iGUIDE is a Key Tool in Scaling Gary Kristensen’s Business

Measurements and real estate.

Gary Kristensen built two prosperous companies based on the real estate industry’s enormous appetite for accurate numbers.

His first company, Quality Appraisals, started in 2010. It led directly to his second company, A Quality Measurement. Most of his customers are real estate agents.

“I would go out and teach classes to real estate agents about how appraisal works, real estate appraisals. And real estate agents started asking me: ‘Hey, we’ve got this house coming up and we don’t know how big it is, can you measure it for us?’ And I went: ‘Oh sure, I can measure.’  So, I would go out and measure by hand, and we just started to do more and more and more of those. Until it kind of became its own thing.”

So, he founded the measuring company in 2015.

“Then we started getting asked: ‘You are measuring it, can you draw a floor plan?’ Because appraisers measure and draw a sketch of the exterior walls. So, I went: ‘Okay, we can draw a floor plan.’ So, one thing led to another and we were measuring homes, and I had to split my business into a measuring division and an appraisal division,” says Gary.

Both companies are based in Happy Valley, a suburb of Portland. The real estate market is thriving in the Pacific Northwest.  Gary knew the demand was going to increase for square-footage measurements and floor plans. After five years the measuring company employs 11.  They measure about 15 homes a day and do floor-plan sketches— using hand-held lasers and tablets.

He was thinking about ways to scale the measuring company when he saw a post on social media about the iGUIDE Camera and supporting software.

Using lasers, the iGUIDE takes square-footage measurements of every room. The operator controls the tripod-mounted iGUIDE using a smartphone or tablet. The data is quickly processed by the camera’s back-end support, and the floor plan, square-footage measurements, and 3D tours are emailed in a single attachment to the customer within 24 hours.

“I was skeptical as to whether you could measure a house accurately,” says Gary.

But every time he’s double-checked the iGUIDE, the measurements are “spot on.” He really liked the idea of deploying iGUIDEs on larger homes that can take someone all day to measure by hand.

“Plus, it is really hard to scale what we do because you need to know so much about measuring in order to go out and measure a really complicated house,” says Gary. “I was hoping the iGUIDE would allow me to scale more quickly because I don’t need as much training, you don’t need much training to operate it.”

After buying two iGUIDE cameras in March 2019, the home-tech quickly attracted new business for Quality Measurements.

“We started doing some 3D tours because of it,” says Gary. “We’ve had, because of the iGUIDE’s 3D-tour functionality, people asking for 3D tours.”

When the camera is already set up for measurements, it can very quickly take the images for a 3D tour. This is definitely in the realm of real-estate photography, but when the tech is so easy to use, why not?

“We sell the iGUIDE as a floor plan that you can add a 3D tour to at low cost. So, if we add the 3D tour, we turn on the HDR setting on the camera, we take more panos, we spend more time making sure the lights are on and things look good in the photos,” says Gary.

When using the iGUIDE for only square-footage measurements and floor plans the HDR setting is off.

Gary was impressed when he first contacted iGUIDE. The person he spoke with knew all about the Residential Measurement Standard in Alberta, the only one in Canada, and the regulations set out by the American National Standards Institute.

“I have two cameras. One of them is going most of the time, and the other one is sitting idle as a backup most of the time. And my hope is to get the other one going all the time,” says Gary.

The iGUIDE operator is busy.

“So, the person who does the iGUIDE, that’s all she does,” says Gary.

Customers faced with paying a higher fee and getting their property on the market faster, will go for the iGUIDE. And Gary feels he has more options with the iGUIDE camera.

When new technology is truly disruptive, it is adopted outside of its target market. That’s what happened here. A camera designed for real estate photographers is used by a company that does appraisals, square-measurements and floor plans.

“I would love to be able to do more of them, because I can scale the iGUIDE quicker than I can scale hand-drawn sketches. The skill and experience it takes to take a tablet computer and a hand-held laser out to a house and measure it accurately and reasonably quickly and make something that looks nice on paper, is years of training, and I can’t scale that very fast,” says Gary.

“With iGUIDE, I can grab another camera and with a couple of days of training I can have somebody else out operating the camera,” says Gary. “That’s what I really like about iGUIDE, it is scalable.”