Another Pricing Question

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by rub, May 22, 2009.

  1. rub

    rub TPF Noob!

    Oct 17, 2007
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    Hello everyone,

    I have done a search, but I am still at a loss as to how to price a new opportunity.

    I have been appraoched by a few local real estate agents, and 2 construction companies about doing some photography.

    For the real estate, I have decided to go with a scale, based on either value or square footage, plus milage. The agent will get a disk with the images and a licence for use for 1 year in newspaper print, mls, website.

    For the construction companies I am having a harder time. I have a company who builds modular homes, and some of the photos are needing to be updated badly. The homes are still on the lot. These photos appear on the website, and possibly in brochures. The thing is, some places only need 1 or 2 photographs, others need the whole house.

    I am thinking for that side, maybe I should do an hourly shooting rate? That rate would include the post processing on the images, as well as putting them on disk. After that there would be a licence fee for the individual images.

    Both of the construction companies are relatively small. Does anyone know what a suitable licence fee is for an image?

    You can buy a stock image of a house for $10. Some of the calculators say the average price is $500.

    Maybe I am approaching this all wrong. ANY ideas, suggestions, links are appreciated. They want to meet Tuesday, so I have a busy weekend of research and planning ahead of me.



    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Oct 21, 2004
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    There are a few active folks on the forum which make a living doing this kind of work, so hopefully, they'll come along shortly. From my understanding though, you make a living in this area through quantity. That is, you get paid very little, and you have to shoot a number of images to make a living. I would say that in commercial real estate, you are looking at a flat percentage of the selling price, but you are still looking at a relatively small sum like $50-maybe $100 per house. Remember the US is in a major economic recession and in this line of work, I would think there is a fine line between hiring it out and having the realtor do it themselves. As I said though, hopefully a pro in the area will be along shortly.
    Just my .02
  3. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2005
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    I do mostly commercial real estate. What I'm finding is different agencies handle things pretty differently from each other. Some won't want to pay you much at all... others are pretty decent... some will look more for architectural work... others just want clean shots of the buildings with nice clouds... it really varies.

    How much you get paid also varies a lot by region.

    Currently I'm the "not horribly expensive, but not cheap... easy to work with guy". I provide images to my clients and give them currently unlimited licensing for that company with the condition that a photo credit be present on all works with my images on it. I intend to tighten this up to a yearly renewal thing or something along those lines, but I'm not going to do it now when commercial real estate is pretty well dead quiet. :)

    I charge a flat rate per building/per service, basically. It varies depending on if they want interiors/exteriors/both, how many images they want, what add-on services they want (HDRs, for example) etc.

    Residential real estate is another matter entirely. Most places don't want to pay more than MAYBE 1/20th of what I make for a commerical building, per home. This is not surprising since the RE agents tend to just shoot things themselves and see what they do as "working just fine".

    That being said, the one home I did do, the RE agent was amazed at the number of people who came to see the home so quickly, and they had a conditional offer on day 1 of the listing. I was quick to point out that the images were of a higher quality than usual. That got her thinking. :)

    My current plan is to work on developing some source material for higher-end homes and start poking at some of the local upscale real estate agencies and see if I can get any traction there.

    I wouldn't personally get into an hourly shooting rate if I were you... I don't find photography often looked at in this way and I think it will put folks off. I would develop a services and rates sheet with some light terms and conditions, and just say that every job will require a specific quote and that prices may vary depending on circumstances.

    After a while you should be able to get a "feel" for how long it takes you to shoot a place. (btw, residential is a bugger to shoot because you really kind of have to hit every room in the house and there are those accursed windows everywhere to muck up your shots... commercial is way easier in this respect.)

    I find I can shoot a commercial interior or exterior in approximately 2 hours per. If I'm doing a combined, I can usually pull it off in 3... 4 max. Figure about 2 hours in PP work and 1 hour of managing the client under normal circumstances. Once you know these kinds of things, it makes it pretty easy to price out the average engagement and use that as your baseline.

    Where you may have "levels" of service, you can price those out... do something like...

    1. Destination fees: $XXX (basically what you charge as a baseline for ANY shoot, regardless of services chosen)
    2. Package 1: Up to 5 shots: $YYY
    3. Each additional 5 shouts: $ZZZ
    4. Re-shoot fee: $AAA (have a fee established for if you have to go back to the location to re-shoot for anything other than your own failure... such as client doesn't like the weather conditions or wants to re-arrange the furniture in the model or something)


    Do it in a way that gives you a comfort level that you are getting paid appropriately for your time and do it in a way that gives your client flexibility that you are comfortable with.

    Also be sure to work it out such that you get paid regardless of whether or not the client follows through on any of their obligations on the process flow. For example, if you decide to go on a "provide proofs, client selects images, you correct proofs" model (as I do), state somewhere in your terms that you will invoice client XX days after receipt of proofs, regardless of whether or not client has selected final images... something along those lines.

    Lessee... what else...

    Oh I'm sure there's more but that's a good starting point for you.

    Sorry if this was a bit rambling, I'm super tired.

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