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Stupid booking question

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post, and i just recieved my license. I'm going nuts reading all the information here. Thanks for all the great posts. To get to my stupid question....How do you book an inspection? Set up a time with the realtor? Deal with your client, and let them talk to the seller/realtor? It seems to me that i would find out what time works for my client and then call the realtor to get a time that works for everyone. Am i on the right track? I can't bellieve that I am tripped up over such a simple thing. Thanks all.

Steve

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I work around my customer's time frame as much as feasible; they're the customer.

When we decide on a time that works for both of us, I tell them to tell the realtor we have to do it at that time. Force the realtor into compliance.

If you go at it otherwise, you're scheduling the realtors hair appointment, the sellers kids nap schedule, etc., etc.

Yes, it's pushy. But, they only give us 5 days here; you gotta push. If it's less rushed in Rochester, you could probably find other ways.

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Welcome, Steve.

I schedule directly with my client. I'm sure that others do it differently, and I know some of them use a paid appointment scheduling service. However, I know my schedule better than anyone else, and I prefer to schedule my inspections directly with my client at a time that works for both of us. I leave it up to them to contact the agent they are working with and arrange for the agent to meet me at the home and unlock it. Very rarely do I find a conflict with this. If the agent can't be there, they usually send someone else from their office to unlock the house. A a bonus, I also don't waste my time making a series of phone calls since the buyer's agent and the selling agent are usually not the same and everything has to be coordinated.

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Pretty much like Kevin. I speak directly with the client 95% of the time. We decide a day and time, I let them know to make sure we have access to have the home unlocked. I also simply tell them if there are any problems with the plans made, give me a quick call and we'll work it out. I've never had a situation that could not be worked out.

Some guys carry a supra key, I do not. A few Realtors have moaned and groaned about it, but I don't care. If they really want that 5k commission, they can get out of bed at 9 am.

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Inspections begin at 9 am and 1 pm. I'll work with them if necessary. Over 90% of my clients are fine with the 9am/1pm policy. I don't recall losing any inspections over it.

Either clients or agents can call in an inspection. Policy remains the same.

Marc

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I set the schedule with whoever calls me.. Most of the time it is the client(buyer) who is calling. I will not do more than two inspections a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. About 2pm is latest I will schedule an inspection. I always ask the caller about any specific time limits for the inspection and if they have a day that is better for them. I then tell the caller that I have ___ morning or __ afternoon open, which works best for them?

When it is all booked, I always tell the caller to make sure they tell their agent (if it is not the agent) that we have X day and time set for the inspection. I now have a card key to get into the lock box (I had to do it as I was starting to lose business by not having one) so I really do not need the agent but they need to make the arrangements for the inspection with the owner and listing agent.

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When an agent calls to set up an inspection with me, they usually already have one or two days and times worked out with the client. In that case, I have the agent e- mail the RMLS listing and clients name/ e- mail address so I can send a contract, confirm the time, etc. with the client.

When a client calls to set up an inspection, I book the inspection for what date and time works best for them before letting them off of the phone. As a professional courtesy, I then call the agent directly in order to confirm that the time works for them; they are the ones who need to let me in.

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Customs seem to vary widely by locale. Around here, listing agents generally don't get involved. To arrange access, you call the listing office and let the showing desk know when the inspection is being done. They then notify the seller. The showing desk tells you whether there is an e-lockbox, or the rare combo box. I couldn't imagine asking (or relying 0n) the buyer to make these arrangements - that's what they are paying me for.

Actually, I don't do it myself; I use America's Call Center. During slow months, the cost per inspection can be pretty steep, but they are still worth every penny. In busy times, I couldn't possibly do all they do myself.

They are good at selling - I believe better than I'd be. After the inspection is booked, they notify the listing office and get access. They notify the exterminator company I use for the WDI inspection and if necessary, notify the septic inspector that I use. They confirm the appointment with the buyer. If there's a radon test, I tell them the times I'm setting and retrieving the monitor and they arrange it with the showing desk and at the same time get the name and phone number of the seller so I can call them with the protocols.

I attached a screenshot of the actions they took for my inspection tomorrow (the first one in a week).

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Screenshot.jpg

225.51 KB

I'm available 6 days a week, at 9 am and 1:30 pm. I rarely alter start times.

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I take my own calls, set my own appointments. Usually it's the buyer, I usually start with "my first available day & time is ---" I go Mon-Sat, 9 AM and 2 PM, but if it's slow I will move that around because there are days I know I'm only doing one inspection. I tell them to let the Realtor know when we are scheduled, that a Realtor has to let us in, I don't carry the Supra card. Make sure you ask if the utilities are all on because if they are not, the Realtor needs to get them on for you to have a proper inspection. With all the bank owned and short sales, a lot of the water and gas/electric is off. If your client doesn't know, then tell them to ask the Realtor. It's their Realtor, not mine. If they want a radon test, I'll call the Realtor to see if I can set it up in advance or not since my client doesn't have to be there for the set up.

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I set the appointment with the buyer morning or afternoon unless it is really larger, remote location, etc. then it gets the morning time slot that spills over into the afternoon.

Then I call the property scheduling service that most all the realtors use to schedule. The service (paid for by the realtors) makes all the calls and calls me back if there is a problem. That takes care of 90% of the houses but some I have to call the listing agent.

Once I have it locked in a send an email out to my client and their agent with a confirmation of the time, price, contract, and a list of things that need to be done to prepare for the inspection.

Since we have Supra keys and CSS (Consolidated Scheduling Service) it is pretty simple but as you can see, every area has different customs.

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I work around my customer's time frame as much as feasible; they're the customer.

When we decide on a time that works for both of us, I tell them to tell the realtor we have to do it at that time. Force the realtor into compliance.

If you go at it otherwise, you're scheduling the realtors hair appointment, the sellers kids nap schedule, etc., etc.

Yes, it's pushy. But, they only give us 5 days here; you gotta push. If it's less rushed in Rochester, you could probably find other ways.

Me too.

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I schedule a morning at 9:30 and an afternoon at 1:30-2:00. Since the 1st of this year I decided to quit working on Saturdays. I have 10 available appointments during the week, pick one. I have yet to lose any inspections because of it. People will adhere to your schedule but will also be glad to schedule Saturday, Sunday, late afternoon, and Christmas if you let them. I also decided to cut my phone off at 5:30pm. I'm not saving lives just inspecting houses.

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

If I do an inspection at 9am on a 2500sf to 3500sf home, I should be done at the latest by Noon. Even with a bunch of problems I have found that 3 hours is plenty of time. It is all about getting a system down and not wasting time. I know some inspectors that need 4-5 hours for a 2500sf home, what they do I have no idea. In 15 years I have never had to push an inspection back due to me running late from another inspection.

Now if I know that the home is say 100+ years of age, is around 4000sf and is an hour drive I will not do another inspection that day.

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As regards time requirements per job, I will point out that some inspectors spend more time on site since they write--or at least partially write -- the report on site. I don't; I just gather data/ pics then do a walk thru with my client. I suspect that those of us who keep fairly regular start times don't "write" up the report on site. This means that I often am working evenings to write up reports, but I'd rather be in my comfy chair than in someone else's home for an even longer period during the day.

And I agree with Scott's comments above. I allow more time for jobs depending on the particular factors: age, size, slab vs. crawlspace, outbuildings, etc.

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

All of our booking is taken care of by our (long suffering) office manager. She takes the calls and manages the schedule for the 4 of us. To answer the OP question, sometimes the customer calls, sometimes the agent calls, and sometimes the customer's sister-in-law's daughter's boyfriend calls. It doesn't matter. We take the information, set up a time, and send out an email packet with the contract and a bunch of other documents right away. We also offer to schedule radon screenings and sewer scopes for the customer, if they'd like -- many do.

Our office manager is really good at sniffing out all of the dope on each house and arranging things so that we don't get caught in a quagmire without enough time to deal with it. If something goes wrong and I have to be late for a PM inspection, I just call her and she takes care of notifying the customer, the agent, and whoever else has to be notified.

My slots begin at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. That gives me ample time for most houses. I try mightily to avoid having the customer trailing along beside me. That lets me write most of the report as I go. If I find that the house is a challenge and that I might be short on time, I shift to pure picture-taking-note-taking mode, which speeds things up considerably. At the end, the customers get my 100% attention for the hour or hour-and-a-half that it takes me to walk them through the house.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Used to do two, sometimes three a day. Damn near wore myself out and almost once killed myself always trying to accommodate schedules of clients and realtors and constantly putting up with their whims. Stopped doing more than one a day about a year or so ago. Now I only do one a day. Never more.

On inspection days I always start at the same time. I tell clients to let their agent know that they'll be there for at least 4-1/2 hours and if they don't like it, tough bananas, I'm not there for agents. I never plan for less than 4-1/2 hours per job and if the home is larger than 2500 I tell 'em to plan to be there nearer 5-1/2 to 6. I warn the clients that the agent will probably bellyache about it and may even try to get them to use another inspector. I tell them that if they experience that they need to decide who will be having their best interest at heart during the inspection - me or the agent - and then go from there. Most make their agents make it work. Some don't. Good luck to 'em.

My inspections are The School of the House. It's a walk and a talk. Most of my clients - more than 95% are foreign born and for many English is a second language. I make sure they understand every issue implicitly before I move onto the next item. It saves question answering time at the end and I'm almost never bothered with questions after the inspection. I'm not done until every last one of their questions is asked and answered,...if I have the answers. I charge more than some, less than a few others.

I block out what days I intend to work on my calendar and I stick to that schedule. It's my schedule; if they want to hire me, it's got to be on my schedule, not theirs. If I get calls for a day that's blocked out and I can't schedule the guy for an open inspection slot at the end of the queue, I give 'em Randy's number, Richard's number or another inspector's number to call and put the lost job out of my mind.

I gather hand-written notes on site. Recently started taking pictures. Compile the report at home. I don't kill myself to make their deadline and they know before they hire me that I won't. Take it or leave it.

I don't market to realtors....ever. I recently counted and found that for every hundred inspections I'd averaged 80 referrals from former clients versus those from agents. Most agents that refer me repeatedly have known me for about a decade; most others lose my card quickly.

My entire marketing focus for about the past five years has been to target companies with lots of employees - at least 500 - in businesses/industries that can do layoffs during hard times but still need to hire more employees who will always be buying homes and concentrate on giving them the best damned inspection I can. When they call to inquire about price, my very first response is, "Where do you work?" If they work for one of the target companies, I quote them the regular price and then I cut them a little slack on the price in exchange for only one thing; their promise that they'll tell their friends, relatives and co-workers about my little company. It works; during the recession my docket stayed full when others were sitting on their thumbs. Sure, I wasn't doing 2 or 3 a day but I had steady work. Guess I'm a tortoise.

Works for me.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

My slots begin at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. That gives me ample time for most houses. I try mightily to avoid having the customer trailing along beside me. That lets me write most of the report as I go.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That's pretty much what I do. I dictate into a recorder, and--for instance--remind myself to check something out on the interior when I find something screwy on the exterior. I feel I do a better job when most of the report is completed on site. I'd hate to be home, and listen to a note about adverse grade conditions at a particular corner of the house, and realize I'd forgotten to check the same interior area for damage.

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

My slots begin at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. That gives me ample time for most houses. I try mightily to avoid having the customer trailing along beside me. That lets me write most of the report as I go.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That's pretty much what I do. I dictate into a recorder, and--for instance--remind myself to check something out on the interior when I find something screwy on the exterior. I feel I do a better job when most of the report is completed on site. I'd hate to be home, and listen to a note about adverse grade conditions at a particular corner of the house, and realize I'd forgotten to check the same interior area for damage.

I'd love to edit reports onsite but that would lengthen my onsite time to an average of 5 hrs. I can't impose on my clients time that much.

Marc

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I've done 3 inspections in one day once in 14 years. That's all it took to cure me of that. It was a long day that spilled over into the next day.

I offer 9 am or 2 pm. I used to offer the 1 pm but got a speeding ticket about 10 years ago that made me switch to 2 pm. I cover a large suburb area and on occasion will have 2 inspections that may be a nice long ride from one another.

This has been an interesting thread to see how others operate.

I would like to be able to work towards doing just one a day and already try it if it's a little slower.

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This thread is teaching me that I need to work on my time management. I looked at two houses today, but left my own place before 8:00 am, and didn't arrive home till after 6:00 pm.

You guys with set start-and-stop-schedules, don't you have to allow more time for houses that are old, or have crawlspaces, and all the rest? What if your morning house is a rat? Do you get on the phone and push the afternoon gig back an hour or two?

My slots begin at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm. That gives me ample time for most houses. I try mightily to avoid having the customer trailing along beside me. That lets me write most of the report as I go.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That's pretty much what I do. I dictate into a recorder, and--for instance--remind myself to check something out on the interior when I find something screwy on the exterior. I feel I do a better job when most of the report is completed on site. I'd hate to be home, and listen to a note about adverse grade conditions at a particular corner of the house, and realize I'd forgotten to check the same interior area for damage.

I'd love to edit reports onsite but that would lengthen my onsite time to an average of 5 hrs. I can't impose on my clients time that much.

Marc

You aren't imposing on your clients' time if they're paying YOU for YOUR time to do the best job possible. We all do things differently, and we don't need to debate the whys and hows, but for me, doing the best job means remaining at the house--by myself--for as long as is necessary until I've answered all of my own questions about it. The buyer shows up when I'm finished to hear what's up.

Erby dropped by a house I was checking out a couple of weeks ago to pick up a radon monitor. I wanted to show him a delightful girder that had been completely severed in the basement, which was 80 years old and packed with the sellers' stuff. There was so much yuck going on in that basement, one could easily suffer from sensory overload. Like I told Erby, I'd already made three passes and was going to keep at it until I stopped finding problems. How do you do that when someone's following you around? I don't get it.

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You aren't imposing on your clients' time if they're paying YOU for YOUR time to do the best job possible. We all do things differently, and we don't need to debate the whys and hows, but for me, doing the best job means remaining at the house--by myself--for as long as is necessary until I've answered all of my own questions about it. The buyer shows up when I'm finished to hear what's up.

Erby dropped by a house I was checking out a couple of weeks ago to pick up a radon monitor. I wanted to show him a delightful girder that had been completely severed in the basement, which was 80 years old and packed with the sellers' stuff. There was so much yuck going on in that basement, one could easily suffer from sensory overload. Like I told Erby, I'd already made three passes and was going to keep at it until I stopped finding problems. How do you do that when someone's following you around? I don't get it.

It seldom happens that the client follows me around. They simply arrive onsite for the 'preamble', I inform them about how long it will take and then they usually decide to hang around and wait for the verbal report.

Maybe I need to change something.

Marc

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Like I told Erby, I'd already made three passes and was going to keep at it until I stopped finding problems. How do you do that when someone's following you around? I don't get it.
You've never been to the doctor for an exam and had him/her checking you out while talking to you about something completely unrelated or talking to a nurse at the same time about preparing so-and-so for such-and-such? It's no different than that.

I am very comfortable in a teaching environment. I can carry on a complete classroom conversation while sketching stuff on a board or reviewing slides that I'm going to be posting. It's no different than that.

Talking to a client doesn't stop one's power's of observation from functioning; you just have to learn to do both efficiently.

I don't have a problem doing that. Some might, but it's mostly a question of getting used to doing it. After you do it day after day after day it becomes second nature.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

MIKE

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