panorama software,virtual tour software
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Joined: 2006-02-15
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2006-02-17
#1

full time pano-business

With all the topics here, lets put an underline and see how many of you operate Pano-business full time?  Pricing strategies were discussed many times and it would be nice to see who is actually operating their business full time, meaning their client base is big enough and pricing strategy aligned correctly so the owner can make a living out of it and not just pay bills.

 

Share your comments here


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Joined: 2004-07-16
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2006-02-17
#2
Our business is a full time business but the pano side of it is not the only thing we do as there is not enough work to make it full time. There are far to many pano photographer knocking them out for less than $100 a piece to try and get more work but this is just ruining the business for everyone and not earning anyone any decent money.
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2006-02-17
#3

Ok, in that case, how much of VT business you get as a whole.  %-vise youd say pano-business consist 50% of your business as a whole?


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2006-02-18
#4
there are 5 parts of the group one which specialises on commercial VT's for everyday clients etc and there is another part which specialises in the tourism industry so 2/5 but income wise I would say its about 25%
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2006-02-18
#5

  I am retired from the work place. We have other sources of income. Now I do productive "work" of my choice and when I want to. Forum moderating is one of my daily tasks.

  We have only 4 or 5 paying VR Projects each year.  Our first project this year is already scheduled - return business trip (6th year now)  2 - 9 April - 3 hotels in Cancun Mexico. .

Dave


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2006-02-18
#6

I am in the high end real estate market. So I get less jobs but they pay much more and the profit is much more as well.  In the past VRBO and entertainment has been most of my business. Now it is real estate. But that turns into advertising photography and web site projects.

I am lucky. My market is all high end. Everyting I do is over 1 million dollars. I added up some numbers the other day and it turns out I have photographed over 150 million dollars in real estate in the last 18 months. The largest property was 9 million at over 12,000 square feet. The biggest job I have had was 31 pano's. I just photographed a 21 pano tour today on a 4 million dollar house. Target the "top producers". TIP - Watch the MLS system every day. As soon as you see a new listing contact them. You have about 3 days to get them before the find someone else.

Right now I do about 5 to 8 tours a week but if this keeps up I will be doing over 10 a week.

I should point out that I have been struggling to make it for 10 years. So for me it was no get rich quick situation. I think the most important thing that has happened is new development in cameras and broadband internet. Now it is possible to make something really worth spending money on.

General Lee 

 


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2006-02-18
#7

Gen. Lee,

5-8 tours sounds like a full-time position, am I correct?

 

I think the reason for me to ask this question is to see whose strategy paid back.  In your case it took you 10-something years and you are correct broadband nowadays dominating over dial-up, whereas with dial-up you will not have much luck selling tours.  I am a new guy and havent done any projects just yet, but I owned and still own several businesses some of them are construction related; hoping to lend contracts with builders immediately due to my contacts and other leads.  Those are hopes, but for now I am struggling to get all my things together camera, other equipment, mastering photography. 

 

Thanks to all of you guys and galls (and thanks God to the Internet) for sharing your experience.  Keep it up!!

 


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2006-02-19
#8

You should also spend a little money with your local board of realtors. Sign on as an allied member. Most of the boards will let you present your product at one of their monthly meetings. You would be suprised how many will actually call you. You should attend the meetings as often as you can. Stand at the door and shake hands, it will go a long way! Also see if you can do some advertising at some of the real estate schools in your area. Get the new "fresh" realtors before they have time to find the competition. Take out a $300 - $400 ad in your local "homes and land" magazine. I advertised 1 time, and have not had to advertise since then.

I have found that in a very wide area, most realtors are looking for something better than they are currently receiving. So check out some of the ip*x virtual tours being created in your area. Make sure you are better! It also helped me to be able to tell the realtors that all listings that I did virtual tours for will go onto my website. This way mls and realtor.com is clicking into your website everyday..multiple times a day..which increases your search engine rank..which creates more business due to exposure.

In my case, it worked out pretty well. The "competition" was not, and is still not giving a very good VT, so i was able to present a much better product to the realtor. I practiced on my product - while building my website - for about 6 months before presenting myself to the first realtor. Within 2 weeks I had over 20 homes lined up. I may have been lucky..I may have been in the right place at the right time. I also can sell pretty well, so that doesnt hurt.

I live in a very high vacation spot (Great Smoky Mountains in NC). With high vacationed areas, you usually end up with plenty of vacation homes looking to advertise (you can charge a monthly - yearly fee for the same VT), and a booming real estate market.

Another note: Go ahead and get your logo, business cards, door magnets, etc. When you are ready to talk with realtors, just act like you have done it for years.

When you present yourself to the realtors you need to have some knowledge of real estate. Not a rediculous amount, just the basic stuff. In my case, the very first realtor asked me if my tours could go into MLS..I said "yes, absolutely"..then I went straight home to find out what MLS stood for..lol. I had zero knowledge of real estate. Sign on with someone like hometour360virtualtours.com (or others that members may recommend) so you can tell your realtors that your tours can - and will be - posted to realtor.com

If I were to hire other people to help in my business, I could do 30-40 homes per week..but I have no interest in getting that big. As it stands, I do around 5-6 per week, and usually always have 10 homes waiting for me...but I also build websites, and am a very active father of 2 which takes most of my time.

I am not sure if any of this helps..but maybe it did. Good luck to you. Asking questions in here helps a great deal also!

Kris


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2006-02-19
#9

Yes, this is a full time business for me. It was not always that way. Only in the last 2 years. But I started back in 1995 when virtual tours hit the market and bandwith was a problem. Back then anything over 250kb was huge. And camreas were only at around 1 megapixel. It was hard to make good panos back then. Plus Ipox was destroying the market with there pricing. Making it hard for anyone to make money.

I am in the same situation that zjoker is and agree with everything he said. Especially the quality part. That is what launced me. Like him my market has a lot of one shot stuff like "egg". I just blow them away with what I do know. Even though my price is three times what the competition charges I have no problem getting business.

5 to 8 tours a week probably does not sound like a lot to some of you but it all depends on what your are charging. I can say that I am doing quite well.

General Lee

 

 


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2006-02-19
#10

Zjoker, you kidding -- everything helps.  While reading your post, you triggered a question I had in my mind for a while When you guys tell realtors that you will host there tour, do you set up their page as something like this:

 

http://www.MyBusinessVTSite/RealEstate/John_Doe_The_Realtor/tourNum12345/

 

or how do you host tours for them?

 

Gen. Lee, as far as your tactics in targeting higher end market, I think that is what I am going to be doing, especially since my family already owns businesses and quantity is not a necessity to survive. 


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2006-02-20
#11
Well, I'm trying to target commercial real estate. I find that many of the commercial tours are just as bad as the poor quality residential tours. so I'm taking the Gen. Lee approach with offering "high end" tours. I feel though that I still need to work on improving my tours. They're not bad, but I want to get better and also figure out how to make them quicker. Panoweaver has really been a help in that regard. I got it so I can stitch a decent pano in about a half-hour (high-res, multiple exposures and color-corrected). Don't know if I can do it any faster than that and still get the quality I'm looking for.

Marketing is the biggest hurdle for me. I'm trying to attach myself to as many people in the industry as possible. I'm even considering spending the $300.00 or so in getting my real estate license to get me snuggly in the industry. But I worry that I will spend more time trying to sell real estate than do what I love, which is taking pictures.

And yes, my company does way more than just virtual tours. Web and print design and other multimedia services are what we offer as well. But I am interested in specializing in commercial real estate so I am offering my services to that industry the most.

Well, that's my plan anyway. Hopefully it will pay off.