WOW Your Clients (Or Just Yourself!) with Floor Plans from RoomSketcher
I love Norway. Ok, I haven’t actually been there but it’s high up on the list. Fair to say Norway is a spectacular looking country, complete with towering Fjords and beautiful meadows. I feel healthier just by looking at photos of the place. What’s more, it’s full of interesting little surprises – did you know the Norwegians invented the cheese slicer (BIG kudos in my family), or that they make the world’s biggest gingerbread town each December? Well, now there’s another reason to love Norway: RoomSketcher!
RoomSketcher is a floor plan design tool available by subscription on the web. It works for everyday people who love pottering about designing their dream home, and for professionals who need a robust programme to create 2D and 3D interactive floor plans. RoomSketcher was founded back in 2007 and continues to operate from its headquarters in Oslo, Norway, and the staff includes an impressive array of experts in software and 3D visualization. It’s plain to see, this growing Norwegian company really knows its stuff.
I first stumbled upon RoomSketcher through Twitter and made a connection with Trine Bretteville, Executive VP CMSO (possibly RoomSketcher’s biggest asset – positive, easy to talk to, accommodating - a lovely person who represents the company beautifully!). Trine shared some of the features and benefits of RoomSketcher and filled us in on some of the practicalities, including costs:
H: ROOMSKETCHER’S LOTS OF FUN FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO EXPERIMENT WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLOOR PLANS, BUT IT’S ALSO USED BY PROFESSIONALS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE WAYS IT’S USED IN REAL ESTATE MARKETING?
T: Sure For a real estate agent, it’s all about showing a high volume of buyers the true potential of a property. Nowadays most people begin their property search online so it’s really important for a real estate agent to have good online property presentation, both on their own website and on property portals. Using RoomSketcher, agents can send in a floor plan sketch to us and receive a ready-made professional floor plan within 24 hours. We deliver floor plans in 4 formats: (1) simple 2D plans that show the layout of the property, (2) 3D plans that show the property furnished like a home, (3) a home designer (interactive) floor plan where the potential buyer can move walls, change flooring, furnish the property and so on, directly from the agent’s website, and (4) an interactive 3D Walkthrough which is great for new development projects. The 3D Walkthrough lets a potential buyer “walk” through the property virtually anytime they want, even at 3am! The great thing with RoomSketcher is that buyers can find a house plan that’s close to what they like, use RoomSketcher to play around and tweak the design, and then instantly view the results in 3D.
H: WHAT KIND OF APPLICATIONS DOES ROOMSKETCHER HAVE FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS?
T: The professional version of RoomSketcher offers a complete back-end project tracking system so that interior designers can keep track of all their ongoing and past projects. The great thing about an archive is that you can always go back in time to previous projects, and then create a copy of that project so you don’t always have to start from scratch. We have more than 5,000 brand and generic products available with more added every week, so designers have a lot to choose from. Most of our interior designers use RoomSketcher to quickly mock up a floor plan and present ideas to clients. With RoomSketcher they can take high-resolution 3D images really quickly, change colors of walls and kitchen cabinets, change out sofas – all whilst working with the client. As RoomSketcher is so easy to use, we often attract interior designers who are not that tech savvy. Interior designers can also easily print out a finished floor plan complete with their logo and send it over to potential clients as part of their proposals. All very professional.
H: ROOMSKETCHER OFFERS A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT LEVELS INCLUDING FREE, VIP AND PRO. HOW DO THE CREDITS WORK WITH THE VIP AND PRO LICENCES?
T: When you buy a VIP or a Pro license (these are annual licenses), you get a certain number of credits. Credits work like a pre-pay system, where for example a 2D Floor Plan costs one credit, a ready-made 2D Floor Plan costs 8 credits, etc. On average, it costs just $18 US (20 AU, 1,130 INR, 11 GBP*) to get a ready made floor plan created from an existing sketch. Basically, you pay for the products you use and need instead of having to pay for things you don’t use or need. The more credits you buy at one time, the cheaper the per-credit cost is. You can start off small, then refill your credits any time, whenever you need to.
H: I LOVE THE ‘READY-MADE FLOOR PLAN’ OPTION WITH THE PRO LICENCE – IT’S SUCH A GREAT OPTION IF YOU DON’T HAVE MUCH TIME. HOW DOES IT WORK, AND HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
T: The Ready-made floor plan option is one of our most popular products. You just send in an existing hand-drawn floor plan sketch, either by uploading it from your computer, or taking a picture of it using your iPad, and then you can place your order. You choose whether you want the floor plan furnished, or not, and whether you want all 4 of our floor plan products (2D floor plan, 3D floor plan, the interactive home designer, and the 3D Walkthrough), or just a couple of these products. The cost depends on which products you order - the simplest option with just a 2D floor plan is 8 credits per plan (about $15 US), and the “full package” solution is 19 credits per plan (about $37 US). Floor plans are ready within 24 hours for orders placed during our Business Hours (Monday through Friday 8 am to 10 pm anywhere in the world). We even do urgent orders that are ready within just 6 hours.
H: IF I WERE A BUILDING DESIGNER AND I HAD A 2D PLAN I WANTED TO CONVERT INTO A 3D WALKTHROUGH, WHAT STEPS WOULD I NEED TO TAKE, AND ARE THERE ANY OTHER FLOOR PLAN OPTIONS I COULD PRESENT TO POTENTIAL BUYERS?
T: If you already have an existing 2D plan, then your easiest option is to upload it to our system and order a ready-made floor plan with the 3D Walkthrough available. Alternatively, you could upload it into RoomSketcher, draw over it in RoomSketcher yourself, and then with one click, convert it into a 3D Walkthrough. Additional products would be a 3D plan, as well as the interactive home designer. Both the home designer and the 3D Walkthrough are online products that launch directly from your website.
H: WHAT KIND OF INVESTMENT IN TIME IS NEEDED TO GAIN PROFICIENCY WITH THE SOFTWARE?
T: I think any new software requires some investment in time if you want to become really proficient. The great thing with RoomSketcher is that we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to use – it’s not like CAD programs or SketchUp, everything is very intuitive and drag-and-drop. To get the most benefit quickly, most of our professional users choose the ready-made floor plan option as it means that they can spend time tweaking the floor plans and designs, but don’t have to learn how to draw an accurate floor plan fast.
H: LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHERE CAN I BUY A COPY OF ROOMSKETCHER?
Follow RoomSketcher on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/roomsketcher
*Prices converted at http://www.xe.com August 16, 2013.