October 20th, 2016
Martina in Atlanta asks the following question:
I am just starting out in real estate photography. The problem I am encountering is that many real estate agents hire company’s that provide virtual tours and a whole marketing package (flyers, virtual tour, weekly sellers report etc.) They also provide photographers. I signed on with a company like that in hopes to develop relationships with agents. When asking the agents why they use these companies instead of using independent photographers they say that they love the marketing advantages that come with it.
The problem for the photographers signing on with these companies is that the company takes a pretty good percentage from the little they charge for the photography service. So the photographer ends up with a very small compensation for a lot of work. So, my question is how do you all compete with this?
The majority of readers of this blog are competing with to some extent with the larger regional and national companies that provide real estate photography services in their area and most do very well at it.
Here is what you need to do to compete:
- Focus on customer service: What agents care about is that you are professional, on time, reliable and go the extra mile to make their lives easier. Real estate photography is more a customer service job than a photography job. Don’t miss appointments, don’t be egotistical, be willing to work with agents to go the extra mile to get what they want. If you do all this your name will spread by word of mouth. Agents refer good service providers to each other. The big national and regional tour companies rarely provide great customer service.
- Offer a tour with your shoot: You can easily provide tours, flyers, and features the “big boys” provide. Just use one of the PFRE reader recommended tour services.
- Don’t try to compete on price: Many big tour companies are paying their photographers the minimum they can get by with and doing volume deals with real estate companies. You are better off doing high-quality work that looks better than the big guys.
- One way or another do a shoot for a top agent in the office: Show them what you can do. Dazzle them with service and quality. The rest of the agents in an office watch carefully what the top agents are doing and then do the same thing.
Many of the photographers featured in our success stories category started out working for large national tour companies and became independent. One of my favorite independent real estate photographer success stories is Peggy in Tampa. Peggy started out working for a national tour company for $30/shoot and eventually was so successful that she had to hire two employees to keep up with the work. Peggy is now retired and her sister is running FastPix Real Estate Photography.