Have camera, will travel " teen creates online sales brochures
Colton Fent translated his interest in photography and computers into a business, Real Tour Services, that provides 360-degree panoramic tours and still images of residential and commercial properties.
But he encountered more skepticism than most start-ups. Fent, after all, is 16 years old and needed his father to drive him to jobs the first months he was in business.
“People don’t believe in the work. They’re skeptical of it not turning out well because I’m a teenager,” says the Reno businessman.
But when he arrives equipped with his gear digital camera atop tripod customers calm down. After they’ve seen the finished product, they’re normally impressed.
This past year, since getting his driver’s license, Fent has handled solo about half of the 100 shoots done by Real Tour Services. The first year he had worked with his father.
The idea came from a family friend who was selling a house and called the Fent family to ask if they knew anyone who shot virtual tours. They didn’t so Colton and his father decided to do it themselves.
Business initially was dominated by the resale market, but, says Fent, he’s been shooting more model homes in recent months.
He prices tours at about $100 for an average-sized house of five to seven rooms, but charges more for mansions of 20 to 30 rooms.
A selling point: the finished product can be up and online within 48 hours often as little as four hours, says Fent. Customers can post the digital files on their own real estate company Web sites or can choose to host them on a commercial server.
“I’ve shot everything from little duplexes to multi-million dollar homes,” he says, “and now I am even being invited in to photograph commercial properties such as casinos.”
The introductory 80-hour program — announced in May as one solution to Nevada’s oft-lamented skilled labor shortages — is designed to train people in construction, building maintenance and related trades.