Memo reprint: Another appraisal software vendor goes down in flames?

Written by on March 9, 2016

This is a reprint of an e-mail we sent to appraisers a couple of weeks ago:

When it comes to mobile appraising, we’ve always said that TOTAL for Mobile is the logical choice. Now, it looks like it’s literally the only choice, period. PhoenixMobile, the system that ClickFORMS and ACI depended on to provide mobility to appraisers, is shutting it down. So it appears those ACI and Bradford appraisers will have to start over yet again.

We say “yet again” because this is a familiar story – over many years, both ACI and Bradford have failed to invest the time and money it takes to develop and maintain mobile tools completely in-house. So, more than once, they’ve each fallen back to a third party program as a mobile solution. And more than once, it’s failed. Miserably.

Unfortunately, if you use ACI or Bradford, you pay the price with each dead end. You’ve wasted time and money, neither of which is in ample supply these days. And that’s squarely on your vendor’s shoulders.

But there’s a broader issue at stake here, going way beyond failed competitor mobile products. It’s a crystal clear and timely example of how we differ from ACI and Bradford, and it’s philosophical. Simply put, it’s this: We never take the easy way out.

That’s important, because software vendors (just like people) tend to behave one way or another forever. You need to decide whether your vendor’s core philosophical mindset is what you really want – because you’ll be frequently affected by it, good or bad, for decades.

Our philosophy is the primary reason we’ve consistently beaten PhoenixMobile and every other handheld appraisal option. We’ve defeated them because we committed to in-house mobile tools as a core competency way back with our first mobile system in 1992. We’ve defeated them because we ensure that it’s consistently improved, every day of every year, according to the real-world feedback you give us. We’ve defeated them because it’s hard work, requiring many mobile-specific employees, working long hours, and at high cost. We’ve defeated them because we didn’t just hand that off to a third party and dodge the difficult part.

Of course, we also priced TOTAL for Mobile properly – it’s completely free – and backed it with world-class tech support staff, 24×7. There’s no cost for the software, no per-report “upload fee”, and no annual contract. But “free” is rarely what drives market domination. Free products fail all the time, even in the appraisal market. The free pricing and support simply reflect our core philosophy of offering superior value. And that wins every time.

It’s not just about mobile tools, of course. The story is exactly the same when it comes to our TOTAL family of formfilling products, as well as our online systems (including our upcoming “Titan generation” web-based forms engine), our marketing tools, our data solutions, and our expanding mobile product line. Constant improvement, reasonable pricing, and ample support make all the difference – but they only can happen when a company is committed financially and philosophically to your success, over the long haul. It’s why we rose from tiny beginnings and became larger than all the other vendors combined, and why we’ll continue to dominate this narrowed-down field of only three remaining software vendors.

If you’re looking at using mobile tools to be more efficient and go paperless, or if you just aren’t sure you want to continue down more dead ends with your software vendor, you owe it to yourself to call us at 1-800-252-6633, or visit us at

And if you’re a current user of PhoenixMobile, you absolutely need to come see what TOTAL for Mobile can do to help you right now. With our generous buyout options on your current ACI or Bradford contracts, it’s possible to even switch over to our entire TOTAL family at no charge whatsoever. Take advantage of it – we’d hate to see you go back to paper and pencil.

Best wishes in your business and thanks for your continued support of our company. We never forget those whom we serve.

The a la mode product team
(especially the TOTAL for Mobile crew!)

P.S. – Others may tell you to just use a web-based forms system on your phone or tablet. To that we have a simple challenge: Go try it. Even in urban areas, you lose web connectivity all the time on mobile devices (and it flat out won’t work for rural appraisers). There are dozens of other reasons why a dedicated, “real” mobile program is what you need. We’re strong advocates of web-based tools – we’ve built and sold more industrial-strength appraisal web-based products than all of the others put together – but we also know its limits. We wouldn’t try to sell you on a cheap solution that doesn’t work in a demanding environment.

P.P.S. – Someone else will undoubtedly try to fill this gap in the market with a new mobile solution, and we’ll defeat them too. Investing your time and effort in our products is your best long term bet.