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Ask The Photo Guy

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Camera Porn - Canon EOS 5D Mark II

I get emailed this question today…

Mr. Kay 
 
I’ve come across your website recently, and it inspired me. Your site is a good read and I check on it quite often. I agree that good photos go a long way in attracting possible buyers, and I’m going to start a side business taking photos of houses for agents and their listings.
 
I see you charge agents $60/house. I think that’s fair, but I’m curious as to how many agents are willing to pay that to someone for a service they think they can do just fine themselves for free. Especially in this “slow” market, where many agents are going back to the drawing board and pinching pennies.
 
The thing that intrigues me the most about the idea is that there is very little overhead or initial investment. It would only take me about 10 or so houses to pay for a new camera and equipment. Otherwise, I’m by no means a professional or experienced photographer, but I like to think that I have a good eye, and have always wanted to pick up photography as a hobby. Being a licensed agent in Athens, Ga. already, this business idea gives me a very good reason to jump into it.
 
If you have any initial advice or comments, I would love to hear from you.

 

For me this is a whole branding thing. I’m not just “taking photos on the side”, I am “Photo Guy”. It’s on my website, my business cards, my mailers yada yada yada. It’s my unique selling point as an agent. I’ve spent about six months just building up my photography skills shooting as many homes as I can. I’ve just formed as a company, with a major push to get stuff up on the website in the last month, so details on how much business I’ve done is pretty light at the moment.
 
I’ve had a mix of excitement and resistance to my services from the other agents. My office manager is very excited by it though.
 
My feeling is that precisely because this is a slow market, that is what makes photos an even more vital piece in the selling puzzle. In a hot market you can’t even get the photos up before offers pour in, in a slow market you need every advantage possible.
 
At this point just skill up as much as possible. Basically if you’re good, the photos do a good job of selling themselves. If you’re bad, nothing you can do will make people want to use you. I also found the Shutterfly.com printed books really good as sales pieces.
 
Also good photography just works. I shot a home two weeks back that had been on the market for nine months. It got a contract four days after we put my photos up. Agents bitching about $60 are just crazy.
 
Hope that helps, stay in touch.
 
Athol

 

And for the record…

…Mr. Kay is my father.

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 20, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Okay Photo Guy, congrats on the new biz, but what gives with no photo in your blog post? Show off, show us some goods! You show us the bad stuff, then some practice stuff- show us some ideal stuff! I mean, unless it will give away your style or secrets… I swear, we won’t show anyone else!

  2. Mariana

    November 20, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Mr Athol, Best of luck with your business venture. I used to charge agents $100+ per house and they would get photos, and a description for the home … because some descriptions are seriously lacking as well. Once I presented them with the “goods” my fee was never questioned.

  3. Carson Coots

    November 21, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    I think good real estate photos are worth a lot more than $100. At least it’s not $100 worth the work for me. A lot of cash went into my equipment set-up and a successful shoot isn’t easy… and POST editing is no fun after doing it 20 times. I think $400 is fair for a good twilight shoot(Although I get a lot of gasps). As long as I throw in a few perks (slideshow, etc), it works out. Real estate photography takes real talent worth paying for.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails have run their course, they don’t help customers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

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Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

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Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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PHD job seekers shouldn’t scare employers, they should be welcomed

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Employers have historically been skeptical of hiring PhD graduates for jobs, but it’s time for that to change. It seems counterintuitive, but many employers are scared of candidates who bring such a high level of education to the table. They worry that PhD graduates will ask for too much money, get bored with the work, or not be able to perform in a non-academic setting.

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