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Open2view.com: An Opportunity For Real Estate Photographers

February 5th, 2008

About a month ago I noticed an ad in Inc magazine for open2view.com, a company that was founded in New Zealand in 1999. Open2view has grown to 200 franchises expanding into Australia in 2004 and to the US in 2007. They are starting out in HI, CA, AZ, WA, GA, NC and FL. I’ve spent some time checking open2view out and talking to Eric Chase in Auckland, NZ. Eric is leading the expansion into Canada and the US. Actually, I woke him up early Monday morning because I didn’t pay enough attention to what time it was in NZ. It’s 9:30AM on the west coast so everyone in the world should be out of bed right? Wrong! Eric was a good sport! He talked to me anyway.If you take a close look at a property page, for example us.open2view.com/335 , you can see the level of quality that open2view photographers do. Looks pretty good I think. This particular listing is in Hawaii but the quality between photographers is remarkably consistent because they’ve all had the same training. Some start with no photographic background.They have a large image slide show of all the stills, several cylindrical 360s and some excellent floor plans that hot link to still photos along with maps and the other standard property tour things. Their list of services reads like my ideal list plus extras. Prices listed here are for Washington thanks to Stephen Armstrong:

  1. 20 stills – provided in web, print and full size- $198
  2. Full-screen 360s (up to 3 tours) – $120
  3. Interactive floor plan- $150
  4. Twilight shots – up to 3 images – $176
  5. Elevated pole shots (PAP) – $176
  6. 24-hour turnaround – Standard
  7. Photo Walk-through on open2view.com website – $20
  8. Agent CD with all photos with contact sheet – Free
  9. Seller CD containing a disk version of the tour… for an agent gift to seller – Free
  10. Agent door hangers (to 25) to promote the listing to neighbors – Standard
  11. Video tours in development
  12. Package deals containing a selection of the above the above services are available for $258, $369 and $469 Contact stephen.armstrong@open2view.com for more details.

Open2view is a franchise type of business where the photographer purchases a franchise and independently owns and operates the business. With the franchise you get the benefit of the Open2view brand and marketing approach, the use of open2view.com hosting site, comprehensive training program and ongoing support. The major benefit to a photographer of taking this franchise approach to real estate photography is that you don’t have to figure out the marketing or technical aspects of the business. The franchise is a successful formula for running a real estate photography business. They have developed and refined all aspects of the business in the process of growing to 200 franchises. There is less risk in this approach but of coarse you have to invest in the franchise. For more info on how the franchise works or what it costs contact: eric.chase@open2view.com.Update Thur 2/7 8:30PST: Eric Chase sent me this photo of Open2view vehicles to show what they look like.Eric said: “All our franchisees are proud of their branded vehicles. Actually when people see our photographers driving around with what they think is a missile launcher or Bazooka on top they can’t help but stop and query what it’s all about. Another great way to market what we do, and agents love it!”

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64 Responses to “Open2view.com: An Opportunity For Real Estate Photographers”

  • Interesting, would love to know where this was?

  • In reply to the last comment, it was part of a Victorian franchise (Australia)

  • O2V seems to be a bit dodgy. Registered on their website to get more info. No reply at all…

  • This is a very interesting trail of comments. there is no doubt that many people in the O2V system are enjoying their participation and there are great arguments for and against the purchase of the franchise system. I have no doubt that it works but having investigated this myself I found it certainly was not for me.

    I did not like the up front costs, they were way to high for what I perceived I was getting, the cost of the elevated photography system seemed much higher than what I could develop myself, the limited and location of the areas available was not acceptable and I certainly felt that the ongoing fees were too high.

    I have taken the steps now to open my own business, only doing it part time but building slowly while maintaining my primary job. I have invested some money in registering a business, developing a web site, business & editing software, computers, elevated system and cameras. All up to get myself running I have spent less than $10,000.

    Every agent I have approached has purchased from me, I’m very strategic in the ones I speak to and when I speak to them. I’m in no rush to get too much work before my system is developed for the volume that it will eventually have to handle.

    So the moral to the story is, if your in a hurry to be successful then maybe a franchise is right for you but you will pay for that desire to be up and running quickly. If you take your time and build up slowly maintaining great customer service along the way you will not need to make the same investment in cash but you will have to make it in time, blood sweat and tears.

    Everyone will make their own decisions, hopefully the right one for them. I’m happy with mine so far…

  • What a lot off varied comments re the O2V franchise setup. I am a franchisee and have been for 2 years in South Australia. Before buying my franchise I had established my own business as a sports photographer and also worked as freelance photographer. After looking at the O2V model and all the costs I decided to write to every Ageny owner within my area and introduce myself as professional photographer. I hand delivered all letters and followed up via phone and had a nil response. So I decided at that time it was not for me. Six months later O2V re contacted me again and I looked at my situation and decided to get on board. Even though I thought I had skills being a sports photographer I realised quickly that real estate photography wes a totally different game. I realise now if those agents who I had first contacted had givenme a go I would have failed as the quality of my work then was not what was required. Thanks to the initial training and the ability of a know brand name to open a door for a sales opportunity. So now 2 years down the track those agents who didnt give me a thought as an inderpendant real estate photographer are now my biggest customers. Sure there are drawbacks to franchising, but there are also many benifits.

  • Well I would like to say after looking into and talking to some of the open2view people I think that they are being ripped! literaly as I see it its all for the open2view brand photog driving in roving bill board, and paying 36% and of course A % of this money is for advertising I put it to open2view I HAVE NEVER SEEN TV OR RADIO ADVERT at least not in Australia ????? so who spends the money and on what I did ask this question to only be stone walled, the answer I recived was at leased questionable eg giverways ect crap in other words not much direction, and last but not leased the photog gets to work his or her but off and promot the bran only not the photography…………

  • Well I would like to say after looking into and talking to some of the open2view people I think that they are being ripped! literally as I see it it’s all for the open2view brand photog driving in roving bill board, and paying 36% and of course A % of this money is for advertising I put it to open2view I HAVE NEVER SEEN TV OR RADIO ADVERT at least not in Australia ????? so who spends the money and on what I did ask this question to only be stone walled, the answer I received was at least questionable eg giveaways’ ect crap in other words not much direction, and last but not leased the photog gets to work his or her but off and promote the brand only not the photography…………

  • Yep, O2V at the photographer level is a rip-off, the business concept is great, but all the work is done by the photog franchisee who gets only 64%.

    The problem is to many layers (“pyramid”) which all stems from the original roll out. The head franchisor banked a heap dollars selling State
    Franchises, who were sold the idea they’d get all their capital back when they sold Area franchises, in turn the Area franchisees were told they’d get all their money back selling to photographers plus they’d get 20% of the photographers billing.

    The deal just stinks, yes some photogs have good territories and making good money, but there are plenty who are “walking away” having spent the money, done the work, only to find they can’t make fair income.

    The O2V franchise model is just flawed, the Area franchisee level should exist, then the photogs (workers) would get 84% for their efforts and that would be fair and a great opportunity.

    If you’re considering joining O2V in US / Canada don’t buy in below state or area level.

  • If you think a 36% cut is bad, someone I know in NZ was quoted 45%!!

  • Ex o2v franchisee, I am interested to know what your reason was for leaving the O2V franchise? Are you in the USA or Canada,what area were you working in? and will you tell us the negatives of being an O2V franchisee. There are positive and negative sides to every story and you have been working within the system so can you give us some more information please?

  • well in australia yes your right 64% , what has been forgoten is GST yep that 36% loss depending how much you earn add 10% most likley on adverage 42% thus reducing your 64% to 54-58% just somthing else to think about

  • As a real estate investor in NZ, I don’t use o2v, I use http://www.realestate.co.nz/ which has all the real estate agents on it…. There are private property sales, which you find on auction sites… As a Photog, digital cameras means agents can do their own pics, so for real estate it’s only high end stuff where there is money, think big interiors and lighting kit. There is a market for aerial real estate photos, but its minimal. There was one guy in the 1990’s with a helium balloon and camera under it, who got half of the NZ market, think photos of sport stadiums that are to be sold or renovated … O2v is hype and does get used, but if there was money in it for Photog’s, then why are their always franchises for sale on auction sites??? For me, o2v, Eric Chase and co are rhetoric con men, who find it hard to give a straight answer. If you are selling real estate, the trend these days in NZ is not even to use a real estate agent. You ask a friend who can do a half decent photo to make some photos (as most people can do it with a modern compact), place an ad on an auction site (as for sale). Buyer gets a builder to check the property and to check council land files, buyer and sellers have a lawyer each and use the lawyers for contracts and trust accounts for deposit and transfer balance (which you traditionally need anyway)… easy, why pay someone $10,000 to act a mediator (finding a buyer) for you?

  • Dear Sir,

    I am doing draw floorpalns to UK and Australia.I can draw your plan best quality and accuracy.If you can send me your jobs.Pl tell you prices there.I can agry with you that your prices.
    Send me your jobs sample.I will do that plan in very accuracy and without charging.
    I hope you joind with me.Pl consider me.
    Kind Regards
    Sameera

  • Ex o2v franchisee I am quite interested in why you left as well, I also am an ex o2v I questioned a marketing levy I was paying & asked for it to cease I also asked for a set of accounts regarding this levy, a few days later my franchise was terminated for failing to meet minimum performance criteria, and that seems fair!!
    Never again will I get involved with a franchise, especially that one.