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Does anyone have experience using an IPAD app for reporting / inspection? So many apps for home inspections. Looking for some real world advice. Home inspector pro does not do enough. Home Gauge has no option for MACS. Horizon? Spectacular Home Inspection System? Happy Inspector? This is the future of reporting. Also I plan on taking photos from within the app?

Thanks

Mark

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I built my own. It works fine, but it's a PITA walking around with a $500 delicate notepad that doesn't fit in my pocket.

The camera is slow. It's not water/impact/dirt proof. There's no zoom feature. No useful macro. Yes, I see people using it; they are people that don't understand cameras, photographing, or using pictures effectively in reports.

It may, in fact, be the future of reporting. It will be the future if the profession continues to have fascination with things that don't matter very much in performing good inspections.

Choosing hardware, then software, is exactly the opposite of what any competent IT person would tell you how to operate. This is, of course, how most HI's operate.

You are correct that all the software out there is lacking. It is. The entire "industry" is hamstrung by the fact software developers are leading the way and not someone involved in doing the jobs. It's a real problem.

I've been operating on my Mac for several years. I couldn't go back to using MS products or OS's; once you get out and use something else, the advantages become very obvious.

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How about an app that will link to a quality WiFi digital camera? As you move about the house with your cam and phone app, you can prompt via phone app where the picture goes via WiFi function of the camera. It can all be linked to a cloud too and even transmitted back to the tablet which you leave safely propped on the kitchen counter.

There, you have the high quality capabilities of the good digi cam grafted via WiFi to the report writing app. You can have the app on as many devices as you want.

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Yes I plan on lugging an ipad mini around with me. I hope I dont have any "chimbleys" to inspect. [;)] If I do I was going to switch to the iphone which has worked great in the past. As you switched from MS to MAC I want to switch from OpenOffice to an Ipad. Before I got into the building trades I was the head of R and D for a mission critical software package. So I have done some thinking about this.

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This is the future of reporting...until he drops a $500 Ipad down a chimbley.

Yes. Although, there are Special Ops units that do covert operations with iPads. They're military grade and heavily ruggedized though.

I know some guy's that use the iPad. When you watch them inspecting, it's very apparent that large deference is applied to the equipment; you can see them operating within the equipment's boundaries. When I was walking around with my iPad, I was always thinking about the iPad, not what I was looking at. It's a distraction.

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Yes I plan on lugging an ipad mini around with me. I hope I dont have any "chimbleys" to inspect. [;)] If I do I was going to switch to the iphone which has worked great in the past. As you switched from MS to MAC I want to switch from OpenOffice to an Ipad. Before I got into the building trades I was the head of R and D for a mission critical software package. So I have done some thinking about this.

Some thinking is helpful. I will propose that you're thinking incorrectly, or at least, thinking without the right experience.

Mission critical software package experience aside, how do you propose using the iPad to take pictures in dark environments? Or anywhere else that requires a decent pic?

FTR, I developed a very functional inspection package for use on my iPads. After trying it, I've abandoned it. Software is not the problem; it worked great. The problem was the limitations of the equipment.

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I would think the ipad would work for 90% of my photos. The rest can be done with my old digital. I dont need a 50+ page report. Just the facts. Seen to many blown up reports. Keep it simple. To be able to finish the report on site would be a bonus.

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I agree completely on simple. Simpler the better. I've pared my reports down to bare essentials. If I could leave out the SOP mandated descriptive stuff, I could knock another 5-6 pages out of the equation.

One of the big problems with current report software packages is the amount of creep that's occurred. I see 50-60+ page reports. I try to read these things and it's largely gibberish withe the important information hidden in dense turgid prose. It's insane.

I used to want to be able to finish it all on site. I found that to be a major distraction also. Much easier to finish it up when there's not a bunch of people waiting for me to frantically finish. Taking the time to create a couple minutes space where I can think about what I just did makes all the difference. It's helped to reduce time, not add it.

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Much easier to finish it up when there's not a bunch of people waiting for me to frantically finish. Taking the time to create a couple minutes space where I can think about what I just did makes all the difference.

I could not agree more. Say what you will on site, but when that report goes out, it better be clean and accurate.

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WOW Carson Dunlop Horizon looks to good to be true. Has anyone used them?

I have looked over and tried the Horizon system, and honestly and unbiased as I can be, I think it's one of the goofiest messes of confusion I could possibly imagine.

I know a few folks that use it that continually praise it, while at the same time lamenting the huge increase in time it entails.

I have a couple attorney clients that send me Horizon reports to decipher; that kind of says something about it also.

I remember when they came out with it. The principals put together one of the most accurate, focused, and right thinking descriptions of what a report system should be. I could hardly wait to get my hands on it to try it out; I figured someone that could so perfectly describe what a report system should be would undoubtedly develop perfection.

When I got the sample, I couldn't believe it. It was nothing like the description.

The believers sing it praises.

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I use an iPad at my inspections, it sits on the kitchen counter! I use it to input my findings into my residential template. When I get back to my office I upload the iPad, clean up the verbiage and insert photos. On the average it takes about 20-45 minutes to finish and email it out.

I use HIP and have few issues with it. If you're looking for a standalone app that does not sync to a computer to complete the report, I have not seen any that are worth anything. With HIP what you see on the iPad is your report template, all you are doing is populating it with data. Horizon as I understand it gets expensive because of the fee per report system they have.

I have found it easiest to use a real camera with a real optical zoom and flash for inspections. IMVHO, using an iPad or other tablet or phone to take photos because you can is just stupid. As a backup they can work. Use the proper tool for the job at hand!

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I'm in agreement with Kurt. I tried using the Ipad and found it to be a pain to use on the roof, in the attic, and in crawl spaces. The camera limitations affect everyone I know who uses the IPad.

Second, I also find using the IPad to be a major distraction. I am comfortable using the digital SLR and moving the photos to the CPU. I did recently purchase a wi-fi adapter that is supposed to move the photos to the computer as I take the shot, but have been too busy to read the instructions and put it to use.

My thought is, go with what you are comfortable with. I have yet to find a useful purpose for the IPad in my work environment.

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After using a Word based program for 14 years it was time for a change. Being a Mac guy I wanted something to use on my iPad. I've been using the Horizon system since Jan 13. Personally I love it. Is it perfect? No. Is any system perfect? No.

Everyone has their opinion on whats the best system so you have to try them out and find what fits you best. The Horizon system has greatly reduced my reporting time and also reduced my onsite time. I use the iPad for all pictures except the crawlspace. No more jacking around with pics uploading, arranging, tagging, etc. They just go where they are supposed to. Its not near as wordy as my previous software. I initially worried about that but honestly I have learned to embrace the less wordy approach.

Manages all my data, stores all my reports, software is always up to date, clients can access reports whenever they need to, constantly adding new features. Newest feature does not allow the client to download the report until I mark it paid. Complete the report, generate it, email the link, forget about it. No payee no reportee.

I did 443 inspections with it last year and 74 so far this year. I average 9.29 inspections per week working 4.5 days a week (golf on Friday afternoon) 48 weeks out of the year. I don't work weekends. Ever. Cost me $800.00 per year for unlimited reports. Cheap? No. I like it, clients like it. I haven't had one person call me because they can't understand the report. No complaints, no lawsuits, no refunds. Works for me.

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Oh yea. I've been using the same iPad the entire time. Dropped it multiple times. Just lucky I guess. In the event I drop it and render it unusable its a quick stop by Target, Apple store, Best Buy, etc for a new one. Fire it up, sign in to my account and away I go. Try that with a laptop. Heck in 2 years its outdated anyway so I figure its just part of the cost of doing business.

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The cost of Horizon, or the equipment (iPad) isn't a significant factor, at least imho. If any system is really good, those amounts are the cost of doing business. As far as dropping a laptop, like one can drop an iPad, I guess I wonder why anyone would walk around with a laptop.

My dislikes are how the information is scattered in several locations. There's a summary, then an appendix, and then there's other information scattered throughout the report. It's disjointed. Interspersed with the information are pictures that are informative, sometimes, but not necessarily related to the subject property. It's one of the examples of report creep, the filling of pages with....stuff. Communication gets lost when surrounded by lots of stuff.

I can trace how the inspector is covered by all that stuff, but I've also found customers like a simple list of what to think about; they don't know how to tweeze all that info apart to figure out what's important. Then again, most customers don't care; they get lost in the real estate transaction shuffle.

I understand why people like it. It makes the inspectors job easier in some regards. Fill in the blanks, a big document pops out. I've just taken a different approach.

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Thank You DLORD. Thats the information I need. Finally.

Was Horizon your first choice? Did you try others.

Does Home Inspector Pro pay all you guys to flood the internet with sales crap. I called HIP and what a bunch of morons. They act as if they are the only ones that can make a software program.

You should by the Horizon software, you will love it!

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Thank You DLORD. Thats the information I need. Finally.

Was Horizon your first choice? Did you try others.

Does Home Inspector Pro pay all you guys to flood the internet with sales crap. I called HIP and what a bunch of morons. They act as if they are the only ones that can make a software program.

Blow it out your ear! You ask for advice then berate the people that offer you what you asked for.

Does anyone have experience using an IPAD app for reporting / inspection? So many apps for home inspections. Looking for some real world advice.
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