Spotlight on Real Estate Photography
We're Not Even Number Two
Do you remember the old Avis ad? They bragged that they tried harder, because they were number two. Well, we're not number one or two. In fact, if there were a real estate photography awards event, we might not even get an invitation, because our business model isn't based on volume.
When we sat down to discuss going into the real estate photography business, we were well aware there was a lot of competition in DFW. There is one great big whale, a few smaller whales and then a lot of little minnows running around.
Avoiding the Whales
We didn't necessarily aspire to be a minnow, but we had no interest whatsoever in being a whale. Whales have to depend on a lot of people to get the job done and we wanted to stay small, so we could focus on doing a spectacular job for the people who did hire us.
We were more interested in serving the needs of a select number of real estate agents, who we really enjoyed working for, than in juggling the responsibilities of a large staff of employees, who might or might not provide service in the manner we wanted to. We weren't eager beaver youngsters out to set the world on fire. We were seasoned professionals who wanted to provide extraordinary service to extraordinary clients.
We have nothing but respect for the companies which have become the whales of real estate photography. They had vision, determination and perseverance. They hire a lot of people and they successfully serve a large number of customers. Many of their loyal customers have been with these companies since the days long before they were whales and the agents became the top agents in our area. Congratulations to all of them.
Walmart also hires a lot of people and serves a large number of customers, but I rarely, if ever, shop there. Believe me! Walmart isn't worried about the fact that I don't shop there, either. I am not their target customer. They have figured out a business model to satisfy the needs of their current customers, which number in the zillions, and to bring in zillions of new customers. They aren't about to change their business model for me.
Like Walmart, while the local whales provide great service to a great many people, they are not the real estate photography company for everyone. In fact, in the early days of our business I told a potential client, "We're not ______________." Her response was, "Thank goodness." Years later she is one of our best clients and a good percentage of our business has been referred from her.
We have her business and the business of her fellow real estate agents, primarily because our business model is fitting into their business model and doing things their way. Our clients don't have to figure out our policies and procedures. It's our business to figure out how to serve theirs.
For instance, our clients contact us in whatever manner they choose. Some like to call and have a friendly chat, when they have a new listing. Others send an email. Others just text. We don't care.
All our clients have their own policies, procedures and preferences. Once the appointment is made, what we do next depends on who we are working for. From making the appointment to delivering the images, everything is up to the client's preferences. If they are not sure what they want, we can help them figure that out, too. Since there is only us, after a client has stated a preference, that's how we'll do things. There will never be a another appointment setter, photographer, photo editor, invoice maker or image deliever to explain your preferences to.
No Minnows Here
Fortunately or unfortunately, pretty much anyone can be a real estate photographer. A nice camera with a tripod is about all it takes to start your business. No one requires that you have any particular experience or proficiency in real estate photography. There's not necessarily any need to know the real estate industry or marketing for that matter.
However, while you can start a real estate photography business without much in the way of investment or experience, you business will unravel unless you can provide quality images in a professional manner on a timely basis.
We were minnows the day we hung out our shingle, but we didn't stay that way. We entered the business with personal knowledge of real estate, having been agents ourselves. Our knowledge and experience in marketing is encyclopedic. And by the way, Bill is one heck of a photographer. We'll soon celebrate our 3rd anniversary in the business and every year our business has grown and grown. We have more clients, our clients have more business and we find even more ways to serve their marketing needs.
Nope, we're not number one and we're not leaving room on our calendar for any award banquet. We might not be the right real estate photographer for everyone, but just maybe we are the right one for you. If you'd like to find out, please give us a call at 214-499-6519.