How much should you charge for making virtual tours

It's the age-old question, one that many photographers ask in the numerous forums out there: How much should you charge for a virtual tour?

Of course, it would be nice if there was an easy answer, but unfortunately there isn't. 
You can however use the below guidlines on how much you could charge for your virtual tours to stay competitive and honest towards your customer.  

What kind of equipment do you use? 

The price of your service really depends on the equipment you are using. There is a significant difference between shooting using an Insta360 ONE X and a Ricoh Theta Z1
Even though the workflow is more or less the same - the price point of each camera is significantly different. Plus, with one camera you will have more post-production work to do then with the other. 
Moreover, if you are using a DSLR camera to manually shoot the images for optimal results, you will know the equipment costs can easilly go up into the 1000's of euros ! Not to mention any insurance you may have on the equipment and how often things need to be replaced. 

So firstly, lets determine the price based on the equipment you use. 
If you own an instant360º camera in the price range of 200€ to 600€ then you should charge less for your work conpared to a camera that cost you 600€ to 3000€ or more. 

You can also offer 2 packages to your client - 1 package with the instant camera (cheaper) and 1 package with a higher quality camera (more expensive) 

Another piece of equipment that often gets forgotten to calculate in your quotes is your computer / laptop. For you to be able to create virtual tours efficiently and quickly to stay competitive with your pricing, you will need a fast computer. Perhaps an apple mac - with at least 16G in RAM and a good graphics card. 

A good laptop / computer (or both!) like this can easily set you back a cool 2000€ - 3000€  

How much time will it take you to build your virtual tour? 

Next you have to find out how long it will take you to shoot the virtual tour. 
You need pricing for small, medium and large buildings and specify how many shots they get for each package. 
Now you need to find out how long each shot takes to make (with the Ricoh Theta camera, this may be a mere few seconds, but with you DSLR this may be a few minutes!). 

The next thing you have to find out is how much time am I going to spend in post production of these images - do they need stitching? Do I Need to blur many faces / numberplates, do I need to optimise the images, is a lot of photoshop needed? 
If you use DSLR for example, you may not need a lot of photoshop, but you do need to stitch and merge your images, this takes some time. 
If you used a Ricoh Theta Z1, your images are already stitched, but you may have shot in RAW and now need to merge the images and do some editing. 

All these points are good to get calculated correctly from the start.  You could for example offer a package with minimal editing and a package with advanced editing

Also, how long does it take you to then build the virtual tour? Do you have a virtual tour software that's easy to use? Can they be build quickly?  

What software do I use to create this virtual tour? 

Now you need to check your own costs. You may pay for a software each month where you can build and host your virtual tours plus you may pay for a photo editing software, and a stitching program? Any other monthly or yearly subscriptions you need to create a virtual tour? How about one-time payments for software?

All these costs need to be taken into account. Of course you won't charge your client the full price of your monthly subscription - you divide it over the various clients you expect to serve each month. 

So you do need to have a target for yourself of a minimum amount of clients in order to calculate what you should charge for a virtual tour.  

What experience do I have? 

This one has to be included, because if it took you 2 years to learn how your camera worked, to learn how to make beautiful pictures and how all the software you use works, then you need to be compensated for this. 
Equally, if you use an instant360º camera like the Ricoh theta, it can not have taken you very long to understand how it works - it's pretty straightforward - and if you then don't edit your images and just build a virtual tour, then you have not taken too much time to learn any of the complicated software on editing images and optimising their quality. 
This should also be reflected in your price. 

But how do you "Calculate" your experience in money? That's up to you - how much do you think you're worth? 
You have to set an hourly rate that reflects the experience you have. 
The same as a builder, a painter or a gardener: 
The more experience they have, the better work they will deliver, but the higher the price! 

Other cost

Other costs could include: 
Petrol - how far are you willing to drive included in the price? And how much does this cost you in petrol?
Insurance - do you pay for a liability insurance each year to ensure you're covered in other people's houses? 
Internet - do you need internet to build your virtual tour? 
Electricity  - you use electricity to build the tour and to charge your cameras
Storage - You may need an online storage to save your images (like Google Drive)  - you may pay for this each month  

What do you need each month to survive? 

This one is VERY important. You need to decide what you would like to earn each month to live comfortably! 
You could have a full time job already and you are just doing this as a hobby, then the money you need each month is significantly less than when this will become your full time job! 



Let's have a look at some examples below and see if we can figure out what you should charge for your virtual tours: 


 Let's say that George needs at least 1500€ per month to pay for his bills and live comfortably. 
He will do at a minimum 6 clients per month but he is looking to do a lot more of course. 

So let's look at his costs: 
Camera: Ricoh Theta Z1 - €1000 (depreciated over 5 years: 6 clients x 12 months = 72 clients / year x 5 years = 360 clients over 5 years. So divide 1000€ for the camera over 360 clients = 2,70€ per client. )
Experience - very little - he therefore charges 10€ per hour
Software used - My360Tours - 32€ per month (5€ per client based on 6 clients) 
Time it takes him to shoot 1 image - 2 minutes (including setting the camera up and organising the space if necesary) - total 30 minutes
Time it takes him to build a virtual tour - 30 minutes (for 15 images) 
Time he takes to edit the images - None, George does not need to edit the images
So in total it takes George 1 hour to create 1 virtual tour of a basic property
Petrol - george includes 5€ for petrol in his prices
Other costs - Gerorge calculates that he will need 10€ per client to cover his other costs (electrics, insurance etc) 

So let's see what George can charge: 
Camera depreciation €2,70
Hourly rate (10e) x 1 hour worked €10,00
Petrol €5,00
Other cost €10,00
TOTAL 27,70€

So at this rate, George needs to do 54 virtual tours to get to his 1500€ per month! This seems a bit excessive. 

So let's have a look at it the other way around. 
If George wants to earn 1500€ per month - how many clients does he think he can realistically get? 
Let's say that he thinks he can at least get 10 clients per month. 

In this case, he needs to charge 100€ per basic virtual tour. 
Add to this the income tax and VAT rates of your country: 

Let's for arguments sake say that your income tax rate is 40% (looking at you Holland!! what are you thinking!) 

That means he has to charge 140€ per basic virtual tour. 

To this you add the sales tax - let's say 21% so now your price including taxes is 169€ for a basic virtual tour of about 15 images. 

That sounds about right for a virtual tour without any editing, taken with an instant360º camera by someone with very little experience in photography! 

Now let's do the same calculation for SAM, who is an experienced photographer and uses a DSLR camera to shoot his virtual tours. 
He says that realistically he can get 5 clients per month - each with a basic tour of 15 images.

Since SAM has more experience in creating virtual tours, he will charge 30€ per hour as his hourly rate. 
Moreover, since he is shooting DSLR, it takes him 1,5 hour to shoot the virtual tour, it takes him another 2 hours to edit, merge, stitch the images and then 30 minutes to build the virtual tour. 
In total the time he spends on the virtual tour is 4 hours. 

His DSLR exuipment cost him around 4000€ over time, and he depreciates this over 5 years - That is 800€ per year 66€ per month or 13€ per client (based on 5 clients per month) 

So let's see what SAM should charge: 
Camera depreciation €13,00
Hourly rate (30€) x 4 hour worked €120,00
Petrol €5,00
Other cost €10,00
TOTAL 148,00€

However, SAM also wants a minimum income of 1500€. With just 5 clients, this comes to 300€ per client. 
Add to this the 40% income tax makes the price 420€ + 21% tax we're at 508€ for a basic virtual tour. 

So even though sam COULD charge 150€ for his virtual tours - this means he needs to get to 10 clients per month to get to his desired 1500€ per month! 

So how much should I charge?

I know, I know... you came here for an answer - but as I explained in the beginning of this article, it is not THAT easy to calculate because every person is different! 
If your business depends ONLY on virtual tours, then you need to get volume - therefore you can't charge a fortune - it needs to be "quick & dirty" so you can get to the high volume that will make up your desired monthly income. 

If you are a photographer but you also offer normal photography services, plus you offer websites, solcial media management, online marketing etc. to your clients, then you may have enough with 1 virtual tour per month, so you can charge a little more as you don't "need" the income. 

What is the best option? 

This, again, depends on each person's situation but if you are looking to make virtual tours your business then a great option is to become a Partner with My360. 

They offer many services such as: 
All these services and more are offered at COST price to all their partners so you can focus on selling to your clients and the team at My360 will do all the work! It's very clever actually, because you get to make the most money and do the least amount of work! Apart from the selling of course! 

For example - a basic website for a restaurant with 4 pages, a map, the virtual tour and the menu would cost YOU just 150€ but you can sell this to your client for at least 450€ if not more! This means you can make a 200% profit on this without doing any of the work!

Add an online shop to the website, you woudl pay 300€ but you can resell this for a minimum of 900€ to your clients. 

This way, you can grow your business as a photographer and not depend your ENTIRE business on virtual tours. You will have fingers in many pies, and therefore your business will be a lot more stable as well! 

You can sell Google Street View Virtual Tours too! My360 will upload them for you, all you have to do is shoot the business and make the sale! 

What if I don't want to add more services to my business?

If that's the case, then you need to go hard with the Virtual Tours. 
Make sure you have a good 360º camera (like the Ricoh Theta Z1) and hit the streets every day, to get maximum sales. 

My360 have actually developed a complete guide to "how to sell the maximum of virtual tours in the minimum amount of time" which you get for FREE when you sign up as a partner. 

They outline what the best approach is, and how to sell your virtual tours in "bulk" rather than off the shelve. 

If you work this way, you need to be ready to sell and be out selling at least 3 days per week and be out shooting the other 2 days. You have to be methodical and organised and know how to sell things!
Your prices have to be super low, and you need to target the "Mom & Pop businesses", sell to the little man where you get to speak direct to the owner. 

Growing your business this way, you can turn over 5000€ - 6000€ per month, PLUS a yearly recurring fee!
If this is of interest to you, ask the team at My360 for more information. 


Find a Photographer

Latest news

No News Found!

Follow Us