I received a hot lead from RTV for a builder who wanted a virtual tour for a home he built a few years ago that was going on the market.
Over the next couple of days, I was buried with calls and emails with more and more questions. After going back and forth for close to two weeks, I finally closed the deal. I received the order form completed and signed the day the deal closed. The builder even offered to pay upfront for my services. What could be better than that I thought.
As the days grew closer to doing the virtual tour, I sat down to make my final arrangements for the shoot. I checked my laptop, camera, memory cards, paperwork and so on. After checking everything I sat back thinking that this gig is under control. Little did I know how wrong I was.
You see, in my numerous discussions with the builder and office manager, I neglected to ask one simple question, how large is the house? We discussed the virtual tour, picture resolution, DPI, Mega Pixels, and even the weather. We never once talked about the house. The only reference to the size of the house was that it was ‘an average sized home’. In my area of Connecticut an average size home is somewhere between 2400 to 3200 sq ft. and that was how I priced the virtual tour.
The ride was uneventful. It was just a beautiful day, no traffic, a few wisps of clouds in the sky. I thought to myself in and out in about an 1 hr. Time for coffee at McDonalds and bang out this virtual tour in just under an hour. Wrong!!!
My first hint should have been private gated entrance to the neighborhood. But I thought still it’s an average sized house. The long cobblestone driveway as I entered dashed all hopes of a simple getaway. There was the house this builder had erected. Here I am camera and tripod in hand standing in front of 8500 sq feet of house, selling for 4.5 million dollars. Three Floors, seven bedrooms and an Olympic sized pool with its own house measuring almost 1200 sq ft.
The builder smiled as we entered the home, very proud of what he had built. The ceilings were no less than 15 feet high. Each room was adorned with high priced “very fragile” pieces. I was told no shoes, as I walked on tile from a country whose name I could not pronounce. Master bath with his and her toilets, screens and doors that rolled into the walls and on it went. There were 28 zones for heating, alarms if water ran for more than 30 minutes. A Game room, Ice cream Parlor, In house Theater even a temperature controlled wine room.
Okay you get the point. My presumed one hour shoot was going into triple overtime. 500 photos with multiple setups took just short of 4 hours. My head spinning as I rode the service elevator from the basement to the 3rd floor and back again.
Needless to say on my first Multi-Million dollar tour I was a bit nervous. After snapping the first few spins I went to my laptop to check quality of the pictures, stitching and so on. After getting the builders approval on the quality of the pictures I moved on and just kept taking shot after shot. The entire virtual home tour was shot on adrenalin.
When I got into my car, the builder flagged me down. He walked over smiling and thanked me for my professionalism. Not once during my time there did I refer to the agreed price for this average home tour. He knew he got the better of me and told me he would make it up on the next shoot. That night I drove home, not mad at anyone, but actually thankful I had the opportunity to shoot this home. I figured I could use this as a selling point and the pictures came out great. Not long after completing the tour, downloading it to numerous personalized cd’s, I sent him my bill for the agreed price of $150. I received payment within a day or so after that with a note of thanks.
A few days later the builder called me again. This time he wanted me to photo shoot for an 8000 sq ft home that he was building a 4000 sq ft addition to. And yes, he took care of me on that one.
The moral of this story always remember to ask the simple questions. I know I do every time.
Connecticut Virtual Tour Company
Order a virtual tour – 860-896-0387