A veteran photographer, an ex-realtor, and a certified drone pilot, Paul Maynard has been making a living with his camera for over 30 years now. Having spent most of his life in the profession, Paul knew virtual tours were something that would own the real estate marketing realm in the days to come. But, it was the long hours of associated post-processing work that he absolutely despised. It all changed when he came across the iGUIDE Camera, which according to him is a tool so powerful that it completely altered his work life.
iGUIDE Powers a 400 Percent Increase in Business
When Paul Maynard bought new client management software for his real estate photography business in Denver—Colorful Virtual Tours— he saw a feature for uploading iGUIDEs.
Curious, he looked into it and was immediately intrigued by the leading-edge property tech from Planitar. The iGUIDE camera produces virtual tours, 3D tours, 360-degree tours, and floor plans with square-footage measurements.
The veteran real estate photographer knew virtual tours would only become more important, and he was frustrated by the lack of innovation.
“I started doing them the old fashioned way, using my 35mm camera, shooting panos and putting the panos together, and putting the tours together,” said Paul. “And I thought: ‘This is ridiculous,’ because I hated the post-work.”
The post-production meant late nights and weekends. He wanted technology that saved time, made his company different from the competition, and produced images that kept agents, brokers, and home-buyers happy.
When he called Planitar to talk about the iGUIDE camera, he was blown away. There is no post-production work with the iGUIDE camera. Then, Planitar produced a complete marketing plan for Colorful Virtual Tours.
The plan had all of the real estate statistics for the Denver area—the brokers, agents, number of houses, how much market share was needed to make a profit, and the steps needed to get there. The company produced an Excel spreadsheet for Paul that contained all of the information.
“I was like wow, iGUIDE is not just selling me a camera. That was the thing. It wasn’t: ‘Oh, I just buy the camera and I am off.’ I felt like I had a partner, like I had somebody there who wanted to help me be successful and showed me A to Z exactly how to do it,” said Paul.
“Planitar put so much time into the marketing plan for me that I could just pull the trigger and go,” he added.
He has been a professional photographer since 1986. After shooting portraits for years, he became a real estate agent, but his heart wasn’t in it. So, he decided to combine his passion for photography with his knowledge of real estate and founded Colorful Virtual Tours.
During his decades of experience, Paul has never seen anything like the iGUIDE.
His first full year with the iGUIDE camera was 2019 and did 65 iGUIDEs that year. When the pandemic hit and many businesses around the world suffered, Colorful Virtual Tours prospered. He did 345 iGUIDEs in the first 11 months of 2020—a 400 per cent increase over the previous year.
“It was unbelievable the change, from one year to the next,” said Paul. “It went crazy. Hardly any iGUIDEs in 2019 and then 2020 went through the roof, absolutely through the roof.”
He was shooting six to 10 properties a day. At the start, only about one-in-20 wanted an iGUIDE. The technology was new to the Denver area. So, Paul made presentations to Real Estate Associations and used social media to market it.
“When COVID came in I started making videos every day on the importance of a virtual tour and talking about the differences between iGUIDE and Matterport without saying Matterport,” said Paul.
Every day for six weeks he posted the videos to Instagram, LinkedIN, and in Facebook real estate groups. It quickly paid off.
“My business literally tripled,” said Paul.
Now every single shoot includes an iGUIDE. When a new client wants a video walkthrough, Paul just shows them an iGUIDE virtual tour.
“Everyone’s like: ‘Alright, I will try it.’ And once they try it, it’s like: ‘Oh, this is the only way I am going to go from now on.'”
The customer management software he uses allows Paul to bundle the pictures with a whole marketing kit he provides at no charge.
“I just add all these extra value pieces, so when you order the iGUIDE you get everything. You get the photos, you get the property website, you get a marketing kit, you get blue-sky guarantee, all the TVs are filled-in with the front of the property instead of having black screens,” he said.
Almost all of his new clients are referred to him by existing clients.
“I am the only photographer in this area who delivers images on the same day. And the iGUIDE is delivered the next day. That also gives me a foot up compared to other photographers.”
iGUIDEs work well on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. The 24-hour turnaround for clients is a big hit. There are no subscription fees either. But most of all, Paul likes having his weeknights and weekends free. The impact on his business and quality of life at home is enormous.
“Every other piece of equipment out there took all this time, and really, I was shooting 6 to 10 properties a day, so can you imagine 6 to 10 virtual tours a day. Then I would have to come home and piece them all together. The iGUIDE solved that problem.”
On a typical shoot, he takes about 40 pictures of a 3,000-square-foot home and then iGUIDEs it. Back in his car he downloads the images and runs them through an HDR processor.
“While that is processing, I download my iGUIDE, I Stitch everything, I make sure everything is done. I upload to the iGUIDE website, by that time the HDR photos have finished processing. I do a couple of little things, upload those images into iGUIDE, boom, hit a button, and drive to my next property ready to go. That’s how I do it.”