Should You List Your Prices On Your Real Estate Photography Website?

December 4th, 2014

PriceOnSiteBraulio asked the following question yesterday:

I am wondering about showing my prices online. Many people don’t show their prices on their website. You used to show your prices on your website but not anymore. I am thinking about removing my prices from my site. Could you tell me what the benefits are to hididing your prices?

Here is my response to Braulio: Since a real estate photographers website is a central focus for marketing I think the thing to do is to promote the aspect of your business where you want to compete. If you want to compete on price be sure to list all your prices. If you want to compete on quality, dazzle your visitors with quality. If you want to compete with service be sure to promote all the unique services you provide.

I think when you list a lot of detail about pricing you attract clients that are interested in pricing and if you don’t have prices listed you are going to attract more business by clients that are concerned about more than price.

The thing that always bothers me is real estate photography websites that are filled with a massive amount of words and little photos. A real estate photographers’ site should have mostly photos.

What do you think about listing prices on real estate photography websites?

 

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20 Responses to “Should You List Your Prices On Your Real Estate Photography Website?”

  • For the past 3 years in business I’ve had my pricing sheet posted on my website and just recently in speaking to a few mentors and high profile photographers in my area they all encouraged me to not put pricing on my website. Going forward with my new 2015 pricing I will be raising my prices for brand new clients and then keeping some of my old clients at their original rate. If I post different pricing on my website and then quote someone something different then there could be an issue. I think it’s just safe to say “Call or Email me for Pricing Info”. If you are just starting out and plan to charge everyone to same rate then YES posting the pricing is a great idea! Some clients won’t even call or be interested in you if they don’t know your pricing beforehand. Goodluck!

  • There are a lot of folks who subscribe to the opinion that you should list your rates as it immediately eliminates inquiries from the bottom feeders unless of course you are charging bottom feeder rates. In the end it’s the quality of your work that will do the talking. I don’t see an issue charging an existing client a lower rate than what’s posted on your website.

  • I’m with Larry on this one. Unless you are using a site like Zenfolio with a shopping cart.

  • I will be doing similarly as Aubrey. I have a few good loyal customers and don’t want to increase prices for them, yet. However new customers will be asked to pay more.

    I do publish on my website a price page, but it is password protected. When I was putting the site together, it was more for me to commit to something than to offer it as public information. For those rare instances when the customer want to know more than verbally stated pricing, I give them a password to that page. I change the pass word to that page 2 days after I give it out to help avoid making it easy for new competitors. It’s really not that effective. There aren’t many secrets that can be kept from those who really want to know.

    I notice that my competitor in town provides extra service, though not as good quality. He gets a lot of business. His price is similar to mine, but the customers are OK to get less quality and more services. I’m not willing to do the extra services in order to compete unless I am able to provide the quality I want to produce for those extra services. And with extra effort, I expect to get paid for it…..so I will continue to provide what I do for those who see its value. Which is more than what I charge. I say humbly..ha

  • I have been told that I shouldn’t list my prices but I get a lot of business from my website and I have found that it eliminates a lot of calls from people who would otherwise have sticker shock when calling me because I charge more than many in the area. Those calls waste my time.

  • I am just starting out in the R.E. photography field, and have pondered this question as well, even though I do not have a web-site yet. I am thinking about not listing my prices, as I agree with Larry that not listing prices will not stop those potential clients who are not as concerned about price and are more concerned with the quality of your work and the value good photos will provide. Also, as far as John M’s idea that listing rates will keep the “bottom feeders” from calling, I think if they call then you have the opportunity to explain to them why they should hire you and potentially gain a new client, or even more through referal; if they never call you have 0% chance of gaining a client.

  • Another idea with not posting your pricing on your website is so it gives you a chance to actually talk to your prospective client. And ideally, have a face to face conversation with them on their brand and needs. It is very effective to get business this way.

  • I don’t have a lot of experience with this, so I may change my mind eventually like Aubrey describes. I guess I have several questions about the “no price list” approach, so I might as well air them in case others have the same questions. Let me know if you see where I am off here.

    First, if you post prices, does that really mean you are competing on price? I’m thinking that high-end department stores like Nordstom post prices, even thought they are not competing on price. Even though I post prices, I’m actually trying not to compete on price, so I’m trying to charge the going rate for my area. I’m currently posting prices so that I can spend my time with clients talking about product.

    Second, do you really need to compete either on price, OR on product, OR on services. Seems like you need to compete with a package that combines service, price, and product.

    Third, do we really need to choose between showing images and showing text? Seems you would want to have a site that shows lots of large beautiful pictures and also helpful text.

    Seems like you would want to provide information to help the shopper do whatever they want to do, shop on price, or image quality, or services, or just shop around.

    I think I see the other side of the argument too. You don’t post price so people have to contact you for pricing information, and then you use that conversation as a chance to further the relationship. I guess it all depends on what works better. I’d be interested in hearing more from people with experience on both sides.

  • I have to agree with Larry. If you are competing on price you should put them front and center.
    For me, I choose not to because prospective clients do not understand what a given price means.
    This can have the effect of scaring off a prospective client before they even call. I get a lot of calls asking what I charge and I have to have a real conversation about what they are looking for. Many balk at my prices but that is OK because I won’t shoot 30+ images, post process and deliver for $200.

  • My price list is on a hidden page on my site. When I get an inquiry I can email a link to the hidden page. I have separate pricing for FSBOs and for agents, and I can send out the appropriate link based on who is asking.

  • I don’t post them. I don’t want to be associated with a dollar figure per sq ft. When they call, I give them a normal range for that area, and I’m usually dead on given the sq ft and a brief description of the interior. The general description is that I’m ‘affordable’.

    A house with a wood ceiling and beams takes longer to shoot, and to get right in post, then the same size house with a white ceiling. It just does. It’s not just the sq ft, the surfaces, available light, and construction (beams, pillars, surfaces, paint color) all figure in to how long it will take. I had a house last year with chocolate brown ceilings throughout the entire house, with deep beige walls, and few windows, an under-lit interior, with a large adjoining open floor plan, and dark brown furniture… like shooting in a cave. For gosh sakes, a smokey hole-in-the-wall bar has more light in it. But… the price to shoot that house isn’t open-ended, there’s a limit on that too, which means I have to be able to switch it up and shoot it different, but still try to keep it under 2 hours, otherwise, the client will squawk about it. Seems like the limit is about 25% before eyebrows raise. I have to keep that in mind. It also means that I have to have developed a way to deal with it in post that stays within the time limit. And yes, there are many times I’ve billed out for far less then the time it took me – happy clients give good reviews, and that’s worth it – but I don’t tell them it took longer, I just eat it and move on, I don’t play the guilt card. In some ways, it’s an advertising expense, since this business grows more by word-of-mouth then cold calls. It’s also an education expense, since most of us learn as we go.

  • I think there is something to be said for ‘qualifying’ real estate clients before taking calls. For bigger commercial clients – I want them call because they are in love with the work.

    When I worked in the portrait business, I would never post prices BTW.

  • I’ve seen great photographers in both camps. Some have the full menu, some a basic half day / day rate, or a starting rate, and a few don’t even include e-mail or a phone number because they are established enough that interested parties will manage to contact them.

    I’m of the opinion that, until your portfolio screams “MUST HAVE”, you are probably safer posting your prices so a realtor or their assistant can get through their research quicker and narrow down whether they want to even call you. But once your portfolio looks great and you have an established look, you’ll likely get calls despite not listing your prices.

    All of this, however, is less important than the main source of business which is hitting the pavement and reaching out to potential clients rather than relying on website traffic. 🙂

  • I don’t think prices should be listed. Even if you DO compete on price, you would never want to SAY you do…

    A couple of other thoughts:
    1) Most RE photographers have “packages” or “levels” of pricing. By publishing the prices, clients are more likely to self-select into a package, when a phone consult would have let the photographer choose the more appropriate level.

    2) If you ever expect to shoot anything other than what you shoot right now (e.g. for more money) — you’re effectively locking yourself out of that market by announcing that all you do is low-priced work. You won’t be getting calls for anything that’s not “on the menu” — so it’s better not to put a menu out at all.

  • Glad I came back to re-review everyone’s thoughts on this post.

    I’m wrapping up my second year now and debated many of these points over time. I elected to post my prices and its served me well. ‘Do something, even if it’s wrong,’ was the mindset I took. Ship it, see what works, adjust.

    Posting prices really worked very well for me just starting out. Clients typically called already having been pre-sold. Clients call, many having already visited my site, we discuss what they’re after, and they book a date. And, about 90% go for the bottom rate.

    In recent months, I’m just now seeing evidence of word-of-mouth and repeat business. The clients have started taking a notably higher-end direction. Many find me, look at the portfolio and then call, without having looked at the posted prices. I know I’m in an acceptable range already when I quote prices, particularly for high-end realtors and developers, and they don’t even blink an eye.

    Already considering what I would do in preparation for next year, Scott’s comment just flipped the switch for me. I am slowly becoming established. Operating like McDonalds with fixed-price menu was helpful initially. Now, I think there’s more potential for it to be a significant capping effect. While I am getting more ‘custom’ jobs now, I want them to become more the norm.

    A bit of humor: Guess what the #1 question is that first-time callers ask, is? Keeping in mind that most find me on the web and they’ve already visited my site (telling me they had looked at my pictures). The question, “Do you do real estate photography?” I bet I get the question 75% of the time.

  • I don’t see anything necessarily adverse about showing pricing on your website. However, if you do that, I think it should only be on a website that is dedicated exclusively to real estate photography for marketing individual homes for sale or long-term rental.

  • I’m from the camp that almost any effective ad needs a price, so I post them.

    I think success in this business really boils down to *time*. Most of us have the eye to see what we’re looking for and know where we we’d like to end up (while not necessarily the expertise to get there quickly – so keep learning!)

    Where do you stop? And for how much?

    I post 2 different prices right on the landing page of my site. Both with examples of the quality clients receive; one for a standard hdr portfolio and another for producing pictures I can be proud of… When I say standard I mean it: Twenty five pics, 5 bracketed exposures, run through Photomatix, quick look, and ship it. Period. Otoh, when I say pics I can be proud of I mean that too… And that takes sooooo much TIME.

    Many (most) of the local agents struggling with smart phones or amateur efforts are quite pleased with my cheap rate plan and quality – and those shoots pay me WAY more on a time-dollar ratio than the “expensive plan”. In the end, I’m trying to take my ego out of the equation: Of ccouse I want to deliver enough masterpieces, to develop such a reputation, that famous architects are beating my door down… Don’t we all 🙂

  • Yes. I post it. I’ve gone to a per picture strategy with a minimum amount of photos required. This is the best way to come up with true cost to the client. Usually clients let me know within a + to – 2 shots how many they need.

  • Also, I think until you build a reputation for being a top person shooting real estate you should post your prices. When you reach a level when top clients know you (like in the case of a Scott Hargis) then moving away from posting prices and pricing the job before you makes sense. Even some of my favorite re shooters like Mike Kelley post their pricing.

  • @beaumeyer

    You mention you have separate pricing for FSBO and agents. May I ask which one you charge more for and the reason for charging more? Asking out of curiosity. Thanks

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