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Sacredgrooves

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  • Location
    USA
  • Occupation
    Inspector

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  1. I stopped bringing computers/handhelds etc to inspections and just take all my notes on a digital voice recorder. I do the whole report from the comfort of my couch now instead of using realtors/clients time by typing partial or full reports at the inspection. Either way beats the old method of handwriting reports on site though lol. I could not live without my recorder nowadays lol.
  2. switched to electronically delivered summaries a couple years back, and finally got rid of the carbon copy reports last year. all pdf now, and loving it!
  3. 90% of our inspections come from realtors that use us more or less exclusively. We simply weed out the agents with less than favorable ethics. The successful agents tend to want the best for the client as opposed to worrying about making their commission. They realize money comes from good service, which is exactly what we provide. We keep everything very black and white. I dont care how miniscule the problem is; our objective is to tell the client every issue with the home, and to cover our backsides. If that pisses an agent off, well then they dont need to call us again. The most successful agents I know are just as eager to find out what is wrong with the house as we are. They dont want their name in the mud for selling a shoddy house to someone. for the record, we are far from alarmists. We deal in the reality that basically anything can be fixed and usually problems are not as severe as they sound.
  4. we finally talked my grandfather(owner of the company) into dropping the $15,000...yes you read it right, in yellow page ads. He had used them since the early 80's and had to come to grips with the fact that very few people use them nowadays. My mother, who runs the admin, tracked them all year to show that we received exactly ZERO clients from the YP out of the 1200 inspections we performed. we pay nothing for marketing now, and really have no need. It al comes with longevity and performing above expectation on a consistent basis. The 15k we saved will probably go towards paying health insurance, paid vacation time etc. for us. some free advertising that has worked is getting recommended on "angies list". we now have 4 reviews there and have picked up some additional inspections as a result. My mother does a wonderful job of tracking where the stray clients(not recommended by an agent) come from.
  5. we made it a rule, with very little exception, to not recommend anyone for repairs to be made. We cannot stake our reputation on the chance of someone else making a mistake. We also absolutely will not estimate the cost of the repair. There is a simple phrase I picked up from my great-grandfather on estimating..."an estimate is only good from someone willing to do the work". lol they get the point when I say that
  6. I understand the pay cut issue, but we make that up in volume. a few other advantages to this approach: realtors love the reduced inspection time 2 sets of eyes are better than 1 we stage ours closer together so one of us can swing out towards the end and go start the next one we split the report writing duties in the evening on smaller homes, we tend to only send one inspector, but we do a significant number of large homes(over 3k sq ft) we average 5-6 inspections day during the spring and summer and 4-5 in the fall and winter. (over 1200 last year) My mother runs the admin side as she owns a realty company and works from home. That is a great help with her being on MLS, she can look up the house in most cases and see what we are getting into, then price accordingly we do not charge extra for sending 2 inspectors, but it certainly delivers us more business. I am not sure how well this would work hiring "outsiders" though. My grandfather used to run it as a single inspector with grandmother taking care of the admin. It sort of developed this way by accident. just thought I would pass on some info about how our structure works, maybe it will help someone else. Your mileage may vary lol
  7. I basically mention early on to the client that I am not talking to myself, just using a digi recorder. They tend to remark that is a great idea. We operate a little differently than most by sending 2 inspectors to most inspections [background; my grandfather started our company in the early 80's and my father, brother and I migrated into it from other careers back in the 90's. We are strictly family operated. ] Having 2 inspectors present allows me to slip away and get my notes down on the laptop while my father/brother occupies the client. we always finish the reports at home, but getting the notes down on the laptop allows us to go right down the list of what we are seeing with the customer at the end. I will look into the camera w/ voice. I have a voice w/ cheap camera sitting around but it is not even close to functionable lol. I am certainly a proponent of using technology...I sure dont miss the days of filling out check-box carbon paper and hand-writing summaries at the inspection lol.
  8. when using pictures exclusively, are you simply finishing reports onsite? I cant imagine remembering which interior door was in need of a strike plate adjustment from my morning inspection when I have performed 2 more inspections since. I try to get my notes down on laptop before I leave but it isnt always the case. Are you sifting through the pics at the inspection, or later on at home is basically what I am asking
  9. I have the laptop stationed in the kitchen with my word doc report. I use a digital voice recorder to notate and use cameras for visual impact on the report. Like mentioned above, I get most of the report down on site, but tweak it at home before sending that evening. I save my voice recorder files, which usually state problems I find, weather, strange situations with the house, etc to a permanent file(named the same as the inspection report) on the pc so if someone has a questions 3 months down the road I can review the file for any info that can help them, or save me
  10. The old adage "you get what you pay for" certainly rings true with that company IMO. As mentioned above though, if the foreman is good the house tends to be good. Unfortunately KB seems to be short good foremans.
  11. There is alot of effective and interesting software out there for report writing, but in the end we followed the KISS method. My grandfather started our business in the early 80's so we have seen alot of trends, marketing, and styles. When we switched to an all digital format, we simply created a Word doc primarily based on the carbon copy paper informational pages we used to use. It has drop down menus and is very simple to read. Entering the info is very quick and the best part is it is tailored for us, by us. Agents like simple. Buyers like simple. We like simple. Our company(father, brother and myself) performed over 1200 inspections last year with not one detrimental comment about our reports. We did receive plenty of accolades for its ease of understanding. There is a total of 7 informational pages, with empty boxes under each section for reiterating the problems in the summary related to that section, and the addition of general maintenance issues that are not to be added to the summary. The informational is check-box style for the most part with the above mentioned drop down boxes for quick fill in of items such as filter sizes, HVAC sizes, etc. We have auto-text on for quickly adding phrases often used. All in all with none of us being computer experts, created this software in a couple weekends....with most of that time just typing all the info into Word and getting the format right. from talking with an extensive amount of agents and buyers, bloated reports is one of the biggest turnoffs they have. I just wanted to pass this insight on, but with no disrespect to those who create software to sell. There are some very good products on the market. Heck, maybe we should sell ours lol.
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