Are Your Clients Pressuring You To Shoot Real Estate On Weekends?

December 12th, 2014

WorkingSatSunJeff in New Zealand asks:

I really enjoy your blog, although many of the rules and things you deal with in the US is different to us in New Zealand it is nice to see the feedback and ideas that flow in the comments.

With that in mind, I had this question that might suit the blog:

I have a number of agents that push me to shoot listings on Sat and Sunday, (weather, vendor not ready, deadlines for press etc) Frankly this one favour turns into a regular occurrence and I want to “fight back.” I want to charge a weekend fee for sat and double time on Sunday to put them off forcing me to do it, and if they do go ahead with it then I get more money and am happier to be put out. I wonder if any of your readers have done/had the same experience and what their solutions were. I’m not in the business of working 7 days a week, my down time is important to me.

Jeff, one of the great things about running your own business is you get to decide on things like, do you work on the weekend or not! However, getting the job done when it needs to be done is a big part of good customer service.

My experience from working with my wife in real estate for 10 years is that you won’t get much sympathy from real estate agents for not wanting to work on weekends. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest days of the week in real estate, with open houses and people wanting to write contracts. If this is a big issue, it is within your control to set the rules.

Are you being pressured to shot real estate on weekends?

Update 12/15/2014: Interesting article in venturebeat.com that relates to this issue that I just ran across. You think you work hard now; it used to be a lot worse!

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16 Responses to “Are Your Clients Pressuring You To Shoot Real Estate On Weekends?”

  • I never say no, just how much. I am flexible on Saturdays, but Sundays come at a very steep rate. When they complain, I just point out that any other service out there charges a higher rate for Sundays, just look at any plumber…

  • I’ll start this group of comments.

    When I joined the airlines I was told that we operate and fly 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and after 15 years you begin to not know what day of the week it it. With that in mind, I can say I’ve ever been pressured into shooting a property on the weekends as I offer to shoot any day I’m available. Sometimes that surprises the agents but it pleases them to no end.

    I look at this as a service business and to give the proper services, one must be available when your customers are working. Most agents work weekends and they expect you to as well. Makes sense. You can choose to be a 9-5 type, but in real estate type work that may not be in your best interest.

  • You can take the high ground and ask for 1.5 for Sat and 2 times for Sundays but what will you do when your competition shoots weekends for standard rates and your clients book them ?

  • I don’t get too many requests for shooting on weekends. But if it is a new client and I want to get them as a regular, or if I am filling in for a photographer that is out of town, I will usually oblige them. I have rarely been asked to shoot on a Sunday. The only times I shoot on a Sunday, is when it is my idea and offer to help them out.
    I live in a tourist / vacation area of FL, and try to be available anytime my clients need me. Because I also shoot vacation rentals, I sometimes have to get into a condo or home, between renters and after the cleaning service people leave. sometimes that is a last minute request. when you go out of your way for a client (most od the time) it pays in the end. Two clients who have hi-end beach rentals, let my wife and I stay in their units (when not rented) for a weekend, or for a week, as a thank you for giving them great service. One of my local clients, asked me to shoot one of her Row homes in the historic district of Washington DC, and let us use it for a week, to celebrate our anniversary.

  • We will shoot on a weekend for extenuating circumstances and we evaluate on a per case bases. When ask why, I make it clear that weekends are family time and if only half our clients asked for a weekend shoot once a year, we would never have a weekend off.

  • I hope you have a second shooter… if not I guess you can’t go on vacation! Get a hungry local hobbies that wants cash for new gear and let them shoot the weekends. Make sure you let your agents know that you can’t do it but you back up can. Then make sure you have trained them well…. This works for when you want to take a vacation as well. A second shooter even helps in busy times, I have a teacher that shoots after school in evenings when I don’t have time to shoot.
    Just my 2 cents.

  • Somedays we forget what day of the week it is. This is a good thing. I no longer have to go to an office and sit through meetings. Sometimes we go to the movies on a Tuesday afternoon or play tennis on a Thursday morning. So what if I have to shoot a home on a Sunday afternoon. It beats most jobs. Better to make your clients happy.

  • I quite regularly shoot Saturdays because people are off work. Sundays only by rare exception and with a good reason. It doesn’t seem to be expected that much anyway. As said above, most agents where I live (UK based) work antisocial hours (evenings and week ends) anyway. I don’t like it, but it is just the nature of the job.

  • When I first got started I would take jobs any day/time but as I got busier I realized that I was working non-stop and crazy hours. So now I only shoot real estate Mon-Fri. Agents typically ask when my first available is so I only offer those days and they seem fine with it. Hardly anyone asks if I can shoot on the weekends and when they do I just let them know that I don’t shoot real estate those days because I am either finishing up some other work or shooting portraits. Of course, there are times where there are extenuating circumstances and I will do it but I do charge more.

  • Don’t get a lot of request for weekend shoots. When I do, I explain I normally don’t shoot weekends; Its a great time to get caught up from the previous week, but if the weekend is the ONLY time they can get their client to have a session then I will shoot, don’t charge any extra, if it does become a problem then I’ll come up with a special weekend rate.

  • Real Estate is a seven days a week business. I’m a part of that business and so I work weekends when required. Today is Saturday and I have two shoots scheduled. There are lots of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday jobs. Photographers who don’t want to work on weekends can always find one of those…

  • I rarely shoot weekends for a new agent. If an established agent asks I’ll consider it, but I usually try not to. Sometimes it’s just the only day to shoot, so I shoot.
    I used to suggest weekends because the wife would watch the kids and we wouldn’t need to pay for a sitter. But I find I value my family time more.

  • So weird to hear about shoots on weekends. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for an agent who was ever free on a weekend; that’s when they’re already doing open houses (Sunday) or taking buyers around to look at listings (Saturday). The prime real estate shoot days for me were always Tuesday/Wednesday. They needed 2 or 3 days to get their marketing stuff together before the weekend open house, so shooting on a weekend just meant the listing was going to sit around all week waiting for the following Sunday.

  • Markets must be different, because my situation is a lot like Scott’s. Rarely do I ever get an agent who wants the shoot on a weekend (my clients know that Sundays are off- play day with my wife, so they understand). The only time I do a shoot on Saturday (like yesterday) is when the agent can’t make it and it’s the only time the homeowner can be there. By far my busiest days are Tuesday through Thursday, which suits me just fine!

  • I’m in the camp of if I’m available, I’ll do it. Less traffic.

  • I’ve never been asked to shoot on a Sunday, but I am more than happy to accommodate my clients with weekend appointments. If sellers work full time, a week day appointment might not be possible, especially in the winter when it gets dark early. I do get asked for Saturday sessions frequently and almost never on Mondays. During the winter months I have way to much free time, so I’ll take a six day work week in the busy season, no problem. Having a week day free is great for running errands at businesses that aren’t open on weekends. Even if they are, there may be less waiting time and fewer other shoppers in the way.

    I can see lifestyle and family impacting whether somebody will want to work on weekends. I don’t see anything wrong with letting clients know that certain days are not available. The idea of asking for a higher price could be a good way to discourage weekend booking requests without losing out on a higher fee job if the agent really must have photos done on a Saturday or Sunday. One could also ask that the job be booked for first thing in the morning on a Saturday or later in the day on Sunday to maintain the most contiguous weekend time.

    RE photography is a service and we certainly don’t want established clients to have a reason to shop around once we’ve landed them.

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