Michael Koster

Varoom Studios

Courtenay, British Colombia

Michael has been in the business of Real Estate Photography since January 2017. Before becoming an iGUIDE Operator, Michael’s services included hand measured and drafted floor plans which consumed a lot of time, limiting his client volume. In search for an adequate way to provide floor plans and measurements for his customers, Michael discovered iGUIDE, which soon allowed him to service more homes per day, allowing him to free up a lot of his time to focus on bringing in new clientele. Varoom Studios services Vancouver Island and although Michael only started to pursue photography professionally less than 2 years ago, his success with iGUIDE and his real estate services is remarkable and continue to grow rapidly.

iGUIDE helps Michael create floor plans 8X faster.

Michael Koster groaned when he pulled into the driveway of a 6,000-square-foot house he was going to measure for a client. Nobody told him it was a big house in advance, and now his schedule would be thrown off for the rest of the day. Creating floor plans for his clients in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island was getting tedious. For every hour taking measurements, he needs up to two hours in front of a computer to draft it. So creating floor plans for a big house like that takes five-and-a-half hours.

Michael bought Varoom Studios, a real estate photography and floor plan business located in Courtenay B.C. in January 2017. Until then he never owned a DSLR camera, but he taught himself everything he needed to know by watching YouTube tutorials. The photography is fun and creative. The floor plans less so, but there is no getting away from that work. Floor plans make up 60 per cent of his business. “I have a lot of realtors use me for floor plans only,” says Michael. In July of last year Michael heard about iGUIDE. He found the company online, and called to ask about it. Before that telephone conversation was over, Michael had agreed to buy one. Now, after spending two hours in a house taking measurements and photos with the iGUIDE camera, Michael uploads everything in 10 or 15 minutes. The company creates the floor plans, and displays the photos, virtual tour and floor plans on its website. “So it does save me a fair bit of time,” says Michael. When the City of Courtenay wanted accurate floor plans for its 50 municipal buildings, Michael submitted a proposal. The iGUIDE technology was key to winning the contract. “They were definitely excited about the idea of having a virtual tour and the visuals to go with the floor plan,” says Michael. The biggest city building has about 35,000-square-feet of space. The smallest include bathrooms and concessions in city parks. Michael went through every building with his iGUIDE camera during April, May and June of this year. He fulfilled the contract during the busy spring real estate market without missing beat. “It’s by far the biggest contract I’ve ever had,” says Michael. “What it meant to me was a nice revenue stream.”

He decided to expand, buying a second iGUIDE camera and training his first employee. Michael wants to approach the other municipalities in the Comox Valley and the school boards about creating floor plans and virtual tours of their buildings. And he wants to use the technology to break into the growing market for Google Business Tours. He can certainly rely on the municipal officials for a good recommendation. “We are very pleased with the results,” says Chris Thompson, Courtenay’s asset management technologist. “It worked out really well for us.” The panoramic interior photographs and floor plans make up a comprehensive catalogue of all the municipality’s buildings. “We use it all the time, and it is something that is definitely going to be useful for years to come,” says Chris. With iGUIDE technology floor plans can be easily customised, layers can be turned on and off, the plans can be viewed in metric or imperial measurements, room names can be changed, and everything can be downloaded in different formats, such as PDF or AutoCAD. “The panoramic photography was really helpful,” says Chris. “We are able to use that to educate contractors who are going into the buildings on what they are going to be seeing.” The information, and the way it is displayed, will create a lot of value for municipal officials in the future. “If we are doing renovations it is a good starting point for sure,” says Chris. “We have used it for tendering documents out for condition assessments. So the contractor doing that can see what the building looks like before they come out here to do the work.”