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I have been off to a great start this year, at least, for me. I had seven inspections in January which is six more than last year and eleven in February which is ten more than last year. Here is the problem. In the last three days I did two a day and it almost killed me. The first two days were four relatively new homes and all were in respectable condition. The report writing went pretty smooth but this was still two nine to ten hour days.

Yesterday I had two homes both built in the mid sixties. I started at 8 am and after 8 pm last night I turned off the computer. This morning I was on duty at the fire hall so I came in and finished installing pictures and e-mailed out the reports.

I guess the thing is I know inspectors who do two and three a day every day and I know they aren't at it that long.

I'm still a rookie with just under two years at this and I know I'm quicker now than last year but I just can't see how people do it any quicker and still catch all there is to catch. Am I the alone out there with these times its taking.

I sometimes wonder am I too anal about all that i put in the report.

Oh well, thanks for letting me ramble.

Buster

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Originally posted by rlskfoster

I sometimes wonder am I too anal about all that i put in the report.

It's far more likely the other guys aren't anal enough. Practically all of us are looking for ways to streamline the process without cutting the quality, but it's hard to do. I'm sure more time and experience will help and technology might too, but personally I can't imagine ever doing more than two in one day unless there were special circumstances involved.

Don't worry about what they do, do the best you can.

Brian G.

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I think I need to streamline my typing skills!

I always thought that one a dya would be great and I still feel that way(here comes the but!) ,but, It's hard to turn the work down when it comes. I do know that I don't have enough hours in the day to do three inspections.

Buster

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Buster;

I can do 3 inspections in one day only during the mid summer months. When that happens (only several times a year), I tell my wife not to book an inspection the next morning.

How are completing your inspections? I use the Borealis system with a Dell PC. Most of the info is completed on site, it still takes me about 1 1/2 hours to transfer, insert pics, 'dress up' and proof read the report, complete my WDI report and all the other stuff.

If the house was a POS (which I've gotten alot of lately), I take lots of photos and insert special comments which can add another hour.

Yes, sometimes doing 2 a day, I'm in the living room with my notebook at 10:00 finishing the report. I ALWAY finish my report at night, re-read it in the AM and out it goes.

Take a look at my reports...

www.aboutthehouseinspections.com

Darren

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Darren,

I use the InspectIt program for Texas on a Toshiba Satelite laptop. I really haven't used this program to it's full potential and I think that's what takes me so long. I need to go into templates and add some things that I see all the time and then I can just highlight and click them in, customize a little and done. I have done some work on it but I need to do more. yesterday was two old houses with lots of stuff wrong from foundation issues to open splices in the attic to bricks spalling on the exterior chimney. It just seemed like I was never gonna get it all in.

I probably spend to much time with the clients but I have a hard time saying heres your report see ya later. I met the clients for AM inspection back at the house at 515pm and left at 645pm. The house had some issues but really has some potential. So I spent some time with them answering questions about some of the issues. I am also guilty of just plain old visiting. Maybe I should back off on that a little.

Man I thought I had lots of stuff in my reports but you have lots in there.

I guess this sounds like complaining but I really don't mean for it to. I enjoy doing the work, It's the finishing that gets to me(typing)

[:D]

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Buster,

It's the same here. Thankfully my wife types a lot of my reports from my field reports and then I will proof them. Even then, it takes us a while (and she can really type!)

I usually do two inspections a day. Wife will type them at night and I get up early the next morning and proof them and send them. If for some reason we get behind, it's very hard to catch up.

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Donald,

What are you using for your reports. Before I truly got started I inspected about 20 friends and relatives house for practice and i just hand wrote the reports. I sometimes wonder if thats better.

My wife is going to quit her job April first so she can help me with all the office stuff (I really am bad in the office with organization) and she had suggested helping me type the reports. I'll have to give that a try. I guess the first step would be to take legible notes that are decipherable to someone other than me.[;)]

Buster

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Buster,

I'm using Whisper Solutions for my reporting software. They are based right here in Texas. You can find them on the web at www.whispersolutions.com. The software is about $225 and once you become familiar with it, you can do an average report fairly quickly. It doesn't come with canned statments, but that's a good thing because I have written most of my own (or borrowed some). You can't beat the customer service either.

Once my wife got familiar with the business she became very good at booking inspections. She spent 17 years at an airlines working customer service so she was a natural on the phones and the office.

My inspection times dropped by 45 minutes when she took over answering the phones for me!

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Hi,

Stop thinking about how many you need to do and concentrate on being the best at what you do.

Trying to make it by generating a large volume of inspections only means you have to cut corners and kill yourself doing it. I used to do two a day, 5, 6, sometimes 7 days a week when I had the franchise. In the summer, I would occasionally even do 3 day every other day, working until 8 -9 at night. I used to go out in the morning, do one at 9am, another at 2pm, come home, plunk myself down in front of my computer and type until about 1 to 2 am every morning. Set my clock for 4 hours sleep, go to bed and get up and do it all over again.

After a while, it wore me down until I began forgetting stuff and mixing the jobs up in my head. April 18th of 2000, with a very serious personal family issue weighing on my mind, and with less than 3 hours sleep the night before because of a particularly long and difficult inspection, I passed out, went off a roof, broke five ribs and punctured my left lung.

I was out of work for about 3 - 4 months. When I came back to work I had vertigo something wicked and couldn't do crawlspaces and attics for several months after that. I would be walking with the client, look up at the eaves and suddenly everything would spin. I'd stagger sideways and plunk down on my butt in front of the clients. I think some were convinced that I was a drunk and I know that more than one realtor told folks that I was on the sauce because of it.

It was more than a year before the vertigo finally subsided. I should have closed my company doors until I was 100%, but I was too stubborn and ran it off credit cards. I was technically bankrupt and by the next winter had to sell the company. It enabled me to pay down some of the debt, but not all of it. Today, five years later I'm still paying for it.

After a year's non-compete, I came back into the business as an independent. I don't get the exposure that I did as a franchise and I'm not making the same kind of money, but I'm not working myself into an early grave either.

Concentrate on being technically more competent than anyone else around and being able to write a clearer report. Then charge more for your services. When people bitch about the price tell 'em, 'There are Lexus inspections and there are Yugo inspections. You can get one of my competitor's Yugo inspections for about $50. to $100. less than I charge. If that's what you're looking for when you're making the largest single investment of your life, go for it, but if you want the kind of inspection I do, expect to pay more."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike,

Thanks for sharing,

I have a story just like that, working around the clock with little sleep.

One morning I simply couldn't move myself out of bed as though I was strapped down.

I've learned my lesson, after over a year of medical test I was forced to reprogram the computer or blow up, simple.

Hopefully, all you workaholics out there can learn from this without the assistance of mother nature. Her teaching methods can be brutal and sometimes terminal.

"Charge More - Work Less" Good advise Jim[:-graduat

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What Jimmy said. Doing lots of inspections is not all that smart; do as few as possible @ the highest fee obtainable.

I did 117 fewer jobs in 2004 than I did in 2003, and I cleared somewhere in the vicinity of $20,000 more in gross receipts. Those are way more interesting #'s than "3 a day".

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Kurt,

I find that fascinating. Pricing is something that I continually struggle with. Lots of folks in my area spend no more than two hours within average-sized houses, whereas I'm at least three hours in 1,000 sq. feet on a slab. I know I'm worth more than a majority of my competitors, but it's as if I'm afraid to take the leap, hike up my prices, and suffer the potentially dire consequences. I suppose that's what you sign up for w/self employment, i.e. the uncertainty and utter lack of a guarantee of future income. But still . . . those decisions are tough to make . . . for me, anyhow. I've been on two-a-days and a couple of Saturdays a month since January, and I'm already feeling exhausted, with the busy Spring and Summer seasons lurking dead ahead. Did you consciously decide to raise your fees X-percent one day, or did you slowly test the waters with a few buyers at a time?

And by the way, thanks to advice from you and several others, I'm currently working on a website with the person who designed Lexmark's site. Hopefully it'll produce dividends(although I really don't know what I'll do with the extra business). You're comment about referring people to your site rather than discussing what you do ad nauseum made great sense. See, and you thought nobody paid attention. [;)]

John

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It wasn't all that hard. Corey Friedman slapped me around the head several times & said "RAISE YOUR PRICES!!!"

So, I did. Steel yourself, be confident, & don't back down. If they question it, don't back down. You charge what you charge, because that's what you charge.

When I get someone who questions it (hardly anyone does), I use Cramers' line; "I charge more because I know more & I do more". If they don't get it then, I pretty much cut them off, politely, but cut it off.

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Fear keeps your fees down. It's hard to raise them, but the reward is great. I bet I'm 40% higher than most of my local colleagues. I make mo money when I work, and I end up with more time off. That makes a happy Jimmy.

It can be terrifying, but I've never been sorry whenever I've raised our rates. Never.

Try it. You can always lower them back down in a few months if you think you have to -but you won't.

Jimmy

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I started at $75 per inspection. Don't want to tell you when that was. At first I would raise fee abt $10-15 until it hit $175. Then I got smart and worked out a long term plan for where the fee should be. The price increase was a good way to contact past customers and do general marketing. "never knew a price increase I didn't like" I would get as anal as the next inspector and really thought the increase would lose some business. It never did! Just be fair and do the best inspection you can.

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Thanks for the advice and words of wisdom. As we all know, one can never know enough or learn enough in our business, but even more importantly we have to be be willing to DO our jobs. Traipsing around a scorching-hot attic in July, or scrabbling around a crawlspace while pulling spider webs out of your eyes and ears is definitely not enjoyable, but it's what I would want an inspector to do if he were working for me, so that's what I do. But that's also when I think, "Who else would go to this much trouble? Hardly anyone." That's when I chastise myself for charging the same amount as other inspectors in my area.

Again, thanks.

John

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I certainly can appreciate everything that's been said. I just missed an inspection to a business that has been around quite awhile. I returned a call about 30 minutes late and the caller stated I just set a deal with XYZ co. and they are coming out today. I said well its just as well I can't get to it till Tuesday morning. He said we have to have it done no later than Monday again I said well Tuesday is the earliest for me. Then he asked me if I new of the other company and I said yes he has been around awhile and has a good reputation. He said well what do you charge. I said 195.00 for under 2000 total square feet and 50.00 for the pier and beam. This guy got real loud, yelling to his wife, and I said what is the other guy charging. At first I thought he said 265.00 and I thought why the fuss over 20 dollars. So I asked again and he choked out 365.00.

After I hung up I called my wife and the first thing she said was with all the work you put in that is probably what you should be charging.

I guess this definately goes along with what all ya'll been saying.

We are going to sit down and strategize a little tonight.

Again guys thanks for the responses.

Buster

ps Mike I just read the two articles. Definately food for thought.

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Good post!

Have any of you checked out the cost of doing business software over at inspectionnews??

That's a real eye opener, at least it was to me. I raised my prices accordingly and never worry about the bottom feeder inspectors in my area. If they want to market themselves as the lowest priced inspector it will only come back and bite them in the behind.

Anyway, I do one inspection per day and like it that way. My inspection process takes around 4 hours and that does not include the report time. PArt of the appeal of entering this profession is the ability to set my hours.

If one a day does not pay enough for you just raise the your prices. Remember, for the most part consumers believe they get what they pay for.

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I think we all assume that the other inspectors here do a bang up job like many of us do. In that case, then yes, many of us should raise our rates. If your the type of inspector (and I use that word loosely) that runs through a 2000 sf home in an hour and produces a 5 page report, then your fees are probably high.

One of the things that really bothers me about this business is the people who really and truely need my services can not afford my fees (I know some do not want to pay that much also). It burns me up when I see a young couple or single mother trying to scrape together enough for a down payment on their first home and they get stuck with a POS because the inspector ignored or overlooked stuff.

Buster, if you're inspections and report are good and you're providing a quality service to your clients, then your price should higher. A dime and a nickel to 2 dimes a square should be a good starting point with a minimum.

Remember, if you don't think your work is worth it, then you're right, it's not. Someone said, or I read somewhere (and I'm paraphrasing), that you should raise your fees until you feel bad about taking a check for the work.

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Hi,

Don wrote:

It burns me up when I see a young couple or single mother trying to scrape together enough for a down payment on their first home.
This is one of the things being heatedly debated in the UK. In 2008 a new law will kick in that is going to require a home inspection on every new home.

The inspection is required as part of a sellers disclosure and information packet that will have to be provided to potential buyers.

Those in real estate over there are bitching that it will unnecessarily inflate the cost of a home. Those on the other side say it is necessary so that low-income potential home buyers, who cannot afford to hire an inspector, will have the benefit of an inspection.

It's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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