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It's not just my use of Word that keeps me from doing more than one per day. It's lots of things. My business approach is that if you take care of the clients needs first, the client will pay for it.

Even if you come up with software that can do everything to my satisfaction, I doubt I'd begin doing more than one per day. It would just allow me to finish by 5. My last report kept me until 7:40 PM and that's about as fast as HI reports currently go for me. The one before was past midnight.

Kurt might well be correct. He exceeds me enormously in experience. One day I'll pass by for coffee, ask for a demo, and steal his secret.[;)]

Marc

...Some POS may take longer but I rarely spend more than an hour on report preparation...

I believe you. I skimmed your sample report #1.

No offense intended.

Marc

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Hi Everyone,

I build software and I'm doing some research on ways to make the inspection business more fun, productive and profitable.

What are the pain points you experience in your business?

Thanks in advance,

Scott.

Put together a system that does what these guys say that they do:

https://www.inspectionsupport.net/

What Jim said!

Jim & Scottpat - If this system does what you need it to why aren't you using it?

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Using HomeGauge I can complete most reports in about 45 minutes. That includes pictures, download from the camera and drag into the report. Then add arrows etc with a click. Some POS may take longer but I rarely spend more than an hour on report preparation. Click upload then sent. Done.

That's about the same with my system. If it's a bunch of basic stuff, I've done them in 30 minutes.

HomeGauge isn't bad, but it's not good. It's sorta OK. I guess. Compared to all the other crap anyway. It's the opposite, though, of trends in software (think apps doing specific things well). It's also the opposite of all trends in reading, writing, and information transmission.

At base, all we're doing is providing a list of stuff to the customer. Seems like the obvious thing would be to create a list making system. A list making system with image management at it's core.

I hope our software individual understands the shit pile he's wading into, i.e., working with HI's to figure out a smart report system. HI's designing report software is like Homer Simpson designing a car...(Season 2, 15th episode, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?")

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Hi Everyone,

I build software and I'm doing some research on ways to make the inspection business more fun, productive and profitable.

What are the pain points you experience in your business?

Thanks in advance,

Scott.

Put together a system that does what these guys say that they do:

https://www.inspectionsupport.net/

What Jim said!

Jim & Scottpat - If this system does what you need it to why aren't you using it?

Carefully read my statement.

I want a system that does what that system purports to do. I have yet to be able to make it actually do what it says it does.

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There are simple and easy ways to solve these problems. I don't have them yet but I do know a process that can uncover them and find the best solutions.

If you spend time interviewing 10 inspectors you'll come up with 10 completely different sets of needs and ways of doing things. The solution that one inspector finds effective and easy to use will be ridiculed by the other 9 inspectors. If you try to blend and combine things to appeal to a wider range of inspectors, then you end up with the kitchen sink.

Most inspectors are one-man shops. Some are franchises. I'm one member of a 5-way partnership. Some inspectors only do inspections. Others offer additional services. Each of these business models is going to have different office management and scheduling needs.

I suspect that you could come up with a pretty good product for my business. But it would probably be unnecessarily complex for a one-man shop that only does inspections. Certainly something geared for a one-man shop won't work for my business.

As for the report writing system, there's just no single right answer for that. Every inspector has his own way of doing things and, for the most part, he believes that his way is the best and that everyone else's way is simply no good. You will *never* come up with a single reporting system that most inspectors like - heck you probably won't come up with one that 10% of inspectors like. Look at Kurt. He has the perfect reporting system - just ask him - yet he's the only inspector on the planet who uses it.

Mike O'Handley, the founder of this forum, worked directly with Mike Brown to create his perfect report writing system and it's the polar opposite of Kurt's.

I bought a report writing system from one of the smartest guys in the business and then I tweaked mine until it became near unrecognizable from what it was.

The old adage about herding cats never applied to anyone as aptly as it does to home inspectors.

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If I did go down the report generation path I wouldn't actually build the templating functionality, I'd leverage something else.

For example there is a service called Ultradox which has templating which I could integrate with and has a good price (free for 50 docs a month).

A template can be a Google Docs, LibreOffice, MS Word or HTML document that contains instructions and variables (=placeholders) to insert dynamic content.

My system would then focus on capturing the data & images and it would then call this service to generate the document.

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Look at Kurt. He has the perfect reporting system - just ask him - yet he's the only inspector on the planet who uses it.

I'm not aware of having ever claimed perfection, or anything near to it. I think my arguments involve form, content, and interface. This is an object lesson in why HI report formats (and lots of other things) are a problem; folks don't listen.

No one uses it because I make no attempt to sell it. My worst nightmare is attempting to sell anything to a home inspector.

I am gratified by the fact that a few folks on this forum have created their own systems that, remarkably, are consistent with the form and content (not sure about interface) I've always promoted. The ideas are not original; they're everywhere and all around us. A few folks get it.

The story about taking a report system that someone else made a couple decades ago and then working it for another decade until it is something else entirely is the perfect lesson here. Few understand there's a box let alone think outside of it.

The old adage about herding cats never applied to anyone as aptly as it does to home inspectors.

Yep.

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Look at Kurt. He has the perfect reporting system - just ask him - yet he's the only inspector on the planet who uses it.

.... I think my arguments involve form, content, and interface. This is an object lesson in why HI report formats (and lots of other things) are a problem; folks don't listen.

I use Word and it does take a long time to write reports when there are lots of issues with the house. I don't use very much canned language, I think (hope) my reports are better when they are mostly specifically written. I would love to try something else to speed it up, but I don't see how Word, or your favorite word processor, is the bottle neck.

What "interfaces" are there besides a word processor, or a clunky report generator? Every one I tried blew, so I made my own template in a .doc and in no way think it is the best.

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Look at Kurt. He has the perfect reporting system - just ask him - yet he's the only inspector on the planet who uses it.

.... I think my arguments involve form, content, and interface. This is an object lesson in why HI report formats (and lots of other things) are a problem; folks don't listen.

I use Word and it does take a long time to write reports when there are lots of issues with the house. I don't use very much canned language, I think (hope) my reports are better when they are mostly specifically written. I would love to try something else to speed it up, but I don't see how Word, or your favorite word processor, is the bottle neck.

What "interfaces" are there besides a word processor, or a clunky report generator? Every one I tried blew, so I made my own template in a .doc and in no way think it is the best.

Post your website so we can see your sample report.

Marc

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What "interfaces" are there besides a word processor, or a clunky report generator? Every one I tried blew, so I made my own template in a .doc and in no way think it is the best.

Excellent question, and thank you for joining the discussion.

WP's and DB's can be formatted in all sorts of ways so the output will look exactly the same, or close enough it doesn't matter. Input interface of either can be molded to perform the same tasks.....buttons, boilerplate from libraries, word/phrase search, whatever. Each can be made to jump through the same hoops.

If one is working with lots of images, the hoops for WP's become slightly more convoluted. If one likes to run down through a film strip, drag images to comments, punch in boilerplate where necessary, or type individual custom phrases, the hoops increase a little more.

Add up all those little 5, 10, or a few seconds more commands/tasks that I perform several hundred or a few thousand times a day, and suddenly report generation time expands in ways not immediately obvious.....all while you're doing these little tasks that seem to be reasonably efficient and not time consuming.

Surprise.

DB's lend themselves to certain tasks much better than WP's. If those tasks are repetitive data collection, collation, and report generation, one might want to think in ways other than word processing.

I'm interested in a lot of the new tools currently available. I'm vaguely aware of Utradox and building systems with their components. My web guy has a dozen or so other options that can work in the cloud. It's a big world.

Big enough that old WP systems predicated on ideas about report writing that were developed >25 years ago and argumentatively held on to by intransigent old guys start looking really stupid and outdated.

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Another thing I've learned.....design for what's necessary, not for what one's imagined dream system would provide.

My system doesn't do a lot of stuff. That's the best part.

I guarantee no one would like my system initially. I didn't like it.

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kurt would you be able to share what your average number of inspections you are doing per day or per week with your system.

2 a day is max for most inspectors.

There are a lot of variables but most common is the single family detached home. I typically spend 2 hours inspecting, compiling information and taking about 110 pictures with a camera. I have recently gone back to writing notes on a slip of paper, date and size of water heater, furnace info, and all the minor items to fix. This is quicker than going back to read the labels again or bringing them up on a monitor, and prevents the little items from being overlooked.

I do a walkthrough with the clients, and get paid, 45 mins average. Then the report writing takes about an hour, or two for a POS.

I could use a better database for comments because scrolling through a list of past comments is too slow. Quicker to type a comment than search for an old one.

I wonder if we will eventually do YouTube-style reports, videos with narrative? Film editing will still take time, but with practice, you could cut editing down to a just few deletions. That will be fun.

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I am not the volume guy. Don't wanna be. My market is different. Chicago is different. Fewer at high prices. Better gig.

If it comes to HI videos everywhere in every report, I'm out. Lots of HI videos would be awful.

If they can't write, does it get better with video?

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In my current line of work we built an app for insurance home & contents assessors who could do an assessment with a tablet. Previously it was a clip-pad & pen job where they would then go back later and record the details into a system.

With the app the assessor can add rooms and then add items(ceiling, cornice, floorboard, window) & actions(replace, paint, etc.) for a trade type(painter, builder, etc.) as they are walking around.

They can take pictures using a digital camera or the camera in the device and attach them to the assessment & add notes.

They have a voice recorder around their neck where the voice file was attached to the assessment. This will probably later be done by the app aswell.

All of this can be done offline if need be and then synced to the server where a report is generated and the quote request process initiated etc.

All the room types, item types, actions, trade type etc. are data lists that are maintained and updated over time to make the process quicker for the assessors.

It sounds very similar to what you guys are doing with a HI.

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Has anyone heard of the Not-Invented-Here Bias?

We tend to overrate and overvalue our own ideas and creations. In fact, we continue to do so even when someone else made it seems as if we came up with it ourselves.

This bias is useful in keeping us motivated and committed to pursue our own work but it could also blind us from better solutions and ideas out there.

Dan Ariely talks about it here.

Mark Twain also wrote about this universally human trait....

In Europe and Elsewhere, 1923, Mark Twain states that:

"The slowness of one section of the world about adopting the valuable ideas of another section of it is a curious thing and unaccountable. This form of stupidity is confined to no community, to no nation; it is universal. The fact is the human race is not only slow about borrowing valuable ideas it sometimes persists in not borrowing them at all. (p. 175)"

Twain was referring to the fact that nations find it difficult to use something that has already been invented and used the example of USA?s insistence on keeping their large and old-fashioned stoves although Germany had already invented one that was far more efficient and less clunky. Twain pointed to the fact that as Americans hadn?t invented the new stove it couldn?t be any good.

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Lots of HI videos would be awful.

If they can't write, does it get better with video?

I am thinking the clients will no longer be reading, just listening and watching the highlights of the inspection, 10 minute video. So yeah, it will be better for the upcoming generation of cyber clients.
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Has anyone heard of the Not-Invented-Here Bias?

We tend to overrate and overvalue our own ideas and creations. In fact, we continue to do so even when someone else made it seems as if we came up with it ourselves.

This bias is useful in keeping us motivated and committed to pursue our own work but it could also blind us from better solutions and ideas out there.

Dan Ariely talks about it here.

Mark Twain also wrote about this universally human trait....

In Europe and Elsewhere, 1923, Mark Twain states that:

"The slowness of one section of the world about adopting the valuable ideas of another section of it is a curious thing and unaccountable. This form of stupidity is confined to no community, to no nation; it is universal. The fact is the human race is not only slow about borrowing valuable ideas it sometimes persists in not borrowing them at all. (p. 175)"

Twain was referring to the fact that nations find it difficult to use something that has already been invented and used the example of USA?s insistence on keeping their large and old-fashioned stoves although Germany had already invented one that was far more efficient and less clunky. Twain pointed to the fact that as Americans hadn?t invented the new stove it couldn?t be any good.

I think you are saying people here are not willing to give your inspection app a fair try? Not so.
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I think you are saying people here are not willing to give your inspection app a fair try? Not so.

On the surface it appears that for many people inspections specifically could be improved alot but they have reached a point where they are content with the way they are doing it.

If that mindset doesn't change then it's a bit like the stove story. It doesn't matter how good the software is they won't be open to trying it.

I haven't committed to building anything yet I'm just trying to engage with you guys to see if there is a recognised need and desire to improve.

I need people who are prepared to spend some time talking to me about what they do and how they do it.

So far I have had one person agree to speak to me.

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I am thinking the clients will no longer be reading, just listening and watching the highlights of the inspection, 10 minute video. So yeah, it will be better for the upcoming generation of cyber clients.

It might come to that, but I doubt it. Even illiterate morons couldn't stand watching the average HI video.

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