View Full Version : How long to write your reports?

Matt Fellman
09-01-2008, 01:42 PM
I've been using an MS Word based program that my business partner wrote from scratch and, although a bit clunky, it works pretty well.

We've been thinking of making the plunge into one of the main software packages, mainly to try and shave time off of report writing.

So, I'm curious what program you're using and how long it takes to write a report. I know it's difficult but I'd like to keep this from drifting into another discussion about which software is best... really, just what type and how long you take.

Of course, no two reports are the same but I'd say I spend an average of an hour. That's factoring in the nightmare 3 hour dump write-up as well as the vacant, new townhouse with barely anything wrong.

Also, I don't do anything on-site and am thinking of heading in that direction a bit. Not even to produce the report right then and there but just to knock some of it out while it's in front of me.

Scott Patterson
09-01-2008, 02:15 PM
I use 3D as my report writing program. I have used it since it was in DOS! Yep, a very long time. I have replaced about 95% of the original boiler plate with my own and I still continue to write new boiler plate. I find that I seldom us the boiler plate that I have comprised over the years, I find it easier to type new comments as I go.

With a normal size home (Under 2500sf) that has very few problems I can have a report done in about 20 minutes. I would say that the average is around 30-45 minutes. I find that the report time increases about 5 minutes each per bathroom and per HVAC system as I get into the larger homes.

Last week I had a 4500sf new construction with several issues. It took me right at 2 hours to type that report. A few months back I had a 22,000 sf home and it took 9 hours to type the report. I did not use 3D for that report, it was 119 pages in length and right at 5 megs! Had to justify that fee!! :D

Gunnar Alquist
09-01-2008, 02:27 PM
3D. Depending on how bad, anywhere from 45 min. to a few hours. 45 min for something with no major problems and much, much longer for something really bad. I tend to use a lot of photos in my reports (50-60), so that takes a while.

The only thing that I do on site is take a few notes and photos.

Oh, yeah. With all of the foreclosures right now, I rarely have a 45 min report.

Chris Bernhardt
09-01-2008, 02:34 PM
Hi Matt,

I use MS word also. I have written my own report writer out of their visual basic.

If I was to add up all the time I have spent developing my own unique report writer I probably could have bought something like inspectexpress ten times over.

All of the report writers out there fall majorly short in one area or another so I wrote my own.

What amazes me is how every year just when I think I can't make any more significant improvements, I figure out something else or some other way of doing things.

On average a POS house with say about 40 pics and items takes about 2 hours now to write, down from about 4 hours a couple of years ago.

On the opposite end a best case clean house takes about 15 minutes write up.

Houses that have less than 20 items are on the order of hour.

I don't write reports on site, but I can. I'm moving in the direction of being able to do the mindless stuff on site like entering in all of the descriptions and setting the report up.

Doing so I imagine would save me 15 minutes to a half hour back at the office mainly in the inefficiencies of fielding phone calls and other disturbances.

Ideally I want to be able to write up a POS house in an hour.

Chris, Oregon

Erby Crofutt
09-01-2008, 03:27 PM
HomeGauge: 30 minutes to who knows how long for a POS.


Jeff Euriech
09-01-2008, 03:59 PM
I use InspectVue. If I start an average report from scratch, it takes between 1 and 3 hours to complete with pictures. However, I made up four templates of the most common houses I check, with all the appropriate narratives checked off. (assuming that there are no defects in the house) When I get to a house, I pick the correct template, then copy it, add name and address, add any defects, add some pictures, tweak the report for any additional rooms etc., and I'm ready to print. It takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour using the template short cut.

One template is for a new, all electric, three bedroom, two bath, single story, tile roof, two car garage house.
My second template is for a new, electric and gas, three bedroom, two bath, single story, tile roof, two car garage house.

My third template is for a 15 year old, all electric, three bedroom, two bath, single story, asphalt shingle, two car garage house.

My forth template is for a 15 year old, electric and gas, three bedroom, two bath, single story, asphalt shingle, two car garage house.

By using one of my templates, I can cut my report writing time down considerably.

Matt Fellman
09-01-2008, 05:20 PM
mainly in the inefficiencies of fielding phone calls and other disturbances.

This is the main reason I'd like to move to doing some work in the field. There are just a million distractions once I'm back home (Inspection News being one of them.... a really good one.... but still a distraction :) ). I just find myself drifting away from the report to do other things.

From what you guys say it doesn't sound like I'm going to save any massive chunks of time with mainstream reporting software.

Rick Hurst
09-01-2008, 06:18 PM
45 minutes to an 1hr. on average.


Brandon Whitmore
09-01-2008, 07:17 PM
When y'all factor in time it takes to do the report, are you including time spent looking up manufaturers installation instructions, building code's, etc.... Or just writing/ typing time?

Nick Ostrowski
09-01-2008, 09:01 PM
Using my own report which I developed by incorporating a few different report formats into one, it take me anywhere from 1 hour for a house with few problems up to 3 hours for the typical POS. Average time though is 2 hours per report, too long in my opinion.

Jack Feldmann
09-01-2008, 09:47 PM
I use Inspectvue too and do most of the report as I am walking around doing the inspecting. I then take about 30 - 45 minutes to download card and input photos.

I really don't spend all that much time looking up codes or manf specs either. Honestly, it just doesn't come up that much, and I don't cite code in my reports anyway.

That said, I have spent 3 - 6 hours writing a report once in a while.

Matt Fellman
09-01-2008, 10:36 PM
I find that I seldom us the boiler plate that I have comprised over the years, I find it easier to type new comments as I go.

I couldn't agree with this more.... I have pages and pages of three line comments that, when I wrote them, I was sure I'd use over and over. In reality, every situation is just enough different to keep me from really using them.

I have my 10 or 15 that I use several times each week. Otherwise, my saved comments are most often just a good starting point.

Whenever I get frustrated about report writing I just think back to when we did this with no pictures. It was so long ago I can barely remember but it sure was different.

Ted Menelly
09-02-2008, 04:03 PM
If I am alone with no interruptions, mini clean house 45 minutes, many concerns 1 1/2 of course there are exceptions.

Type almost the entire thing with the exception of the very basic items I never use the drop down list.

Jack Feldmann
09-02-2008, 07:13 PM
I find that I still use a fair amount of my boilerplate that I've developed over the years.

I mean how many ways do you need to tell someone that the deck joists are not supported properly and need a ledger board or metal hangers? I see it so much that I probably should just have it as a default and "un-check" it when the deck is OK.

Adding those comments to my report is as simple as a check in a box in my pocket PC. I just don't like to type that much to re-invent the wheel on every job.

Almost the same thing for missing TPR overflow pipes. Probably only see them 60% of the time.

Chris Bernhardt
09-02-2008, 08:41 PM
I designed my report writer to add any broiler plate automatically by keying off of keywords in the header starting the narrative for a finding.

There's no hunting and pecking for the right broiler plate. Saves a lot of time.

Chris, Oregon

Brian Cooper
09-10-2008, 02:39 PM
I use Inspection Report Creator.

I can write a typical report in 30-45 minutes. Big houses or lots of problems go about 1-1.5 hours.

Alan Miles
11-03-2008, 02:40 PM
I also use Home Gauge, For A new home with little problems, 30 minutes.
For a REPO home it could take 1.5 to 2 hours or longer depending on the number of discrepancies found. I also include a large number of photos even if there is no problem, Such as general photos of the crawl spaces, attics, And roof so the client can see for themselves what it looks like even if no problems were found. Hope this was useful to you.