Keri in Witchita says:
In my area, I have 2 companies charging $100-125 for 2500SF home photo shoots. They have up to 6 employees shooting for them and they appear to do good work but I cannot figure out how they can charge so little. I’m so booked most of the time I’d like to hire a 2nd shooter but I cannot justify the cost.
The companies you refer to are probably paying their employees, or more likely part-time contract employees, very little. How to grow a real estate photography business is a classic question. There isn’t an answer that is right for everyone in every location. Some will do it with more people (this works very well within families), some will do it by raising their quality and price, and some will subcontract parts of the business to others.
Here are several things that may affect your decisions on how to grow your business:
- There is generally not enough profit margin in real estate photography, so it doesn't really make sense for 3rd parties (more photographers) to get involved to share the profit. Someone always gets a bad deal in this arrangement.
- You should be tracking what you are making per shoot so you understand what your profit margin is.
- Most of the success stories we've featured here on the PFRE blog in the past involve raising the quality of your work and charging more.
- If you hire another photographer, not only do you have to train them, you have to train them on your style of shooting. And then you are not going to want them to leave you to be your competitor. This is what leads to the nasty concept of non-compete agreements.
- Customer service and marketing are typically the more important aspects of this business so if these are your weak points, it may make the most sense to focus on improving these parts of your business rather than getting more people involved.
- Contracting out drone work and Matterport work could make more sense than getting more people involved doing the same thing that you are doing.
- Many real estate photographers contract out their post-processing.
I suggest that you find yourself a PFRE coach to help you work through the issue of increasing your business.