Start an Inventory Clerk Business and Earnings Guide
The information below sets out to provide practical outline information when considering starting a full or part time inventory clerk business. The information may also be useful to those such as letting agents and property managers to understand the role of an inventory clerk. We advise readers to seek their own advice in respect of any statutory obligations required in setting up and trading as an inventory clerk.
Perhaps the first thing to consider is if there is potential for meaningful earnings to be made.
What Can I Earn as an Inventory Clerk?.
This really is up to you!
- As a guide and depending on your location you can expect a fee of anywhere from £80 to £120 (or more) to inspect, collect evidence and prepare a report for a two bedroom unfurnished apartment. Larger properties and furnished properties would attract a larger fee.
- You could set out minimum and maximum prices for each property type so people using your services such as letting agents have clarity in respect of your charges. A straightforward property could be charged at the minimum rate but you would have scope to charge more for complex properties of the same type.
- Our opinion is that if you work for low prices your business may not ultimately be viable. We believe the emphasis should be on providing a reliable top quality service for reasonable and realistic fees reflecting your skills.
- When your business is established you can easily complete three or more inventory assignments per day. Based on two assignments per day over a five day working week a realistic expectation may be in the region of £700.00 to £12000.
- Even if you are thinking of working part time hours to fit around your lifestyle, completing five reports a week could give you earnings of around £500 a week.
- Once your business is established you may benefit from rollover and upwards earning potential. What this means as an established inventory clerk is that you may be returning multiple times to the same property due to the ebb and flow of tenancies. (a property may have multiple tenancies over time.) When you visit a property to carry out a first time inventory inspection and prepare a report it will take a certain amount of time. However, on subsequent visits you will be able to save time as you will only be updating a previous report. This time saving is very important as it allows you to carry out more inventories per day and grow your earnings.
- If you find your business becomes very successful, you may decide to employ other people to complete the Inventories for you or start an agency. In which case the sky is the limit for your earnings.
Why now is a good time to start an inventory clerk business.
Although an established career option, the role of a residential lettings inventory clerk has become more important for landlords and letting agents renting properties to tenants since the introduction of the governments Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
- Demand for inventory clerk services is consistent and growing.
What types of property would I be inspecting?.
Furnished, part furnished and fully furnished flats, apartments and houses. The range of properties you may encounter would range from studio apartments to large houses that may be furnished or unfurnished. You will need to be ready for properties that are extensively furnished and ornamented and include full sets of kitchen and dining ware (crockery, cutlery, cookware etc.)
Who uses Inventory Clerk services?.
Letting Agents, landlords, tenants and a variety of other property managers and organisations that need to have a formal and independent confirmation of the contents and condition of rented properties at the start and end of a tenancy.
How is an Inventory Clerk employed?.
Many inventory clerks are self employed or have their own small company and work independently for a variety of engagers such as letting agents, landlords, tenants, property managers etc.
How can I find work?.
- In our own experience the majority of work comes from letting agents with a lower proportion of work coming directly from landlords or tenants.
- Letting agents, landlords and tenants will need to be able to easily find your business when they are looking for inventory clerk services. Set up a website. This is probably going to be your best calling card to let people know who you are and what you offer. Internet searching is a very popular way that letting agents, landlords, tenants and other organisations use to find goods and services. (If you do not have a web presence you will not be found by internet searchers) An alternative is to subscribe to a free index website such as Landlordzone etc. or a more local to you popular (in your chosen area of operations free business listing website.
- Meeting letting agency managers at their offices to introduce your services and availability.
- Offer a free sample inventory service to letting agents. We suggest you only do this when you are ready and well trained as if you provide an inferior service you could lose a valuable potential customer and mar your reputation.
- Try to contact other inventory clerks operating in your area to establish relationships where work can be covered when they are on holidays etc.
- There are many advertising options that will place you in front of potential employers. Expensive local and national advertising should be considered with caution as inventory clerk services are a niche market and should not require expensive advertising budgets. We suggest that a carefully targeted approach to advertising be adopted to minimise costs and to have the most impact. If there is a dominant local newspaper in your area that has a popular property section this may be a good place to advertise as you can be sure that many property professionals will be able to see your advertising.
- If you eventually have your website Google Ads (AdWords) is still considered to be a simple and cost effective advertising channel especially if you localise your campaign to your area of operations.
- Social media is also ever growing and effective way to spread your message.
At the time of writing there are no formal government recognised qualifications such as NVQ’s etc. needed to become an Inventory Clerk. However, there are a number of organisations that set out to establish consistent standards in the residential lettings inventory industry. Membership of an industry recognised organisation is not necessary to trade but may give confidence to engagers of inventory clerk services. Also, accreditation may be a pre requisite in obtaining suitable insurance.
Learning the job.
There are a number of organisations that provide attended or remote training such as APIP and AIIC plus others who can be located by a Google search. To compliment (or replace) such services our low cost self training guide ‘Practical Techniques For Inventory Clerks’ is a comprehensive real world training resource to understand in detail all aspects of the physical practicalities of carrying out inventory inspections (how to do the job) and providing services.
Is the Inventory Clerk business right for me?.
You really will be amazed at the earning capacity you can enjoy as an Inventory Clerk and also at how enjoyable the job can be.
- You will be working ‘under your own steam’ as an Inventory Clerk and will be able to manage your own working day
- You will be speaking to customers both in person and by email and telephone in order to arrange inventories.
- You will need to have a good eye for detail and develop a methodical approach to inspections in order to become a skilled Inventory Clerk and make best use of your time.
- You will need your own transport unless you work in city locations.
- You will need to provide professional quality reports to be delivered electronically (email) or on paper.
- If you are not proficient at typing please consider one of the many apps now available once you have learned the fundamentals of the job and are more informed to evaluate an app. If you decide not to use an app and find it quicker to dictate your inventory inspection findings in to a voice recorder you can use the services of a transcription typist or use other data collection and reporting equipment and techniques that do not require extensive typing such as speech recognition software.
What hours will I need to work as an Inventory Clerk?.
This is really your choice!
- You can work part time hours to fit around your lifestyle, current job or children or you may decide you would like to become a full time inventory clerk and enjoy the healthy earning potential this will bring to you.
What do I need to start my business?.
- A computer with internet access.
- Printer. (Not essential if you send reports by email.)
- Stationary including paper, envelopes, stamps. (Not necessary if you send reports by email.)
- Blank CD or Video media to make copies of photographic or video evidence. (Not necessary if you upload files to your own, or, your client’s web space or photo-share or file sharing websites.)
- A digital camera or video recorder. (A capable smart phone could be an alternative)
- A Digital Dictaphone. (Not essential but very useful) (A capable smart phone could be an alternative.).
- A low cost way of collecting information at property inspections is by simple pen and paper notes if you are starting out on a tight budget.
- A car or bicycle etc to travel to the properties. (May not be necessary if you work in city locations.)
- A small budget for advertising and marketing costs.
- A website. (not necessary to start your business but may become essential in the marketing of your services.)
- Insurance for your operations and services. (ESSENTIAL!)
Inventory Clerk Apps.
Specialist software and hardware systems (Apps). We suggest that you only consider buying in to expensive hardware or subscription based inventory clerk systems (such as apps) once you have the basic experience to fully evaluate their usefulness and suitability for your needs.
I can’t type – I don’t like typing!.
There are reasonably priced transcription services available that can supply a fast turnaround of reports.(often on a same day basis). You can also consider using subscription based app or speech recognition software.
Maximise Your Time. The Golden Rule!.
One thing to seriously bear in mind is this fundamental fact: Your earning potential is directly based on the number of assignments (inspections) you are able to undertake in a day. (The Golden Rule.) Some systems and apps that promise ease of use may result in your spending extra time at an inspection which will restrict the number of assignments you are able to carry out in a day. When starting out consider using a digital recorder or even handwritten notes at an inspection which will allow a speedier throughput of inspections.
Eventually when you have gained experience you may wish to consider using an app so that you can enter your findings in to the app at the time of an inspection. In this way you would not have to (after the inspection) transcribe your findings in to a report.
An app may save time overall but possibly at the expense of taking longer at an inspection and possibly restricting how many assignments (jobs) you are able to fit in per day.
How Active Inventories can help you?.
Please see our Products which include our self training e book ‘Practical Techniques For Inventory Clerks’ and our inventory report document template ‘Inventory Template Pro’ which will enable you to compile professional quality reports with or without images for electronic (email) or paper delivery.
Please also see our current Special Offer.
We hope the above information has been informative and helpful. If you wish to discuss any aspect of the information or our products please contact us.