Property Inventory Training – is it time for a change?

Finding the right career or job can be quite a daunting process. If you are unsure as to what you want to do and how your skills can or will transfer from your current role to your chosen profession. 

Being an inventory clerk or inventory professional, as I prefer to class our role, is not one that springs immediately to mind when considering career options. Most employment opportunities are much more mainstream, retail, estate or letting agent, mechanic etc and although its a known role within the lettings industry there is very little information available to make an informed choice about whether it’s for you. 

So where do you start?

Most people ‘fall’ into the role either by knowing someone in the industry, are a landlord looking to generate income or letting agents seeking to keep costs down by taking reports ‘in-house’.

Or there are some like me who have had a poor experience with a tenancy where the inventory and checkout reports were not up to scratch and eventually ended up costing me both time and money to rectify the resulting issues they failed to pick up. 

As a direct result of that experience, I felt that there just had to be an alternative and so decided that I could do better and set about developing my own framework and methodology. This involved creating a standard of reporting which, based on my years of dealing with litigation, has evidence as to the supporting base from which everything then builds on and up from.  

It seems that I’m not the only one to go down this particular road; you’d be amazed how many clerks are carrying out the role after having similar experiences, but each with the clear goal to make reports better and fairer to all.

Many start their journey by literally ‘Googling’ How to become an inventory clerk. 

Honestly…. I did this as I had no idea what was involved and wanted to find out more. I came across a fair few ‘idealistic’ articles and videos of a clerk walking around a property, making a few audio or written notes, taking a couple of photographs to then triumphantly claim ‘all done!’.

I didn’t feel they were really helpful or allowed me to truly understand the needs of the role or, more importantly, what I might earn.

I looked at various ‘courses’ available and decided to go down the franchise route as I thought they would train me, help me with setting up and running the business and handhold whilst I navigated this bright new world.

However for me; this didn’t end well. 

For what was a fair few £’s I enrolled on a two-day course, issued what was, to be fair, a comprehensive information folder and some guidance on how to build a client base and then I was effectively left to get on with it. The company did provide me with some work initially however they floundered and were eventually liquidated leaving me with unpaid invoices for work completed which is, unfortunately, not all that unusual in this business. 

The whole experience was not a total loss as it did teach me a valuable lesson in self-reliance and that not all courses are created equal. 

Now for complete fairness; there are some franchise options that are reputable and you can always look for information and guidance with the British Franchise Association however this is no guarantee that you will be successful so I humbly suggest doing your homework and due diligence well in advance of when you are hoping to start your inventory service.

You can talk to ARLA, AIIC, however, here at InventoryBase Academy we offer impartial advice, guidance as well as ongoing support as we feel this should always be freely available and that it should never be a prerequisite to attending any paid course. 

Advice literally does not cost anything and do not let anyone tell you otherwise…

And in my experience; inventory providers are very helpful and I know of several who have given up their time to offer help and lend an experienced ear so don’t be afraid to ask!

Property Inventory Training Courses

The best way to learn is to complete an inventory training course and get ‘on-site’ practical training and mentoring as property inventory reports are not as straightforward as you might think. 

There is so much to consider and understand especially from an evidential point of view. Deposit disputes centre mainly around damage and cleaning so you need to have a firm understanding of what constitutes fair, wear and tear, damage and or neglect whether on the part of the tenant or the landlord (in some cases this can involve the letting property managing agent too).

So there is a lot to consider…

With the need to compile reports to a high standard and with the letting industry in a major state of change there is a real opportunity for inventory providers to ‘stand out from the crowd’ by producing very detailed and quality reports but with no clear guidance from either the Government or industry bodies how do you know what to include in your report and more importantly how should you present it to ensure that you protect the property and the client? 

InventoryBase Academy offers a comprehensive online training course that is CPD Standards Accredited

 Over 40 chapters cover everything from: 

  • why you need an inventory
  • a detailed breakdown of the four main reports; Inventory, Check-In, Interim and Check-Out 
  • how to describe and capture the kitchen and bathroom  
  • videos, report and audio examples


  • reporting terminology
  • how to take pictures and more importantly why  
  • the role of the adjudicator 
  • objective and subjective evidence; and 
  • why your personal safety is paramount when working alone.

Webinars, blogs and now podcasts are part of the information, support and guidance we provide but we don’t stop there….

We are also actively promoting clerks on a national level to improve our status within the industry and professional our services so that we are seen and can act as an impartial resource with effective support.

Want to know more about property inventory training and how to become an inventory clerk?

Our next ‘Practical Property Reports’ training days will be held in Portsmouth on

  • 7th April 2020
  • 12th May 2020
  • 2nd June 2020

Access more info and book here.

For more information or an informal chat about the wider lettings industry then feel free to contact me for an informal chat; or visit InventoryBase Academy