Multi-unit inspections: what software do you like?

For performing multi-unit inspections, like a hotel or motel:

  1. What inspection software has worked well for you?
  2. How do you organize the report?

I never use field inspection software on a commercial report. I’ll use Notability to take notes, and Fast Fields to collect data, but for writing the report there really is no substitute for Word and Excel. Commercial reports are just different. With that said, Quire and Parcel have decent web-based report writing apps, but they haven’t got their game down yet with field data collection that will integrate well with their platforms. Once they do, though, they will dominate the market place.


We get question #2 regularly at ReportHost and here are our thoughts.

First, we recommend talking to your client about how they foresee using the report and how do they think about the property evaluation. In general, we would guess that you’ll get variations around two (2) common report organization themes. By system or by room (unit).

If your client is going to evaluate based upon how many rooms need work, then you’re by unit. If they think about this in terms of how much plumbing work (for example) needs to be done in the whole property, then you may want your report to focus on systems.

If they are not a seasoned buyer of multi-unit properties, this conversation will ingratiate you with them as it will show you’re trying to help them think about the evaluation, not just reporting facts. If they are a seasoned buyer, then you’ll ingratiate yourself with them by delivering to them an evaluation that matches their process.

Like any intelligence gathering operation – and that is what property inspecting really is – the importance of reconnaissance is directly related to the size of a problem and how unfamiliar you are with it. I would presume that before you’d price a multi-unit job you’d want to see it. That will be invaluable in coloring your conversation with your client about the report organization (as well as pricing.)

ReportHost has a multi-unit template that is very by-system oriented, with the ability to specify which unit(s) a given concern applies to. It’s the result of Jim having done a bunch of small apartment buildings over the years. This is great if your 20 unit property has a lot of common issues between units.

The other major concern is overwhelming your client with the size of a report. We often recommend breaking the report up into several reports if there are, for instance, several buildings: 1 overall property report covering all common areas, perhaps a pool, etc. and then 1 report per building as these will all have separate (infra)structural and system elements and units inside each may have different common issues (e.g. 1 building has never had the electrical updated with another has, impacting all units per building.)

Or, if it’s a multi-floor property with 10 units per each of 6 floors, you may break it down by floor; 1 common/overall, 1 per floor.

Another advantage to this multi-report approach is that you can deliver results to your client incrementally, and that means sooner. This may even match up well with your strategy for inspecting larger properties in multiple stages/days.


Thank you, Scott!