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I have two appointments today. The first one is a partial so it should be done pretty quick. It will leave me plenty of time to get to the second with enough daylight remaining.

This is a first but I'm packing a lunch to snarf down between the appointments. A PBJ on wheat, a banana and a pint of milk. Thats my staple.

Well, time to get a shower.

I'm sure by the time the reporting is done this evening, I'll be pooped.

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Yup, three a day is still my average, when I can get it, but it means late nights writing. Sometimes I don't hit the sack until 3:00 AM or, if I'm really beat I'll turn in early and get up at 5:00 AM to finish up.

Things are still rocky here, but after several awful weeks I did manage to muster nine last week and have six on the books for this week already. So, things do seem to be picking up.

I've increased the distance I'll travel by fifty miles, and, like you, John, after several years of "no weekend work", I now do weekends. I'd rather drive ninety minutes or work on a Saturday or Sunday for half a loaf, than sit at home making nothing. We must take what we can get...

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This is my summary on a 1,200 SF house that I inspected yesterday. Inspection took 2 1/2 hours. It's 3d Inspection software with a completely customized 2,913 item checklist but I always edit the report to make it more useful to the client. Editing took me 3 1/2 hours this am. While this house had a lot more findings than average, there's no way that I can do 3 average home inspections in a 9 hour day.

This is an older, raised floor, wood framed dwelling with wood, vinyl or aluminum wall finish. A brick wainscot is installed around much of the building's perimeter. The roof finish consist of laminated 3-tab shingles. The plumbing system employs: cast iron, galvanized steel, ABS and PVC for drain/waste/vent (DWV); galvanized steel with some PB and PVC for water distribution lines; galvanized steel for natural gas distribution lines. The 70 amp electrical service employs copper conductors exclusively. Indoor comfort is provided by a centrally ducted gas powered furnace. Cooling is provided to some rooms by use of window units. Major findings revealed by this inspection include structural failures in the floor, ceiling and roof framing as well as failed roof decking. The electrical installation is no longer adequate to meet the needs of the dwelling and a cooling source is unavailable to most rooms. (address deleted) is a poorly constructed dwelling with several major issues. It is in such condition that the question as to whether to repair it or to rebuild it should be carefully considered.

Marc

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This is an older, raised floor, wood framed dwelling with wood, vinyl or aluminum wall finish. A brick wainscot is installed around much of the building's perimeter. The roof finish consist of laminated 3-tab shingles. The plumbing system employs: cast iron, galvanized steel, ABS and PVC for drain/waste/vent (DWV); galvanized steel with some PB and PVC for water distribution lines; galvanized steel for natural gas distribution lines. The 70 amp electrical service employs copper conductors exclusively. Indoor comfort is provided by a centrally ducted gas powered furnace. Cooling is provided to some rooms by use of window units. Major findings revealed by this inspection include structural failures in the floor, ceiling and roof framing as well as failed roof decking. The electrical installation is no longer adequate to meet the needs of the dwelling and a cooling source is unavailable to most rooms. (address deleted) is a poorly constructed dwelling with several major issues. It is in such condition that the question as to whether to repair it or to rebuild it should be carefully considered.

Hi Marc,

That's exactly how I figured your report might look.

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I agree. The last sentence is well crafted.

For a similar mess, I once wrote something like, "In my professional opinion, we need to toss a few grenades through the front door of this house, wait till the dust settles, and start over." Marc's choice of words is much more civilized and professional. I will steal them.

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I've never been that blunt on paper either, but when I end up inspecting a similar mess, I literally talk them out of buying it, and the agent is usually in the background with praying hands mouthing "thank you!" to me. Usually I just tell them bluntly, "This is a perfect house for a buyer with REAL DEEP pockets and I don't think you're prepared to own this house."

As far as three a day goes, I do hear that often, I suppose the two factors that make it manageable are: 1. I don't entertain my clients AT ALL. I don't want to be interrupted or distracted. 2. I'm a methodic machine when I inspect, kinda like when I layed brick - poetry in motion - I move through a house walking every surface and deal with each thing as I come to it rather that bounce around from system to sytem, etc.

I do understand inspectors concern with three a day. It has always been suggested that I MUST be doing a lousy job, which I would take offense to were it not for the fact that I get virtually no complaints year after year (thankfully) so I guess we're all different. I mean, if you cut your teeth laying 700 brick and 250 block a day in 8 hours and then working a side job laying more brick and block until dark every week day of your life, performing three home inspections is a welcome relief - a comparative snap.

Also, heck, I've been on my own for 15 years now, so other than home inspections, with a little hiking and snowboarding, I really don't have much of a life. This is exclussively what I do like a machine. Since 1993 I have now inspected 10,489 homes - in real life I'm a total bore. [;)]

Now I will say that since I went to software, it's MUCH harder to do three than it was with my own custom paper form report, which had every condition that an inspector might see in a typical week, already in a concise statement needing only to be checked and the location hand written. Electronic reporting is time consuming and has me thinking more and more about going to two a day, because now I AM spending much more time on the report writing side.

I average 3 hours +/- on site which allows me to document most of my findings and polish the report at the office. So, I suppose the average total time per inspection is 4 - 4.5 hours. It's a long day.

And, as I get older, I begin to worry about loosing my edge, which is probably gonna happen... in other words, your collective concern regarding three a day is becoming more real, even in my own mind as I age... The last thing I ever want is complaints. I hate 'em and am my own worst critic when it comes to them.

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I do understand inspectors concern with three a day. It has always been suggested that I MUST be doing a lousy job, which I would take offense to were it not for the fact that I get virtually no complaints year after year (thankfully) so I guess we're all different

The bottom line is client satisfaction. Who can argue with that?

Marc

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I don't see myself ever doing 3 inspections in a day. Not unless I plan on working 24 hours straight.

I like the higher fee with more time spent per job approach. I'm not the cheapest guy in town to begin with. Even then, I see myself becoming gradually more expensive.

I'm getting better at judging information during calls. I'm finding it easier to bump fees up based on what I hear.

The ones out there advertising $250 any home, whats up with that?

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$250.00 In the DC area? That's called desperate. There used to be rumors floating around our local ASHI Chapter thatsomeone was doing the "any house" deal, but it was years ago.

I do get a little nervous in slow weeks, suspecting that my local compadres have finally caved in and lowered their prices, which I have not done. It's a different world out there today.

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MGB Quote: I do understand inspectors concern with three a day. It has always been suggested that I MUST be doing a lousy job, which I would take offense to were it not for the fact that I get virtually no complaints year after year (thankfully) so I guess we're all different

The bottom line is client satisfaction. Who can argue with that?

Marc

I can argue with that only because the lack of complaints in no way indicates a level of satisfaction. It's not a logical assumption.

First, in order for a client to be dissatisfied they have to have an expectation that wasn't met. Most clients have no idea what a quality report looks like so it's almost impossible for them to be dissatisfied with less than stellar reporting.

Second, for a client to complain means they have to be really dissatisfied. Folks that are just disappointed or feel mildly ripped off based on poor value probably won't complain... just like most of us wouldn't complain if we received a crappy turkey club sandwich at a diner.

I've never had a complaint but I know for a fact that doesn't mean that all my clients were satisfied. One client used me for her first inspection and then hired an engineer for her second inspection. That proves she wasn't happy with me but she never said anything about being unhappy until she called me to reinspect the second house. It was then she told me she'd felt that I charged too much but she admitted that now she had a basis for comparison. That scenario worked out well for me but it sure doesn't mean that was the only time I've had a dissatisfied client.

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I appreciate the argument and even agree with the basic logic - no question.

And, yet, It's a curious thing, Chad, I'll follow behind my competitors who are notorious for spending 4.5 to 5 hours inspecting homes and find things they overlooked wondering to myself how in the world did he miss THAT? Since you do litigation, I'm confident that you've observed that some guys just aren't cut out to do this, and no amount of time spent in a home can save them. If it were simply a matter of knowledge and time spent in a home, anyone could become a great home inspector, but we all know that's not true.

To some degree, there's no rhyme or reason to the whole subject. Apparently lots of time in a home doesn't necessarily = a better home inspection, at least not in relative terms. Some guys are just really born or bred to do this. Almost every single thing I've done in my entire life since 1972 has been relative and a supporting skill to what I do now (College courses in engineering and architecture, Detailing light structural and ornamental steel, Masonry, Design-build construction, Disaster Restoration Contracting, forensics for Home Owners Insurance company claims departments, etc). It's a real blessing that led me to conclude in 1993 that inspecting homes was a logical progression.

I suppose we're actually quite similar. Sure, I guess some folks aren't 100% satisfied, and yet, I survive solely by word of mouth and haven't set foot in a Real Estate office or fed a brochure holder or card holder in probably five years, as I suspect you haven't either. We enjoy a reputation for reliable home inspections.

In my book, The Zen of Home Inspection, I concluded that inspecting a home is an "imperfect art" and that is exactly what it is. Being a good home inspector, with all the complexity of a home, is not just a logical and knowledge based craft, it is just as much an art in which only the truly gifted do well. Good vision, for instance, is a must in this business, but it's amazing peripheral vision that catches a lot of the award winning stuff. I suspect that most of us seasoned vets around here all fall into that gifted category...

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Well, don't get me wrong. I'd love to do three a day. . . $$$$$.

In order to do that, I'd have to cut back drastically on report quality, time spent at the house, or customer interaction.

I can't bring myself to cut back on any of those items - at least right now.

I'm alway open-minded and willing to take suggestions. . . .

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