To Buy Or Not To Buy?

May 22, 2017

Should you buy your own Matterport Camera or hire an expert?

3D Matterport tours are a highly engaging way to create online walkthroughs of your homes and models. When it comes to creating the tours, to buy our not to buy, that is the question. The price of Matterport cameras have recently come down, so it might make sense to simply buy a camera and shoot your own Matterport tours, right?

Not so fast, there are a lot of extra costs associated this approach that not everyone is aware of. Also, the process of shooting and editing to the highest quality standards that builders demand can be challenging. So, before you jump right into buying a Matterport camera we want you to know what you are getting into.

Equipment

Let’s first take a look at the math on equipment: Current online price for a camera is $3600. However, in order to interact with the camera you will need an iPad, but not just any iPad will do. That iPad will need a good amount of storage space to hold multiple tours, even refurbished this will cost you about $400-$500. Since the camera is pretty heavy you will need a good strong tripod roughly $200. Then there is the recommended mounting bracket, $80. Now, if you are considering shipping it to multiple locations you will need a good, strong case, such as a pelican case, $220. Plus, if you want it packed tightly and safely to prevent damage, you should probably get a fitted foam insert for another $200.

An overview of the equipment costs:

  • Camera $3,600
  • iPad $400
  • Tripod $200
  • Bracket $80
  • Case $220
  • Foam $200

Everything included, you are looking at roughly, $4,700 and you have not yet shot a single scan. So let’s get into the actual scans.

Shooting/Uploading

Although the product is relatively easy to use, to create the type of high-quality 3D model builders prefer, there will need to be some training. First, someone on your team will need to learn how to do it properly and then they will need to train others. Many builders assume they will just use a sales rep or an admin person to shoot, but it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to shoot a medium sized home – about one hour per thousand square feet. How much do you pay that person, with overhead? Is this a worthwhile use of their time? Wouldn’t you rather have them doing the job you hired them to do? All of this locating and training people can work out to be a huge labor component that most builders never consider. Typically, once you get one person trained, they move on to another job and you’ve got to retrain someone else and the cycle goes on and on. Or worse yet, the equipment sits unused and forgotten in a closet.

Now that you have shot the house you need to upload the scans. In order to upload scans, you will need a cloud plan. These range from $49 to $149 per month, with various limitations on the amount of uploads. Each of those monthly plans comes with a limited number of uploads, 3, 7, and 11 respectively. After you reach your monthly upload limit you will be charged $19 for every upload processed or if it’s over 200 scans you’ll be charged $38, and then charged even more for larger properties requiring more scans. So you need to make sure you consider how many uploads you plan to do each month.

So right now, after your first year, you will be spending anywhere from $5,300 to $6,500 without counting the overhead for training and the time spent actually scanning the properties. However, there is even more that goes into high quality scans.

Post Production

Finally, there is QC (Quality Control). These tours need to be double checked and someone has to click through the entire home and check for bad frames, frames that have people, or items in the shot that should not be there. When a problem is found someone needs to work with the photographer to re-upload bad images or even reshoot as needed. This is a process that needs a dedicated resource and is essential before ever posting online.

All Said And Done

Depending on the cost of your internal resource, total labor cost could be upwards of $5K to $10k per year – add this to the cost of the equipment and maintenance! And don’t forget about the lost productivity for the employees that are involved in the process.

So what are your options?

Do not worry there is an alternative. You can use trained professionals from BDX! We have already worked out all of the bugs, we own the equipment, have dedicated resources in every major market and can turn around a finished product for a fraction of the cost you would spend internally.

Plus, we have a buy-back program! If you purchased a Matterport camera and are realizing its more trouble than it’s worth, we will buy your camera and you can rely on us to complete all future shoots.

Leave shooting 3D Matterport tours to someone who already has the time, energy and dedicated resources to get it done right!

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