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Vacatia FotoNotes Case Study

Vacatia Takes Inventory with FotoNotes

Vacatia is a timeshare company putting a new spin on hospitality. Hovering somewhere between an online travel agency, a property management company, and a real estate brokerage, Vacatia connects customers with their next vacation destinations—and also partners with resorts to help them thrive.

According to Miky Kuo at Vacatia, FotoNotes technology came in handy for the company in a rather unique use case.

Assessing a dated property

“We were looking at renovating a set of properties. There was this one in the Poconos in Pennsylvania,” he remembers. “We took over management, and it was kind of a dated property.”

Encountering a property that needs work is not uncommon in the hospitality business. The challenge was that most of the Vacatia team members worked remotely. Somehow, they had to figure out how to take inventory of the condition of each unit in the rather large property. In total, 54 units needed to be evaluated—four per building, townhome-style—each with two bedrooms, two baths, and a kitchen.

While considering potential solutions, Kuo remembered using FotoNotes at a previous company. Its features, he thought, might work for this use case too. Vacatia decided to work with FotoNotes to create a template that could be used to streamline the process of collecting data and organizing photos for each unit, and then they would have an on-site staff member physically take inventory.

Getting a custom set-up

After signing up with FotoNotes, Vacatia noticed right away that the onboarding process and client care stood out.

“I worked with Robin Droppa and Lauren Kane,” Kuo says, “and it wasn’t too hard to get set up.”

Vacatia and FotoNotes worked in an iterative process, with FotoNotes aiming to set up Vacatia’s template exactly as needed for this particular rental inventory project.

“Lauren and Robin were great in that process and in getting it done,” states Kuo. “There was a little bit of back and forth with them and their back-end tech team to do the custom work we needed, but it wasn’t hard…it went pretty smoothly.”

Staying organized across units

When the time came for the actual inventories to take place, Vacatia was ready.

“We had an employee go through each unit, take pictures of each thing that needed to be assessed, and then rate whether it needs to be replaced, repaired, or do nothing,” Kuo says.

While the process took some time due to the detailed nature of the inspections and the extensive property being examined, the Vacatia team was ultimately left with 54 detailed reports with photos.

“You know, what was helpful about it was we were able to categorize each thing that needed to be assessed—rather than have the employee go in and say, take a bunch of pictures, organize the pictures, and tell us what needs to be done,” reflects Kuo.

Once Kuo had the detailed reports in hand, he was able to export the information to a spreadsheet and then assign an estimated repair/replace cost to each line item.

Retaining value over time

While Vacatia ultimately put that particular renovation project on hold due to unforeseen circumstances, Miky Kuo is glad his team used FotoNotes.

“I think that the end product is still useful to us. It’s almost a year and a half later, and it was worth my time to go back and download and archive [the reports] for our records. The inventory part of it is still very valuable data to us.”

Considering FotoNotes’ value a little more, he adds: “If we had the time and the need, I’d ask our teams across all our properties to just take inventory and do it for everything.”

When asked about the most valuable feature of FotoNotes, Kuo names the phone app, which allowed the company to solve their problem remotely in the first place.

“I’m going to say the phone app–being able to go through in a very organized fashion to take pictures, and basically instruct the onsite inspection team, unit by unit, in a very organized way—and then being able to spit out the report that has it in a very organized fashion. I don’t think there’s anything we could’ve done to replicate that.”

To learn more about FotoNotes visit our Product page or contact us at sales@fotonotes.com.
Featured Post
Meet the Team Robin

Meet Robin Droppa: VP of Solutions and Customer Success

Collaborating with SFR clients to find flexible approaches to unique situations.

On a typical day, Robin Droppa almost forgets she works for FotoNotes.

The company, which offers mobile and cloud-based solutions for streamlining property field operations, has been around for over a decade, and Droppa has been a part of the team since the beginning.

But in many cases, she becomes completely immersed in partnering with her clients. “I often feel like I actually work for them,” she says. “You know, there are times I feel like I could represent myself as a part of their team because I understand their businesses so well.”

As Vice President of Solutions and Customer Success at FotoNotes, Robin Droppa works hard to help clients in the single-family rental (SFR) space implement the technology and achieve their goals.

Keeping clients first from the beginning

In the dot-com era, Droppa started an agency that specialized in e-commerce. She partnered up with entrepreneurs, helping them to monetize new technologies they were building. She also found success doing market strategy and pitching venture capitalists, raising funds on behalf of her clients.

“From there, I actually branched out with some people that I met, and I ended up starting a company, which was called iConvention. It was a set of online tools in support of trade shows,” she explains. “The thing that was kind of interesting is at that time it wasn’t called software-as-a-service, but that was literally what we did. It’s kind of neat to have been involved in the earliest days of SaaS.”

Later, Droppa moved on to an investment group in a real estate adjacent space. It was there that she first met FotoNotes founder and CEO Kamal Shah, who came to pitch the group, Shark Tank-style. The firm ended up investing, and Droppa was brought to help FotoNotes grow.

“I’ve been here since the beginning,” she reflects. “I’ve grown up through FotoNotes and grown up with the markets that it reaches.”

Getting to know customers’ needs

In her role at FotoNotes, Droppa heads up the SFR side of the business. She spends time chatting with customers and potential customers, learning more about what they need. Then she brings those ideas back to her team.

“And then in addition to that, I work closely with all of our clients to help them get set up and configured and using FotoNotes successfully,” she adds.

Droppa also leads a team that includes customer support, customer success, and customer solutions.

“It’s a form of account management,” she explains, “but with less of a focus on selling and far more of a focus on how our customers can successfully use FotoNotes, what other areas of their business that they can adopt FotoNotes into, and then what other things we can add to our product that would allow us to further support their needs and grow with them as customers.”

Droppa’s favorite part of her job is getting to know her clients well, so she can help them find ways to integrate FotoNotes seamlessly into their workflows.

“I get a good sense of what their companies are doing, what their businesses are based around, their philosophies, [and] their challenges,” she says, “and I love taking this very, very, flexible system that we offer at FotoNotes and configuring it so that it can support the needs of these companies that I work closely with.”

Even after working for the company for so long, Droppa still expresses genuine amazement over the product and its many uses.

“On the SFR side, it’s fascinating. We end up configuring and reconfiguring FotoNotes and applying it so differently from company to company that it’s almost like it’s a different product.”

Finding flexibility in a tech-savvy industry

The single-family rental industry emerged as a category just in the last eight or nine years, and Droppa has noticed some trends over that time.

“One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s a very tech-savvy sector. There’s a desire to adopt technology for efficiency.”

Because the single-family rental space is so tech-forward, changes come quickly, and companies must adapt.

“This is an incredibly fast-moving industry, as you can imagine,” she says. “We’ve seen customers go from owning 7,000 homes to owning 40,000 homes in less than 5 years. With that kind of speed, companies have to be super agile, and they have to be able to iterate their processes quickly as they go.”

This is the kind of information that Droppa shares with the FotoNotes product team. Much of the feedback has to do with places where clients must quickly pivot and quickly iterate, in response to market changes.

In addition to the industry leaning toward tech-savvy, Droppa has also noticed some other trends over time.

“There’s starting to be a lot of interest in build-to-rent,” she notes. “I’ve also noticed that there seems to be a crossover between the single-family space and the short-term rental space—like the three-month rentals, the shorter, not-so-permanent living spaces.”

Finally, Droppa has noticed a rise in energy efficiency awareness in the residential real estate space.

“One thing I love is that there is absolutely a crossover between clean energy and the solar space in residential, and the people that are either building to rent or acquiring and managing single-family homes for rentals,” she states. “Energy efficiency is an important aspect of what people are doing when they’re there owning and managing these properties.”

Celebrating agility in a changing market

When asked about her favorite FotoNotes product features, Droppa doesn’t hesitate even for a second.

“There’s one feature–it’s a set of features actually that support a use case–that I feel like we are uniquely positioned to do in an excellent way,” she says, “and it has to do with estimating.”

While other types of software can create estimates, scopes, and job reports, those programs were typically built for large-scale construction projects. SFR projects are different: They deal with a much tighter timeline. Even before a company acquires a property, workers must go in and quickly assess how much money needs to be put into the property to get it rent- or market-ready.

“So that estimating piece is absolutely critical to the success or failure of a single individual acquisition. If they get it wrong, they’re in trouble, right?”

Besides estimating, the other pivotal stage in the SFR process is the “turn,” the time when the tenant moves out. At this point, the rental company has to be able to quickly come in to clean, repair, and get everything ready for the next resident.

“During those two places in the process–in getting it ready to market for the first time and then in those turns–this estimating use case is so critical. And trying to use ‘a brick to swat a fly’ doesn’t make sense for these guys, doesn’t give them the agility they need,” she explains. “So FotoNotes really has built the only estimating product that is specifically created for this single-family rental space.”

To support the renovation and rehab use case, FotoNotes puts to work a series of features. The software combines dynamic field groups, the service line database, line item management, mobile tools, and the ability to communicate quickly with people in different locations. With this unique combination of components, SFR companies can do an estimate, turn it into a scope, and manage each of the items that were estimated—from whether it was approved or not, to looking at statuses on the work itself, to sending to the contractors to do the work—all the way to closing the job out.

“So I’d say that that whole use case of renovation and rehab, from estimating to scoping to completing the work—that’s been super exciting for me to be able to deliver. It’s so unique and it fits our space incredibly well,” Droppa says.

Making time for adventure

When she’s not helping clients find success with FotoNotes, Droppa finds time to cheer on her beloved Kansas City Chiefs. (Fun fact: She’s never lived in Kansas City.)

She’s also very family-oriented.

“A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to meet an entire family that I did not know I had. I ended up finding out I had a biological father, a sister, and brothers, who I met about five years ago. So I ended up moving to Idaho, very far north in Idaho.”

In addition to spending time with extended family, she enjoys hanging out with her four sons and her husky mixes, Chief and Hunter.

And more often than not, she’s probably out in nature.

“I do a ton of hiking, skiing, non-motorized outdoor sports. This is a great area if you are into the mountains, skiing, kayaking, fishing,” she says.

If that’s not enough adventure for Droppa, there’s always more on the horizon.

“All four of my sons and I are going to go to Alaska for the first time ever. We’re going to visit Glacier Bay, which is something all of us are pretty excited about.”

To learn more about FotoNotes visit our Product page or contact us at sales@fotonotes.com.
Featured Post
Meet Lauren FotoNotes

Meet Lauren Kane: Manager of Solutions and Customer Success

From a nonprofit to FotoNotes, Kane has focused on helping others grow.

Nonprofit and tech seem like two very different sectors. And at face value, they are.

But Lauren Kane has always had a passion for helping others—a trait that has served her well across both industries.

Now at FotoNotes, a mobile and cloud solution for streamlining property field operations, Kane uses her expertise to make the client experience as smooth as possible.

In her role as Manager of Solutions and Customer Success, Kane helps customers optimize their usage of FotoNotes’ tools and templates.

Developing a marketing background

Kane started out doing fundraising and development for a children’s nonprofit in her home state of Florida.

At the time, she was actually still in school. After graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Media and Communications Studies from Florida State University, she started looking for jobs.

She held a few different positions before she ultimately landed at an aerial imagery and cable flyover inspection company.

“I was doing marketing and customer success for them and one of our partners was FotoNotes,” she explains.

Kane spent some time getting to know the FotoNotes team, including CEO Kamal Shah and Robin Droppa, Vice President of Solutions and Customer Success. Together they collaborated on a couple of webinars.

Later, Kane moved to Hawaii, which meant she had to leave her previous job. Shah reached out and offered her a position with FotoNotes.

“My husband is actually in the Navy,” she says. “So we move a lot. I’m able to work remotely with FotoNotes wherever we go.”

Helping customers achieve success

Kane has seen her role and responsibilities shift in the five years she’s been at FotoNotes.

When she originally started, she was focused on the company’s trials and a bit of marketing. Since then, she has found herself working more directly with customers on the single-family rental (SFR) side of things.

“Primarily I partner with Robin and work on solutions and customer success,” she explains.

Kane’s day-to-day work involves setting up custom templates for clients and working with them to customize their FotoNotes portals for their workflows. She is also involved in onboarding and retention for SFR customers.

“I’m working with [customers] continuously to ensure FotoNotes is meeting their needs as they grow.”

When asked about her favorite part of her job, Kane doesn’t hesitate. “I love working with the customers, and I love all the customers. I won’t say I have any favorites,” she laughs.

And though working with customers is fun, Kane is happy to invest time in other aspects of her position as well.

“I also love occasionally doing the heads-down solutions work on templates,” she says. “It’s sometimes nice looking at a client’s physical template form and thinking how do you transfer that to a template in FotoNotes.”

To keep things interesting, FotoNotes is always creating new templates and features for customers. One of Kane’s personal favorites is the Managed Items tool. Kane appreciates how helpful this feature is for the customers she aims to please.

FotoNotes’ Managed Items feature allows the customer to better organize, manage, and report field data captured at job sites. It has proven especially useful in the SFR space for estimating.

“We’re just seeing so many of our SFR clients growing and utilizing that tool,” she says. “We’ve gotten such positive feedback, and it’s really helping [clients] manage their scopes and break them down individually.”

Making time for herself

When Kane is not helping FotoNotes customers, she’s busy maintaining an active lifestyle. She especially enjoys working out. “I’ve kind of become a Peloton addict lately,” she confesses.

On nice days, she often opts for outdoor exercise instead.

“We’re in Central California, so when the weather’s not too hot or too cold, we like to go hiking,” she says.

Sometimes she is accompanied on hikes by her rescue dog, Loki, a terrier-shepherd mix.

“I spend a lot of time with my dog,” she admits. “I love dogs and volunteer at the SPCA when I can.”

Kane adopted Loki from the SPCA about three years ago, and she is impressed by the amount of energy he has.

“He’s very talkative and loud and overall energetic and a little crazy,” she laughs.

While Kane loves hanging out with her dog, she also needs some quiet time. When she is hoping to unwind, Kane turns to books, especially thrillers.

“A recent favorite of mine is called Long Bright River by Liz Moore. I really enjoyed it. It’s a thriller but also about addiction and the opioid crisis.”

Ultimately, Kane is hoping to find herself reading on a beach somewhere by year’s end.

“I’m excited to hopefully travel,” she says. “I’ll be celebrating my 10-year anniversary, so I’ll be traveling to somewhere on the coast. I can’t believe it. Time flies!”

To learn more about FotoNotes visit our Product page or contact us at sales@fotonotes.com.
Featured Post
Three Tools for the Single-Family Rental Space

3 Tools for the Single-Family Rental Space

Using Technology to Improve Efficiency, Saving You Time and Money

With a still-hot housing market and an ongoing pandemic, securing and managing properties is more stressful than ever. 

You find a perfect two-bedroom to add to your portfolio, but you are outbid a minute too soon. Or you send inspectors out, but they forget crucial photos—pulling operations off-schedule.

Increasingly, single-family rental companies are employing technology to streamline and automate processes. Tech can now make it easier to find homes, manage existing properties, and grow your portfolio.

But it is important to find just the right tools—the ones that will genuinely make your life easier and increase your return on investment.

Here are three tech tools sure to improve operational efficiency for SFR companies: 

Exploration and Acquisition: HouseCanary

Fintech company HouseCanary simplifies the process of finding and buying residential real estate. 

One challenge of navigating a hot real estate market is locating potential properties—and then making a fast-yet-informed decision to buy. 

You may already be familiar with the HouseCanary name due to its home valuation and forecasting algorithms.

What you might not know is that these algorithms fuel three exploration tools to help investors find new properties: the Property Explorer, Rental Explorer, and the new Acquisition Explorer.

 

  • Property Explorer (PE) provides a strong jumping-off point for your SFR search. This data-mapping tool allows you to research and visualize potential properties. Then you can view sales and rental comps and predict home values with HouseCanary’s precise property valuation and analytics. Bonus: The PE tool even allows you to adjust for a home’s condition, predicting its after-repair sales price and helping you minimize risk.
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  • Rental Explorer (RE) is perfect for finding and selecting SFRs. This tool lets you discover more about a potential property’s neighborhood, which is useful if you are expanding your portfolio into a new area. It also pinpoints the monthly rental price for a specific house, reducing your guesswork and stress. 
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  • Acquisition Explorer (AE) is a brand-new and ultra-useful way to find homes to add to your portfolio. Looking for 2-3 bedroom SFRs in desirable neighborhoods? Customize a Buy Box with your criteria. Then, as listings become available across the country, you can review them, compare them, and make real-time investment decisions.

With HouseCanary, you can find the best investments and make data-driven, real-time decisions to purchase. And since HouseCanary is also a 50-state (plus D.C.) brokerage, resulting transactions are smooth and painless too.

Forms and Service Management: FotoNotes

Once you decide you want to add a property to your SFR portfolio, there is a flurry of forms to fill out and a multitude of management tasks to check off a list. Multiply this activity by the number of properties you own, and it can all get pretty overwhelming pretty fast. 

That’s where FotoNotes jumps in to help. 

FotoNotes’s cloud software is custom-made for the SFR space, so it can help you efficiently organize and complete your day-to-day tasks. FotoNotes lets you manage:

 

  • Acquisitions: When making buying decisions you often want to gather your own data and photos on the property and do a quick renovation scope to understand what the costs will be to make it rent-ready. With FotoNotes you can do quick pre-acquisition inspections and scopes, get that information instantly and use it to make informed buying decisions.
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  • Renovations: These are often tricky to juggle, especially with many properties undergoing projects at one time. FotoNotes allows you to keep careful tabs on renovations. You can create forms for your contractors and vendors to complete at job sites, and they can use the app to upload photos during each step of the process. Daily or weekly progress reports can be shared with a click of a button.
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  • Inspections: The quicker you can get a home site inspected, the quicker you can turn it over to tenants. With FotoNotes, you can create customized forms for inspectors to follow, fill out, and sign off on. Inspectors can take, annotate, and upload high-resolution photos. That way the original state of the property is clearly documented before new tenants move in. Bonus: With the COVID pandemic, you can even use pre-made templates to allow tenants to conduct their own contactless move-out inspections, complete with photos. 
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  • Marketing: FotoNotes can also reduce the length of time your properties are on the market. You can create and organize turn reports in a snap. If you take photos using a traditional camera app, you risk forgetting some important angles or shots. Plus, your photos could get disorganized or lost. With FotoNotes, you can create templates that make it easy to take and label high-res photos. You can then use them to develop and share reports or other marketing materials. 

One final advantage of FotoNotes is how well it works with your existing productivity tools. It integrates seamlessly with other common apps you use, such as Salesforce, Zapier, and ServiceMax. 

Self-Guided Touring: Rently

Rently is a self-guided app that allows prospective renters to tour vacant properties on their own. 

Prospects love it for its convenience, allowing them to see houses even after work at night. Plus, they can view homes at their own pace without an agent to guide them.

SFR companies love Rently because it saves them time and money. No more rushing across town to show a property. No more waiting around for no-shows. 

Plus, virtual tours mean increased opportunities for showings, meaning each property spends less time on the market. 

The process is easy. You sign up. Rently ships you your access devices, such as a smart lockbox, a Bluetooth-enabled keyless lock, or a smart home suite.

After you install the access devices, Rently syndicates your listing on all the major online rental sites. 

The best part? You don’t even have to stress about responding to inquiries. Rently has an auto-responder tool that will reply for you and let prospects know how to sign up for their self-guided tour. 

Worried about prospects damaging the property you work so hard to maintain? Don’t be. Rently verifies all prospects in a multi-step authentication process that requires a government ID, a credit card, and AI-enhanced screening.

Once the prospects are verified, they will receive a one-time code to enter the property. And with the Rently app, they can view maps and property details to learn all about can’t-be-missed features. 

If you have many properties in your portfolio, Rently makes it easier to keep track of them. You just open your Manager Portal, and then you can monitor and manage tours for all of your SFRs from there.

Bottom line: By offering self-guided tours, you can turn properties over faster and grow your portfolio. 

Simplifying the process

The single-family rental industry comes with its own unique obstacles. Unlike apartment buildings, SFRs are often spread out geographically. And you don’t have the luxury of having an on-site property manager. 

The next best thing? 

Adding technology-based tools to your operations. Tech saves you time. And as the old adage goes, time is money. 

Software and apps like HouseCanary, FotoNotes, and Rently automate many of your daily tasks and to-dos.

It is easier than ever to streamline the process of buying, marketing, maintaining, and selling investment properties. 

Instead of worrying about organizing listing photos or finding a new tenant, you can focus on expanding your portfolio and upping your ROI.

To learn more about FotoNotes visit our Single Family Rental page or contact us at sales@fotonotes.com.
Featured Post
Meet Dan Landy - FotoNotes

Meet Dan Landy: Principal Software Architect at FotoNotes

With 20 years of experience, Landy designs software that keeps customers’ needs at the forefront.

Dan Landy is the Principal Software Architect at FotoNotes, a project management tool for the solar industry that allows users to organize and share photos and data at job sites, optimizing time spent in the field.  In this role, Landy brings his 20 years of experience to bear on the design and implementation of the company’s software model.

Making software run smoothly

“I’m responsible for designing the architecture, or you could say the model, behind FotoNotes. That means understanding what features we are trying to build – which is determined by what our customers are asking us for,” he says.

Once he has the model and user interface worked out, the next step is writing the code. One specific example is building the API, or Application Programming Interface.

“We have a customer-facing API and a mobile API. The former allows our customers to move data into and out of FotoNotes and integrate it with their systems of record.  The latter is used by the FotoNotes mobile apps (for Android and IOS) to interact with the back end.”

In addition to designing and implementing the software, Landy also devotes time to researching bug reports. He investigates when a customer says something isn’t working as expected—and dives in to troubleshoot.

As part of the FotoNotes team, Landy participates in weekly product meetings, where customers’ requests are always top-of-mind.  At each meeting, the team discusses how to make fixes and add features that customers want.

“One of the challenges faced by any software company is prioritizing and triaging those requests, figuring out what order we are going to do them in,” Landy says.

Solving customer’s real-world problems

Landy has an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Operations research is an applied math/engineering discipline. It’s about finding optimal solutions to real-world problems like airline scheduling or factory workflows,” Landy clarifies.

After working for a few years as a consultant in that field, Landy switched gears. A solution-seeker, he zeroed in on the place he felt he could make the most impact.

“[Up until the point of building the software] you had consultants who were talking about problems at a pretty high level. But it seemed to me that the real problem-solving happened once it came time to actually write code, and so that’s what I wanted to learn.”

In 2000, Landy landed his first programming job at a company that was making software for non-profits that facilitated online advocacy and fundraising. After six years there, he met Kamal Shah, who was a software development consultant working on a contract basis.

Landy and Shah started working together on a variety of projects. Then Shah founded Invu Technology, where the pair gravitated toward working with startups. They specifically focused on business applications rather than consumer-facing applications.

“We did an application for managing various networked devices,” Landy states. “We did an application for maintaining complex catalogs of parts. We did one for managing charged-off credit card accounts. Working on such a wide variety of projects kept things interesting.”

In 2009, Shah started FotoNotes/SiteCapture, and Landy hopped on board a year later.

As Principal Software Architect, Landy plays an important role in the company’s success, and he has helped develop many of its key features.

When asked about his favorite FotoNotes feature, Landy pauses. “That’s an interesting question. I think that our whole templating system is very powerful.  It is quite flexible and can therefore serve a wide variety of customer requirements.”

One of Landy’s goals is to meet customers’ needs completely while creating a product that is still simple to use. He aims to give people a product that has all the options they want without overwhelming them with an unnecessarily complex system.

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge of trying to make it as flexible as possible without making it too complicated. Finding that balance between flexibility and ease of use is a challenge I’ve always enjoyed”.

Finding time to recharge and explore

As invested as he is in FotoNotes’ software and success, Landy still finds time to relax. He can often be found baking in the kitchen: mostly bread, but also pizza, pies, scones, and cookies.

“I have two basic types of bread I make: yeasted bread, which is pretty forgiving, and sourdough bread which is more finicky and takes longer, but tastes a lot better.”

Beyond baking, when looking for a more social, athletic outlet, Landy heads outside to the pickleball court. He started playing pickleball—a paddle sport melding elements of tennis and ping pong —just in the past year.

“I started playing during Covid. It’s a good way to socialize with people outside, and it’s highly addictive – in a good way.  I used to do other things like biking, swimming, running, weights, etc., but now it’s mostly Pickleball.”

He also enjoys traveling, an activity that has been on hold during Covid, but one he hopes to resume in 2022.

“I’m looking forward to doing a bike tour since it’s been a while since my last one, which was in Italy – one of my favorite places.”

His next stop?

“I’m thinking about Denmark maybe. I’ve always wanted to go there, and it’s renowned for its bike-friendliness.”

After time abroad, Landy will be back, well-rested and rejuvenated. And he’ll be ready to return to what he does best—designing FotoNotes software that satisfies customers.

To learn more about FotoNotes visit our Product page or contact us at sales@fotonotes.com.
Featured Post
Utilizing Dynamic Field Groups with FotoNotes

Utilizing Dynamic Field Groups & Managing Items with FotoNotes

If you have ever used FotoNotes you are probably familiar with how our smart form fields work.  Using our template editor, anyone can create and update the forms adding instructional text or questions, selecting what type of input is allowed and choosing whether or not photos or comments should be added or required.  We refer to these as “static fields”.  These will show up on any project you create in FotoNotes from any template.  What you may not be familiar with is a feature we call  “dynamic field groups”.  These are like little forms within your form.  On the mobile or web interface they appear with a button that says something like “add items”.  You can name the groups however you like, for example, if you wanted to use this feature to have someone build an estimate for repairs, you might call the dynamic field group “repairs” and then it would display as “add repair items”.  You can have multiple dynamic field groups in any section of your template.

FotoNotes Dynamic Field Groups

FotoNotes’ dynamic field groups can be utilized to create punch lists, build estimates, generate additional repair lists or add days to a daily progress report with ease. By simply pressing a button on the app, a field user can quickly capture additional information on the spot, without needing a predetermined field for that information.  Everytime they add an item, it builds its own item table or a list of what we call dynamic items.

When you combine dynamic field groups with our service line database – you also have the ability to build quotes, scopes or do other cost estimating that will automatically calculate based on input of things like units (e.g. square feet, each, cubic yard).  

Managing Estimates and Scopes with Dynamic Items

FotoNotes Cost Estimating

In the field, users can add dynamic items, capturing detailed information, like photos and descriptions.  The dynamic field group has form fields that can take advantage of the same features our static fields have such as making these fields required, admin only, conditional, or enforcing that a photo be taken or a comment allowed.  You can also use the “hide from” aspect that allows the fields to show up based on the role of the user who is creating the item.

Once a project has been completed with its dynamic items populated, anyone with permissions can use our new “Manage Items” feature where they can work with the list of items in a variety of ways.  You can group them by category, section, or type of item.  You can also group them based on a field like “approved” or “complete” or really any field you like.  Our support team can help you set up your templates with what we refer to as “report columns” which allow you to choose which fields from a dynamic field group show up as columns in the item list view and also allows you to name those columns anything you like.

FotoNotes Managed Items

Once you have them grouped, you can select a subset of items and copy them to a new work order, generate a PDF report with only those items, or you can perform bulk actions like deleting  items.  It is a really simple and quick way to work with the items your users have generated when working on a project that uses dynamic field groups.

Ready to use the Manage Items feature? Find out more on our support site

This feature helps keep your FotoNotes smart forms efficient.  Now, you can replace the need for static fields that might have to list out things like “repair item 1”, “repair item 2” and so on – with a dynamic field group allowing them to add as many or as few items as needed. 

With just a few simple steps to set up dynamic field groups in your templates, and a press of a button on the app, dynamic items can help you gather important information in real time, eliminating the need to make multiple trips to a work site and when you combine dynamic field groups with our service line item feature – you also can have a powerful real time scoping and estimating tool.  

Learn more about implementing Dynamic items on our support site

If you are a FotoNotes customer and are looking for more information on FotoNotes and dynamic items, please email your Customer Success team or support@fotonotes.com

If you are interested in becoming a FotoNotes customer please email us at sales@fotonotes.com.

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renovations and turns

[REPLAY] Webinar: Streamlining Renovations and Turns with FotoNotes

We had a great turn out for our live webinar covering how to streamline renovations and turns using FotoNotes! During the webinar we talked about how SFR companies use FotoNotes to manage the entire process, saving them tremendous amounts of time and money along the way.

We Covered:

-Introduction to FotoNotes Renovation and Turn Management Solution

-Creating room by room line item estimates in the FotoNotes mobile app

-Reviewing estimates and converting to scopes of work in the FotoNotes web app

-Tracking projects, creating punch lists and job completion reports

-Generating reports

-Q&A

Watch the Recording of the Webinar 

If you didn’t get the opportunity to join us, you can still rewatch the recording here and get caught up –> https://vimeo.com/646646524  

renovations and turns

See FotoNotes Estimating in Action

With FotoNotes it’s simple to manage your renovations and turns. Schedule your personalized demo today and have a chance to see the most powerful and easy to use solution in the market. Contact sales@fotonotes.com to get started.

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renovations-and-turns

New Features Released for Managing Renovations and Turns

NEW RELEASE!

Renovations and turns have officially been made simpler than ever with FotoNotes’ newest features released! 

Managing renovations and turns are some of the most  complicated and cumbersome processes that property managers face.  We’re here to help with a bunch of new features that make these processes faster and easier than ever.

In our latest release, property managers can now:

– Easily get complete, accurate, line item estimates from contractors 

– Review and manage estimates and then turn them into scopes of work with one click

– Track progress, manage punch lists, and perform completion reports

– Generate PDF reports at every step of the process

– Integrate with any other system through our API or our Zapier App

All of this in one platform.

Watch Our Video to see How It Works

See FotoNotes in Action

With FotoNotes it’s simple to manage your renovations and turns. Schedule your personalized demo today and have a chance to see the most powerful and easy to use solution in the market. 

SCHEDULE A DEMO TODAY

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tenant inspections

How to Conduct Contactless Tenant Inspections During Covid-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic, most customers do not want service providers coming into their homes to conduct inspections. With FotoNotes’ Contactless Inspection Solution, companies in property management, insurance and other industries can have their customers easily complete their own inspections, keep everyone safe and save time and money. 

The Solution for Tenant Inspections

The FotoNotes Resident Inspection Solution will allow you to easily receive verified, tamper-proof inspections directly from the tenants of your properties. With a very intuitive interface, your resident will find it very easy  to conduct their property inspection on their own, and it just takes you 1 minute to send to them! 

Here’s how the solution for FotoNotes’ Contactless Tenant Inspections works.

resident inspections covid

 

Create your Inspection Form & Send it to Your Residents 

From the FotoNotes web application you  can choose a pre-made inspection template from the FotoNotes inspection form library or easily customize your own form to use. Once it is completed you can email the link to the inspection form directly to any resident straight from the FotoNotes dashboard. 

Your resident will receive an email with instructions and a link to begin the inspection from their mobile device. You can set-up reminder emails as well so that your resident does not forget to take action. Once they open the email and click on the link to get started, the inspection form opens up securely in their mobile web browser, so they won’t even need to download or have to fumble with usernames and passwords or an app to get started.

 

Completing the Tenant Inspection

Your resident will simply go through the form room by room and answer the required questions that you have created for them. They will take photos of each room and even any objects or areas that need maintenance or repairs. They can add their own comments about each room or individual photo to give you that extra context. It’s that simple! And only takes 5 minutes for them to complete.

The resident can then agree to the terms and conditions and sign off on the inspection directly from their mobile device. You will be notified instantly once the inspection is complete so you and your team can review it once you are ready to do so.

 

tenant inspections

Reviewing the Collected Inspection Data

Once your resident is done and has submitted the inspection, you can easily review and verify all of their responses and photos right from your FotoNotes web dashboard.  With tamper proof timestamps and GPS data automatically collected with each photo taken and uploaded, the time and location of the photos are instantly verified for you.  

From the web dashboard you can also quickly generate branded PDF reports of the inspection to send to your resident or the property owner. FotoNotes makes it very easy to add your own logo and customize what is displayed on these reports. You can even email the report out through the FotoNotes dashboard–your tenant inspection process can finally be managed seamlessly from one place!

Secure storage is always top of mind for the FotoNotes team. That’s why we always include unlimited storage of all the data and photos collected by the resident during the inspection in the FotoNotes cloud forever, so you never need to worry about losing each property’s inspection information.

tenant inspection report

 

Do you want to integrate FotoNotes with your other applications like Salesforce, Dropbox, Outlook, GSuite and more?  No problem. FotoNotes is easy to integrate with using our API or you can connect directly with thousands of other cloud apps through Zapier.

So get started conducting contactless tenant inspections today with FotoNotes so you and your team can stay safe while saving yourselves the extra site visit too.

 

Contact sales@fotonotes.com to schedule a demo or read more about FotoNotes Tenant Inspections here.

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Manage Your Renovations with FotoNotes

When it comes to managing your construction and renovation projects, it can be difficult to organize, delegate, and track progress on your jobs. This can be especially challenging if you are away from the job site and your project data is not consolidated, categorized and visible in a simple way. With the new FotoNotes Renovation Management feature, you can now manage all of your renovations faster and easier than ever.

Traditional Ways of Renovation Management are Outdated

Traditional approaches of estimating, tracking, and reporting on renovations could be a time consuming and chaotic process. Companies today generally have two approaches: 

Completely Ad Hoc

Completely using pen and paper, excel spreadsheets and endless streams of texts and emails. 

Traditional Construction Management Software

Using traditional construction management software products that are complex, dated, and not mobile or cloud enabled.    

The end result of either of these approaches is lack of visibility into the project, disorganization, frustration, extra work all leading to project delays and cost overruns.  

FotoNotes’s easy to use, powerful mobile and cloud based solution is here to help. FotoNotes simplifies the renovation management process, stores all of your information in one place and saves you time and money on every project.

FotoNotes’s NEW Renovation Management Features

Manage your Renovations with FotoNotes

Estimating

With our easy to use mobile app, simply document and capture photos of the items needing replacement or repairs. The FotoNotes app automatically calculates the itemized and total costs for you i.e. painting a room based on the square footage. You can categorize these costs by the type of work and generate slick PDF reports that include photos to easily share.

 

 

Manage your Renovations with FotoNotes

Project Tracking

Having an accurate idea of the progress of your renovation can help optimize your project. You can assign work to staff and vendors from within the FotoNotes app. During the course of the project, you can remotely track the project’s progress in real-time. Once finished, you can compare before and after photos and estimated and actual costs. Users can then generate comprehensive project reports for the entire project timeline.

Manage your Renovations with FotoNotes

Product/Service Pricing

Being able to manage and adjust your customized pricing is a great tool to eliminate manual entry or changes later. FotoNotes will automatically calculate and compare the actual prices to the initial estimates.

 

Manage your Renovations with FotoNotesReports

Creating reports can feel tedious and time consuming, especially if you are doing them manually. The Renovation Management feature enables you to instantly create beautifully branded reports with photos, estimates, bids, or full project completion data that you can send to your clients. Just one click of a button!

 

 

 

 

Integrate FotoNotes with your other apps

FotoNotes integrates seamlessly with thousands of other cloud based apps.  If you use Quickbooks, Salesforce, Dropbox, Google calendar, Outlook or any other apps you can integrate FotoNotes in directly to fully automate your workflow.

Manage your Renovations with FotoNotes

Try a new approach!

Collecting, consolidating, organizing and tracking your renovation project’s data does not have to be a huge hassle. With FotoNotes you can reduce the stress and streamline the management of all of your construction and renovation projects. It’s never been simpler. Schedule a personalized demo today to get a sneak peek!

 

SCHEDULE A DEMO

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