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I'm looking to see if I can get a little advice about upgrading my inspection software. Here's a little background on what I have;

Back in 2001 I bought the ReportPlus 2000 software. At the time, they allowed the software to be installed on only two separate computers.

After those two computers died, I called them back and the company sent me out another disk to be used on another two computers. Well, these computers are now on life support.

I called AHIT, who now owns the software and was told I would have to buy the full version of their current reporting system.

I don't have a problem with that. The two things that are making me a little apprehensive are;

1. They may not be able to transfer over my boilerplate library that I've adjusted and added over the years.

2. I would only be allowed to pre-load 50 reports at a time. Once I get to 5 reports on the computer, I could go on-line and get another 50.

So if they can't transfer over my boilerplate library, I'd have to re-write everything, so why not look at other reporting systems (I do like IR. It's Word based and lays out similarly to ReportPlus).

Plus, if the company goes under, I'll be out my money and be looking for another system..again.

Does anyone have any experience with AHIT and their software?

How about IR? Thanks for your help.

Tony

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I've used 3d Inspection for 7 years. My own, entirely customized boilerplate. You can change boilerplate during the editing of a report. Just love it.

Wanna change computer? Just call 3d, they'll reset it. You have to buy additional licenses for additional simultaneous computers.

Marc

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Tony,

InspectExpress is a truly competent program. Send Mike@DevWave.com an email and he'll set you up w/ a demo. He's Canadian so English isn't his first language but once you get past the communication barrier it's pretty damn smooth.

(honestly, he speaks English fine but he does have that Canadian thing going where everything he says sounds like a question.)

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I've used 3d Inspection for 7 years. My own, entirely customized boilerplate. You can change boilerplate during the editing of a report. Just love it.

Wanna change computer? Just call 3d, they'll reset it. You have to buy additional licenses for additional simultaneous computers.

Marc

I've used it since 2002 and fully agree with Marc. It's pretty good straight out of the box but the true beauty is the ability to fully customize it. I also have a spare laptop that I keep up to date so that if my main laptop goes belly up I won't miss a beat.

It will much more than reporting though as you can upgrade to the premier version that includes a office management module.

More can be seen here: http://www.3dinspection.com/

Good stuff...

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I live in the area that AHIT has it's main offices. I took AHIT courses over the years. A couple years ago, they sold a part of their business to Kaplan. It seems to me that they have "downsized" their operations to some extent and I am not fully confident with their services any longer, that is just me.

After doing a webinar on their software, I had decided to stay with Horizon reporting software. At the time it was much more user friendly in my opinion and the cost was comparable. Horizon is very customizable, they are constantly adding improvements based on Inspector feedback, etc. The updates are automatic with no hassles as it is web based. Their support is very good so long as you can wait a reasonable time for tech support to address the issue when needed.

I get rave reviews from customers about the format of my reports. Currently, I am paying $12 per report as I only purchase 20 reports at a time but other plans are available for volume discounts. Preview at discoverhorizon.com

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Another thumbs up for 3D. I've been using it for 5 years and like the others have said, it's fully customizable (text, graphics, layout, etc.). I have it loaded on 2 computers as well, but I don't think I had to pay extra for that.

Excellent customer service! When I've had problems they are there to help and the problems do get resolved. They also seem to listen to their subscribers suggestions about how to improve the software and incorporate new features.

My impression is that the company is old, strong and stable and should be around for awhile...but that's just my impression[:-dunce]

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Tony,

InspectExpress is a truly competent program. Send Mike@DevWave.com an email and he'll set you up w/ a demo. He's Canadian so English isn't his first language but once you get past the communication barrier it's pretty damn smooth.

(honestly, he speaks English fine but he does have that Canadian thing going where everything he says sounds like a question.)

He sounded normal to me every time we spoke.

-B

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I've been with InspectIt for 10 years or so. No problems really.

I can't get myself to change - it's too hard unless I was to completely start over with something totally new.

I can't comment on their "stability." Every time I've called, they've answered and helped.

Downloading reports has never been an issue.

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I don't quite understand the $12.00 that you say that you are 'paying' for each report. My Emailed reports cost me nothing per se. The printed reports cost me the ink and paper. Is this where your $12 comes from?

Marc

Rather than plunking down the entire cost of buying a software package, some companies offer a pay-per-use program. You pay for each report generated.

-B

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I don't quite understand the $12.00 that you say that you are 'paying' for each report. My Emailed reports cost me nothing per se. The printed reports cost me the ink and paper. Is this where your $12 comes from?

Marc

Rather than plunking down the entire cost of buying a software package, some companies offer a pay-per-use program. You pay for each report generated.

-B

Ouch.

This might be a stupid question, but here goes... If one is going to completely rewrite the boiler plate why pay for it in the first place?

I created a Word doc that consists of a cover page, an intro, and an outline of the items I need to look at broken into sections. My outline serves as my checklist so that I don't miss anything. I open my master doc, save as a new file, then fill in the blanks. At the end of each outline there is blank space to insert pictures and describe the issues in detail. Frequent comments like 'gas water heaters tend to last...' are part of the outline, and I simply delete or edit them if they aren't relevant. I authored my own comments about asbestos siding and lead paint that I cut and paste into the report as needed. Everything else is written on the fly.

Tom

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The bottom line is: what software is used by the inspectors that have the prettiest reports? Maybe Mike O can arrange for us all to submit a recent report into a folder that will vanish in 14 days. Include into the file name a code for the software used to create the report. We'll have up to 2 weeks to review them. Broadcast the folder availability date so all will know of it beforehand. Is this a dumb idea?

Marc

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This might be a stupid question, but here goes... If one is going to completely rewrite the boiler plate why pay for it in the first place?

Tom

I don't think it's stupid at all. I write my reports exactly the same way you do (except I don't include photos).

And I'll disagree with Marc's statement that the bottom line is whose package creates the prettiest report. Far from it.

We are hired to learn everything we can about a particular home using non-invasive means in just a few hours. Then, we have to package all of the pertinent information in a way that is impossible to misunderstand. No easy task.

Longer reports are not better reports.

Prettier reports are not better reports.

The best reports are succinctly and clearly written with the fewest distractions, and they should look professional.

I've never seen a report over 20 pages that could be described that way. I'd say that the same thing goes for checklists.

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In response to Marc's question about report costs. Horizon is a web based Inspection reporting system. Not only do they supply my reports (which are merely templates for individual use) they also store all of my reports on their end, they provide with the report, a management system for my business as well. It allows me to track where my business is comng from, how long between orders for each specific referral source and lots of important information for marketing, etc. Allthough I should be backing up my files for my own safety, I haven't and I've been using Horizon for over 5 years with no loss of files to date.

They also provide a laptop or PDA version at no extra cost which allows me to "sync" reports back and forth from any device. This makes my report writing very easy when I take short notes in the field and then take the info from my smart phone and send it to my home computer to add photo's and all the extensive info that I didn't want to waste time in the field writing, boilerplate or any other easily added data.

Also, when I write comments, I can save them as I go to be available in all future reports (added boilerplate etc.) Which has also saved me alot of time over the years.

Yes, $12 per report might sound costly over time, but the constant updates and improvements to the reporting system saves me from ever having to change software. When the technology changes, the program changes with it which leaves me more time to build my business rather than building software or worrying about technological advances and how to adapt to them ahead of my competition.

It has been quite easy to charge the "right" fee per inspection to absorb these costs, since the format and style of my report have been my best marketing tool. I still do my accounting in Quickbooks, but the Horizon system makes all of my information easy and fast to get to when I need it. They also have a great photo upload feature that has saved me about a half hour per report as most inspections have 15-30 photo's.

You can see a demo at discoverhorizon.com and no, I am not being paid to promote them, I just like their product.

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My longest report was 18 or 19 pages. Take out the cover, introduction, closing, and two pages with 8 pictures each of electrical and crawl defects (in addition to the pics embedded in my narrative) and you get 13 or 14 pages of commentary on one of the biggest POS's I've done.

I'm a cheap basterd. My PC should register this year with Selective Service. I'm not shelling out $500 for new hardware, why would I spend that on software, especially one that runs in Word?

I was hoping the others here would stop standing around trying to prove who has the biggest software (no ofense to our sponsor) and see that there is an easier way, and a pretty cheap one at that.

Tom

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I'm a cheap basterd. My PC should register this year with Selective Service. I'm not shelling out $500 for new hardware, why would I spend that on software, especially one that runs in Word?

I was hoping the others here would stop standing around trying to prove who has the biggest software (no ofense to our sponsor) and see that there is an easier way, and a pretty cheap one at that.

Tom

Ok Tom. How's this: I send you one of my reports and you tell me if your way can do it in a practical length of time?

Marc

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No question, the initial expenditure of time is great. After that expense the principles of Moore's Law apply, efficiency and speed nearly double with every report until you reach a practical minimum, the current speed limit for me is my typing. It's been the fastest learning curve I've ever experienced.

Clearly I should have used a smiley, without one my metaphor seems a little harsh. Sorry.

Tom

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