What Should You Pay for a Property Inspection App?

shutterstock_126609710One of the biggest obstacles to switching from a paper inspection system to a property inspection app is often cost.  Property inspection apps can require an up-front software cost, and they also often require a monthly user fee.  The up front and monthly costs vary a great deal between apps, so, while switching to an app will almost always save your business money in the long run, it is a good idea to know exactly what you’re paying for, and what your options are with the property inspection app you choose to use.

How is the cost calculated?

The most common cost calculation for an app is monthly, with subscription prices scaling depending on how big your business is and how much functionality you need from the app.  But there are also property inspection apps that charge per property, per user, or some combination of per unit and monthly.  Which you choose depends on the size of your business, the number of properties you inspect per month, and how consistent your business is.  For example, in university towns tenant turnover is extremely seasonal, so it may be more cost-effective to pay per inspection, knowing that the higher costs during high rental season are balanced by savings during the school semester when students and academics tend to stay put.  On the other hand, if you work in a market that is very consistent, paying a monthly fee will probably work out to be more cost-effective in the long run.

What does the monthly fee include?

Property inspection apps range from the expensive to the very affordable, but it is important to remember that not all apps are created equal.  It may be tempting to pay as little as possible for the convenience of a property inspection app, but take the needs of your business into consideration before you sign up.  If you start with a low-cost app with very limited functionality, you may find that the needs of your business quickly exceed the capabilities of the app.  Switching from one app to another can be cumbersome and risks some of your data being lost in the transfer, so it is worth paying a slightly higher monthly fee to know that your app will continue to accommodate the needs of your business as it grows.

Are there long-term contracts?

An easy way for a property inspection app to keep its fees low is by locking its users into a yearly contract.  If you have extremely consistent business, your company size is stable and you have a lot of confidence in your app, then it may well be worth saving some money by choosing an app with a yearly contract.  On the other hand, if you are trying to adapt and grow your business with the market, you want the flexibility of being able to upgrade, downgrade and add functionality to your app as you go.  An app that offers tiered pricing and allows you to move from tier to tier without additional fees or restrictive contracts is a good idea for a growing business.

At the end of the day, deciding what you are willing to pay for a property inspection app depends entirely on the unique needs of your business.  Just remember that paying a higher fee to make sure that your app has all the features your property inspection business needs could actually save you more money in the long run.

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