February 25th, 2016
Recently Diane, who is starting out in real estate photography and had purchased my Business Of Real Estate Photography e-book was going over the spreadsheet that comes with the book that helps you decide what your target shoot price should be. One of the parameters you need to decide is what your target hourly rate is.
In my example spreadsheet, I use an hourly rate of $30 because the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the 2015 average hourly rate for professional and business services was $29.77. Diane seemed to be incredulous that I should suggest that a real estate photographer should have a goal of making $30/hour.
There are a number of things to consider when doing an exercise like this:
- US Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly shows that hourly rates vary widely depending on what location you are in and what type of work you are doing. And there are some places in the US that are much worse than others. Just yesterday a New York Times article highlighted 10 cities in the US that are the most distressed.
- I think if you are running your own independent real estate photography business you clearly are doing business management type work and the category of professional and business services describes your work quite well.
- A huge factor that influences your expectations of what your target hourly rate should be is what your employment history has been. Someone who has been working in food preparation or retail that has been struggling to make $15/hour may find $30/hour unrealistic.
- While you may be attracted to real estate photography because you love the creative part, the management and customer service part is much more important in making money.
My point in all of this is: despite what your employment history is or what attracts you to being an independent real estate photographer, the key part of your job is managing your business in a creative and effective way and if you do that successfully you should expect to make the average salary for professional and business services or above ($29.77)! You may not make that when you are starting out but it should be your target to get there.