I’m Not A Charity, I Do Not Work For Free!

I Will Not Work For Free

As a secondary income outside of my job in rental home marketing, I am a real estate photographer. A friend of my wife, who is a realtor asked me if I would take some photos of one of the homes she has for sale. She asked how much I charge, so I told her it would cost $70 + mileage at $0.25 per mile.

The realtor thought that it was kinda expensive, which is far from true, this job would take up 5+ hours of my time, plus a 90-mile round trip. It would take 55 minutes to get to the property, one hour to shoot the home, 55 minutes to drive back, then 2+ hours of post processing in Lightroom / Photoshop.

The total cost to the realtor would be $92.50, which breaks down to $18.50/hr. If she thinks that is excessive, then she is in for a shock, I provide a professional service, I have invested in expensive camera equipment, which still has to be paid for as I used a credit card to purchase these items to move forward.

The realtor then asked if she could pay me when she closed on the house. Again, I do not work for free. If the house is not sold, I don’t get paid, which means I make a loss as I have to absorb the cost of fuel plus the intangible cost of my time. Photography is not a service payable upon on the client getting paid.

If this realtor is not willing to invest in her work to make money, then clearly she does not value her client or the home she is trying to sell. I spent thousands of dollars on high-quality camera equipment to provide the best service possible to my clients. If I turned up with a $50 point and shoot camera and expected to be paid $70 plus mileage, I’d expect the client to tell me to take a long walk off a short pier.

Plus, once you start doing favors for people, they will never pay for your services, they will expect it for free or on an “I’ll pay you when I get paid” basis. In business, you have to play hardball, you cannot let yourself be taken advantage of, this is a job, not a hobby where I do it because I enjoy photography.

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