Developing Your Products & Services (Part 2/9 – Floor Plans)

In this 9 part series I will discuss nine services that you can offer through your real estate photography business. Although it is not essential to offer all these services, it is a good business strategy to offer at least the primary services required to compile an online real estate listing which usually includes interior and exterior photography, aerial photography, floor plans and copywriting.

Solely offering photography can discourage clients from using your services as they will be required to contact another real estate photographer for additional services (i.e. floor plans, copywriting) that are regularly provided by real estate photography businesses. If this happens, they will most likely use someone else’s photography services, as it will be much easier for them to deal with one business instead of two.

In part two we discuss 2D and 3D floor plans.

Floor plans are not essential to an online property listing, but they give buyers and renters an overview of the bedrooms and living spaces within the home and can help generate more interest and leads from online listings.

When you photograph a home, you would not typically show an image of the laundry, toilet or garage in the photo gallery, so having a 2D or 3D floor plans gives potential buyers the ability to see where these rooms are located within the home. Your clients should have the option of ordering a 2D or 3D floor plan of their property.

There are many unique styles of floor plans available from a variety of floor planning software and drawing services. Distinctive styles may comprise different textures, colours, furniture, landscaping styles, etc. Many image retouching companies and contractors also provide floor plan drawing services. All you need to do is provide the property blueprints or sketch (with measurements) to the editing contractor who will digitally draw the floor plan into your desired style and return the plan within 24 hours, ready for your client.

You can save yourself time onsite by researching the property online to find a copy of the floor plan used in previous listings, and then have this re-drawn to the style requested by your clients. Just be sure to double check (when onsite) that the current state of the house matches any old floor plans, as it may have been renovated or changed since the previous sales.

You can also ask the owner when you are onsite if they have a copy of the construction drawings that you can use for the floor plan. Simply take a photo of the blueprints with your phone (ensuring that the dimensions are clearly visible), and email this to yourself so you can send to your editor or draw up yourself on your choice of software when you are back in front of the computer.

If you are drawing the floor plan yourself there are many apps available, however I would recommend MagicPlan, as it is quick and easy to use and costs only 14.99 AUD (as of 11th April 2022). Most app have free trials available, so it is a good idea to try a few of them and see which one works best for you. It is also a clever idea to carry an infrared laser measurement device with you when measuring homes for floor plans. They are useful in very tight spaces (i.e. pantries and walk in robes) where most floor planning apps are difficult too use, and also for double check the measurements produced in your app. Some great brands of measuring devices include BOSCH, MiLESEEY, Ellecutteyi and Atolla.

There are still plenty of great real estate photographers who prefer to use the traditional method of a piece of graph paper and a pen, along with a tape measure or laser measurement device. Although this may take longer for some people, it is once again best to experiment with different methods to see which is most comfortable and/or efficient for you.

If you want to add more value to your floor plan services, you can give your clients the options to have the following added to their floor plan template.

  • North Arrow
  • Company Logo
  • Total Area Table
  • Disclaimer
  • Room Names
  • Dimensions

The last point above (disclaimer) is essential to put on your floor plan template as it can help protect you against any errors you have made on the floor plan. Your floor plan will not be perfect, so it is essential that you display a disclaimer on the floor plan and include a section for this in your terms and conditions on your website.

Regarding pricing for floor plans, they are typically best to include into photography ‘packages’ comprising a photo-shoot, floor plan and other services (optional). You may choose to charge for your floor plans on a square metre/foot basis (common in the US) or per floor level (common in Australia). Look to the market to establish your pricing – what are your competitors charging, what are your costs prices, and what are you customers willing to pay?

Keep in mind that you should not charge less than $100 USD for a single storey 2D floor plan up to three hundred square metres, however, if you are including this floor plan as part of a package, you may provide a small discount (i.e., 10%).

You should add a 10% premium to the pricing of your 3D floor plans over your 2D floor plans as the cost price (of the re-draws) from various contractors are normally $10-15USD more expensive for the 3D styles. The cost price for floor plan re-draws start at approx. 5-10USD for 2D floor plans and 10-15USD for 3D floor plans, however the prices vary now as there are a lot of new suppliers now offering these services to real estate agents and real estate photographers at discounted prices.

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