April 21st, 2013
Regular PFRE blog readers have heard me talk about Peggy Taylor in Tampa, FL ( here and here). Peggy has been keeping me updated on her business status for the last several years because back in the spring of 2011 I noticed that she was charging $99 per shoot. I started asking questions about her expenses and if she was making money. As anyone would be, she was a bit hesitant about taking unsolicited “help” but politely listened to me. In 2012 she told me that she had raised her price and increased the number of shoots she was doing and had thus increased her gross earnings 1.8 times.
This last week Peggy told me that in 2013 she has added an assistant, raised her prices to $250. Both Peggy and her assistant are continually booked two weeks in advance, she now does NO advertising and is on track to increase her gross earnings 1.8 times in 2013 compared to 2012.
Over this same period that Peggy has been increasing her prices that she was learning a huge amount and increasing the quality of her work significantly. She also has a big focus on customer service. Peggy says:
Two things are going on that are impacting my client base. One, is that my clients love me. I give phenomenal customer service. I never, ever complain. I bend over backwards to accommodate their schedules. I help them make Beds, clean Bathrooms, move toys or whatever it takes to get the shoot done. My clients rarely leave me. If I make a mistake or take a little too long, I am forgiven. I also go back and make it right without complaint.
From what I can see, Tampa is also a vibrant, progressive real estate market that is using real estate photography. This plays some part of Peggy’s success. The other important aspect of Peggy’s success story is that this kind of success doesn’t happen over night she has worked hard for it over the last 5 years. Here it the general time-line of Peggy’s business:
- 2008: Worked for a large national tour company for $30 a shoot.
- 2009: Bought her first DSLR and launched an independent real estate photography business as a part time business.
- 2010: Raised prices; learned a lot; quadrupled her earnings from real estate photography.
- 2011: Raised prices; added multiple flash technique; learned a lot more; tippled her earnings from real estate photography.
- 2012: Continued learning; added an assistant; increased her earnings by 1.8 times as compared to 2011.
- 2013 (end of the 1st quarter): Continued learning; upgraded camera; on track to increase earnings by 1.8 compared to 2012.
I convinced Peggy to let me do this post because this kind of a success story can be an encouragement for those just getting in the business of real estate photography. I’m not sure you can do what Peggy has done anywhere, but I think it can be done in most large metro areas.