Open2view.com is relatively new to North America, having opened its first U.S. franchise in 2007 and entered the Canadian market just last November. Founded in New Zealand in 1999, the firm provides digital photography services to real estate industry professionals.
The company's origins are modest, says Eric Chase, U.S. and Canadian master franchisor. "The franchise essentially started with one man and a digital camera," he says, recounting how founder Chris Bates made the rounds at real estate agencies to offer his services as a photographer.
A year later, Open2view went live with its own internet portal, and has since grown to dominate the New Zealand and Australia markets.
Chase says the U.S. is wide open for applicants interested in state master franchises as well as area and photographer franchises. There are only 11 in the United States, compared to 60 in New Zealand, a country with a population of just 4 million--roughly the number of residents in Los Angeles.
Chase considers the ideal franchisee someone who possesses confidence, an eye for detail and a can-do, service-oriented attitude. "[It] would have to be someone with a passion for people, property and photography, in that order," he says.
Business doesn't come automatically, and the most successful franchisees are the ones who take the time to build and maintain relationships with agents. "We have a plug-and-play system that works, but the franchisee has to plug in and play to see any pay," he jokes.
The onus is on the business owner to provide timely and excellent service, and for the right person, it's a system that offers great value. Open2view franchisees have the opportunity to visit great property and work in the photography industry.
"It's a lifestyle business," says Chase, who describes it as a mash-up of Old World service and New World technology. "If you visit our sites, you will see that Open2view is one of the best, if not the best, real estate portal in the world for consistent property imagery of an exceptionally high standard."