Could you earn money from your home? MAXINE GORDON meets two Yorkshire locations scouts offering cash to go through your keyhole

CAN you imagine turning your home into a money-spinner?

No, we're not talking about renting out a room or becoming an Airbnb, but rather offering your home as a location for film, TV, and advertising shoots.

Homeowners can make an average of £400-£500 for a typical nine-hour day – or more if shoots require longer hours or extend over days, or weeks.

Yorkshire entrepreneurs Louise Bates and Clare Armitage, both mums with children at primary school, set up their business Lifestyle Locations 18 months ago and already have 90 properties on their books, including many in York and North Yorkshire.

I caught up with them on a visit to York to do a recce on a prospective property in the city centre: a large double-fronted house with a drive and sweeping staircase that they were very excited about.

But not every house on their books has to be quite so grand.

"That is the perception, but no, homes can be quite varied," says Louise. "We try to have a good range of properties for clients. Sometimes we are asked for a nice family home."

So how nice is nice? While houses can look "ordinary" from the front, instructs Louise, they need to have plenty of space inside. So the tick list requires an open-plan kitchen and probably French or bi-folding doors.

Clare says: "There has to be lots of natural light and it's all about space. Can a film crew get in? Can they get a shot of the lounge? The kitchen?"

Clients are varied and include furniture retailer Barker & Stonehouse, fashion brand Joe Browns, Ventrolla, Cadbury's ice-cream and Quaker Oats, as well as TV shows, including Lorraine.

Some requests are very specific, says Louise, recalling filming for a cookery show featuring Yorkshire stars from Coronation Street and Emmerdale. "They wanted a hob on an island so the cooks could speak to camera."

Many clients are furniture retailers and are looking for a range of residential locations, says Louise. "They want large houses but in different styles, so contemporary and period, because they have all sorts of furniture ranges."

Fashion brands are important clients too, and on the look out for a range of backdrops to show off their new launches.

The duo have been working with Joe Browns (which is opening a store at York's Designer Outlet), providing properties for fashion shoots.

As far as decor goes, most clients prefer painted walls over wallpaper, says Clare, because sometimes wallpaper can detract from what the client is trying to show.

And homes need to be decluttered. "We are trying to show off a space for clients to use," she adds.

Clare and Louise visit each prospective property in person and take their own photos to upload on to their website.

This personal touch is crucial, they say, allowing them to assess whether there is parking as well as adequate access. "Clients may need easy access for a furniture shoot, so they may need French doors or bi-folding doors so it is easy to get furniture in and out."

Besides finding family homes, they have some other properties on their books including warehouses.

Another side of their business is location scouting: and they have had some tough requests.

"We were asked to find an aircraft hangar – but a clean one," says Louise. That took some work, but they managed it.

Then there was the video shop, which turned out to be a challenge. "We found a record shop instead and they settled for that," she adds.

Since launching the business last January, it has gone from strength to strength – becoming the fastest growing locations agency in the North.

It has grown its portfolio of locations by almost 200 per cent.

Louise and Clare helped with more than 30 shoots across Leeds and Harrogate last year, and have built upon that in 2019.

The duo are also looking forward to the arrival of Channel 4, which is moving its HQ to Leeds.

Clare said: “We’re delighted that Channel 4 has chosen Leeds for its new national headquarters. This is bound to make a positive impact on television and filmmaking in Yorkshire and we’ve certainly got some incredible Yorkshire locations to show them when they arrive.”

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