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Still living in the 20th century, I tote a clipboard w/checklist as my map, take as many digipix as I can manage to, then bang out the narrative of my journey on a word processor. Minimum turnaround is 24 hrs.

I'd like to hear from generators of on-site reports. I don't see how a comparable job can be done by filling out a checklist on-site, signing it and holding out my hand for my money. They often as not pay me on-site anyway.

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Originally posted by Jim Baird

I don't see how a comparable job can be done by filling out a checklist on-site, signing it and holding out my hand for my money.

I agree, although I wouldn't want to say it couldn't be done. Some good software should speed you up, once you've had enough time to hammer out the boiler plate and the nitty details. I want that extra time back at the office to get it right, I don't plan on ever delivering on-site.

Brian G.

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I use a template based on MS Word that fits Texas required SOP in a lap top that stays on the kitchen counter-top. I have lots of my own boilerplate. I gather information with cryptic notes and periodically transfer it to the computer.

The basic checklist format is a guide and is supplemented with narrative descriptions of problems found. My average inspection is five to six hours (one to two preparing the report). Reports are completed and printed on site. Or if the client asks, email or electronic copies are available.

No one complains about the time preparing the report on site, and when I get home all that's left is a little record keeping.

Works for me...

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I appreciate your replies, and your positive reinforcement of my thoughts about quality work.

In our state (GA) inspectors are not licensed, and it seems like there's one behind every stump!

Lots of 'em offer "on-site reports", apparently for the "hurry-up" market.

Many's the call I've gotten from people who say, "I need an inspection by tomorrow afternoon."

My dependence on digital photos is such that often I don't know all I've seen till I browse the photo batch. Also, sometimes I have to think about what I've seen to understand what I've seen.

It seems that I always see something I've never seen before.

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It is entirely possible to provide an excellent onsite report, but it requires very finely tuned software.

The fact that so many inspectors continue to use outdated checklists is frightening. It is a testament to the pathetically backward profession we are a part of. The industry is, unfortuneately, held in the tight grip of industry "leaders" that can't change without killing their own golden goose.

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I like to do them back at the office although I am sneaking up on a tablet computer and software. I've been using my own word template and a clipboard, generating the reports in the office. Next day latest, often same day. Over the years as the report and my knowledge grew, so did the report writing time.

I find the checklist reports abhorrent and get a lot of biz from buyers following checklist listing reports. They are so lacking, jumbled up, and poorly formatted, resulting in the reader having great difficulty searching through a garbage pile only to find in the end that nothing of real value was stated, IMO. Way too weasely for the most part.

I have a good friend and esteemed colleague who set up his van with a waiting room where the client could comfortably sit while he printed out the report from his laptop and 3D software with his own great looking template. He generates a very good report. He is quite experienced, over 10K inspections in 16 years. He recently went back to generating the reports from his office. He inputs the data on site but prefers now to look things over in the office before issuing the written report.

I will switch over to the tablet and software over the next few months but will still generate the reports from the office. I like that second look, the ability to tweak the pics and research issues via code books or bulletin boards on areas where I am weak. I feel that the value in that far outweighs the onsite gimmickry by exponentially lessening my liability.

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Originally posted by Walker

I always tell my clients that the checklist is for me - keeps me from missing anything.

I can't imagine doing an inspection without a checklist. The liability is just too great.

How do you guys that do your reports at home go back and check on something that you may have missed?

I have a set of sheets made on Word that I print out and carry on-site, a more-or-less checklist with lots of room for notes (system by system, room by room). That and the photos are taken back to the office to work from for the report.

You can't honestly tell me that you've never missed anything. We're all human. We all miss stuff.

No arguement on this point. No one is perfect, especially not in this business.

I've never been sued, and I've never had any complaints filed with the state.

Me either, but I know it could happen to anyone on any given day, whether they did anything wrong or not.

Brian G.

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I use a checklist, a paired down version of my word template to keep from missing anything. I also take my notes on that. I go back and input it on the puter and insert the pics. I typically take about 75 these days, 15 or so typically make the report. The rest are for me. I haven't been sued....yet, either, and while I feel I am thorough, cautious and very good with disclaimers, I am equally lucky.

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I use a checklist in the field, write the narrative report at home, and email it that afternoon. This is a funky little business fellas, and there are a million ways to do it. Find the way that works for you and do it better than anyone.

I'll never do an on-site narrative, because I like writing reports within an arm's length of my library, my phone, and the internet; as well as a dozen other reasons.

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I do my report off site and in ten years I have had to go back about three or four times, and those were for stupid things. I take a large number of photos, I take good notes and I trust my memory. If I have a question I have my photos to go back and review. I might take 50 photos on a 3000sf home and only a few will be in the report.

[Edited by TIJ: Portions of this thread related to franchises vs. independents have been moved to a separate thread)

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Originally posted by Walker

Another personal business philosphy that I have: I don't hide anything. My clients get a copy of every photo I take.

The photos that I take and do not disclose to the client are photos that have no value for the client. They are for my records for defense in a frivolous lawsuit should the need ever arise. Nothing is ever hidden from my clients. The "hidden" photos only represent conditions at the time of the inspection which all are privvy to by their very presence at the inspection.

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Originally posted by jhagarty

Crusty:

From your post.

The photos that I take and do not disclose to the client are photos that have no value for the client. They are for my records for defense in a frivolous lawsuit should the need ever arise. Nothing is ever hidden from my clients. The "hidden" photos only represent conditions at the time of the inspection which all are privvy to by their very presence at the inspection.

Appears that you routinely hide more than your identity.

Joseph P. Hagarty

Joe,

I really don't expect you to understand where I am coming from and you are excused. If you start to understand me that will give me cause for concern.

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Originally posted by jhagarty

Scott:

If you are offended by the truth and perception I am truly sorry.

Not offended by the truth at all.

What makes you a Better Inspector than the Inspector you publicly went out of your way to chastise?

That's a good question to ask. I guess the fact that I have never had a claim in ten years and that he has had three in the past six months is a good measure. I really think that this inspector felt is was OK and common to have this many claims.

What was the intended purpose in spreading the Tale? What were Inspectors visiting this site supposed to learn from your diatribe?

No tale, all fact and truth. I would hope that inspectors visiting this site would understand that having three claims in six months is not a good thing!

Joe,

Putting your connection with HM aside, would you still be willing to fall on your sword if I had put that he worked for a P2P or Amerspec franchise?

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Hi,

The thread drift here went way off-topic. It started out with someone wanting to know about on-site reports and descended into independents and franchisees taking pot shots at one another. The simple fact is that both franchises and independents have to deal with the same issues when it comes to reporting. Not all report systems used by franchises are designed to minimize issues and not all are checklists or on-site types - which is exactly the way it is with the rest of the profession.

I've started another thread that deals more directly with the franchise/independent debate and have moved all or parts of discussions dealing with that topic to that thread. Let's try to keep this one on the issue of on-site reports.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks to all the on-target "on-site" query replies.

Regarding checklists, the one I use in the field is multi-paged and very space-laden for chicken scratched field notes (taken on belly in crawl, on belly in attic, uside down etc.)

Regarding fotos, I'm not that lucky with pix from above mentioned positions either, lots of 'em don't show anything. I do well to get fifty taken per house.

I always tell clients I don't mind them dogging my heels while I work, but secretly regret it when they do, as i get caught up in the tour guide mode and take less descriptive notes.

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Jim,

I talk to my client and my digital voice recorder at the same time. I'm careful to do the inspection in the same order that Iwrite my reports, so my notes and recordings gor along sequentially w/ the report. I find that I alomost never listen to the recording, working from notes, pictures and memory. I've found that when I speak into the recorder, like writing it down, it burns it into my brain. When I have something I'm not sure of, I fall back to the voice recorder. My recorder cost 90 bucks and holds 4 hours of incredibly dry, boring detail.

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