Reading
blue-triangle-element

Articles

PFRE is the original online resource for real estate and interior photographers. Since 2006, it has been a community hub where like-minded professionals from around the world gather to share information with a common goal of improving their work and advancing their business. With thousands of articles, covering hundreds of topics, PFRE offers the most robust collection of educational material in our field. The history of real estate photography has been documented within these pages.
All Articles
blue-triangle-element

Latest

The roster of presenters is full, and the PFRE Virtual Conference is officially on for November 20-21, 2020! We're excited to get technical this year and help you take your real estate photography business to the next level! Last year we sold out all o ...

COMMUNITY
blue-triangle-element

Forum

The PFRE Community Forum is an online resource for discussing the art and business of Real Estate and Interior Photography.
Join The Discussion
blue-triangle-element

Latest

View Now
Contest
blue-triangle-element

OVERVIEW

For over a decade, photographers from around the world have participated in PFRE’s monthly photography contests, culminating in the year-end crowning of PFRE’s Photographer of the Year. With a new theme each month and commentary offered by some of the finest real estate & interior photographers anywhere, these contests offer a fun, competitive environment with rich learning opportunities. 

Contest Rules
blue-triangle-element

CURRENT CONTESTS

View / Submit
blue-triangle-element

PAST CONTESTS

View Archive
Conference
blue-triangle-element

Conference

PFRE’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas provides real estate and interior photographers from around the world an opportunity to meet on an annual basis, to learn, share best practices and make connections. Many of the leading names in our field are selected to speak on topics aimed at improving our craft and advancing our business. It’s a comfortable, relaxed environment that is fun, easy to get to, and affordable.
blue-triangle-element

Upcoming

PFRE Conference 2020

Register Now
blue-triangle-element

Latest News

Limited Early Bird Spots on Sale Now! PFRE Virtual Conference 2020

The roster of presenters is full, and the PFRE Virtual Conference is o ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 2 of 2

*Early bird tickets go on sale September 28th* Here are the remaining ...

PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 Announcement: Presenter Line Up Part 1 of 2

We're a few short months away from the PFRE Virtual Conference 2020 an ...

Reader Poll: Which Topics Should Be Covered at the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference?

Planning is well underway for the 2020 PFRE Virtual Conference and we' ...

Podcast
blue-triangle-element

Podcasts

The PFRE podcast is focused on having meaningful conversations with world-class photographers, business professionals and industry leaders, with the goal to inform and inspire.
All Podcasts

Coming Soon...

Resources
blue-triangle-element

Resources

PFRE prides itself on the depth and breadth of the information and professional development resources it makes available to our community. Our goal is to help real estate and interior photographers be successful while bringing the community together and elevating the industry as a whole.
blue-triangle-element

Directory

Coming Soon...

How Should I Organize My Real Estate Photography Business?

Published: 22/12/2016
By: larry

Colin recently asked:

I've been reviewing your site for a few days now and I can't seem to find an article that talks about how to actually structure your business like, licenses, state registration, EIN number, DBA or things like that. Would you be able to point me to an article or explain the best way to structure the business?

This post discusses the majority of what you are asking. A key item is that you need to research the law in your particular state about collecting sales tax and registering as a business. I some states that have sales tax if you don't deliver a tangible product (like the photos on a CD) then you don't have to collect sales tax. This varies all over the map. There is no one answer that applies everywhere.

I think it is worthwhile to register as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). $149 at LegalZoom. Because this protects your personal assets like your home etc if someone sues you. Many real estate photographers operate as a sole proprietor.

DBA (Doing Business As) is only an issue when you want to tailor the name of your business. Here is some basic information.

You only need an EIN number under these circumstances. Here's how to get an EIN number.

 

5 comments on “How Should I Organize My Real Estate Photography Business?”

  1. You can file for a LLC yourself without using LegalZoom, the cost to file with the state is not included in the LegalZoom fee. My state (MN) walks you through the process and so you only pay the state filing fee. The process is very simple. I would think all states do this.

  2. This is a great question and Colin has taken the first step in becoming successful by recognizing the need. Research or take some classes on how to run a small business. Invest some time and money to bend the ear of a good accountant and have your books set up for you and learn how to keep them. I just send my QB file over to my accountant and he takes care of everything.

    Bottom line, it is a lot easier for a so so photographer that knows business to succeed than a very good photographer that does not. Over the years I have seen some great photogs that would blow most out of the water with their skill, but alas they knew nothing of running a business.

    So to a lot I would say, put the camera down and build a solid foundation first

  3. What structure to use for your business is going to vary depending on many things. If you are just testing the waters or don't plan on ever selling or growing the business to include employees, just trading under your own name can be just fine. If you think you might want to sell the business at a later date, you may still want to be a sole proprietor but use a fictitious name (any name other than your own name) so the company and you appear to be separate entities. Liability protection from an LLC isn't automatic or impenetrable especially if the business is run by one person or by immediate family members. Many creditors will require a personal guarantee for loans and leases made to an LLC so there is no protection from that debt if the company fails. In California the registration fee for an LLC is $800/year (might have gone up since the last time I checked). There is no fee for a sole proprietorship. There are also LLP's, Limited Liability Partnership and regular partnerships that are only recommended in specific cases.

    The local library or bookshop should have books on forming your own LLC and when to choose that structure. Use a book and/or online tutorials to do your groundwork and then make a list of questions to ask a CPA. You will probably need or want an accountant if you plan to form an LLC to make sure you handle the finances and filings correctly. If you've done your homework, you should be able to get some free consultation time.

    The need for local business licenses, home office permits and other questions can be answered by the local chamber of commerce. You could even bend the ear of a local business person for the price of a nice lunch.

  4. New to the site but haven't seen any mention of Small Business Development Centers as a business resource. There are over 1,000 offices, typically located at universities or community colleges, and they are staffed by business analysts with MBAs who are happy to provide the unbiased advice that business owners need. These offices are funded by the Small Business Administration and the school where they're located, and their goal is to help businesses succeed. The advice is free and they typically charge very small fees for some of the classes they offer. EVERY business owner should have these folks as part of their business plan, along with an accountant, insurance agent, and yes, even a lawyer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

magnifiercrossmenucross-circle