The Field Report Field Guide For Property Managers

Property managers have been using field reports for a long time. The field report is an important document used during the property inspection process to assess damages and keep track of repairs.

But field reports can often be cumbersome to carry around as they are typically printed out on paper and left in the field as an inspector moves from space to space.    

This fact has led many property managers to request mobile field reports, where inspectors can input information into the app with their smartphones while conducting inspections.

These types of field reports are more convenient because they eliminate the need for carrying around large amounts of paperwork.

They also reduce errors by eliminating manual data entry required when completing traditional field reports on paper forms. 

This field guide will provide you with information about how field reports can be helpful in your property management business.

What Is A Field Report For A Property Manager?

A field report is a document to record the findings of a property inspection.  It can be used to note damages, requests for repairs, and other observations.

These reports may be conducted on rental properties by property owners or property management. Still, the property manager or their staff typically compile the information and complete the report.

Most property owners insist that their hired property management firms complete a report annually following a site inspection. Many, if not all, firms complete a site inspection before and following a tenant vacating a property. In commercial properties, the property manager is likely to require outside professional assistance for the site inspection. It may include hiring HVAC or even engineers to assess and review the real estate in question.

How Should I Approach Writing A Field Report?

When you’re considering how to word a field report, whether it’s documenting property damage or even if it’s just an annual real estate site inspection, the interest should weigh on honest and courteous wording.

If you’re reporting to property owners, the way you’ve conducted your writing of the report can sway a report’s intent in one direction or another. Ensuring the accuracy of information is paramount and delivering it in a concise, respectful, and truthful manner is essential to delivering an excellent experience to your clients.

To correctly complete a field report, there are some guidelines that you should follow. Let’s talk a little more about what you should include in your report.

What Should You Include In A Property Management Field Report?

A field report usually includes the following information:

  • Site address and location
  • Client firm or contact information for their organization
  • Description of issue or possible problem or intent of report if a scheduled property inspection not inspired by damage or incident
  • The date the inspector created the site report
  • Inspector’s name  (most field reports will need a field inspector’s name)
  • Field report number (these reports are usually assigned numbers to keep track of them.  If reports are done on paper, the field inspector will need to write this information on the form before giving it to management.)
  • Unit type with tenant’s name
  • How long the problem has been present (if applicable)
  • Repair timeframe

Once the field inspector has gathered this information, they will then need to complete their report. The final report should include:

  • Any photographs that the inspector took during inspection (be mindful of personal privacy)
  • Detailed accounts of any findings concerning the field report
  • A final signature of the inspector

How Field Reports Help You Manage Your Properties

Managing properties is not an easy task. Especially considering property managers have to keep track of everything from report completion to tenant complaints and maintenance requests.

Completing field reports is very important because:

  • It documents your field inspector’s work on a day-to-day basis
  • It allows you to stay organized and on top of your responsibilities.  It provides proof if something comes up that you need to report or need someone else to be aware of.

How Can I Use Field Reports To Improve My Business?

Any site reports need to be completed on time because they are used for many different aspects of property management.

For example, field reports are often used when counting inventory before and after move in and move out. They can also help property managers keep track of field inspection work; if done correctly and promptly, your reports can function as:

  • Client-facing documentation
  • Tenant relations
  • A safety net to ensure field inspections are completed quickly and efficiently.  

Always remember that field inspectors should be field personnel themselves.

If property management triggers inspections that are done correctly, they can help track field inspection timers and field inspectors.

A site inspection report is an essential tool for property managers because it helps them stay organized and on top of potentially hundreds of properties.

Field reports make an impact on your field inspections, and the time it takes to complete them.

Having your report available during the inspection provides you with convenience and enables management to manage repairs better.

Here is some other benefits field reports offer:

  • Reports can help property managers identify business issues that management should address immediately.
  • Reports facilitate teamwork.  With a multitude of templates available, field staff and property managers can communicate effectively and accomplish tasks more efficiently in various disciplines and fields.
  • Software providers like 1st Incident Reporting offer report templates that make it easy to generate field reports for your staff. You can customize templates giving them a look that suits your business style.
  • Property managers can use the same field reports to track field inspections from their results to frequency. Reports are easily generated to track trends in property issues such as recurring damage or other trackable issues.
  • Reports are helpful when field staff needs to update management on the fieldwork they have done. A report is a form of proof of work in this sense.

With more than 300,000 property management companies operating in the United States alone, getting a leg up on your competition is vital to your business success. (source)

Adding efficiency and automation to your reporting processes is one way you can work to stay ahead of the competition.

Top 15 Tips For Property Management Report Writing

Now that you understand that field reports are essential to your field inspections and management, here are some tips on how to take property management reporting and effectively bring it to the next level.

1. Keep reports concise.  Limit details in forms to one or two pages at most.

2. Use the field report templates offered by 1st Incident Reporting to organize information effectively.

3. Customize reporting templates by adding your company name and logo to checklists, audits, or forms to make field inspections more professional in the field.

4. Use field reports for reference when checking on properties or talking with tenants after fieldwork has been completed at their unit.

5. Keep track of field inspections using the 1st Incident Reporting app. The app allows you to track and report on the incidents your team has reported.

6. Use pictures and videos to capture problem areas when submitting a report regarding damages or repairs. Include picture evidence with field reports to make them more compelling in the event of disagreements later on.

7. Send inspections directly from the 1st Incident Reporting app to tenants, vendors, insurance representatives, and any others as necessary by emailing the downloaded report.

8. Discuss fieldwork with property managers during informational meetings or scheduled interactions, even when remote. Because the app is cloud-based, access to reports is possible to anyone with permitted authorization.

9. Avoid making excuses like ‘the report took too long to write’ when submitting a reason for not completing the work within the set time frame. Inspectors can complete the report during a property inspection right on your phone or tablet with a digital solution. This time-saving ability can save you the effort to transfer notes to a final report following an inspection.

Other Benefits Of Automating And Going Cloud-Based For Your Property Management Reporting

Property management and property owners can benefit from real estate inspections that are easily accessible. Imagine doing several site inspections throughout the day, recording your results live on a smartphone, and then having your assistant notified when you submit the report so they can add supplemental information or process the report itself.

The software can customize your templates to suit the types of properties that you maintain allows you to retrieve and store the right kind of details you need for your building services inspection process.

Some property managers have even found that including procedural checklists to correctly complete field reports has helped improve their service delivery.

The use of digital field reporting can guarantee your property management inspections are correctly handled because the immediate notification and access to reports through a cloud-based system help you get more work done within less time, without having to rely on assistants or partners who may not be familiar with the types of details collected in digital reports.

Growth within the property management industry was sluggish to marginal in 2020, with only a 0.1% growth rate. (source)

Adding efficiency to your site inspections via a cloud-based solution is one way to become more efficient and more profitable because of said efficiency.

Final Thoughts On Mobile Field Report Applications For Property Management

Paper property management field reports will be a thing of the past soon. For a digital solution to property inspections and reporting, 1st Incident Reporting is here to help.

1st Incident Reporting has automated property inspections and simplified the task of filing reports by going cloud-based with the ability to access the exact details right from an app on your phone or tablet.

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