that realtors can be very particular about when they receive their images back. The real estate industry is extremely fast-paced and sometimes it seems like the images are late before we’ve even taken our first shot, but the key to good relationships with your clients is managing their expectations appropriately.
Our suggestion for all real estate photographers is to make sure you are giving your clients the appropriate information upfront as far as turnaround times, cost, and the final product that you will be delivering. Where we see real estate photographers get into trouble is when they over promise and under deliver. If you know you have a large number of shoots during a given week, let your realtors know that their images may be delivered later than 24 hours after they were shot.
Set an appropriate deadline letting your clients know that it will take a bit more time because you want to ensure you deliver the highest quality images to put their fantastic property in the best light. This should help ease their minds upfront and they will be sure to be more impressed when you deliver earlier than your stated deadline rather than giving them an unrealistic deadline and being forced to deliver things late.
2. Always shoot a clean home. As a real estate photographer, you cannot be spending your time cleaning, tidying, and hiding unwanted objects from your shoots or, even worse, trying to get rid of them in post-production.
Making sure that your clients understand how a home should look prior to your arrival is key to your success and theirs. Not only will a clean home make your images look great, but it will also help you to do your job more efficiently and allows you to move on to your next shoot faster.
3. Charge for extras. I’m sure you have experienced the client who always asks for that little bit extra… “Can you remove that car from the driveway?”, “Can you make this home look like it was shot in the evening?”, “I need these photos back by tomorrow morning.” All of these requests, although they may seem small, take up your time or your editor’s time.
As we all know, time is money, and therefore requests like these should have a cost attached to them. Your time is a valuable commodity and we believe that it is fair to charge your clients for any time that you spend above and beyond your normal workflow.
If you approach situations like these in a knowledgeable, caring, and professional manner, your clients should have no problem understanding why they would be asked to pay an additional cost. Most of the time these additional costs are between $5-$30 and your clients will be willing to pay a small additional fee.
4. Make time to market yourself. As business owner, we know that we should be spending time marketing our business. However, as real estate photographers sometimes we put marketing on the back burner. We know it can be hard to find time to update the prices on your website, post to your Facebook and Twitter pages, and make it to networking events to meet new clients but these are an important part of maintaining and growing your business. Try finding ways to better allocate your time and resources in order to help free up time for marketing and business development. One way to free up time is to use a real estate photo editing service, like PhotoUp. By using a real estate photo editing service you will be able to spend less time editing and more time marketing. Better yet you’ll be able to spend more time at night and on the weekend with the ones you love instead of being stuck behind a computer editing images.
5. Get paid on time! One of the biggest problems real estate photographers have (or any small business owner for that matter) is being paid on time. Typical business practice is to be paid on “net 15” terms which specify that the net amount (the total outstanding on the invoice) is expected to be paid in full and received by the seller within 15 days after the service is completed. In some cases, we have heard of real estate photographers who operate under a net 30, net 60, or even net 90 terms! Payment terms any larger than a net 30 can be detrimental for real estate photography companies as they can easily rack up large amounts of accounts receivables which can greatly decrease the likelihood of you being paid for your hard work. One tip is to set up payments with your clients on the 1st and the 15th of every month. This way you can help your clients by breaking down their bills into two monthly payments and this will also help you manage your cash flow throughout the month.
We hope that you have found these tips helpful and wish you the best of luck as you continue to grow and build your real estate photography business. At PhotoUp, our goal is to help real estate photographers grow and scale their businesses by offering them a scalable editing solution and state-of-the-art technology platform.