Customer Feedback concerning pricing

I recently found myself having to win a client’s business against the published pricing shown on the iGUIDE website. Am I the only one?

Please intellectually enjoy this hopefully, potentially valuable, discussion. . .

There is this company somewhere else that manages renovation projects for businesses that want to remodel or expand, similar to an architectural firm, but more on an interior redesign application. They have a client that is renovating their space and need CAD compatible as-built floor plans. Doing their research for service in the area that does what they need, they found my website and evidently, had attempted to do some research about the tech I use to map space (iGUIDE) and discovered that it would only cost them $29! What a deal! So, they contacted me to present their project.

I do not charge $29 for floorplan services. Naturally, I was led to inquire as to whom it was that offered this $29 floorplan service. They directed me to the iGUIDE webpage where I had to explain why they misunderstood the pricing (https://goiguide.com/processing).

(self: I knew this day would come the moment I found out that iGUIDE published their pricing to every human, intellectual or otherwise, and would have to figure out a way to maintain a living doing what I love…)

There had been an innocent and clear misunderstanding. As I navigated the awkward conversation to explain that iGUIDE does not offer or manage the actual services of mapping a space, rather they own the technology and process the mapping data for their network of operators. They asked about the $29 again, to which I had to admit to them that they are seeing my cost for the data processing. “So you don’t work for iGUIDE?”

Nothing on my website would infer or suggest that I am an iGUIDE employee or contractor, I’ve checked a dozen times or more because I honor their intentional and proper separation of business perception - it’s the reason we had beached the “iGUIDE Nashville” brand… I should note, however, that some of the language used on the iGUIDE website could be mis/translated to presenting the glimmer of a Network Management element, and this could infer they actually Book the Contractors to perform the presented $29 services, similar to how Zillo (and other uber-like photography companies) now books photographers.

With this great discovery (of the potential client), they were naturally not willing to pay (the reasonable price I have calculated and presented in my project quote) to have the floorplans created. At that point, now that they know what it costs to process, they mentioned that they obviously needed to get a few other quotes for this part of the renovation project…

I had to discount my service to win their business, because of the information published on someone else’s webpage. (grr…)

Now it has become a question in my world, I would like to ask

Does, or are there plans for iGUIDE to offer floorplan services or book operators to perform these services at the presented $29 price?

I suspect iGUIDE does not offer these services at that price.

As a small business owner that would like to grow their business more often than having to rescue their business, and in lieu of iGUIDE removing the processing pricing from public view (while it would be helpful to do so to help preserve our pricing & value, that’s doubtful to happen), I would like to present a discussion on what suggestions other operators may have to overcome the processing pricing challenge.

It would, of course, be tremendously helpful to know what iGUIDE suggests we tell our clients when the topic presents itself, naturally something that is helpful in winning the business of that client without having to slash our pricing. This might make for a great Master Class topic from a successfully grown business that started out as just another solo photographer!

Note: this topic is presented to Photographers that operate their own business that relies mostly on using the iGUIDE tech, and is obviously irrelevant to any real estate, renovation, or contracting & building business models that owns an iGUIDE camera system. That is a completely different perspective and naturally does not have to price-war their business against the machine.


the pic is a copy of the screenshot I was sent by the potential client btw… at first glance, it does appear as if it only costs $29.

At your service. . . .

Yes indeed an issue! I think this needs to only be public to those who own a unit or provide at time of purchase for those interested, too confusing for realtors and others inquiring about package pricing for jobs.

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While I think it would make sense for iGuide to change their policy of pricing to help “protect” their service providers, I don’t see it happening.

Because of this thread I am going to actually remove any direct mention of iGUIDE from my website as to not feed the beast.

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Realistically, the client would have to invest in an iGuide camera, a dedicated person to learn the system.
I would simply tell the customer that it’s like going in for an oil change in the car.
The oil costs about $10 and the filter costs about $15, but the overhead to have a full service garage means the oil change has to cost $125 because of the overhead and labor costs.
You can change your car’s oil at home for $25 but not many people are going to take the time to do that.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with posing these costs in the iGuide website, as long as your client understands the costs that go into generating the data to create the floor plan.

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Yeah. Yes. Absolutely.
I voiced my concern about the fact that ANYONE who sees the iguide advertisement in the tour can with only a few clicks see the costs to me the provider when I got my first tour done. I started out doing commercial spaces and for these companies, the cost to buy the system and do it themselves is far more economical in the long run than hiring me. I was told there was no plan to disable the advertisement. Was extremely disappointing. I have not gotten a call back from that client - but I have no way of knowing if they went that route or have just paused on creating tours of their vacancies. I understand iguide trying to build their business, but as I stated in my original complaint, I’m not getting paid to advertise for them or any referral bonus for people who sign up with them after seeing their info on my tour, so I should be able to hide any mention of iGuide from my tours if I want. Thankfully I’ve been busy with other projects and have been able to push this decision whether to continue with iGuide or go with a different platform, but I certainly hope that functionally will be added before I do.

Brian, I think that’s a risk we take with any business.
At the moment it’s hard to find people to just show up.
If you are doing reliable work, it’s worth the extra money to have a specialist available when they need a tour/floor plan etc.
I do some work for a very big corporation on vision systems in industry. They keep calling me in to do things that I’ve shown the imbedded technical staff how to do many, many times.
I’m amazed that they keep paying me what they pay me and that they keep using me the way they use me.
But anyone that is part of the technical staff is already too busy and does not have the bandwidth to take on extra work.

If your client is so cost conscious that they would replace you and have their own staff train on iGuide and find the time to do iTours, then honestly they might be worth letting go. That’s either a false economy for them or they will ultimately bring that in-house at some point.
I’d love to find more architecture and industrial work, but I’m finding that many of them have…you know that word…it’s Mat…port or something like that… (joke)
But I just keep on looking and know I’ll pick up a few good clients along the way.

Just like doing residential R/E work. There are 10+ photographers all clamoring for the same client. They are loyal to one, as long as they can depend on him and they will take that offer from another, when they can get a free shoot. We have to be realistic that we only have any client for a finite time. Do what we can to keep them and always be priming the pump for when we lose them.

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I understand this concern, and in an ideal world the general public wouldn’t have access to our specific costs.

That said:

  1. I’m not aware of losing existing or potential clients because of this. (It’s possible, but I’m not aware of it.)

  2. There will always be penny-pinching clients. In my experience, both in the real estate photography world as well as in photography and other industries in general, those are the worst clients to deal with.

  3. If you were a chef and a potential customer approached you with a list of ingredient costs (“pasta costs $xx.xx, sauce costs $yy.yy, bread costs $zz.zz, so I’m going to pay you $mm.mm for this meal”) you’d turn them away because your business model is your business model and you don’t have time to deal with unreasonable, unsophisticated people. It’s no different in our industry. Drafting fees are only part of our cost of doing business. There’s additional camera gear, there’s insurance, there’s fuel, there’s wear and tear on our vehicles, there’s accounting fees, there’s taxes, there’s marketing costs, there’s the overall aim to get ahead, and the rest. You shouldn’t have to explain this to anyone.

  4. I regularly shoot for a realtor and brokerage owner who bought an iGuide camera, thinking that would save them time and money, but quickly realized that they didn’t want to bother with it, and now I do their shoots. Busy realtors value their time.

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There’s a lot of truth to that. Do good work, be reliable, be friendly, network, and take a long-term, big picture view. Along the way you’ll gain some clients, and lose some clients, but the payoff can certainly be there.

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Yes, i have had this issue aswell. I mentioned it to them during my initial interaction and i was told “chances are slim they will find the pricing”. Well i was charging 13c/sq.ft after 2500sq.ft and sure enough within a few months people found it. Had to drop my rates. Its a tough conversation and Everyone’s costs are different. I think they should only make it public to owners.

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I agree, pretty strange practice to roll out a new processing fee pricing structure, but give the option to existing operators business’s to remain on the old processing fee structure ( I’m sure there is some) if they choose or if new structure doesn’t fit their business model, and then publish the new price structure on a public page. Imagine having that conversation with a customer if you remained on the old structure. :see_no_evil::man_shrugging:

Anyone with zero camera background can be successfully running the new camera in 10-15mins easy. Some of you make it sound like rocket science. The writing has been on the wall… the more automated and easy it is to use the more they can compete with Matterport from unexperinced user standpoint.

Capture and upload in minutes they say… at the end of the day in the long run good quality will always win over quantity in my experience. 2 cents

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Because of this thread I am going to actually remove any direct mention of iGUIDE from my website as to not feed the beast.

I had considered this as well, however, the iGUIDE brand does currently hold a strong value against Matterport, tho they are whittling that away with sales marketing methods, it is important to identify that I use “THIS” brand and not “that” brand of tech. To the client, it is important to understand how the technology fits and can be used in marketing a listing (its most applicable value). I have found that having that information on my website, and pointing them to that information has helped satiate their need to hunt for the information.

“a $29 3D Virtual Tour in just 15 minutes! Sign me up!”

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Interesting, so you mean there are additional costs, training, and someone is going to have to operate the camera? I hadn’t considered that. :wink:

I wouldn’t dare to mansplain that to my potential clients. They operate their own business already and many ways, know profoundly more about business operations, costs, and requirements than us “You - the Photographer/s”.

In that context: In the case of iGUIDE selling cameras to Realtors and Brokerages (the market of us "You-thePhotographer/s):

1. Realtors know people, it’s their business.

If I bought a new camera for my team or brokerage, it is 100% likely that someone in the team circle is willing and ready to become its captain.

2. Market Direction

As in, the direction to which the ship is heading: The content on iGUIDEs websites and marketing is primarily aimed at people that work with buyers and sellers, or Real Estate Professionals. Free training, simple to use, 15 minutes fast, $29 per property inexpensive, and order now ready to be used to buy & sell real estate. I don’t know about you, but I don’t work with buyers or sellers, I work with Real Estate Professionals (Realtors. Builders/ Etc) that want 3D tours for their marketing presentations. I have noticed, in their marketing, increasingly less about “growing your photography business” and more of “helps you buy and sell real estate faster and for less”… Roughly, that could easily translate to iGUIDE positioning as competition to my business as a whole, and that’s a scary-sized ship with a comparatively massive marketing budget to compete with…

ce’la’vie.

On a personal note, I don’t want to feel stressed that my tech partners are becoming my competitors for business, I would love to have the perspective of an unconcerned business owner. To better understand why you aren’t disturbed by the delima, and how I could attain such peace in the universe, I was naturally curious about your “business perspective”. My business perspective is not sustainable if my tech partner is going to take my clients one by one (or by the dozen). I abandoned my google search of your name due to a lack of finding anything that connects with the profile photo you are using on this system.

In the off chance that you happen to actually be the founder and CEO of LinkedIn, I’m honored to have caught your attention, I would love to hear read about how you incorporate the use of the iGUIDE tech with LinkedIn. :slight_smile:

I preface this with, Leroy, your work is absolutely exceptional. With over 11k followers on insta, I don’t imagine you struggle long to earn new clients or concern yourself with petty things like this…

To respond to your share:

  1. Consider yourself now aware that it is already happening. I know of several in my market area that have gone this route. In fact, I had lost a major whale of a brokerage because they bought a camera (of some brand) and only pay someone per project to use it for all of their listings in that brokerage. Consider anyone that engages in the act of being an “hired operator” of a brokerage’s owned camera, and the possibility of the agents in that brokerage no longer using the photographers they previously were using for tours because there’s an in-house camera, are part of the problem.

  2. Yes, there will always be frugal clients, and with the exploding inventory of tech-savy people, I doubt it will get better before it gets worse. Admitting there is always going to be a problem doesn’t help. Would you justify your tech partner to directly seek your clients attention with the intention of selling them a camera and taking that business from you? Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it; right is right, even if no one is doing it. Some might call it “enabling” or even encouraging the problem to exist or worsen.

  3. I agree that the overall business plan should not have to be explained to justify the cost. That should be taught or learned before the end of a high-school term. I am, however, interested in understanding your perspective of how being a photographer compares to being a chef.

  4. Realtors value time most critically. Remember that part about being part of the problem? Easy as 1, 2, 3, your own 4th point settles that curiosity. 1. Brokerage buys a camera > 2. Brokerage pays someone (you) to operate it for the listings within that brokerage > 3. Other photographers no longer get any “tour” business from agents in that brokerage.

As a curiosity, have you considered that other agents were likely using their own preferred photographers (for tour media) before the camera upgrade to the brokerage? How this move, by the brokerage, may have caused a few of those small business operators a major loss in bulk?

Unless the agents of the brokerage are still using their own preferred photographers to produce tour media for their listings, and by you operating that equipment for the brokerage, you have effectively enabled the brokerage to leverage the other photographers out of their business (for tour media).

I have two clients that use their own photographers for the still images (they’re basically married to their photographer/s), and use my services for the tour media. November of 2021, one of them that manages listings for an entire team asked me about this new $29 tour and 15 minute tour camera system… Let’s just say that I haven’t heard from them since and they aren’t in a hurry to talk shop anymore.

Its a problem, but only for us “You - the Photographer/s”

As my tech partner more aggressively engages the minds of my clients for their attention and dollars, it is becoming more evident that I need to reformulate a new strategy that will work with the changes. Thus sparking the desire to reach out to discuss how it affects others and potential positive methods of winning their business without losing mine.

“Do good work, be reliable, be friendly, network, and take a long-term, big picture view. Along the way you’ll gain some clients, and lose some clients, but the payoff can certainly be there.”

Well put and always true.

Do a good job, be a better you, think long term, you’ll win some - lose some, everything is fine, nothing to see here folks. My wife would call that gaslighting, but I’m not my wife.

Leroy, our tech partner is soliciting our clients for their business, and even if we manage to position ourselves behind them, we will still get paid less than we would if our partners didn’t “go there” in the first place. I don’t see you as the type to believe it will either go away or get easier.

Naturally, for someone as successful as you, Leroy, I can imagine you have a much less focused concern of the issue as a whole. Congratulations, btw, you and your work are an inspiration!

My condolences to your loss (of business capital), One person says everything will be okay if you do a good job and another doesn’t care, so don’t worry, I guess? I feel the loss, my camera pays my rent. I am somehow both comforted while concerned that I am not the only human facing this induced price-war.

Your point is precisely accurate. I could train just about anyone to do the process, it’s NOT rocket science unless you’re mapping a rocket science lab, then it might be…

@iguide, about that 15-minute experience marketing scheme - it needs to stop, please. It doesn’t matter if it CAN be done, it is literally setting an unrealistic expectation for an average experience. I’m sure it can be done, but I’ve never come close to 15 minutes. I can only imagine the quality and coverage of a 15-minute scan. I want to race you in a full-coverage mapping of a space of my choice and the only rule will be that we each get to use the gear for 15 minutes (DING! Photographers, put down your cameras!). I am quite interested in the amount and quality of coverage that would result.

It should be noted, that “the people” who try to make it sound like rocket science to justify the “additional efforts, costs, and time” argument, also seem to be generally uninterested with the pricing disclosure, almost as if they aren’t experiencing the collateral damage as a result of that disclosure. These same people seem to be encouraging us to just have faith that our partner isn’t impacting or going after our food & rent.

My point here would be that, mansplaining that there are additional costs and efforts isn’t going to erase the knowledge of the apple.

Other than doing things for my client that my tech partner can’t do for them, I am at a loss for ideas on the challenge of winning a client’s business versus my tech partner winning the client’s business and losing mine in the process.

This is forcing me to reformulate my strategy and business plan as a whole. Not cool, and unless I have been mislead, not very Canadian-like behavor. Definately the historical behavior type of some other cultures tho . . . (#BeTheChangeYouWantToSee)

My decision-making turn to partner with iGUIDE was when I was convinced that iGUIDE was:

A. “… in the business of helping photographers grow their business.” and
B. “… not in the business of selling cameras to Realtors.”

Both were critically important to me as an independent business owner, because they could very easily just sell their cameras to Realtors and essentially erase any opportunity for little-ol-me to earn a living using their tech.

Evidently, both of those values have changed, naturally forcing the game to change. It’s much less about building their network by helping photographers build their business. Today, it has the appearance of “how many cameras can we sell today and who else can we sell them to?”

The only solution to the issue at hand (for us, not iGUIDE or anyone that isn’t an “us”), is for iGUIDE to re-embrace their business model of selling their cameras only to photographers (not Realtors and Brokerages), and to at least qualify someones genuine interest in the pricing rather than just letting it hang from their lips like a piece of lettuce. Those two things would have an instant and profoundly positive effect on every independent iGUIDE Operators Business across the board. I don’t expect that to happen - In face, if I were the CEO of iGUIDE (and I’m not), I would market my cameras to every brokerage and Realtor in the world, even if there are already iGUIDE Operators in that market area. (wait for it…)

Maybe one day we will all look at this and laugh…
maniacally with one finger touching our chin…

I hope someone has a brilliant plan for how to navigate that difficult conversation that helps keep our business in the black without having to aggressively compete with our own partners. It just seems like that’s becoming the case, in which case, I’ll be below deck in engineering for a while.

I’m sorry to see what’s happening, and hopefully, things will change; At the very least, for now, keep on keepin; on. One day, we’ll all get there.

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Just a question here because I’m confused. Is the iGuide the only service you offer? Do you not also offer still photography or drone photography or even video?

While a brokerage might feel it makes economic sense to get their own camera and train someone, they still need an actual photographer to take stills of the property. That’s not a skill you get when you just buy a DSLR.

As a home seller I would not be too excited if my broker said, “ok tomorrow I have the tour shooter coming, then the day after I have a still photographer coming” etc. Single vendor model is best here.

The key point here is that this iGuide service is far better of a deal when BUNDLED with a photo package, and better yet when a drone add on is applied, and even better if you also score a video add on. All products are done in a single visit. Pretty easy to justify your $29 tour then, no?

You have to know how to sell your service and make it attractive, like the chef, or oil changer or any service provider. Add value and the product will justify the end price.

This is just what comes to mind here as I read all this stuff.

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That’s my situation. IG is one of many services I offer. If it were to completely go away (it won’t - yet) that’d suck, but it’s just one cog in the machine. I guess you CAN use photos grabbed from IG for your property photos, but not a single one of my clients is going to do that. Plus 2k for a camera. Plus learn the fussiness of Stitch. If I had to wager, all the cameras only used a couple of times for sale on here are - possibly - agents/offices who figured they’d “just do it themselves and save some money”? And then they discovered it’s way easier to offload to a multi-service provider.

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First, thanks for the compliments about my work. It’s a never-ending work-in-progress. When I look at the work of other real estate photographers I realize my work is mediocre – and that inspires and motivates me to improve.

Next, “successful” is a jello-y word. It’s not something solid. I’ve made my share of mistakes, had my share of living hand-to-mouth trying to make a living in the photography industry, suffered my share of stressful sleeps (or lack thereof), and still appreciate the panoramic moments that remind me that I enjoy what I do. Like all of us, I’m here looking to make a living. It helps to have these discussions on topics that we face in common.

I could answer each point you’ve raised, but overall, my posts earlier in this thread cover what I have to say.

The iGuide system is just one tool out of many that are available to us to serve our clients. Planitar will make changes to meet their business model and goals, just as we do for our own businesses. For my business, offering iGuides has proven to be a great decision and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If something better comes along, I’d be foolish if I didn’t consider it.

We can look at changes in the marketplace as insurmountable challenges, or as potential opportunities. We can spend time consumed by minutiae, or spend that time adapting and finding ways to add value to the services we offer our clients (whether that’s through the iGuide system or something else).

Lastly, one of my business mentors long ago drilled into me the idea that “business is personal”. People give business to people they like working with. Be that type of person and there’s a good chance that things will work out.

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This is actually a huge problem. I did speak with iguide and got a response that they’re building their business. Definitely not cool that it undercuts our business and render it pointless.

IMHO, if enough providers would complain, then they might change something. Until then, it is a wild wild west…

If a company thinks they are going to get laser accurate floor plans for 29$, that’s not a company with want to be working with.

You don’t go to a landscaping company, look at what kind of equipment they run/operate then call the rental company and then go back to the the landscaping contractor and be like well you can rent one for 250$ a day why should i pay you 600$ a day?

Similar idea applies here. Im straight up with all my clients. “Part of your fee is a one time drafting fee which offers essentially unlimited hosting.” and this is why all my prices are based off of sq/ft because our drafting fee raises also.

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