Kara in NC says:
I need to grow and I have been resisting for a long time. Do you know of a couple of folks who have added a second or third photographer to their team? I am adding another photographer and trying to figure out the best way to structure paying them so that I make a little extra money, yet they get paid well enough to stay with me.
Frankly, I am skeptical that adding a photographer to your business is the most effective way to grow your business. The only real estate photographer success stories I hear about that involve growing the business by adding photographers is family members working together or adding a post-processing partner or increasing your shoot price or adding more products. All I hear about when there is a real estate photography business with multiple photographers is horror stories. The horror stories are always from the contract employee photographers. The complaints are about restrictive non-compete contracts and poor pay. Sure, there are companies with many photographers but talk to the photographers and see how happy they are about the employment situation. These arrangements are great for the employer but not for the employee. Employees deal with it to the extent they are desperate for income.
The fundamental problem is that profit margins in real estate photography are small. There's not enough profit involved in a photographic shoot transaction to be split my multiple parties and have both parties satisfied. Also, it doesn't take any competent contract employee working for you long to see how they can become independent and make better money.
Because of all the above reasons, I think it makes more sense to:
Enough independent photographers in large metro areas tell me they gross six figures by themselves that I am skeptical that you need to add photographer employees to be successful.
But I'm all ears. Let's hear from those of you who have contract photographer employees and the employees like the job and stay with you.