In this article, we speak to UK-based freelance photographer, Ben Fearnhead, about how he used iStaging’s virtual tour platform to kick-start his virtual tour business.
Hi Ben, thank you so much for speaking with us today! First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, UK specialising in photography, primarily for the real estate sector and occasionally for public venues such as theatres and arts centres.
How did you get into virtual tours?
A few years ago, a regular client requested a virtual tour of a property so I looked around for the most viable option and quickly came across iStaging. Given the ease of getting started, due to being able to carry out the image capture with my iPhone, and the provision of additional equipment being included with the subscription, I felt it was the perfect solution and that there was nothing to lose in going ahead.
You mentioned that a client requested a virtual tour for the first time a couple of years ago. So, how long have you been with iStaging now?
I don't exactly remember when I set up my original account with iStaging. There's probably a record on your system. I think it was January 2018 or even slightly earlier.
(Ben was right, he joined iStaging in November 2017)
That’s definitely a good while, Ben! So, what made you stick with iStaging?
In addition to the ease of getting started, one of the things I like most about iStaging is the subscription model whereby the user is only required to pay an amount depending upon the number of tours which are active at any given time rather than a flat fee.
In my initial search I’d come across other providers who offer a subscription for a monthly flat-fee with no ongoing charges for hosting which made me sceptical of their long term sustainability as a business. With iStaging, the user is only ever paying a fee for the tours currently in use, the cost of which can then be passed on to their client as a recurring ‘activation’ fee.
Smart! The recurring ‘activation’ fee makes it a sustainable business for you and it’s fair for your clients as well.
The option to offer virtual tours also provided an invaluable ‘string to my bow’ during the recent pandemic as clients weren't able to carry out property viewings face to face. There is also the benefit of remote viewings for those not in the same locality such as foreign investors or tenants/buyers wishing to move to the area from abroad.
So, Ben, you’ve helped tons of clients in a variety of industries over the years. How has their feedback been?
I’ve primarily focused on the real estate sector and the feedback has been great! A property developer I created a tour for a while back said: "It took six months to let the property last time, with your virtual tour it's gone in two days. Fantastic!’’
Many clients have recommended my services over the years. One landlord recommended me, because he managed to let his property within days after I did a virtual property tour for him.
Talk to us about the future. How do you see the future of your business and how will iStaging’s platform support you in that?
I see iStaging playing a role in the development of my business as I look to increase the range of benefits I’m able to offer my clients and the scope for various new applications to supplement my workload whenever the real estate side goes a little quiet. My customers have always been extremely happy with the results. The relationship with iStaging has been excellent and I’ve felt well supported any time an issue has arisen which has been a very rare event.
Are you a professional photographer or looking to start your own virtual tour photography business? Get started with iStaging’s flexible Pay by Usage plan for just £4/month today.