Knowing the Job Process
I get calls all the time from someone that has a property and just needs to know what to do. So that's why this page is being created.
The Job Request
In order to schedule a job or even give a price for it, all the necessary details must first be provided. For a new client, it is recommended that your first request go thru the website. After that, the app is probably more ideal for you. The reason being is that thru the website we will get all the contact info for you that is necessary going forward. But regardless of the means by which you submit the job, the info is needed regardless. Basically what is needed is the address (including the city), the services being requested, and then square footage and acreage according to the services being requested. Without these details, no any scheduling or price quoting can be done.
Once all the necessary info is provided, your job can be compared with the schedule and weather to determine the next best availability. If your property isn't going to be ready till a specific point in time, it's best to provide that info in your request in order to avoid trying to schedule too soon. All scheduling is generally done later in the evening. It is not generally possible to give a time on the spot over the phone. There's too many variables coming in throughout the day to do so usually. Plus there's the logistics of trying to plan each day's job in an order of best time efficiency in order to maximize the time available in the day.
It is hard to always guarantee days and times because of the constant changing of things, whether it's the weather or scheduling changes for a requested job. A portion of time is estimated for each job based on the details provided, and driving time between jobs is estimated thru map routing, but these are estimates and so exact times are not guaranteed.
The other variable when scheduling is that scheduled jobs can sometimes cancel or reschedule, whether it's a day or two in advance or the morning of. When this happens, it throws off the rest of the schedule as we are trying to maximize our time as best we can in order to take care of every request as timely as possible. So even after you are scheduled for a day and time, know that there's always the possibility of change. If you have a listing that really has to be as close as possible to a specific time, let us know so we can do our best to accommodate the needs of you and your client.
As for communications with scheduling, it is usually done via text messaging due to the number of requests that are being handled at a time. But via phone or email is not out of the question.
Day of the Job
So now it's time to show up and do the job. As a reminder, we have ELB access as a UCAR member. Just let us know ahead of time how we'll be accessing the property, whether it's via ELB, combo box, you, or the home owner.
Each job varies in time depending on services being provided, the size of the property, and whether or not there's a highly talkative and over-involved home owner present. None of these are a problem at all, including home owners, but all are variables in our schedule. But regardless, we work with available light instead of portable strobes in order to move as fast as possible.
What about weather? Well, some times of year are wetter than others and make it a challenge with scheduling and completing jobs. So what we will do sometimes to keep things moving is: 1) if it is just overcast, we will still do standard tripod pictures inside and out, but will either discourage or cancel drone work. 2) If it's raining to the point that nothing can be done outside, sometimes we will come and do all the inside work and then return on a later day when the weather has cleared in order to do the outside work finally. If neither of these options work, then we'll just delay the job till the weather clears up and do our best to schedule it again as quickly as possible. Option 2 is usually done in order to help avoid getting as backed up.
I don't like getting too much in the weeds of things, but it helps some to have a basic understanding of what's going one and what is or isn't being done, so as to better know what to expect. Basically at the end of the day it is not uncommon to have upwards of 1500 images. Granted I shoot everything in five bracketed exposures. But regardless, all images have to be color corrected as best as possible, stacked together into groups, and run thru a processor to create the final images. Processing takes hours to complete, so it's usually next morning before they are handled, which means going thru each processed image and checking it for color and exposure correctness, straightness, removing camera spots that sometimes appear, and just ensuring no errors happened in processing.
There are times that not every image will come out beautiful and perfect. Sometimes lights create flares in images. Sometimes, extreme haze comes thru windows that can't be avoided, which sometimes results in enhanced dirt spots in the picture that otherwise wouldn't show up. And sometimes there's such a mix of colors from a combination of inside lights, the blue and green colors coming thru the windows, and color reflections off the walls of a room, that it can be a challenge at times to have a image be one single correct color throughout the image. Rooms with extremely dark walls are usually the most prone to problems, but not always. We do our best to handle these problems, but in the end it is what it is.
As for retouching, we do not do heavy retouching. Other than cleaning dirt spots from images, and doing slight detail and color enhancing to help each image be the best it can be, we try to avoid making images look anything other than realistic. The problem with retouching is that it can move into the dangerous realm of unethical if not careful, which can get you into trouble. Plus it takes extra time, which means charging more money. Our goal is to keep everything as timely and affordable as possible for everyone while maintain the best results possible working within those constraints. Sure, we could bring in lighting and do more enhanced processing, but doing so takes longer and costs you more money and time.
Delivery is usually next day for all pictures, and over the weekend for drone videos. There are rare occasions that delivery can take up to two days, but it's usually due to either an overload of work that couldn't be completed in time, or there's a technical issue that occurs. So unless something happens, everything is usually delivered next day. For delivery we use Box, which is a cloud based service similar to Dropbox. We originally tried Dropbox, but had too many problems. If Box doesn't work for you, then I can send them via a online transfer site called wetransfer.com, which will send you an email with a download link.
In Box we create a folder for you by your name and email that link to you. This is your master folder where you will find all of your job folders. It is recommended that you bookmark this link for easy access later. When a job is completed, a subfolder will be created in your folder according to the job address, and then the link will be emailed and texted to you as a notification of completion. Be sure and download your job folders to your computer and save them in a convenient location for you as we will clear your folder at the end of the year in order to conserve cloud storage space.
On occasion your job folder may be forgotten to be sent to you due to the large number of tasks being done in a short period of time. You'll know this happens if you get your invoice via email, and within a couple hours still have not received your folder link. If that happens, simply text me a reminder and I'll get it right over to you. We try to avoid this, but being human it is sometimes missed.
Drone Videos: When it comes to delivering drone videos, a finished video file will be placed in the job folder for that job. Again, videos are usually completed over the weekend. You cannot upload a video file to the MLS. You need a link. Do not link to the job folder. You should have your own YouTube or Vimeo channel that is branded to you, to which you can upload the video file provided, and then use that link for the MLS. If you do not have your own channel, but by request I will upload to my YouTube channel and send you a link.
Virtual Tours: Virtual Tours are generally next day as well, but you will be provided with branded and MLS links and embed codes. A couple of gif video files and still images will be automatically generated as part of the process. These files will be place in your job folder along your other files for you. If you order floor plans as well, they generally take an extra day and will also be placed in the job folder for you.
All billing is done via Square. You will be sent an invoice to your email via Square. You have the option to either pay online or to mail a check. In either case, the invoice on Square will be for your records if nothing else. Square has the capability to save your credit card for future payments if you wish to use the feature. And it is a safe and reliable online payment source.
If you prefer to pay by check, that is fine since it means we don't have to loose a portion of the payment to processing fees. So either way is fine. But all checks should be made out to Tenn Photo Co, and mailed to 4485 Coal Bank Rd, Sparta TN 38583.