When your business is called ‘Square Feet Photography & Floor Plans,’ the camera becomes essential

When Matthew Bissett first heard about a new camera that took square-footage measurements, he was intrigued. The Alberta real estate industry was about to change drastically with the introduction of a new standard for measuring the square footage of residential properties. The Residential Measurement Standard (RMS) required REALTORS to independently verify the square footage of every property for sale.

That was back in 2015. Matthew’s real estate photography business, Square Feet Photography & Floor Plans, had already been established in the Edmonton area for two years at the time. Prior to moving to Canada in 2013, Matthew worked for several years in Scotland as a professional real estate photographer and floor planner.

Before the introduction of the RMS guidelines, Matthew mainly measured and drafted the floor plans of properties for marketing purposes. The RMS guidelines would change this dramatically.

Matthew first heard about the iGUIDE camera system from a client he’d been working with closely since arriving in Edmonton. The owner of three real estate brokerages in the Alberta capital had just returned from a conference where Planitar, maker of the iGUIDE IMS-5 Camera, made presentations. He told Matthew about the new technology. Matthew knew this technology could be a gamechanger for his business.

“It was a coming together of needs and technology,” recalls Matthew. “I was doing measurements myself using graph paper and the laser. It could take hours and wasn’t cost-effective”

After learning that the iGUIDE system produced floor plans, virtual tours, 360° tours, and photographs all in a single package within 24 hours, he was sold. Not only that, iGUIDE had been developed to be RMS compliant which was crucial to Matthew’s requirements at that time.

“Pretty much straight away I realized the value and the uniqueness of the iGUIDE system,” says Matthew. “I could provide my clients with a more accurate measurements service and set myself apart from my competition.” He was the first person to purchase an iGUIDE camera in Edmonton.

When the Alberta Real Estate Board started to enforce the RMS guidelines in 2016, he was ahead of the competition. Demand for property measurements increased exponentially, so Matthew purchased a second camera. Within five years he bought four iGUIDE cameras in order to keep up with demand.

What I love about working with iGUIDE is how flexible they are,” says Matthew. “Whatever I have needed to do to increase my business, iGUIDE has been a great partner in helping me achieve that.”

His real estate photography business employs four full-time photographers, and each one has an iGUIDE camera. The business has become so busy, Square Feet Photography & Floor Plans hired a full time office manager last year to keep up with booking shoots, helping clients, and organizing the four full time photographers with their shoots.

The team produces about 100 iGUIDEs a month.

Over the last few months, Matthew has noticed an exciting new trend. “I now get people phoning me up asking: ‘Do you do iGUIDE?’ Rather than: ‘Are you RMS compliant?’ Clearly, word of the iGUIDE technology has spread, and brokers, agents, and sellers are now asking for it by name.

“So, that really helped me grow the business, the name recognition has really increased in the last year, if not more. So, having the number of photographers I do to meet and surpass the demand is really necessary.“

Within days of buying it Matthew learned how to efficiently use the iGUIDE camera. When the second generation came out, it was even easier. Backend support kept improving with weekly analytics reports for clients that detailed online engagement, integration with Realtor.ca, mobile devices, and social media feeds.

The iGUIDE technology has become an integral part of his business, and has given him an important tool to grow his business.

“My photographers and I use the iGUIDE system on most shoots, with each of us doing two to three shoots per day. I am doing fewer and fewer virtual tours because clients want floor plans, square footage totals for the RMS guidelines. I am now offering other services like virtual staging to match and integrate what I am doing with the iGUIDE IMS-5 camera. It has really become my main service. But in order to stay ahead of the game I offer clients a variety of other services to complement the iGUIDE RMS measurements service.”

Square Feet Photography & Floor Plans now offers virtual staging, item removal, video walk-through’s, dusk shoots, and more.

His plans for future growth are based on iGUIDE — Introducing more videography and drone footage on top of iGUIDE shoots. The iGUIDE’s accuracy, customer service, and backend support make it easy for clients to see its value.

“The investment in the iGUIDE technology has really paid off“, said Matthew. With more and more competition to provide RMS compliant property measurements, investing in iGUIDE has given Matthew a clear advantage over his rivals. His company is a trusted name in Edmonton and has been entrusted by more and more REALTORS to measure and photograph their properties.

“iGUIDE allows me to provide a consistently accurate, quality service. It is the only technology out there that provides my clients with everything they need to list and market their properties successfully. It really is a gamechanger.”