The Business of Laser Scanning: Recipe for Success

A 433Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

So you’re a newbie to the 3D imaging world….what are the most important concepts that you should understand in order to ensure your success? Here are a few ideas that I believe are mission critical points to understand:

"It’s not the arrow it’s the hunter"
The software and hardware manufacturers will tell you how great their products are and leave you with the impression that if you purchase from them your road to success is almost guaranteed. I would suggest that just because you own a Ferrari, that doesn’t make you a good driver, especially at high speeds. And I would also suggest that driving a high performance vehicle at high speeds causes more potential for a severe wipeout. The point is get good, real world, training and make sure you can provide the deliverable your client really needs.

"Sell solutions, not technology"
Businesses operating in the 3d world are too often consumed with the technology they’re using instead of the solving their clients problems. Selling solutions will provide cash flow, profit and the potential for long term relationships. Selling technology will make you feel good about yourself in front of your client. You choose.

"Beware of liars and thieves"
Believe it or not the 3d imaging industry is still in its infancy. As a result, there are a lot of companies–service providers, manufacturers, software developers and others who are making promises that will not stand the test of time. Make manufactures prove their claims to you by illustrating actual case study examples. Likewise, have your clients examine the history of your competitor who is bidding the same job as you. There are a lot of businesses out there who are making promises that they simply can’t keep. Be patient, conservative, have a long term strategy and you’ll survive. You may even prosper.

"The money IS there in the project"
Other than people not wanting to take a chance with something new (that’s the single most common objection–fear), the common misconception is that "there’s no budget in the project for that…" which is complete BS. The truth is that 3d imaging is about measurement and visual communication. If you dig down in the workflow of your client– somebody, somewhere IS charging them for that data set. And I’m certain that you can save them money with your service. Overall 3d should not cost more.

"It’s a customer service business"
Dale Carnegie said it and it remains true today… "People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care." The fact is in most cases your clients are venturing into unknown 3d space so the more customer service you can provide…the more successful you will be. Seems obvious doesn’t it? So you need to ask yourself how do you measure/quantify your customer satisfaction and then track this on every project.

"Stay in your lane"
Too many of the 3d imaging professionals get so enamored with the technology–they say `yes’ to any opportunity that comes there way. It’s just human nature. I would suggest that there’s a lot more profit to saying `no’ to some opportunities that are outside of your area of expertise. Instead, pick several vertical markets and strive to own them by developing specialties that your competition can’t replicate.

"Sharpen your blade–often"
If you don’t have an eye toward the future…you’re business success will be short-lived. I’m not suggesting that you should be constantly working at the bleeding edge–rather stay tucked in just behind it and let others pioneer the way while you benefit from their mistakes and lessons learned.

"Photogrammetry is not replacing LiDAR"
Sorry to buzz kill you, but we’re a long way out from photogrammetry taking the place of LiDAR. However, they can exist and should exist side by side in order to offer your client the best solution. Photogrammetry and laser scanning are complimentary, 3d imaging technologies. Their application and use ultimately depends on the required end deliverable and the client’s budget.

"Ask for help"
Most people are reluctant to ask for help, but there are a ton of great people in the 3d imaging industry who welcome the opportunity to assist you in your mission. Whether it’s simply discussing a technology, or perhaps partnering on a project. You may have to take some risk by providing some inside information, but that can lead to increased reward. The 3d industry has a great group of folks who share your excitement. Tap into that energy and enjoy the ride.

Ken Smerz is the President of President/CEO of Eco3d ( a service provider that travels throughout the nation working with A/E/C and forensic clients. He can be reached at with any questions or comments you might have.

A 433Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE