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Post Info TOPIC: 1st PAID INVENTORY COMPLETED AND DELIVERED!

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RE: 1st PAID INVENTORY COMPLETED AND DELIVERED!


I use a Canon S3 for most of my inventory work.  I have 2 of them in case one dies.  It is 6 MP and it does stills and video - I can record about 25 minutes of video on a 2Gb card.  It has a Super Macro feature that's great for jewelry, coins, etc.  It is no longer in production but I have seen a couple of used ones on craigslist and ebay recently.  The current Canon SX10 is a similar to the S3 camera.  Here's a scaled down sample close up shot from the S3.

Macro shot from Canon S3



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Hi Marcel,
You'll need a camera with good zoom features so you can capture smaller items like jewelry.  A good test is to visit your local electronics store to try the cameras and zoom in on a ring or watch to see if you can get a quality picture.

You don't necessarily need the highest megapixel offered since you won't be printing these at large sizes.  The downloading is simple and the instructions in the kit tells you get the pics from your camera associated with the inventory entries.

It would be great to hear feedback from others on specific camera models that have worked well.

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Fred Knapp
Innovative Software, LLC
Business Development & Software Solutions
www.HomeJournalBusiness.com
www.HomeInventoryBusinessForum.com

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Gentlemen,can someone recomend what kind of camera to use?
I am totaly new to the business and could also use a lesson in
downloading everything.I am hoping that will be explained in the
software package once I receive it.

Thanks,

Marcel

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LZ

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Thanks, that helps a lot.

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Larry TLZ Inventory Services

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Hi Larry,

I don't charge for the time it takes me to prepare the reports.  I charge only for the time I spend on-site in the client's home.  I know it sounds like a lot of work for little $$$$.  But,when all was said and done I made about $50/hr on this particular inventory.  You'll find that as you gain more experience you will be able to get it done a lot faster in most cases!  I inventory collections as a group unless they ask me to document each piece individually.  If they want each piece documented...the meter is running!  And, I let them know this before beginning the process.  My inventories start @ $250 for 3hrs on-site & materials... and increase from there at an average of $50/hr.  So far, that is what the market seems to bear in my neck of the woods.

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Robert Shockley Proprietor PhotoProof Inventory Services (603) 809 - 1502
LZ

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Congratulation Robert!
Being a newbie, I hope this question isn't silly. I hope to be setting out soon to start having customers and in figuring out the pricing I was wondering, do hourly prices include the actual inventory and offsite data entry? When it takes 2.5 hours to photograph and 3 hours to enter the data are they charged for 5.5 hours? How do you know how much to add for the actual inventory and how much for processing? Right now I think pricing is my biggest obstacle. Thanks in advance, this forum has been so helpful.

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Larry TLZ Inventory Services
JD

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janreynolds wrote:

How are you handling clothing?  I don't know what options to offer my first clients.




Always remember, it is up to the client how in depth and what is to be inventoried, but you can make suggestions on including items they don't want inventoried.

When I do a home or business inventory, I must be accompanied by the owner or other responsible person. This way, I have someone to answer questions, identify items and values, open drawers, closet and cabinet doors, etc. and I  have a witness watching me the whole time if they later find something missing that they themselves have misplaced.

For clothing, bath towels, multiple items of the same kind, etc.  I will take an overall photo of the closet and an individual photo of expensive or very good items. The client will tell you what they consider expensive or good. Do NOT make that decision yourself, but ask leading questions about items. I will also take an overall photo of the items in an open dresser drawer, then make a list of every item in the overall photos for the inventory. Sometimes, the client will want a photo of every dress, shirt and pants in their closet, but for items like socks, underclothing, etc. an overall photo with a written inventory is all you need. Again it is up to the client. If they want more photos, it will take longer to finish the inventory, which means you can charge them more money.

For liability reasons, I will NOT open anything! I will have the client open their closet, cabinets and dresser drawers and to protect myself, I don't touch anything whenever possible. However, I will assist the client in moving items when necessary.

Robert also makes some very good and valid points in his posting.


-- Edited by JD on Wednesday 8th of July 2009 10:01:24 AM

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I ask the clients if there are any articles of clothing they would like to have included in the inventory.  They obviously(hopefully) will let you know what is off limits.  I photograph the clothing as it hangs in the closets.  I open each drawer - if requested to do so - and photograph the open drawer.  Ask them if there are any "more expensive"(generally speaking) pieces they would like to have documented individually - i.e. leather, designer clothes, furs, clothing studded with gem stones etc. etc.  You might want to let them know to ask their insurance agent if any special policy riders are required...some do and some don't require them. 

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Robert Shockley Proprietor PhotoProof Inventory Services (603) 809 - 1502

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How are you handling clothing?  I don't know what options to offer my first clients. 

Thanks,
Jan

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Fantastic, great job.

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The clients had their tools in a tool cabinet and on pegboard.  I took a wide shot of the pegpboard and tool cabinet and then opened the drawers of the cabinet and took some close-up shots of all the tools.  Also took closer shots of the tools on the pegboard.  Took a group shot of the power tools and then close-ups of each power tool and their respective serial numbers if there were any.  DVD's were photographed as a group and then divided the collection into smaller groups and each group shot close up showing titles on the spine.  The client did not want their clothing photographed.  Anything electronic antique or in a collection I gave extra attention - I should say, as much as the client wanted me to give.  As far as the written portion of the inventory, I gathered all serial numbers wherever possible and recorded as much detail as possible.  I have inventory sheets for each room with general items already listed and then add  their unique items while I am on-site.  It saves me and the client a lot of time!  Everything really boils down to what the client wants documented.  You should also make suggestions along the way.  The more detail you have the better off you and your client will be, but, common sense goes a long way also.

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Robert Shockley Proprietor PhotoProof Inventory Services (603) 809 - 1502
JD

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steveL wrote:

So for the most part you only listed the valuable items and just photo and videoed the rest of the house? What about things like tools? Did you just photo them or did you list them on the written part of the inventory? DVD's? Clothing? Basically how in depth do you get on the written part of the inventory? I think I may have listed to much stuff on the written part of the inventory I did on my house.



First off, let me say, you can never have too much stuff listed in the inventory. The more you have listed, the more complete it is. Whenever I do an inventory, I ask the home, or business owner how in depth they want the inventory to be. Some want every last item inventoried and some only want  overall photos with general listings and the expensive or special items listed/photographed. For my credibility and liability, I will NOT list anything in the inventory I did not take a photo of. This helps prevent fraud.

For items like tools, I will take an overall photo of the tool box and a photo of each open drawer if it has them. If it is just a box where everything is dumped in the same bin, I will ask the owner to lay them out on the floor with like items next to each other. If it is a special purpose, or very expensive tool, I will take a photo of it and a photo showing it either in the room, or with the other tools. Either way,  I will also input a complete, or general list of the tools shown in the photos.

If there is a collection of records (78's, 33 1/3, 45's or others), videos (VHS or Beta format), CD's, DVD's or others, I will take an overall photo and list every item that was in that photo, If the home owner makes that list, it saves me time but if I have to make the list, I will probably use up the allotted time I allow for an inventory and go into an hourly rate which ends up costing them more.

I don't make a pre-inventory trip unless they want one as it costs money in gas, mileage and ware on the vehicle. If I do make a pre-trip, I might, or might not add an additional fee. It all depends on how involved the inventory is. I do try to make it seem as though I'm giving them a break on the price saying it would cost $xxx, but I'm not going to charge for ___ and I insert whatever it might be. If I go 30 minuets over the allotted time, I don't usually charge them for it, if it goes past 45 minuets, I might. An hour overtime, most definitely they will probably be charged. But again, it all depends on them, their attitude, the assistance they gave me, the amount of stuff and other factors. This way, they think I'm doing them a favor by not charging as much as  I could and they will be more inclined to refer me to their friends.

It is amazing how much "Stuff" people accumulate over the years and most have no idea they have that much, as they never see it until they dig it out for the inventory. I've done multi-million dollar mansions with 10 or more bedrooms on Lake Tahoe that took less time then a three bedroom house as they didn't have a collection of worthless junk, uh, make that stuff.

One more thing, when I take photographs, I will download each room as I finish it into a separate folder marked with that room's designation while on site. After downloading each room into my laptop, I then delete all photos in the camera befor starting on the next room to prevent mixing rooms together. That way I can't input the photos into the wrong room. Most of the time I make notes on the items and input the info when I get back to my office and sometimes I will actually input certain items into the software while my clients looks on. This will prevent wrong data being input and if you have any questions, you won't have to call them back to ask although it does happen.

Always remember, It is up to the home or business owner what is photographed and what information is contained in their inventory. You can however make suggestion on including items.

-- Edited by JD on Monday 6th of July 2009 02:02:45 AM

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So for the most part you only listed the valuable items and just photo and videoed the rest of the house? What about things like tools? Did you just photo them or did you list them on the written part of the inventory? DVD's? Clothing? Basically how in depth do you get on the written part of the inventory? I think I may have listed to much stuff on the written part of the inventory I did on my house.

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Steve- Mayflower Home Inventory

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Hi Jan,

I entered the inventory after I got back home.  It would have taken too long to do it on-site.  I charge my clients based on time and not square footage simply because so much stuff can be packed into even the smallest home.  I didn't really have any challenges because I discussed everything with the client prior to conducting the inventory (inventory was done on the 2nd visit...1st visit was to determine the scope & level of detail requested by the client).  Client knew that their collections & boxes of "stuff" would be inventoried as 'groups' and not individually.  I took a photo from each corner of each room and then closeups and wrote down pertinent information on all electronics, collections and furnishings.  Hope this helps you.  If you have any other questions let me know.   

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Robert Shockley Proprietor PhotoProof Inventory Services (603) 809 - 1502

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Congratulations!  I am getting ready to start doing homes.  Not quite there yet.  Did  you enter the inventory into your computer on site or when you got home? 

What were some of your biggest challenges? 

Thanks!
Jan Reynolds
Reynolds Home Inventory

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Great job Robert and congratulations on your success.  As you continue to gain experience I'm sure that you'll also find you can get the job done in less time.

It sounds like you did a very complete inventory and have fully satisfied the client... that is what is all about  smile

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Fred Knapp
Innovative Software, LLC
Business Development & Software Solutions
www.HomeJournalBusiness.com
www.HomeInventoryBusinessForum.com

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Finished and delivered my first paid inventory today!  Conducted the inventory last Thursday at a small ranch style home (approx 1000sf).  Took 156 photos which included 1 storage shed, 1 workshop and the interior and exterior of the home.  Took about 2.5 hrs to photograph and another 3 hrs to enter photos & descriptions, print material, burn cd's and assemble 3-ring binder.  Delivered final package today and helped client load software onto their PC & give a quick lesson.  The client was very happy and has already contacted his son about getting one done at his home!!smile

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Robert Shockley Proprietor PhotoProof Inventory Services (603) 809 - 1502
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