Today I’m featuring a guest post by fellow Chief Architect user Chris Brown. Chris is a Design/Build General Contractor with his own company, Stone Castle Homes, in Republic, Missouri (contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org). His post today is directed mainly at builders and home designers who aren’t currently using 3D renderings in their work with clients.
I find that dealing with most builders on the subject of 3D renderings (especially raytracing) is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Builders don’t want to do it because they don’t want to pay for it. When I design a custom home for a builder, the builder just doesn’t know how to talk to his client about the benefits of the 3D renderings, and therefore it almost never gets done. But when the builder allows me to talk directly to the clients and show them examples, the clients always want it.
Seeing examples always changes a client’s mind, even if they’re not enthusiastic about the idea to start. When I show them samples from my previous projects, instantly, it’s “Yeah, we’ll pay for that!” They appreciate the value immediately of being able to see the finished product before the ground is even dug.
In the olden days, plans were hand-drawn, just line drawings; even when CAD came along, they were still just line drawings for a long time. This leaves a lot to the imagination. But nowadays, 3D renderings provide the wow! factor – it gives clients the opportunity to actually SEE what their finished home will look like. Which do you think a client would rather see? This…….
Floor plan for custom home
3D Raytrace of Main Living Area by CastleView 3D
A builder today can make an extra $1,000-5,000 per house by using good 3D renderings. Renderings allow you to put in all the extras, like crown molding and granite countertops, right from the start, and let the client see how they will look. Once they’ve seen the top-of-the-line version, then their budget can dictate what to take out, rather than trying to do it the other way around.
It’s taking time, but I finally have some builders coming around on this 3D rendering stuff. There are some key ways to talk to builders. You just have to keep at them, and keep explaining the benefits:
- No change orders
- Better relationship with client
- Better communication with client
- Quicker build
- More money
Builders can also use the 3D renderings for advertising – a sign on the lawn, brochures, website, etc.
For Chief Architect users, if you don’t learn how to make nice raytraces, you are leaving money on the table. You’ve already done the work, made the 3D model, so why not make a little more money while providing a great service to your clients?
Clients can even seek out a 3D designer first, before they meet with a builder, who can help them work out their ideas. Then they can bring the finished pictures to their builder. This is beneficial to both parties, because builders often don’t ask all the questions they should when trying to determine a bid, about the thousands of details that go into a project. Renderings give them something more definite to work from.
In addition, with the economy the way it is, clients need to be even more sure they’re getting what they want, and 3D renderings are the most cost-effective way to insure that. “Seeing is believing,” and being able to see what their finished home will look like will inspire confidence.
When a project is completed, I sometimes ask the client about their 3D images: “Was that worth the money?” And I’m sure you can guess what their answer is.
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