#233 Mail-Right Show With Special Dee Johnson From Cubi
Cubi The Revolutionary Floor Plan App
We are a company originating from Finland, to be more exact from the Northern parts of Finland, from the city of Oulu. Google for more information about Oulu if you wish but what is important in this context is that the city has a university with a long history in computer vision and machine learning. One could even say Oulu is the computer engineer’s city.
But as most of us know it is not only engineers that are needed in order to set up and grow business. So, from the early days, we’ve had a strong preference for sales and customer support; one could say (again) that those were the cornerstones when we first started back in 2014 (we’re officially established in December 2014).
As the third item in this vague background list, we want to emphasize that we have always tried to be as customer-focused as possible. Yes, it is true that sometimes the customer does not know what is best for her/him but even in those cases, we need to handle it with respect and gentle guidance. The absolute best part of being customer-focused is that they will tell you what you need to build and nurture.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the mayor, right show. This is episode 233. We’ve got a special guest. And also I got my cohost as well. We’re going to be talking about Cubi. And we’ve got Dee Johnson with us. And she’s going to tell us all about this really interesting app. And then in the second half of the show we’re going to be talking about apps in general. And hopefully Dee has time to keep with us and we have a 10 minute discussion. So first of all, I’m going to let Dee introduce herself. D, would you like to introduce yourself to the listeners?
Dee: Hi everyone. I’m Dee Johnson. I do a podcast called capture the world with D and I work for Cubi Casa. I’m the chief customer officer. And I work for QB Casa. That’s C U B I C A S A. If you want to check out our website, it’s cubi.casa. And we basically are the makers of a revolutionary app that allows you to scan a property using a mobile device. It takes about five minutes or less and in one business day you get a professional looking floor plan.
Jonathon: Amazing. And I got one great cohost, Robert. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: Hey Dee, did you catch that? Did you see how he said quickly when it came to me like at the time you’re shorting me out dude. What did I ever do to you? My name is Robert Newman and I’m the founder of Inboundrem.com. And since I’m supposed to go quickly. I will be done.
Jonathon: Yeah cause I listened to last week show and it was a bit windy there around. And I’m the founder of Mail Right, mail-right.com. And we get you quality leads if you are a real estate agent. On with the real content of the show, which I’m sure listeners and viewers you’re dying to hear. Cubi sounds like an amazing product. Can you go into a little bit more detail about how it works, how much it is and how long have the app been on the market?
Dee: Yeah, so Cubi CASA’s has been around for a few years now. If you don’t know already, we do the floor plans for Matterport. So when you do a Matterport scan and you order floorplan that comes through us. But last year, in the middle of the year, we did introduce this new app. It works on any mobile device. Primarily we started with the iOS, the iPhones. It works on an iPad 2017 or later. And we recently added support for some Android devices. And basically you sign up on our website cubi.casa for an account. Your first scan is always free.
Then what you do is you go to your mobile device, you download the app. It’s very straightforward. You just push, start a scan, enter the address or anything to identify that scan that property. And then you’re basically taking a video. So you’re walking through the property. Scanning basically the intersection between the wall and the floor. And you want to scan about three feet high on the wall, walk parallel to the wall. And just walk along the perimeter of each room, go to the next room and do the same thing. And if you do that, if you an average size house takes about three minutes. I move a little quicker so it takes me like two.
And we’ve had contests on who can scan faster winner anyway. And then you just upload it to our processing engine on the cloud. And after one business day, you get a professional looking floor plan. You can, it comes in several formats PNG, JPEG, and SVG. And it comes with or without dimensions. And the newest thing we added was this home report, which is a report that tells you information like how many bedrooms, how many doors, how many windows. And a little bit of information on sort of what’s local to that property. If you provide us the correct address when you upload.
Jonathon: Oh, nice. And then how much is the service of after your first free trial?
Dee: Retail price is 3490 per scan, which includes the entire property. So if you have three floors, it includes all three floors. If you are a professional photographer for real estate, you get a 30% discount.
Robert: How do you identify if somebody’s a professional?
Dee: So you apply for the program and we will vet you. Basically you have to have a website that shows that you’re a professional photographer.
Robert: Okay. What about professional real estate marketing companies that happened to have photography maybe as a small part of their services that they provide?
Dee: Yes. So as long as they can show that some of their employees do the photography, we will let them into that program.
Jonathon: Now you said it’s easy to do but it sounds really amazing. You said you can do one in your the quickest of the quick. Are there some real guidelines that you’ve got to follow and result and can you give us some?
Dee: Yeah, exactly. So scanning technique does matter. It will improve accuracy. So what we tell people to do is you start at the bottom floor. If you’ve got multiple floors, scan the entire floor, then go to the bottom of the stairs. Tip your device up so that you’re looking up the stairs, and then just walk up the stairs as you normally would. Be careful when you’re doing that because I’ve fallen because I’m trying to look at the screen on the device and I’m trying to climb stairs. So be careful. And then you just scan the next level and so on. What we’re looking for is to hold the camera at about chest height. Hold it down to down about 15 degrees. You’re looking to give us some type of contextual visual cues. So don’t face the wall and walk sideways, walk parallel to the wall and show us sort of what’s in front of you.
The sweet spot of the cameras between three to eight feet. So as you’re walking parallel, say, here’s my wall and I’m walking parallel to the wall. And here I reached the next wall. When you reach three to eight feet from that next wall and then you just turn. And you walk parallel. So that wall down that wall, sometimes there’s furniture. So you’ll have to go between the furniture and back out and scan around that. So if you have a bed for example, because a bed is typically longer than eight feet. You’ll want to walk down one side of the bed, back out, turn, go down to the other side of the bed, scan down that side of the bed and then back out. But we do have a training video, it’s called how to scan best practices. It’s 13 minutes roughly, and it’ll give you all the information that you need to know. It has been proven to work. So if you are interested in trying this out, please, please watch that video before you head out to scan.
Jonathon: What do you reckon Robert?
Robert: Well number one, I mean, I reckon that I’m extremely excited. I’m incredibly familiar with Matterport. I feel at some part of my career, I met one of the guys that was behind Matterport, but that’s another story entirely. And I don’t recollect like that clearly because I wasn’t paying much attention at the time. I shouldn’t have been, but I was like, man, you know, photography, I’m an SEO guy. Sounded like photography. It’s like blah, blah, blah. But boy, Oh boy, hindsight, let me tell you. So I guess I have a few questions for you. You identified yourself as the head of customer experience, is that right or, yes. Okay. So if you could for our end for me, would you define your role with Cubi Casa first?
Dee: Yeah. So we’re still in the startup phase, so we’re not that large, but I basically take care of all things customer related. So if you have a question and you call in, I’m there to help. I do, we do have a team of support agents as well. But I, I do as well customer success. So if a customer has any special needs or has any questions or is just finding it hard to figure out how to start I’ll help jump in and take care of that. I do some business development, I do sales, I go to trade shows and I started to wear a lot of hats. And that’s the one thing that really matches my personality cause I like to do a lot of different things and so that’s been really great and really fun.
Awesome. So I am going to ask you a couple of questions more about that, but before I do, I’m going to drop an Easter egg for John and for our audience. I already know a really cool way to leverage this tool to massive impact for SEO and lead conversion. I have to be honest with you, I am actually very familiar with Matterport. And I was super excited to take the call with Dee and do the show with you today. I did. It did a real, like, I think I read every single page that you guys produced on your website.
So I’m pretty sure that I’m familiar with the ins and outs, but I have a question for you that you can’t find on your website. So you’re the head of customer service. Can you give, I’m going to strongly recommend that people get in touch with you. So in preparation for that, I’m kind of curious about what are some of the big questions that you get from people that you’re talking to that might be using the service or talking about using the service. Can you run us through some of those things?
Dee: Yeah, so we get a lot of inquiries on setting up the accounts, which is pretty basic. If you have a problem, you can contact us. Typically it’s an issue with a credit card or something like that. As far as scanning is concerned the biggest questions we get are how do you scan upstairs? How do I prepare the site? Like, do I have to turn on all the lights? And then sometimes we’ll give feedback. If we notice, if we take a look at the video that they’ve created the biggest mistake people make is they scan all the way up to the ceiling. So if I have a window and I want to show the software, there’s a window there, you only need to scan the bottom part of the window. We don’t need to see all the way up cause remember it’s a floor plan. And when you scan up and show the ceiling that will cause quality and accuracy issues. But the app is now we’re incorporating into the app. Something that if you tip your phone up too far, it’s going to tell you.
Robert: Okay. That’s pretty cool. John, I have more questions but.
Jonathon: We have got another four or five minutes before we have to go for a break.
Robert: Okay. So having said that, can you tell John and I, have you had a chance to see what your clients are actually using? Like how do they use the floor plans once they’ve created them? As anybody talking to you about that?
Dee: Yeah, that’s a good question. So we mainly target photographers for real estate companies or agents. And those floor plans are being used by agents when they want to put their house that they’re listing for sale. It shows the basic flow and outline of a house and shows how the different rooms are situated with respect to each other. For example, if I have a listing and I have a picture of a bathroom, typically I have no idea where that bathroom is in relationship to the bedrooms and in that house.
So it’s used for the flow and layout of a home. I’ve also seen people use it where they’ll put little hotspots on the actual floor plan and this is becoming way more popular. And what happens is when you click on one of those hotspots, it actually puts the picture on the screen. So a different way of being able to view the photos that you have for listing rather than putting it in the film strip at the bottom, which is the way it’s typically done.
Robert: Okay. And that’s so the film strip of the listing you said are you talking about the photo carousel?
Dee: Yeah, so typically when you have a listing, like on MLS, there’s a, there’s a film strip at the bottom and you can, you know, push the arrows and look, go through all of them. But instead of doing that, you can also incorporate on a floor plan the little hotspots. And so that tells you, Oh, I took a picture in the kitchen and if I click on that, here’s the picture of the kitchen. So you can’t do that directly on MLS, but you can use third party apps like cloud PANOW for example, and they allow you to set up the hotspots with photographs.
Robert: I got you. So there is a way to get these into MLS listings where they could essentially be viewing floor plans correctly.
Dee: So floor plan is just a picture. It doesn’t have to be hosted anywhere. Our clients can download them, keep them. It’s a picture, it’s an image. And so you can just upload that anywhere just like you would upload a normal photo.
Robert: Gotcha! Okay, I understand.
Robert: I think this is a very opportune moment for us to go for our break. Hopefully Dee’s going to stay on later. You seem to be enjoying it. And I think that was a very opportune moment, Robert understands. So we’re going to go for our break. We will come back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: I’m taking the Mickey out of Robert, but he’s used to it. He doesn’t care. We’ve been talking about this fantastic app and we can continue the discussion. Probably brought in there about some other apps as well. Back over to you, Robert. Okay.
Robert: I wasn’t expecting you to toss it back over to me, but I am good for it.
Jonathon: Well I did tease you so I thought I had to.
Robert: Okay. So I’m noticing something on your site that I didn’t understand. And so I’m hoping that you’ll explain it to me. It was like one of my deep use questions, but you have something on your called smart locks and can I didn’t understand what that was actually a smart blot. It’s literally under use cases and it says to smart homes, Oh, I’m sorry, Mark homes and one lot, what does that, what does that mean?
Dee: Smart IOT, internet of things.
Robert: Oh, IOT. Okay. So what is that?
Dee: So if you have smart devices in your home, you can use a floor plan to tell people where all the smart devices are and even to lay them out as you’re designing a how you’re going to lay them all out in your home.
Robert: So when you say smart devices, you’re talking about like I have Alexa and ring and echo and all that crap in my home. So you’re talking about that, right?
Dee: Yes. Internet of things. For example, you can have a thermostat that’s a smart thermostat. That you can control via your phones, run up garage door openers, you can have internet of things I’ve heard on your refrigerator. So as the world of internet of things grows, there is potentially a need for floor plans to show people either how to set that up or how it is set up in a home.
Jonathon: And then I have another question for you.
Jonathon: Next question. You kind of hand does that joy, you said you got this secret thing that could help with the ESCI.
Robert: I did. Do you want me to use it? Do you want me to reveal it?
Jonathon: I think that’s probably why a lot of people are listening to this.
Robert: Yeah. Okay. So guys here’s what the secret is, I’m going to, let me see here.
Jonathon: Drum roll.
Robert: John, do you mind if I’ve got to switch over to do this correctly. I’ve got to actually show everybody. Dee I may be showing you something.
Jonathon: You should listen to this, but you should go to the Mail Right website and watch it as well.
Robert: So you should, by the way, Joyce, you might want to start or like share this on your site. So I’m going to move this camera in a second. You right now you’re going to see us and then I’m going to move this off. And now what you’re looking at is you’re looking at a website. So what a lot of people don’t understand about SEO these days, is that literally 30 to 50% of your score with Google is what’s called user behavior. And what is the main thing that one of the main signals inside a real estate website that user behavior is dictated by. It’s actually clicks, interaction with the website.
How long are you staying? How many pages do you clicking on? So what does that mean? In my world, the world of an SEO guy. That means when I’m building a website experience, I am really deeply looking for something that is completely 100% unique to the site. Something that somebody’s going to have a hard time finding someplace else. Now usually when you’re talking about floor plans, you can actually, anybody that has access like through city planners or through builders, everybody can get access to those plans, to those four plans.
If you had an app that could let you go into community that maybe floor plans weren’t so easy to get a hold of, you can then build a page that is someone to this. And this is a guy that I’d just like to use that’s out here in my area. His website is wildly successful, so I’m actually showing you something that really does work with a guy that really works for, you can see this page that he’s built and then all wait for it. You see something that says Windward shores floor plans. Now this is something he grabbed from the builder, but you have a clickable button. You click on the button and it takes you to this crappy hand-drawn floor plan.
So imagine, and he may have drawn this himself, I don’t know, like he may have actually. And you note that there is no dimensions. It is a floor plan, but there’s no dimensions to the floor plan. It’s just a floor plan. So imagine for a moment, if you had an app that did give you dimensions that was drawn professionally on the same thing. If I was building a website against this guy, I would feel like I could do better because I’d have a better piece of content on the site.
And I already know from the fact that the business that I’m in, he does incredibly well, that this content is extremely well received. I’m not guessing here. So when we were meeting with [inaudible] and I saw what your app could do, I was immediately that I call Holy shit. I know things that you can do with this that are really important for SEO like I this, this is widely usable for me. And so I got very excited about which you can see. So anyway, that was it. That’s the secret, I’ve just revealed it all.
Jonathon: And the beauty of it is that it’s not that expensive. Like you say, you can use it for multiple purposes and lucky what you just said. It’s quite evergreen content, isn’t it, Robert?
Robert: Yeah, and what’s more guys, and sorry to keep the cost down because gee, we got to do this work all before we ever see any revenue coming from a site. So I have to give out this piece of advice. You don’t have to do a floor plan for every single home. What you need to do is take one representative home out of an area connected to a content page. And then the way that you monetize this is you go, would you like me to do a custom floor plan for you? It’s not something anybody else is going to do. Dee`s app is new. She’s telling everybody, all of our listeners that it’s new.
So if you get out ahead of where everybody else is at, you don’t have any competition. If they want something like this, they got to come to you. So you say, I will happily take a listing that you’re interested in and I will go do one of these floor plans for you. But the trick is you’ve got to get in touch with me. And that’s the hardest thing to do in today’s web world is get these people to reach out and have a conversation with you. And this is an amazing conversation starter. There you go.
Jonathon: It`s amazing.
Dee: Wait. So when are you coming to work with us?
Robert: You can go back and review our shows. I actually don’t usually get this excited about anything that we look at. I’ve been looking for a solution like this and I understood instinctively that there’s this very large opportunity for inbound marketers.
Jonathon: Yeah, that’s great. So Dee, what have been some of the problems getting you adapted? Is it just getting over that first hump of the first couple? Like with anything new, you know, we get a bit concerned about, you know, new technology. Is it really just using it a couple of times and then people then can see the real benefit. Is that the main hurdle for you?
Dee: So currently we’ve been targeting mostly professional photography companies coming soon. Because we’ve partnered with a company called FBS, which is the makers of flex MLS. So if your version of MLS is run through flex, then in hopefully in the summer or sometime this year, you’ll be able to order floorplans directly through the MLS. The benefit of that so that we’ll then talk to the agents more than to photographers. And you’ll have a choice of either scanning the property yourself, which you should be able to do because it’s so easy to or get the homeowner to scan if they want. Or you can hire a photographer, we’ll give you like a link. But the cost, if you order a floor plan through flex, MLS will be $12.
Jonathon: Am I correct? The company was originally based in Finland?
Dee: Yes. So Cubi Casa has headquarters in a city called Olu, which is in Northern Finland. And it’s the home of one of the best universities there. So we draw from some pretty good talent.
Robert: So I’m talking to you because you’ve been this entire show. You’ve been talking about photographers, photographers, photographers. And I just talked about realtors, realtors, realtors. And obviously as you know, because you’ve been so clearly delineating it. I’m curious to know, because this is again, directly related to my idea, my concept. I intend to get off the phone. This call, I intend to heavily promote this podcast episode. I intend to tell my very significant list of real estate people that they should be doing this is. Am I running going to run into like a problem with your app? Because realtors have 80 70% of all realtors have an Apple iPhone. So we’re good there. I know they have the equipment, but what I don’t know is if, you know, a lot of realtors have no photography experience. So is this a problem? Am I setting myself up?
Dee: So you don’t need photography experience cause trust me, I don’t. So when I watch this photography like lectures and they pull up the picture and everybody’s like, Ooh, that’s a horrible photo. I’m like, I like that photo. What’s wrong with it? So I am like, I have no photography background. You don’t need that. You’re not scanning to get a visual representation. You’re scanning so that we can see the layout of the home. So our software, which uses AI can determine, you know, what all the measurements are and what’s in that space.
Robert: Okay. So your ultimate gut take on me saying I’m going to reach out to 10,000 realtors and tell them to use this on their website is your gut take is that won’t be a problem?
Robert: Okay. And then then just to repeat something we’ve already repeated, but since we got a like a second longer, what they would do is they would go to cubi.casa.com or no?
Dee: No, just cubi.casa.
Robert: Okay. So cubi.casa. So it’s an unusual URL and then you go there and you do sign up and create a free account and then do your first scan for free. If I’m understand you correctly. The second scan for a non-photographer, let’s just assume the worse is going to be $34.90 cents is that correct?
Dee: That is correct.
Robert: Okay, and I’m going to say right now to all the people listening, even though for my clients or people that are building websites through me, that’s going to be to do it throughout the site, it’s going to be $300, $400 or $500. I think that to get unique content on the site that nobody has, that it’s wildly worth it and I’m going to put a strong recommend on doing it. Assuming that the tech works, I haven’t tried it yet. I will have to try it when we end the podcast, assuming that I can do it because I’m an idiot with this stuff. Then we’re going to be golden.
Jonathon: I watched the video. It looked pretty easy to use there. I think after a couple of times you’d be fine listeners and viewers. So Dee, how can people find out more about you and your podcast and Cubi?
Dee: So Cubi Casa again is cubi.casa. You can go to that website to sign up for an account or to just find out more information. We have a great help center and again, the video, which is about 13 minutes, is how to scan best practices. So check that out if you have any questions and definitely watch the video. My podcast is again called capture the world with Dee. It comes on live on YouTube every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM Pacific time.
I had Jonathan actually on there couple of weeks ago and it was one of the best podcasts. So if you want to learn about websites and all that, it had some really great information.
Jonathon: It was great because I used Robert`s content.
Dee: And I’m there going, wow, this guy really knows a lot.
Jonathon: We did a good series. Robert how can people find out about you?
Robert: Hey, do you want to Nick my content? Like Tom? Yes, my content. Here’s how you do it. Go to inboundrem.com and you’ll find all of my apparently brilliant advice. And if you’re looking to learn how more about real estate marketing, trust me, I do have a lot of good stuff and I’m super excited about this tip today. We also had an amazing tip last show, which you should also tune into that maybe in a row where I genuinely think that John and I have hit it out of the fricking park. So John over to you and John is amazing. He has got an amazing thing. You should book an appointment and talk to him.
Jonathon: Yeah, I think bonbon and his product are quite unique. Cause I would recommend both of them and they’re not enormously expensive. And they really feel in need. Thanks Dee for coming on the show. It’s been a blast. And if you were interested in Mail Right, you can go to the Mail Right website, have a look at what we’re offering, which I think is amazing value. And you can also book a free consultation with me and work together. We will produce a one page online marketing campaign for your business. For your real estate business in 2020 something you can actually use. But another thing that’s great and I look forward to you booking with us and having that chat. We will be back next week with an internal discussion between me and Rob, or another great guest like Dee. Bye.