About a month ago I noticed an ad in Inc magazine for open2view.com, a company that was founded in New Zealand in 1999. Open2view has grown to 200 franchises expanding into Australia in 2004 and to the US in 2007. They are starting out in HI, CA, AZ, WA, GA, NC and FL. I've spent some time checking open2view out and talking to Eric Chase in Auckland, NZ. Eric is leading the expansion into Canada and the US. Actually, I woke him up early Monday morning because I didn't pay enough attention to what time it was in NZ. It's 9:30AM on the west coast so everyone in the world should be out of bed right? Wrong! Eric was a good sport! He talked to me anyway.If you take a close look at a property page, for example us.open2view.com/335 , you can see the level of quality that open2view photographers do. Looks pretty good I think. This particular listing is in Hawaii but the quality between photographers is remarkably consistent because they've all had the same training. Some start with no photographic background. They have a large image slide show of all the stills, several cylindrical 360s and some excellent floor plans that hot link to still photos along with maps and the other standard property tour things. Their list of services reads like my ideal list plus extras. Prices listed here are for Washington thanks to Stephen Armstrong:
Open2view is a franchise type of business where the photographer purchases a franchise and independently owns and operates the business. With the franchise you get the benefit of the Open2view brand and marketing approach, the use of open2view.com hosting site, comprehensive training program and ongoing support. The major benefit to a photographer of taking this franchise approach to real estate photography is that you don't have to figure out the marketing or technical aspects of the business. The franchise is a successful formula for running a real estate photography business. They have developed and refined all aspects of the business in the process of growing to 200 franchises. There is less risk in this approach but of coarse you have to invest in the franchise. For more info on how the franchise works or what it costs contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.Update Thur 2/7 8:30PST: Eric Chase sent me this photo of Open2view vehicles to show what they look like. Eric said: "All our franchisees are proud of their branded vehicles. Actually when people see our photographers driving around with what they think is a missile launcher or Bazooka on top they can’t help but stop and query what it’s all about. Another great way to market what we do, and agents love it!"