HomeGuard Inspectors Use Microsoft Access/SQL Server App on iPads to Boost Mobile Productivity and Speed Report Delivery
HomeGuard Incorporated is the premier real estate inspection company in northern California. Every day, hundreds of homes are checked by HomeGuard’s inspectors, who input their findings onsite, snap and attach photos, and maintain their schedules on their iPads. Their inspection data and photos are then uploaded from the field to a centralized SQL Server database running within Microsoft Azure.
These tasks are handled in real time by an application developed by Help4Access, provider of highly affordable, database-driven business applications and services, including mobile-ready productivity solutions for organizations with field staff.
Targeting Faster Service to Customers with Reduced Staff Requirements
According to Sasha Froyland, Help4Access founder and CEO, “Like many inspection firms, HomeGuard previously relied on the same traditional paper-based methods used in the industry for decades.” That system required a large back-office team to manage digital assets, such as photos taken during real estate inspections.
The company engaged Help4Access to build a custom, comprehensive Field Inspection Management system that would improve revenue and customer satisfaction by speeding up inspections streamlining scheduling. In addition, it would deliver a competitive advantage in time-driven real estate transactions, by accelerating service to customers, with inspections ready for customers on the same day as inspection in some cases.
HomeGuard’s existing tools didn’t support changes that the real estate industry demanded. Microsoft Access was an excellent fit for the project, being an extremely fast prototyping tool that enabled the rapid build-out of the mobile Field Inspection Management application at very reasonable cost.
The Help4Access consultants got to work, leveraged its expertise in Microsoft Access and SQL Server, collaborated closely with HomeGuard’s team and delivered a robust, customized system to support improved productivity and revenue generation.
The Help4Access team used an Access database to build the iPad based “field” front-end application for the new system, enabling all of HomeGuard’s inspectors to access, capture, track, and report on the data needed to manage their caseloads. On the back end, a SQL Server-based relational database consolidates the data previously contained in hundreds of document reports into a single repository. This enables better tracking of inspections and faster delivery to customers.
According to Froyland, “Solutions using Microsoft Access 2010 that take advantage of mobile devices are tremendous productivity-boosters for service firms like HomeGuard Incorporated with many field personnel.”
Growth and Evolution of the Application
After the Help4Access application was deployed and proven in completing 50,000 home inspections with MS Access running on iPads, the Access application was ported to C# on the .NET framework, to achieve faster performance.
Across the country, homebuyers often hear, “We can get your report to you within a couple of days, usually.” HomeGuard Incorporated, by contrast, can now deliver inspection reports, complete with relevant photographs, the next morning or even the same day as the inspection.
Real-time scheduling has increased revenue by cutting time lost to canceled appointments. The application automatically gives high priority to sharing work schedule updates.
The custom mobile solution developed by Help4Access on the Microsoft Access platform delivers outstanding performance, low cost and low risk for Homeguard Incorporated.
Today, the Field Inspection Management system from Help4Access keeps HomeGuard inspectors available to generate additional revenue, while improving service times for customers, and centralizes all the inspection data in a database that may yield added value over time. The new system reduces HomeGuard’s reliance on paper-based forms and reports, yielding a cost savings and environmental gain.
As part of Help4Access’ ongoing service to HomeGuard Incorporated, Help4Access continues to provide fractional DBA support as needed for mission-critical systems which require 24×7 support.