Photogrammetry: Keeping Construction “Open for Business” with Virtual Inspections

Today, the majority of home service pros rely heavily on expensive, low conversion (10-15% rates) work order leads from HomeAdvisor/Angie’s List, Thumbtack, etc. Leads can cost anywhere from $10+ for each one, and with low conversion rates and duplicate lead sales, the ROI is challenging. Typically, those leads require technicians to drive to a job site, meet with an owner or manager, inspect the project and provide an estimate, only to find out that they lost the job days or weeks later. Sometimes estimates for larger projects can’t be done on-site and require more time researching specialized material and labor costs. This process wastes even more time that could have been spent on other higher priority work order leads or existing jobs and therefore results in longer turnaround times and bad customer experience. That said, work order leads are the life blood of all home service pros, so leveraging expensive, low conversion online customer acquisition channels seems like an unfortunate but necessary means to an end. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. New technologies are launching to help meaningfully improve the conversion rates of traditional work order leads that increase revenue and reduce costs, which we’ll discuss here.

Photogrammetry is the science of making measurements from photographs. The inputs are typically 2D photos and the output is typically a 3D map, drawing or model of a real-world object or environment. Startups such as Hover and Roofr among others, have developed and commercialized innovative photogrammetry technology for the home services industry. First, they can build custom 3D models of home interiors or exteriors with higher accuracy than existing alternatives. Second, they can offer precise cost estimates from a myriad of different SKUs. Third, they can do all of this in real-time. Fourth, and most importantly, they can accurately build custom 3D models and price projects correctly in real time without requiring the service pro to be physically present on-site – thus enabling “virtual inspections”. The combination of those four attributes is significant, as they simultaneously allow home service pros to increase revenue and reduce costs.

Revenue Generation

Photogrammetry increases revenue because it increases work order conversion rates. More specifically, it creates a next level customer experience for the homeowner by 1) reducing back-and-forth communication cycles with service pros and 2) adding transparency to a historically convoluted process (i.e. visuals, pricing, timing, etc). The real-time nature of the 3D model (before and after) and cost estimate allows homeowners to make decisions faster and trust the service pro that provides the most understandable project proposal.

Cost Reduction

Photogrammetry reduces costs because it solves the opportunity cost conundrum. In other words, pros typically have to take valuable time away from their existing projects to cultivate new business development leads and maintain a pipeline of future work orders. With photogrammetry solutions, however, for the first time, home service pros do not have to be on-site to close deals and, albeit, at a higher conversion rate. This allows service pros to focus on what they do best – completing real projects in the field, while letting technology help close new leads remotely.

The ability for a pro to increase the conversion rate of a prospect without ever having to drive to the site and meet with the prospect in-person is game changing and could possibly present one of the biggest customer acquisition paradigm improvements in the home services industry since HomeAdvisor/Angie’s List launched 20-25 years ago.

This has big implications on how homeowners will interact with home service pros in a post COVID-19 world. Regardless of how cautious homeowners increasingly become about who they let into and around their homes, certain repairs cannot wait – heating/cooling, siding, roofing, windowing, etc. Thus, as human behaviors continue to shift as a result of COVID-19, those startups leveraging photogrammetry technology enabling virtual inspections to minimize human interaction and keep the home services industry “open for business” will be well positioned for success.

Although photogrammetry technology might initially seem like a rather niche product that could possibly become commoditized over time, it’s actually quite powerful because of the mission critical pain point it solves – productivity (more revenue with less costs). The technology’s clear ROI results in higher willingness to pay, retention and lifetime value. It is those attributes that make photogrammetry tech an attractive “tip of the spear” product – one that, if executed properly, can lead to the development of a valuable horizontal platform over time by building other additional tangentially related, adjacent products around it resulting in expanding addressable markets, increasing growth and strengthening competitive advantage.

If you’re a founder building the future of photogrammetry and helping keep the home services industry open for business, we’d love to hear from you!

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