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How Can Real Estate Photographers Automatically Collect Payment at Delivery?

May 24th, 2017

Mike in the Seattle area asked:

I have been looking for a system where you can send out the invoice from, collect the payment and automatically have them deliver a link for zipped folder or download functions. Real estate agents are pretty impatient about getting their photos.

I do not deliver photos (tired of chasing payments) until payments have been completed. Unfortunately, this part is a manual release. So, if I am sending out my invoice (I am not sending the invoice until photos are ready to be delivered) in the morning then I will not be in front of my PC to deliver the photos until the evening if they paid after I left my home office. That gap could be eliminated with an auto release photo service when the invoice has been paid. Any suggestions?

I just talked to Barry Fisch who is the founder of gofullframe.com and an advertiser on the PFRE blog. Barry says:

In our system, you can watermark the photos. When the balance due on the project is paid, the watermarks will automatically be removed. Then the client can download the files from our system. If the account holder does not use that technique in their model, the watermarking is optional.

 

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15 Responses to “How Can Real Estate Photographers Automatically Collect Payment at Delivery?”

  • I ran into this exact same problem, REALTORS need sign their photos NOW, but payments were running 30-45 days behind. We found several options, one is http://www.pixiset.com where you can deliver photos with out a PIN for them to preview but they can’t download. Once they view, then you can invoice them and email them their PIN. Also Houselens now has a new platform for non-houseless photographers. Their system is Artistpro.com and their system will not allow REALTOR to download photos or videos until they make payment. Once payment is made, then they can download. Artistpro uses Swipe for credit cards payment – both work!

  • We do this standard (we support credit card and company invoice transactions with coupons and sponsor codes). We are a PFRE advertiser – see our rotating ad above Tourbuzz for FloorPlanonline. We are looking for local area owners so please click on the ad and contact us. We do a lot more than just host, so let us show you how we can help you do more, including 2D/3D floor plans, Matterport conversions and more.

  • I have seen this wishful search many times. While I have seen some half measures, there is no one fix service for book, shoot and collect that alleviates all the issues. Over the years, I have found that setting your terms to state that payment is due at the time of the shoot solves the problem. You start off with a new client by taking the time to go over your terms, copyright and what you both expect and you won’t have any issues (except for flakes). Once you have a relationship with your client, most will leave a credit card on file for you to run anytime you have a shoot with them.

    Maybe it is just me, but I take from the tone of Mike’s statement that he is more interested in getting paid, than building a positive relationship with his clients. I infer that he has been burned a few times and is now “fighting” back…. That attitude will be picked up by your clients and not go over well at all. I understand the frustration of starting out and “chasing” money already earned, but I would advise patience, once you have built up a business, these will be minor inconveniences.

    Whatever you do, it should be

  • Mike, the best solution I’ve found is http://www.viewshoot.com. This software does just about everything you need, file creation, previews for the realtor, slideshow tour link creation, instant access for Realtors files after payment online. You will never have to worry about chasing after your money again. This software was created by a Real Estate photographer and works great.

  • If you website is built on a wordpress platform you can use woo commerce for products(properties) and drop in a download link for a zip file that they will receive after payment. https://woocommerce.com/

  • Collecting money instantly is easy with a credit card and a smart phone. Creating on the spot invoices is easy with PayPal or Stripe – but for complete automation of the process – Barry Fisch has the best solution.

  • It sounds like http://www.viewshoot.com has exactly the feature you’re looking for, Mike. Payment first, then final images are released. The company was started by a fellow real estate photographer, Lance Selgo, who ran into the same frustrations as you. He also has a degree in Computer Science. He built this platform for his own business and has now opened it up for others. Lance is “one of us”. I don’t use his service, but have had great interaction with him in the past. I collect payment in full at the time of the shoot for most of my clients. They’re used to it and it eliminates me chasing anyone around.

  • I use PocketSuite, it is not automatic for billing but meets the same end goal, pay before delivery. they have added a wonderful function “Confirmation with credit card”. At the point of booking, the agent is required to input a credit card or select one from there previous booking either way no credit card number no confirmation of the shoot. Before image delivery push a button on your phone to charge the card.

    A version for non-iOS folks is out , my son uses that version for his home inspection business and loves it.
    PocketSuite has now three tiers
    free is 2.9% for single user
    9.99 is 1.9% for single user
    39.99 is 1.9% for multi users

  • Thanks Jeff and Michael! Yes, ViewShoot is an option! I recommend trying all systems and seeing what works for you and your clients. Just like our own photography services where some agents like our style/work ethic/services/etc, and some don’t, there are going to be things you like and dislike about any client management system. So take some time to figure out the positives and negatives of whatever systems you try and make a solid decision that will better your business.

  • We currently use viewshoot.com for over 250 shoots a month and it is a simple inexpensive option to deliver photos, while requiring to collect payment first. It also creates a simple branded/unbranded property website.

  • I use wordpress and woocommerce. Though I may look into viewshoot when my volume increases…

  • I have one really good customer I extend terms to (net 14) and everybody else I ask to pay at the time of the shoot. If I have done business with them for a while, I will photograph a property and pick up a check/cash from them before post processing so they can have me photograph a vacant property without having to be there. Paying out another 3% just to get paid bothers me and it also puts somebody else in between myself and the customer.

    For RE, I don’t offer gallery approval or image selection. I very rarely have compositions that I don’t finish and send to the customer. The price I charge is for the entire job and not on an ala carte basis so there isn’t any variability in the pricing unless the client requests additional editing.

    If I extend terms to another customer, I will invoice them from my accounting program (AccountEdge) and they can send a check. If a customer is dissatisfied with my work, I’ll work with them to make it right (refund or reshoot). The last thing I want to do is spend time on a job and not get paid or get paid very late. Most plumbers are going to give you a quick estimate before they get started on a problem at your home so you aren’t blindsided and will expect to get paid before they leave.

  • Why don’t you just take payment at the shoot? That’s how most of us in Seattle handle payments.

  • Mike – I use a two-prong system. Acuity Scheduler allows the agents to book their appointments online and if they want to pay upfront with a credit card they can. Most of my agents use this method. When the agents want to pay later, I use Shootproof.com which is how I deliver all my photos anyway. It beats having to zip/email them myself and it also creates fantastic Galleries for my other work. I also don’t have to pay Dropbox fees anymore. In Shootproof, I have a standard PriceList for my Real Estate bookings. I create the Gallery, upload the photos, email the agent they are ready, agent clicks on link, selects download all, and the software collects credit card payment before they can download the photos. With these methods, I don’t need to create an Invoice at all (although Shootproof does have Invoicing capabilities).

  • my solution works perfectly and is very simple.
    I have a paypal account and every new client is given the option of giving me their credit card information to keep on file – and I process the invoice myself the day of the shoot when I get home – photos and or video are delivered sometime the next day/or evening
    their other option is to give me a check the day of the shoot. only one client gives me cheques. when I am just meeting the homeowner she will do an etransfer same day. I send then a copy of their paid invoice same day of the shoot.

    of course my developer/builder and other commercial clients are another story. there is a purchase order and invoice and a check in the mail in 30-45 days.

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