April 5th, 2008
I get a bunch of questions from real estate photographers just starting out asking for a way to decide what to charge. I think I’ve come up with a formula. It is:
Home Shoot Price = 1.7 x Furnace Repair Price
First of all when I say basic shoot, I mean a photo shoot that produces 15 photos of an average size home (around 2000 to 2500 SF… one you can shoot in 1 hour). Added services, bigger homes are assumed to be add-ons.
Here’s how it works. You call your local furnace service company (preferably a company that is well established and been in business for a long while) and ask how much it will cost for them to come give your furnace it’s regular yearly service. This service typically consists of driving to your home, and spending about 30 minutes cleaning the gas jets, examining the heat-exchanger etc. My data is with gas furnaces, this could vary for oil, stream or other type heating systems. The idea is that furnace repair takes a similar level of technical expertise as a photographer… it’s technical, takes some special training and requires some specialized equipment and it takes a trip to the home. But in the two cases I tested, it doesn’t take as long as shooting a home. I assume that to process a shoot it takes 1 hour post processing for each hour on site. This is what the 1.7 multiplier is for.
My theory is that a furnace company that’s been in business for a while has figured out exactly what it costs them to travel to any location in their coverage area and what it cost to pay a relatively technical person to do 30 minutes work. If they didn’t have this figured out correctly they wouldn’t be in business. So they’ve done most of the work for you, all you have to do is apply a multiplier to adjust for the fact that you are going to spend 2 hours instead of 30 minutes.
I’ve done this calculation for my home in Snoqualmie, WA (Seattle area- 15 min east of Issaquah) and my home in Salem, OR (1 hour south of Portland) and it comes out as follows:
- Seattle area: FRP=$130 so HSP=$221 rounded to $220
- Salem area: FRP=$60 so HSP=$102 rounded to $100
To me these numbers are plausible. So what do you think? Does this formula work in your area?