Allison recently posed the following question:
I’m bidding on a photography job for a management company that manages 150+ properties and needs them all re-shot within the next couple of months. Does anyone have experience with this type of opportunity and if so what special terms and conditions did you specify? Should I bill them for the entire job up front or ask for a deposit? The other option would be to bill them in intervals. Are there any other considerations that you may be able to offer?
First there's a lot about this potential contract that we don't know. Here are some immediate questions that come to mind:
- How are these 150+ properties distributed geographically? Are you going to incur travel expenses over the 2 months? This is could be a huge factor! They should be paying your travel expenses weekly and perhaps up front depending how much you trust them. I would charge for actual travel expenses instead of trying to guess what they are going to be and loose money.
- Do you have an established RE photography business that this is going to interfere with? If so you will have to hire additional people to deal with this potential job. If you have to hire people or make any investments to carry out this job I'd ask for money up front to cover your investment.
- Do you have a business relationship with this company? Do you know them? If the answer is no, you have to structure your business relationship with them so they can't take advantage of you. The most common risk is them not paying you on time. At least structure you payments so you can determine if they are trustworthy without waiting for two months to find out they don't pay their bills on time.
In addition here are some considerations that I'd think about:
- Real estate photographers that shoot all shoots for a real estate office typically give a 10 to 15% volume discount. I would not discount your shoot price more than 15% over your normal shoot price.
- Have you done a complete financial analysis of your current shoot price to make sure that you are making money on your regular shoots? Do you do all the things suggested in this post? If you haven't, a contract like this could amplify any losses you are experiencing in your normal business operation.
- Unless you are in a vacation area, I would be skeptical of going out of your way to build a business relationship with rental management organization. Rentals don't provide the regular repeatable business that real estate agents to. Shoot a rental and they don't need you again for years. On the other hand, if you are in a vacation location specialization in rental properties could make sense.
Anyone out there done a large shoot like this? What advice would you give Allison?