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Reasonable rates for mapping services?

Apr 5, 2021
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Colorado Springs, CO
Hi everyone,

I'm a new EVO II Pro pilot and have a fairly easy mapping job. As I'm new to aerial photography services I was hoping you all could guide me with a bid price. I'm looking for an hourly rate unless there is a more standard way of pricing jobs.

This job will consist of a weekly composite 2D map of about 200 acres of a new subdivision plus a monthly video showing progress. The purpose is investor relations rather than construction management. The client is not using a competitive bid process and is having me do the work as I have done other communications consulting for him in the past. I want to give him a good rate, as I am new and he gave me a great opportunity to get started with a paid gig. But I don't particularly want to get locked in to work for peanuts for the next two+ years as this 5 phase subdivision goes in.

The commute to the site plus set up and take down is about an 90 minutes. Add the mission time and processing. The monthly video should take about 4 hours to shoot and edit. How does one get a fair rate as a beginner without killing the golden goose, so to speak.

My initial thoughts are:

Lowball bid:
- 4 2D Maps (Total monthly hours = 10)
- 1 three minute progress video with cinematic intro/outro (Total monthly hours = ~4)
- Hourly rate $50
- Monthly total = $700

Higher bid would use $75/hr for a total of 1,050.

Too high/low or about right?

I should mention the entire subdivision is in the primary traffic pattern of a private airport making it all a bit more fun.

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Apr 5, 2021
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Colorado Springs, CO


Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2016
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Glad I can help.
Prices vary on location and who you are working for.
For Real Estate it varies a lot.
This applies to what I do.
In my area, Realtors won't want to pay anything for photos.
Average homes sell for about $80K to $225K.
But if I go north or west I can get $250 or more depending on price of the house.
and what kind of photos they require, and how many
If you live in Atlanta, Fla or Cali, they get lots more.
For mapping, there is not much needed here as there is no developing.
But again going north or west, a lot more developments are planed.
Problem is too many beginners are cutting prices to get their foot in the door, which cuts prices.
The key to getting a higher price is referrals, and having good presentations which must include small details in the videos which set you apart from other videos, To get this you should have a good knowledge of photography and a high end computer and software to edit and enhance the video.
There are plenty of you tube videos of real estate to watch and learn from, you just have to see what peaks your interest on what can separate you from the others.
With COVID, the last two years have slim pickings, as people don't want to show their homes, but we need to be creative to show the homes online to get buyers interested.
I know what I said has little to do with mapping, and pricing, but pricing has a lot to do with location.
Oh.. Another thing you have to figure into your pricing is Insurance.
I have $1 mil of liability insurance, and personal equipment insurance of $40K to cover all my photography equipment, cameras, lenses, and laptops that I take on jobs, plus my office desktops and printers . I also shoot college and HS Sports and have disability and liability insurance to cover myself if athletes run into me and hurt themselves, or me if I get run over while shooting on the sidelines.
Sorry for the rant, but I thought I'd let you know what is involved in setting prices, to help you set yours.
by a football player while shootin
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