September 11th, 2016
Jill recently described what I think may be fairly common in the real estate photography business:
My main source of income at the moment is as a part time (20 hours a week) marketing person for a realtor and his team of agents. I also do the photography for his listings and it’s because of him I’ve been able to learn and grow and actually become a small RE photography business. I have about 5 other clients so far that have begun to use only me for their listings. I charge him a discounted rate for photos because he’s been with me since the beginning, and helped me get started. Recently he paid for the wide-angle lens I had been renting for each shoot. In turn I am giving him free shoots/photos until the amount has been paid off (about 7 listings). I also have a massage practice that helps fill the gap in income from the marketing job and my real estate photography.
The other day at 7:30 AM my boss (the one I work 20 hrs a week for) asks if I can shoot a property that morning and get the photos to him by the afternoon because a potential seller decided that very morning that they wanted their house on market THAT DAY and wouldn’t budge. I had a massage client scheduled in the afternoon that I ended up having to move, while lying to my client about a family emergency to keep from losing their business because my boss refused to take anything but yes for an answer.
I told him that because I’m getting busier, I need to implement some new policies regarding turn around time and scheduling. He proceeded to tell me that even if I make policies for other clients, that his business must come first and a 24-48 hour turn around is completely unreasonable and he would find another photographer who would do it if necessary.
The situation I think is perhaps widespread and important on focusing on is:
- Part-time jobs where you don’t have control over the schedule or hours and
- Part-time jobs that don’t provide for all your needs but are structured so you are locked into the job.
My advice to the Jill above is to work on transitioning to a situation where your schedule in their 20 hr a week part-time job was predictable. Part-time jobs that complement building a real estate photography business must have a predictable schedule otherwise, it’s difficult or impossible to be doing multiple jobs!
I think there is a tendency on the part of employers to take advantage of people doing part-time contract work and push the limits of what the norms for employers used to be. So when you are in a situation where you have multiple jobs push for predictable scheduling or get out the job.