Editor’s Note: Cory Mallo is the production manager at Rocky Mountain Blueprint, which has locations in Boulder, Denver and Greenwood Village, Colorado. At IRgA, we are always encouraging reprographics shops to consider new services to offer to their existing client base, and Mallo has done that by offering 3D scans with a Matterport scanner. We asked Cory some questions.

How long have you had your Matterport scanner?

We saw it at the fall 2022 meeting in Vegas for the RSA, and we got it about a month after that. My first scan that I did was actually October of ‘22.

What were you hoping to achieve with it?

Keith Cox, who was with Synnex at the time, did a display about it and I was like, man, we have so many people that could probably use this. We have a lot of architects and engineers that we have longstanding relationships with, so our clientele’s already built up for it, so it kind of seemed like a really nice low overhead avenue to make money with.

How difficult was it to learn?

I had it pretty well figured out in probably an hour of playing around with it. I did a scan of our Boulder store to just kind of get a feel for it and learn how to do it and all that stuff and make sure the account was all set up correctly. So I mean, all-in learning to be proficient with it, I would say is less than five hours. Going out and doing the scans themselves is super, super simple. There are some weird little quirks and tricks and stuff that you have to learn along the way and you kind of just pick those up as you go.

Matterport has various models. Which one do you have?

We originally started out with the Pro 2 just because of the lower entry price. And then I think I did about 10 scams with that. And we upgraded to the Pro 3 just for the ability to do exterior scans too, because we had a lot of companies asking about doing exteriors to get facet heights and gutter heights and stuff like that.

Tell me a little bit about some of the projects that you’re doing. What are people asking for?

I would say probably 70 percent of what we’re doing is remodels and we’re doing as-builts for them. And then probably another 30 percent are new constructions that we’re doing just for record keeping purposes.

When someone wants a scan for a remodel, how long does a one job typically take?

It’s really dependent on square footage and how the property is laid out. If it’s a warehouse as an example, those are really quick. You can move around fast, you can just stay with the camera and just walk around behind it, and you can use it as soon as it’s done. Whereas with a house, it’s a little bit tighter. It’s a little harder to move around in there. You have more weird, quirky hallways and doors that kind of block stuff. So those take a little bit longer. But we can do about 2,500 square feet in hour.

So in a house, you need to move the camera into each space so that it gets a good view of all the elements?

Matterport wants you doing a scan every 15 feet, but just for peace of mind and additional accuracy, we’re doing scans about every 10 feet.

And what does that mean?

You move it 10 feet, you do a scan, it does a little spin, and then you just move it again and you just keep moving it around. In a normal sized house, you’ll have 40 or 50 scan points.

And then while you’re scanning, is it putting this data in the cloud or is it storing it on the camera or what?

You can use a phone or an iPad, and that’s how you actually run the camera. That’s how you set up the job. So that scan is sitting on your phone or iPad while you’re doing it. And then once you’re done with it, then you upload it to Matterport and it goes onto their server.

What’s your deliverable to the client?

The three things that we provide them in our base package is the 3D model hosted on the website; a PDF floor plan; and a two dimensional DWG floor plan. They can pull the DWG floor plan into Revit or AutoCAD.

How have you marketed the service?

Basically by talking to all these guys who go out and take the time to measure everything and then sit there and draw it. We’re like, “Man, for a pretty low cost, we go out and do that for you. You don’t have to take four or five hours to go out and measure something and then go back to the office and take another chunk of time to draw it. We go out, scan it, provide you with PDF, and you already have an as-built.”

And it’s got to be way more accurate than them going out there and hand measuring it.

Yeah, especially when you’re looking at a house built back in the 1920s, that’s shifted a whole bunch. Depending on where you take your laser measurement, it might read 20 feet one inch in one corner and it’s going to read 20 feet three inches in the other corner. So when rooms aren’t square and they’ve shifted, it’s just a million times more accurate than going out and hand measuring it because you’ve got way more scan points and way more measurement points with the Matterport versus doing it with a laser.

I know the Pro 3 scanner itself costs about $6,000, but what other costs are there?

Your month-to-month cost varies depending on your Matterport subscription, which you need to store online. Right now we’re carrying the subscription with a hundred slots [which means we can store 100 scans]. We’re starting to be able to kick old scans off because they’ve been on there for a year. So as we’re kicking old scans off, that opens up spaces that are available.

When you kick an old one off, is it somewhere though in case someone needs it later?

Yeah, Matterport always has it. They’re just not active, so you can’t go and look at it. So it’s basically once they’re on there for a year, they go away and you can’t access ’em. But if the customer says, “Hey, I need that scan,” you say, “Okay, that’s fine. Pay us X amount and we reactivate it for another year.”

So have you met your goals with the scanner?

When we originally decided that we were going to buy the camera, we set a goal to do two scans a month because that would pay for the camera relatively quickly and it would pay for the subscription. So we surpassed that a month after we bought the camera. Once our customer base knew that we were doing it, it caught on very quickly. And now we probably average between six and 10 a month.

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