Stephen in Spain asked the following question about deferring payment until closing:
A client with whom I am about to begin working with, has told me that some photographers in my area agree to invoice the jobs only after the property is sold, and whether I would consider doing the same. My immediate reaction was of course to flat out reject linking my fees to a condition like that, but it got me thinking. What about negotiating a share of the sales commission? This would increase the risk the photographer takes, so the eventual reward would naturally need to be in proportion to that. Several factors would need to be considered when establishing the share, such as the realtors inventory turnover, whether they have exclusivity, average sales lead time and surely many other aspects. With respect to this particular client, this aspect of the contract is certainly not a make or break issue, and I am confident I will be working with them extensively regardless, on a normal post-shoot invoicing basis. But I was wondering whether anyone has ever established an agreement with realtors by which they are compensated by sharing the sale commission of the properties they have shot, and if so what experience they could contribute?
On the PFRE blog and the flickr forum over the years, we've discussed variations of defer until closing payment schemes number of times. Here are some points that you should consider:
- Successful agents have enough income that that can pay for their marketing costs up front. In the long run, photographers are better off working for successful agents that pay up front.
- I heard of this kind of payment arrangement used (in Europe) where a percentage is paid up front (like 75%) and the rest when the property closes.
- Any photographer doing this kind of closing payment type of arrangement should get the contract in B&W and even have the payment listed on the closing documents so your fee must legally and automatically be paid just like a lien from the water company on the property.
- On the average, typical listing agents close less than 50% of the properties they list, so the payment on closing arrangement is extremely risky.
- Doing this kind of thing means you have to take time to track the sale of the home. Not something that most photographers want to spend their time on.
This kind of risky arrangement and a lot more work than is necessary. The photographers shoot price is small in the overall scheme of selling a property. It is not unreasonable to expect to get paid up front. Has anyone had a positive experience at charging this way?