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|Riaan private msg quote post Address this user|
|Hi All. I'm new to the Forum and recently bought the new Matterport 3D Camera with the aim to start a business in South Africa. I have read in another post that it is nearly impossible for a business to survive let alone thrive solely on Matterport related business. Also watched a video from Dan Smigrod where he discussed whether to buy a Matterport camera or not and he cautioned against leaving your day job to rely solely on a Matterport business.
I however had very little choice. I'm 54 years old and was recently retrenched from my workplace. Even though I hold a masters degree after some 300 unsuccessful job applications, lots of frustrations and three months later, I had to go it on my own and start a photography and videography business based mainly on the Matterport camera.
I did some research and currently there are only +/- 6 Matterport professionals country-wide in South Africa and none in my hometown or province/state.
I therefore have no choice but to make it work. Photography and videography have always been my passion and I also own a DJI Mavic Pro Drone, DJI Osmo Plus gimbal and a Canon DSLR camera.
Given my circumstances I would greatly appreciate some advice on the following:
1: What I should do or not do to maximize the potential of my Matterport business.
2: If you are in my shoes what other related photography and videography services would you offer in addition to the Matterport services.
Note - An obvious one is drone videos however the legal framework in South Africa is so restrictive that it would cost me some R 130 000 ($10 000) to obtain all the necessary licences apart from any general business startup costs.
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|Bale100 private msg quote post Address this user|
Whilst I have spent time in South Africa, I'm not aware of the local market.
However, what I can say based upon my own experience and communicating with other Matterport Service Providers in Europe & UAE, is that one of biggest mistakes is having a single product strategy i.e. Matterport and focussing predominantly on the Real Estate sales market.
It appears there maybe an exception to this in parts of North America, as sellers & Agencies are more rational putting the benefits of the technology (sell quicker, avoid unnecesary ongoing maintenance costs, make the property standout, reduce wasted viewings and prep time) above the relatively small cost of paying for the service.
When you were doing your Masters degree, you will no doubt have learnt some important lessons:
1. Most markets that are based on speculation are driven by greed, fear and hope
Real Estate is no different - sellers are greedy by over inflating the asking price and don't want to pay anything upfront.
Agencies are fearful of losing the listing and therefore offer sellers everything within their means to attract the listing knowing fine well that sellers usually start out with an unrealistic price.
This leaves Real Estate Agencies fearful that the property may not sell quickly to cover upfront marketing costs or that another agency gets the sale if they don't have exclusivity to that property - this eliminates the incentive to invest too much in marketing i.e. paying for a Virtual Tour / Drone Video etc. where the Agency could be left out of pocket.
Living in hope - greater fool theory i.e. someone willing to pay more than they paid including the transaction costs / taxes and renovations etc.
2. Markets can remain irrational longer than you / we can stay solvent
It's therefore essential to quickly determine if Real Estate works in your area (someone is willing to pay; Seller or Agency) and if not move onto other markets or you will quickly erode your startup / marketing costs.
3. Try to identity and understand customers' business problems and then propose the solution - be prepared to innovate. There are no shortage of imaging solutions, the challenge is identifying clients with problems that are willing to pay.
I took Matterport to a boutique hotel late last year and scanned their premium suite which sells for €3k per night. Client liked the technology as most prospects do when they first see the Dollhouse, however nothing more came of it and they have other luxury hotel suites, several restaurants, spa, pool etc.
When we got talking again this season (hotel reopened), my client noted that they had no problem selling the suite even before the Matterport scan. What he alluded to, was a problem in the Spa. The Spa has cascades overlooking the Mediterranean. This is a treatment that sells for ~€80 per person.
Only paying clients allowed in and they don't want potential clients viewing when the paying clients are using the facilities. To add to this, the cascades are a long walk from the spa reception so it’s not convenient for a member of staff to start doing tours when it’s vacant. I proposed Matterport - they were not interested as felt that it did not drive any emotion. They already had a drone video delivered several seasons ago so the novelty was starting to wear off.
Just recently we started to deliver a 360˚ VR project with a model swimming in the cascades - we mounted the 360˚ VR camera onto a helmet and created a short 1-minute video. The video will be installed on a new VR Headset in the Spa allowing prospects to experience the Spa as if they are swimming through the water. Problem solved; no more prospects asking to disturb paying customers, spa staff do not have tour clients at the other end of the hotel whilst leaving the spa reception unattended and guests get an immersive VR experience.
We are still finalising the video.
4. Diversify, Differentiate & Innovate
There are also very strict Drone laws in Spain; Light Aircraft pilot Exams, Training, Medical & Insurance. It took me nearly 4-months to become authorised as an operator. Fines are several hundred thousands Euros if you’re caught flying commercially without approval, certificates etc.
However, take a look on the forum and there are other technologies including Carbon Fibre Ninja Poles for 360˚ Cameras etc.
Other members on here are providing; Time-lapse, Virtual Staging, 3D Renders for off-plan projects etc. etc.
Try to map out industries in your area e.g. Tourism & Hospitality; Cape Town will have Villa Rental properties where there is an income to fund Digital Imaging / 3D Tours and potential clients are remote bookings, Visitor Centres e.g. Stellenbosch wine route visitor centres, country houses etc.
If you’re in Joburg then industrial and business sectors may make more sense in terms of focus - for example VR is being used in training to help reduce operational costs that help to eliminate / reduce travel expenses. Matterport can be used in Health & Safety etc.
The other reason for diversifying is seasonality. For example, trying to scan Villas or Hotels in Cape Town in January will prove extremely challenging in peak season.
Good luck with it.
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|Riaan private msg quote post Address this user|
Thanks for your comprehensive response. I really appreciate your effort and input and will give due consideration to your sound advice.
I definitely will not be focusing just on the real estate market but more on the hospitality and tourism sector seeing that I'm located on the east coast of Africa.
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