Your pricing will depend on several factors.
In the real estate industry, everyone treats the topic of pricing as taboo. But in truth, there's no shame in discussing how much to charge for your services. It's an essential aspect of your business, so you're going to want to make sure you price correctly.
It’s impossible to give a number as a recommendation for how much you charge because so many factors come into play. But to help you price your services correctly, we’re going to discuss several factors that you need to consider before sending your client a quote. Check them out below.
Take the time to know more about your competition. The more you know about real estate photographers in your area, the better. Learn what rates your competition charges and why. Are they charging more because they deliver premium photos?
Then, objectively assess where you stand. Is your quality of work higher than, lower than, or equal to your competitors' quality of work? If you can be honest and objective with assessing where you stand, you can set your prices accordingly.
Another factor to consider is how much experience you have. Experience doesn’t always equate to quality. But being in the game longer means that you’ve established more connections with realtors over time.
At some point, you’ll have more work being offered to you than you can manage. When this happens, it’s up to you to raise your prices and only work with the highest bidders.
Your clients aren’t only paying you for the skills and knowledge you have. They’re also paying you for the equipment you use. If you’ve invested in high-end equipment that gives you the best shots, you can price higher than competitors who use budget cameras that shoot bland photos.
It would be best if you also considered the prices of properties in your market. It would be fantastic if the price of real estate photography depends on the percentage of the property's price. But that's not the case. Still, you should be able to charge more in markets where properties are more expensive.
If a realtor hired you to do a shoot in a market where property prices are high, that realtor would earn more from their cut of the sale. And bigger earnings for the realtor means more disposable income to spend on hiring you.
There are different ways to consider property size as part of your pricing. You can have fixed prices that differ based on ranges of property sizes. You can price per square foot. Or you can even price per number of rooms covered. Whatever pricing strategy you choose, you need to consider the property’s size.
Obviously, photographing a one-bedroom bungalow with no backyard will take much less time than photographing a six-bedroom, three-floor house with a massive backyard. For this reason, it would be wise for you to make the size of the property one of the main deciding factors when setting your prices.
Remember, your job as a real estate photographer doesn’t end once you’re done taking all the necessary photos. You still need to head back to the office, fire up your computer, and edit your shots.
The reality is that post-processing can take significantly more time than taking the actual pictures if you're a perfectionist and want to get the post-processing done correctly. Masking together exposures for the windows, replacing skies, and other time-consuming edits can significantly change the amount of money you need to charge to stay profitable.
Time of Day
Remember, you can’t control how long you have access to natural lighting. So, many real estate photographers charge extra for photos taken at twilight or at night.
You can charge more for twilight and nighttime photo shoots because of the extra work you need to put in to compensate for the lack of natural light. Shooting at twilight becomes complicated and takes more technical know-how to capture great shots in the low light. Furthermore, there's extraordinarily little time for you to snap the perfect photo.
An often-overlooked factor to consider is your driving distance from your home or office to the property.
Find out how many miles you need to travel to get to the site and compute how much money on gas you'll need to spend. Doing so may seem nit-picky, but it's essential to consider this when traveling long distances.
Luckily, you don't have to look at gas as an expense. You can turn your travel expenses into an extra source of income.
If you live in the US, the IRS allows you to write off about 50 cents for one mile, for as long as you use your own car.
Many real estate agents need the photos within a short amount of time after the shoot. After all, time is money. This is something both you and real estate agents understand.
In some cases, real estate agents can't give you advanced notice before a job since homes go up for sale all the time. So, you might be forced to have a flexible enough schedule to accommodate impromptu photoshoots.
Having to continuously photograph homes with little notice and very tight turnaround times can take a toll on your personal life and well-being. So, you'll need to charge more to make it worth your while.
Many real estate agents expect a turnaround time of no more than two days after the shoot. Some real estate agents ask that you deliver the photos within 24 hours so that they can have the photos up on listings as soon as possible.
If you’ve considered all the factors above and are confident in how you priced your services, stick with your pricing. You shouldn’t be giving discounts all the time just because your clients might doubt the quality of your work. Don’t make undercutting your prices a habit.
Instead, set up a portfolio website. Your portfolio should show previous shots you took and feature testimonials from any big-name clients you worked with. Your portfolio helps you justify your prices. The next time someone asks you why you charge what you charge, you can simply send them a link to your portfolio that shows your quality work.
As mentioned earlier, there’s no set formula for setting your prices. So, there might be a lot of trial and error at first. But by considering all the factors we discussed today, you’ll be on the right track to setting prices correctly for your own individual situation.