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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I would be interested to hear others time saving tips. I have tried various approaches to inspecting, but at the end of the day, it seems it all takes about the same time. Here's some things I do:

    Populate my reports ahead of time with as much as I know about the house.For example, I usually take calls over the weekend and have my week pretty lined up, so I spend Sunday night filling in the reports with as much as I can, like is the house slab or Pier&Beam, all electric or gas..so as to save time.

    I talk to some inspectors who write their reports on site, and some do not. I do a combination, typing into my laptop as I am inspecting.

    Some use only a camera, some takes notes (like me), some type into their laptop they have set up in the kitchen area, Some talk to a recorder and take photos.

    Sometimes I do all the electrial in a house and then sometimes I do everything in one room, like on room at a time.

    I spend about an hour with the Client reviewing my findings. Some spend 20 minutes.

    I finish my report at home after supper and sometimes work a considerable amount of time on it, then proof-read it the next morning and then send it. I do not produce a written report on site.

    Any others like to share their thoughts on how to be efficient with your time ? This is just a conversation starter.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I do not take written notes.

    I take a great number of pictures.

    I do input only problems into a PDA that then imports it into my program. I use 3D. I'm slowly getting away from the PDA and when it dies I will most likely depend strictly on photos and my memory to write the report.

    An hour going over the inspection seems a bit on the long side... I might spend 15 minutes talking about the major findings, I have discovered that after a few minutes the clients tend to get glassy eyed and drool starts to form at the corner of the mouths. This is what the report is for. In my report I will describe more than my clients will ever remember of what we talked about.

    I inspect all homes pretty much in the same manner, it is my system and it works well for me. Most of the time I arrive before anyone else. If the owner is home, I introduce myself and tell them that I will start outside. I then complete the exterior (if it is wet and nasty outside I start on the inside first and then do the outside last). While outside I take care of the exterior electrical, water, etc...

    Once inside I turn on the dishwasher. Then I check the electrical panel. Then I move room by room, checking the windows, doors, walls, ceilings,outlets, switches, etc. in each room.

    For a morning inspection I will schedule them for either 9am or 10am depending on where they are located. I try my best to book my morning time slots first. Then I move to my afternoon times of 1pm or 2pm.

    I cover a 100+ mile radius so I tend to drive a bit. On a normal 2000sf home with 3br and 2bths I know that it will take me around 2 to 3 hours to complete the job. Nowadays I seldom have more than one inspection a day so when I'm done I head on back to office and complete the report. I will have my morning inspection report emailed to my client by 3pm on most days. With my afternoon inspection I do my best to have it out by 5pm or 6 pm.

    It takes me about 30 min to an hour to complete a report on a normal home. Even if with a 5,000+sf home I can usually have it done in an hour or two at the most. I proof my report as I finish each section and as I type.

    My goal is to get the report to my client a few hours after the inspection. This defuses the agents and the clients that want a report at the inspection. Actually, not giving a report at the inspection has never been an issue for me in the 15+ years I have been at this gig.

    I use to wait and do my reports at night after dinner. This lasted for about 2 years and I realized that it was going to burn me and my family out if I did not find another way to complete my reports. Life is Good now that I do not do my reports at night! Sure, every now and then I have to work at night but it is not the norm by any means.

    The key to reducing the amount of time with an inspection and the subsequent report is to stop or reduce the amount of duplication in your inspection and in your reporting.

    A good example duplication can be found in writing notes on everything in the home. You then have to go back and read those notes and then type whatever you are going to say into your computer.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    McKinney Texas
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    475

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Hey Scott, Good stuff. Thanks. Interesting to read how another guys approaches things. I am doing the "burn-out" night report and it is tough and taking a toll.

    Thanks

    Gene


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Lancaster, CA
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I too will pre-save and pre-populate, given the opportunity.

    I do my inspections the same way and same order... creature of habit.

    Anyway, I had forgotten the Tablet a couple weeks ago... simply took a few notes where needed and used Camera as a note taking device.

    Would I have felt more comfortable with at least a Printed Checklist or field notes... Sure!

    I have since realized that I *may* end up spending more time between on site & off site by inputting information in the computer while on site... Over the long term the *Clients and Agents* may enjoy the reduced time on site.. I'm still not sure I am comfortable with this method, complacency is likely not going to serve us well.... If nothing else the tablets/notebooks or whatever we use, *do* seem to serve as a way to make sure we are performing our inspections *completely*

    If the client has not walked around with me yet when I'm done with an inspection... I would say I spend about 15-20 mins explaining any larger concerns as well as a few simple things... like where their shut offs are..among others. Some people seem to need addt'l time, thats OK too.

    On the other side of that coin... if a Home is in relatively good condition, (not too many these days) I am nearly ready to send out a report by the time I'm completed with the inspection. Problem is that many of these REO are either: Riddled with defects and deferred maintenance OR they have been *Spit polished* and cover ups attempted.

    In this market, I make every attempt to do reports during the working day OR early AM, mostly just 1 or 2 a day... The *Burn Out* thing is real, for sure. If it gets really busy, that's when either your personal life OR your reporting methods will suffer, not sure how to completely get around it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    McKinney Texas
    Posts
    475

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    The reason I spend a lot of time with the people at the end to make sure they understand what they are buying. My goal is "zero complaints, zero call-backs, and zero lawsuits". Must be working because I have never had a complaint, at least that I am aware of. I sleep better knowing they fully get and understand knowing what they are purchasing.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
    Posts
    597

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I have lots of clients that do not bother taking time off work to attend the inspection since they find me via friends and coworkers and know what I will do. When the client is present it can easily add another hour to the inspection.

    You have to be careful with those onsite verbal summary's since many homes can have zero major issues but still need $5k and up in misc repairs if the client hires a professional to do the repairs right.

    The agent wants you to discuss just a few items onsite so the buyer leaves there with a feeling that they have the information when in fact the report will look much worse. The history behind the verbal onsite thing goes back to the 1980's when inspectors were just there to point out some caulking issues etc and facilitate the sale of the house. Nowadays, inspectors (some) provide a mass of detail and technical information in the report that in no way can be properly delivered verbally.

    Even though I have trimmed my onsite time and report writing time in the office down considerably, it all comes down to how many issues the house has. I have done a new 5k sf house on a slab in a total of 7 hours including travel and report and the other day a 5k sf older house on a crawlspace took me 12 hours total.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    #1 Resist the temptation to check whats new on IN before writing report!

    Last edited by Vern Heiler; 10-06-2010 at 05:48 AM. Reason: finger got away from me!
    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    2,446

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I have done reports on site since I started in 1989. First paper NCR forms, and now computer.
    I used to use a PDA, but it died and now just set my laptop up in kitchen and use that as a base station.
    I take a fair amount of photos, and use a small pocket note pad to write down short hand notes of things. I really only concentrate on the things that are wrong. Unless something is wrong in a room, I assume the doors, walls, electrical, etc are all OK.

    I have several templates with pre-checked narratives done. IN fact, there are a lot of things that are done if there are no adverse conditions found. For instance, if there is nothing wrong with the bathrooms, I don't have to input anything except for maybe the counter top material, or where the GFCI reset is.

    I follow the same protocol on every house. I start in the kitchen, set up my laptop, go over the contract while I am inspecting. Start the dishwasher first thing. Then I proceed around the house, going room by room in a systematic way, then up or down and do the same thing. When I get to the garage, I do the outside, then back in, and finish the house.
    Do the attic, then the roof, then the crawlspace is last.
    When I am finished with the walking around stuff, I go back to the kitchen, input the photos, and finish the report. If the client has not followed me around, I bring them up to speed while I am working on the computer.

    When I am finished with the input, I look over the report, make any corrections, then ask my client to go over it with me. I then upload it to the web, collect my check, and take off.

    There are some times I do finish the report at home. But I found out long ago, that when I got home, I wanted to be finished working.

    This system works great for me, but may not work for everyone.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    St Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,628

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I do my reports on site and have from day one, over 8 years ago. I'll generally arrive about 15 minutes early and populate my computer generated report while still in my truck. The exterior and roof section will be done (except for defects) before I leave my truck. During the inspection I do not enter defects into the report. I only document the systems. All defects are photographed. The pictures may not all be in the report at the end but I'll use the pictures instead of written notes.

    I start on the exterior then do the roof. It's generally now that my clients will arrive. I'll explain the inspection process to them, then take them on a tour of what I've seen so far. Then I'll start in the kitchen, do the main floor, then head upstairs and do that. From there I'll head to the basement where I'll inspect the foundation, heating system, a/c and typically the electric panel (unless the panel is in the garage, then I'll inspect it while I'm in the garage). The clients will generally follow me around and I'll educate them about the home while I'm performing the inspection. After I finish the basement then I'll take a look at the attic.

    At this point my inspection is done and I'll give the clients a choice of either waiting a few minutes while I enter the pictures into the report then we can go over the entire report on my computer or they can leave, review the report after they receive it in an email and call me if they have any questions. Typically they like to wait and go over it with me.

    Either way, whether they stick around or not, at this point I just pull the SD card out of my camera and slide it into my computer, load the photos into the software and enter the pictures and defects into the report. Depending on the house this could take 5 to 25 minutes and contain anywhere from 5 to 75 pictures. It helps that I can type 60 words per minute.

    Then I'll go over the summary of the report with the clients, get paid and send them an email with the report. I do it this way because I don't want to have to do them when I get home. I've got better things to do.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I used to have an extensive paper check-list but have switched almost entirely to camera and voice recorder. As I walk around the house I just make verbal notes (A/C serial number, distance to street, etc.) on things I see as I see them (things that wouldn't show on a picture). I was able to cut the time on-site in half. I still have the paper form for client signatures, disclaimers, etc, but I don't actually fill out the whole form on-site anymore. The voice recorder I use (Olympus) downloads MP3 files to my hard drive so I have a record of the notes for reference (sometimes even includes client comments if he tries to talk to me while I m making notes). Another way to save time is to group things by where they are. In the south, everything is in the attic, so I do the WH, A/C, vents, etc. all at one go in the attic. Whether I start outside or inside first depends on the weather, but if there is a crawlspace, that always comes last (don't want to get all muddy and then go walking on the living room carpet).
    David Edenburn, former Baton Rouge HI.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Setup your week on Sunday night? Wow.... forget the reports, what's your marketing secret?

    Okay, joking aside, if you put in some info ahead of time aren't you still spending the same amount of time... just at a different time?

    I've never done reports on-site but am happy to sit with my laptop in the kitchen and pound out the report is anyone is interested in watching me type... nobody ever is

    Without a doubt the #1 time saving tip I've found is to do your report where there are no distractions.... as in not a home.

    I type my reports in my truck or in a coffe shop... or wherever I can sit away from home. Once I'm in the door there's just too many other things to do. No exaggeration.... I can write up a "junker" house ins 1/2 the time away from home as sitting at home.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    For years I wrote on NCR forms on site and railed against computer reports - till about 6 months ago. As I had expected, going to computer takes more time. On site I only collect information by camera and digital recorder. Afterwards I write the report which is more time consuming than it use to be but because I can take my time in putting it together it is far better than my old onsite NCR efforts. Because of this change, doing 3 jobs a day is no longer reasonable. I am considering raising my fees due to the few jobs and better quality reporting.

    As for typing out a report at the inspection, I see no reason for the client and agent to wait around for that effort when they're not getting the report onsite anyway. I do miss the days of walking out of the job with the report completed though.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oklahoma City
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I must get side tracked too easily. If I tried to do my reports on site, I would undoubtedly forget several things that I should put in the report. Probably nothing big, but things I would get call backs for if I did not have them in the report. I get side tracked at home as well. I will come home and clean my pool, work in the yard, or eat supper before I start my reports and then I am working until 11pm. I might try working on the reports off site somewhere before coming home. However, I may get too fat to do my job if I go somewhere there is food as I will not resist.

    If it weren't for lawyers, we would never need them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
    Posts
    4,519

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    #1 Resist the temptation to check whats new on IN before writing report!

    Thats the truth right there!


  15. #15
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I have been following this thread since it's start. I wanted and tried to avoid adding my one cent (inflation)

    I use to do all my reports on site. On an occasion I just could not finish it so I did it at home. Over time I became one of the listeners to "you just cannot do a good report on site" folks and slowly I did less and less of the report on site eating up my nights and or weekends in a ridiculous waste of time.

    I inspected this morning. No one there. They chose not to come. I used to ask everyone to come in the end and I could do a quality walk around with them going over the "CONCERNS"

    It was a wonderful thing. No one there, nice and relaxed inspection taking my time with out someone acting like they liked me hanging over my shoulder. Could smell there bacon they had for breakfast or their morning coffee.

    This morning brought me back into a reality. I loved the quiet. I loved popping over to the computer and adding a few items I found. I loved giving the 2 pugs a treat on occasion. I loved no one getting bumped into by me as I turned around. I loved no Realtor asking questions like she really cared. I loved no little kids that I had to affectionately pat on the head and smile at them on the way by. OOps, back to the attic to get that one more pic....oh, isn't this nice with no one tailing me.

    I have almost gotten to the point no where I could not do 2 a day if I had them to do unless I wanted to be up till 11 or 12 finishing reports.

    I am officially going backwards in time. Back to the quiet. Back to the nights to do as I wished with. No more 16 hour days do to 2 inspections. Back to the folks coming in the end and doing a relaxed walk around with them to go over the *CONCERNS*, not the smudge on the wall. Not the wiggling of every faucet and climbing into showers with me and having their heads up my backside as I am heading into the attic.

    Back to more organized inspections. Cleaner inspections. Back to more referrals. (Yes, less time, better smoother job, better smoother reports, cutting the pics in half and adding absolutely only what is necessary.) = more referrals. Less realtors time used. Less clients time used. Less my time used. Less time off of work for the client. More profitability.

    Sounds like heaven now....doesn't it?

    Leaves nights open to think of creative marketing...Hm...only if *I* want.

    Oh yeah. I never used to hear from clients in the past until they referred me again. No it is like long lost brother day on every inspection. I am their to get a job done. The referrals will come.


  16. #16
    Bruce Hutton's Avatar
    Bruce Hutton Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    This is a great thread.
    Seems everyone cathches the burnout thing at some point.

    Here is how I have found to be most efficient.

    I set up in the kitchen with my laptop...I have built a stand for the computer.
    I use a lawn watering tripod stand & made a metal top for the laptop / mouse...This way I can adjust the height & stay comfrotable by leaning my butt against the counter...Takes the stress off the back & I can stay more comfortable / foused.

    I schedule 3 1/2 hours to perform an inspection. Do it on site (As much as I can)...Reduces my liability! I take very few notes.

    I then have the client show at the inspected property.
    (Another 1 1/4 hr) Speak of the inspection agreement
    I also let them know I am not offering warranties or gaurantees...You can buy a home warranty for this.

    I also let them know...Did I miss something here today?...You bet...It wont be a big ticket item but probablly something small like an outlet or switch that doesent work due to furniture etc. Why...Because you are not paying me to be here for 10-12 hours & produce a technically exhaustive report.
    Nor do you probablly want to pay me for 10-12 hours...They always agree to this...This shows I am being honest & creating the friendship...They love it.

    I then show them a sample report copy / give them additional informative handouts that I have produced. (Marketing) This makes for a fast friendship...Reduces liability!

    I let them know I am working for them...I also let them know they are buying an older home & inspection reports are not to be used as leverage tools to beat the tar out of the seller...Agents love this. I also tell them to keep in mind that they possibly are a seller or will be in the future.

    I also tell them they are purchasing a business when buying a house. Stay on top of maintenance / preservation & you will see a return on your investment in the future.
    Market your home for the future...Pride in homeownership produces top dollar on the market & these homes usually sell faster than others.
    Isnt this our goal?

    Report wise...I use the ahit checklist style report.
    In my opinion the narrative style leave to much open liability.
    The checklist is way more informative...IMO
    My library is well organized...I have put a lot of time into this for the last 7 years.
    I have some page templates built that I can drop into the report...Example...An illustration on ventilation with a narrative / water heater TPR extension tubes with narrative / Gable end power venting with narrative etc.
    This is where I save most of my time.

    As I wiggle my way through the report I am constantly highlighting different items to grab their attention...Negatively pitch walks / missing outlet covers etc.

    I take a bunch of phots at the inspection download them to microsoft viewer...Load them into Picasa (Google)
    Then thumb through the photos & save them to a folder on my desktop & label them...Roof / roof chimney / ext grade / ext gutter / ext gutter1 / base-sump / base main panel / etc.

    By doing this when I open the desktop folder all the saved photos are labeled & stay grouped (I am not jumping all around through out the photos & have a total mess of pictures that are not grouped / organized accordinly throughout the report...I then input them into the report & have another library (Word doc file) saved on my desk top. This has sections like Roof photo comments/chimney photo comments/ exterior grade comments etc.

    I hate redundent things...Retyping the same junk day after day.

    I do not input the photos in the report on site...Clients do not see these until they get the report.

    The following morning I start finishing the report usually around 6:30am - 7:30am... I usually spend another 1hr to finish these up.
    my reports are always completed the following business day.

    I do not work on report in the evenings anymore...Screw that!
    I usually do 5-6 inspections a week at $275 - $325 a report.
    The heck with 8-10 inspections a week & 5 hrs of sleep per day...been there done that...The heck with that.

    My tip for faster inspections / lesser liability.
    Make a frienship fast.
    Educate, educate, educate
    Be super informative.
    Get your comment libraries organized.
    Get your photo process organized / efficient.
    if you dont know the answer...Tell them you will find out.
    Be honest.
    Work you arse off!
    Remember...The people you work for today are your best advertisement for tomorrow! This will serve you well if done right!

    I put about 6 - 6 1/2 hours into each report...My complaints are few & far between. By the time I do invoices /Scheduling / set appointments etc. & hold my radon testing associates hand...I have an 8 hour day...Thats enough for me.

    Remember there is no room for short cuts in this business.
    If you wanna short cut...Go mow grass! LOL

    The only reason I am up late writing this...No work tomorrow...Preparing for bowhunting...Thats why I am self employed! Yippe!!!!!

    Happy inspecting!


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Hutton View Post
    This is a great thread.
    Seems everyone cathches the burnout thing at some point.

    Here is how I have found to be most efficient.

    I set up in the kitchen with my laptop...I have built a stand for the computer.
    I use a lawn watering tripod stand & made a metal top for the laptop / mouse...This way I can adjust the height & stay comfrotable by leaning my butt against the counter...Takes the stress off the back & I can stay more comfortable / foused.

    I schedule 3 1/2 hours to perform an inspection. Do it on site (As much as I can)...Reduces my liability! I take very few notes.

    I then have the client show at the inspected property.
    (Another 1 1/4 hr) Speak of the inspection agreement
    I also let them know I am not offering warranties or gaurantees...You can buy a home warranty for this.

    I also let them know...Did I miss something here today?...You bet...It wont be a big ticket item but probablly something small like an outlet or switch that doesent work due to furniture etc. Why...Because you are not paying me to be here for 10-12 hours & produce a technically exhaustive report.
    Nor do you probablly want to pay me for 10-12 hours...They always agree to this...This shows I am being honest & creating the friendship...They love it.

    I then show them a sample report copy / give them additional informative handouts that I have produced. (Marketing) This makes for a fast friendship...Reduces liability!

    I let them know I am working for them...I also let them know they are buying an older home & inspection reports are not to be used as leverage tools to beat the tar out of the seller...Agents love this. I also tell them to keep in mind that they possibly are a seller or will be in the future.

    I also tell them they are purchasing a business when buying a house. Stay on top of maintenance / preservation & you will see a return on your investment in the future.
    Market your home for the future...Pride in homeownership produces top dollar on the market & these homes usually sell faster than others.
    Isnt this our goal?

    Report wise...I use the ahit checklist style report.
    In my opinion the narrative style leave to much open liability.
    The checklist is way more informative...IMO
    My library is well organized...I have put a lot of time into this for the last 7 years.
    I have some page templates built that I can drop into the report...Example...An illustration on ventilation with a narrative / water heater TPR extension tubes with narrative / Gable end power venting with narrative etc.
    This is where I save most of my time.

    As I wiggle my way through the report I am constantly highlighting different items to grab their attention...Negatively pitch walks / missing outlet covers etc.

    I take a bunch of phots at the inspection download them to microsoft viewer...Load them into Picasa (Google)
    Then thumb through the photos & save them to a folder on my desktop & label them...Roof / roof chimney / ext grade / ext gutter / ext gutter1 / base-sump / base main panel / etc.

    By doing this when I open the desktop folder all the saved photos are labeled & stay grouped (I am not jumping all around through out the photos & have a total mess of pictures that are not grouped / organized accordinly throughout the report...I then input them into the report & have another library (Word doc file) saved on my desk top. This has sections like Roof photo comments/chimney photo comments/ exterior grade comments etc.

    I hate redundent things...Retyping the same junk day after day.

    I do not input the photos in the report on site...Clients do not see these until they get the report.

    The following morning I start finishing the report usually around 6:30am - 7:30am... I usually spend another 1hr to finish these up.
    my reports are always completed the following business day.

    I do not work on report in the evenings anymore...Screw that!
    I usually do 5-6 inspections a week at $275 - $325 a report.
    The heck with 8-10 inspections a week & 5 hrs of sleep per day...been there done that...The heck with that.

    My tip for faster inspections / lesser liability.
    Make a frienship fast.
    Educate, educate, educate
    Be super informative.
    Get your comment libraries organized.
    Get your photo process organized / efficient.
    if you dont know the answer...Tell them you will find out.
    Be honest.
    Work you arse off!
    Remember...The people you work for today are your best advertisement for tomorrow! This will serve you well if done right!

    I put about 6 - 6 1/2 hours into each report...My complaints are few & far between. By the time I do invoices /Scheduling / set appointments etc. & hold my radon testing associates hand...I have an 8 hour day...Thats enough for me.

    Remember there is no room for short cuts in this business.
    If you wanna short cut...Go mow grass! LOL

    The only reason I am up late writing this...No work tomorrow...Preparing for bowhunting...Thats why I am self employed! Yippe!!!!!

    Happy inspecting!
    Good post and I agree with parts.... one thing I am curious about is how can you tell people the only defect you'll miss due to a lack of access is something that's not a "big ticket item"?

    If an inspector knew the magnitude of the items he could not see he could charge $10,000 per inspection.

    Last edited by Matt Fellman; 10-07-2010 at 12:10 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    930

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Bruce that was an interesting post but you say 6 1/2 hours per report and 3 1/2 hour on site?
    How do you ever do 2 or 3 a day?


  19. #19
    Bruce Hutton's Avatar
    Bruce Hutton Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Good post and I agree with parts.... one thing I am curious about is how can you tell people the only defect you'll miss due to a lack of access is something that's not a "big ticket item"?

    If an inspector knew the magnitude of the items he could not see he could charge $10,000 per inspection.

    Matt its just an example...I know what you mean due to the lack of access (Invisible areas) that could cause some problems...But I try to keep in mind & inform the client that its a visual inspection.
    As far as visual goes...I feel I am not missing big ticket items. Again i am being honest & feel i am very thorough...I will not catch everything due to the time i am spending at the property. thats my whole point...i guess i am not using the right words? if you have any ides on the presentation for that part...Please help.
    Thanks


  20. #20
    Bruce Hutton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Elliott View Post
    Bruce that was an interesting post but you say 6 1/2 hours per report and 3 1/2 hour on site?
    How do you ever do 2 or 3 a day?
    Bob
    I have never done 3 inspection a day..I dont know how anyone could?
    if I do 10 inspections in 1 week i am working 7 days.

    The 6 1/2 hours per report is the inspection time / time spent with the client & adding photos at home. 6 1/2 total hours per inspection.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Bruce,

    I think ya touched on some good points... Although a lot of folks would shriek and say "I thought the report was *exactly* for the purpose of grinding folks down....". Not saying I agree, but the market right now is that of one of *Value* whether it's actual, perceived or *obtained*.

    The communication during the presentation is worth repeating.. I think it's important for the client to understand what they are signing and what they are paying for. I *do* indicate that there are some limitations in our service and there *is* responsibility to home ownership.

    Good info!


  22. #22
    Bruce Hutton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Tim I do agree with you...Totally.

    If they want to beat the tar out of the seller & thats their objective...Its in the report...Its documented to be able to do that.

    I just dont like sending them home to dwell on issues (Doesnt mean it wont happen)...The dwelling can be done after they have recieved the report & have full documentation of it.
    You know how things can get turned around by not having documentation in their hand.

    Again i am trying to keep them in a comfort zone...Let them get bent out of shape / build a repair list with their agents not me.
    I'm the find it guy not the fix it guy or the real estate agent.
    They are always asking...Should i ask for this to be taken care of...My response is talk to your agent...Its not my place to step on their toes. If they dont take you in the direction you want to go then you take them there...Your footing the bill. (Agents make more money than i do for the most part - i dont tel them this)

    I just try to present things in a manner that its not a big deal...It can all be dealt with...Just some things are more expensive than others.

    If i get worked up...Then they get workled up...You know what i mean?
    Thanks


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Hutton View Post
    I set up in the kitchen with my laptop...I have built a stand for the computer.
    I use a lawn watering tripod stand & made a metal top for the laptop / mouse...This way I can adjust the height & stay comfrotable by leaning my butt against the counter...Takes the stress off the back & I can stay more comfortable / foused.

    Happy inspecting!
    Can you post a pic of your creation please.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I don't market to realtors but have several new ones call me every year.
    I like to quiz some of them, espcially the ones that seem friendly and have been around awhile.


    My favorite question:

    What are the main differences you see between different inspectors?


    The same answer comes from every single one:

    The guys that type the report at the inspection miss lots of things.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  25. #25
    George Russell's Avatar
    George Russell Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Someone on one of the forums mentioned once a study done that showed something like 80% of HI's that are sued are the ones who produce onsite reports. Theory was that having to do them onsite put undo pressure on the HI and he/she forgot or missed things in the reports. Does anyone know where to find this information or if it even exists at all?


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Hutton View Post
    Bob
    I have never done 3 inspection a day..I dont know how anyone could?
    if I do 10 inspections in 1 week i am working 7 days.

    The 6 1/2 hours per report is the inspection time / time spent with the client & adding photos at home. 6 1/2 total hours per inspection.
    OK that sounds like me then.
    I just can not figure how to keep quality and report time down at the same time.
    Heck with 200 pictures it takes me over 30 -45 min just to slot and caption them.
    Add walk through video to recall layout and I do narrate comments other than material ones.
    Personally I think with narrative you protect your self better by describing the conditions in a more detailed manner.

    I see a amount of debris on tapping a b vent but the clean out is sealed "for instance" and I want to narrate the condition to describe my suspicions which may include things noticed from the roof or back drafting signs.
    With "click a canned comment" it would be hard to tie in systems issues together to paint the big picture recommendation and suspicion that really "to me" make a premium level inspection for the client.


  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    I don't market to realtors but have several new ones call me every year.
    I like to quiz some of them, espcially the ones that seem friendly and have been around awhile.


    My favorite question:

    What are the main differences you see between different inspectors?


    The same answer comes from every single one:

    The guys that type the report at the inspection miss lots of things.
    You could turn that around on many of them. The ones that do the report on site (if there is substantial time) have that second and third guess in their head that they can check out and are more thorough.

    Honestly. I have done it both ways and yes, doing it on site has it's pressures but if you put your time where needed it works out, Those done on site are the easier homes with not a heck of a lot going on.

    As far as always doing them on site it is when folks are not on your back or twiddling their thumbs waiting. The mistake I made some time ago was forgoing any of the report on site. Doing at the least some on site is extremely helpful and you can get major notes into the laptop. Not doing at least part of the report on site there is nothing but your camera or a quick note to fall back on.

    As far as the blanket "The guys that type the report at the inspection miss lots of things." is too big of a blanket. Most I know that still do it on site inform their clients that it will be reviewed later in the day and any slight corrections or additions will be put in at that time. Most state that there is a 24 hour review period anyway whether they do it on site or not. I am sure everyone has had that "OOOOOPs darn it, I have to add the such and such that I spotted after I tucked my camera away."

    I used to do all my reports on site for years (at least most of the report) and never had any real substantiated complaints. You will get the occasional call from time to time no matter how you report. What matters is being alert as one should be at an inspection and while putting the report together. There are several long lived inspectors on this site that have done their reports for a decade or 2 or 3 on site and still live to tell of it. I am sure it depends on the individual. It is certainly not for everyone.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Russell View Post
    Someone on one of the forums mentioned once a study done that showed something like 80% of HI's that are sued are the ones who produce onsite reports. Theory was that having to do them onsite put undo pressure on the HI and he/she forgot or missed things in the reports. Does anyone know where to find this information or if it even exists at all?
    Without knowing what % do on-site vs. off-site the statistic doesn't tell us anything.... If 80% do on-site reports it means you're just as likely to be sued either way. I'd guess current day it's pretty close and I'd guess more do off-site. But 10 years ago I'd bet the % of on-site was a lot higher.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I heard that stat as well, citing that on-site inspectors are more likely to get stung. I think that argument could be *skewed* in either direction.

    One could almost make an argument that "doing it later" could produce a report lacking in completeness or quality of information. "Which room was that? I have a picture, but don't remember if that was bed 1 2 or 3 etc"

    Couldn't you also make an argument that the agent doesn't want a report too quickly? With everything fresh in the buyers head AND the report, they may be more apt to lean one way or another...

    I don't report on-site, but I do gather a lot of data and HAVE occasionally e-mailed summaries right there on the spot.


    I think many of the inspectors that get *bit* are:
    1. Unlucky - Bad House or Bad Client - We *CAN* Learn to control that
    2. Have done enough inspections to allow the odds to play out - simple
    3. Communicated the scope of the service poorly - As well as failed to find out what the client is actually looking for-EXPECTATION
    4. Or simply missed something - we're not perfect



  30. #30
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Hi Gene,
    I think most inspectors ask the same question and InspectionNews is a great place to get the answer. Each inspector has to find what works best for them.
    One thing I learned in a Costing for Quality Course in College was to;
    1. Write down every step that you take to perform your inspection, starting from the phone call to do the inspection.
    2. Write down the time it takes to do each step;
    3. From this you can usually eliminate the unessential steps.
    This takes a lot of time in it self to do, but if you do this and add this to some of the other post and you will eventually find what works best for you.
    I normally get to the inspection 1/2 hour before the clients and realtors. I unload my equipment, inspect the exterior and the roof. When the clients arrive, I explain to them the purpose of the inspection, what I will be able to see and not see, how I will be inspecting and that they are more than welcome to follow along and ask questions. I use a camera and voice recorder for documenting the inspection. In to the voice recorder I document the location of the bedrooms by location; Bedroom # 1 Northeast corner. I have used everything from a clipboard to a PDM and found it too distracting, but that is me personally. I usually spend a few minutes at the end of the inspection to point out the major concerns to the clients and the realtors. I prepare my reports at home.
    Again this is my way of doing the inspection. There are a lot of good ideas here submitted by other experienced inspectors, so pick out the best from each and make it work for you.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Without knowing what % do on-site vs. off-site the statistic doesn't tell us anything.... If 80% do on-site reports it means you're just as likely to be sued either way. I'd guess current day it's pretty close and I'd guess more do off-site. But 10 years ago I'd bet the % of on-site was a lot higher.
    We did a survey at Nacho and it was about 80% from home.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Add me to the 3+ single family hour inspection, 4-5+ hours report group.

    The upside is that I almost never get a callback requesting clarification of a reported item, and that my reports (I send a follow-up color laser printed hard copy) are a very effective marketing tool.

    I'd also add that while I almost always enjoy the inspection and client interaction end of the the business, I hate report writing.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I may be off-topic, but a common theme appears to be 'how much time does it take to be confident my documentation excuses me from potential litigation". That may explain the 200 pictures, 7 hours and ‘can’t fit two inspections in a day’. If your inspections have become an exhaustive forensic investigation of all systems, components, assemblies and appliances complete with detail photos, written descriptions that you then combine with vague boiler-plate exclusions (both in the report and contract), why are you spinning your wheels? We’re generalists who as professionals should simply be documenting what we see (how many posts have we all read on this site where every additional reply is a further extrapolation of cascading worst-case scenarios which may or may not be reasonable given the observation shared by the original poster?). My mindset is ‘How much do I write so my clients know exactly what they’re getting?’ Think about it this way--any piece of paper money has redundant designations of it’s tendered valve printed on both sides so there’s no confusion to it’s worth. Our reports (like our contracts) need only a single reference per condition or grouped conditions…that’s it. Be disciplined and focus on the objective of a thorough inspection followed by an accurate report (the two are not the same thing). Generating the report can be time consuming so keep it clear and useful (read ‘manageable’) for the client. BTW, I too once read that ‘on-site-delivered’ inspectors are sued more often, but the conclusion was that they do more volume and thus have higher exposure. Remember, you can be sued for anything—ANYTHING-so why let it burden you? Stay focused, have an inspection routine, be thorough, write enough to be accurate. I do 2 a day at 3-4.5 hours each (which includes 45min needed at the office to add pictures and edit)


  34. #34
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I take field notes with me and enter deficiencies as I see them. I take a classic apprach of exterior and interior, then attic and crawlspace if it exists. I take between 200 and 300 photos for review when I return to the office for completion of the Report. As others have indicated, "I don't have better things to do when I return to the office" rather than "I have to serve my Client", then they need to find a better fitting field of income, so doing a Report at the Inspection is out of the question. So many conditions, not absolutely evident onsite, are suddenly clear after reviewing photos and I am better able to document them and word them properly after some time to think about them. I can't believe any Inspector would say, "I have better things to do". This has always been about the Client's needs for me.

    Yes it takes more time. If that is the case and you feel your bottom line needs to be improved then charge the appropriate fee. That's what I do.

    Just go with what works for you and reduces your level of liability while still serving your Clients needs and still make a decent income in the current market.


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Another time saving tip!

    Have everyone out of the spa so you can inspect it!

    And yes I noted those lights suspended in the air.

    rick

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  36. #36
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    I take field notes with me and enter deficiencies as I see them. I take a classic apprach of exterior and interior, then attic and crawlspace if it exists. I take between 200 and 300 photos for review when I return to the office for completion of the Report. As others have indicated, "I don't have better things to do when I return to the office" rather than "I have to serve my Client", then they need to find a better fitting field of income, so doing a Report at the Inspection is out of the question. So many conditions, not absolutely evident onsite, are suddenly clear after reviewing photos and I am better able to document them and word them properly after some time to think about them. I can't believe any Inspector would say, "I have better things to do". This has always been about the Client's needs for me.

    Yes it takes more time. If that is the case and you feel your bottom line needs to be improved then charge the appropriate fee. That's what I do.

    Just go with what works for you and reduces your level of liability while still serving your Clients needs and still make a decent income in the current market.
    Just out of curiosity. I was wondering if your entire work area involves completely trashed homes or if not trashed maybe old and sagging. 200-300 pictures on every home? Wow.! I guess if I snap a picture to fit every square inch of the homes into at least one of the pictures I may be able to get there. I have 50 to 125 depending on the home but the large majority of homes I do range from one decade or younger then 2 decades or younger and then 3 decades or younger. The rest fill a relatively small share in comparison.

    My amount of pictures is way over board on the homes I inspect. As far as having better things to do once you leave your inspections and take of of the reports. I can think of many things I and 99.9 percent of all inspectors would rather be doing. Living life. Just because you inspection work ends before early evening does in no way mean you have not taken care of business.

    Serving my clients. They get serve quite well. They understand the concerns of the home with a picture or 2 or three of every concern. They get a clearly understood explanation of the findings and almost absolutely never do I get any calls for clarification. The more unnecessary crap I put into the report is where the questions start rolling in.

    You are getting paid for your expertise not for seeing how many pictures you can take or how many hours you mull each picture over and then write and re write every response until you get it right. The vast majority of concerns found in a home are strictly visual as in no panels removed or HVAC opened up etc. All those items take up a small part of the report and all those items even on the panels being opened or fronts taken off of the Air handler are pretty straight forward comments and observation.

    Cracks in the foundation, where, is there any related concerns with that crack.....have a foundation company come in for further measuring and evaluate for repairs. Pretty simple stuff once you have been around for some time.

    Leaking connections at the top of the 5 year old WH....repair.

    No connections to the TPR valve...mark it up for repair and safety concern...done

    No GFCI' in the kitchen...write it up for repair with a click in comment of what GFCIs are and whether or not the home was built before them or not...safety concern.

    Wrong shingles and approaching end of life expectancy...write it up and have a roofer further evaluate for repairs/replacement cost.

    Pretty simple stuff. Those of course are vague examples and I do write a lot more than that and add noted pics. But again, all pretty simple stuff. If you have time on site to do a portion of the report then in my opinion you should at the least add some items in the computer as I have seen most comment on even if they do not do the report on site. They are dropping some lines in. If you are there and you pull up a pic.....of your 300...you will be able to go back that one more time for clarification. You cannot do that at home.

    I did full reports on site for years with absolutely no problems. Before laptops it was hand written/check list. I used to hand the folks picture at the end from my on the spot camera. The film rolled out the end and I handed it to the folks....so long ago I cannot remember the last time I did that. As soon as I could take pics and add them either to a report or at the least be able to note them, I did.

    If you have a system down walking thru the home and adding comments in the report as you swing past the kitchen and then in the end down load the pics and add them............You are not cheating the clients. It is a full report with pictures and if you cannot finish it then they will at least know the concerns at the end of the inspection.

    You will also tell them of the time for full review which you can touch down on at home. If you wish to add something After you have eaten and done some necessary things at home you can pop the lap top open, scan the report and then scan the pics, if anything pops out you add it and email it off or if you have a morning or afternoon off the next day then you can take care of it.

    You say "so many conditions not evident on site"......like what. What is it that you are there for. You better catch 99.9% on site or you are in the wrong biz. As far as forgetttin. Is that what you are talking about.....well, if you are on site you can refresh your memory.

    Those are just your opinions and my opinions and obviously, to each their own. As far as who is right and who is wrong. There is no right and wrong. I have done them both ways. For years on site, then on and off site, and then all off site and the only thing that has changed is adding more unnecessary garbage into the report creating more phone calls, thicker reports, adding crazy amount of unnecessary pictures from clients where I never had any before. Or almost none. The reality is that the concerns are the concerns and whether I did them on site, on and off site or all off site, those same concerns still got into the report. The same basic explanation with out all the bull was right there no matter how far I go back in my history of reports.

    Another off site rant by Ted. On site would have been more like. You are right, I am right, you are wrong, I am wrong, to each his own. The end result is...the concerns get into the report. The biggest point is neither way is for everyone. Some can do them on site and others could not possible conceive the notion. Some have done them on site for decades. Others have never tried. It does not make any particular view point right or wrong.


  37. #37
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Mitchell,
    Take off those blinders Dude. Just because someone does not do it the same as you, does not mean they do not care for their clients, or do a shoddy job.

    For those of you than can not imagine: 1. doing a report on site, 2. doing 2 or more in a day, or not including 200 photos with each inspection, you need to pull your heads out of the sand. Face it, we all have different skills and skill levels, and levels of comfort.

    While I don't do every single report on site, I probably do over 90%, and have since 1989. I did it when I just had paper forms, I did it when I used paper forms and started including digital photos (brought photo printer), and still do it using computer software.

    There are many days that I could do 3 inspections if I wanted to, and have on occasion. It made a long day, but nothing suffered.

    I found that doing the report on site allowed me to go take a second look at something if I needed more info, or a second look, after I started inputting photos and finishing the report.

    For those of you that think I am short changing my clients, or doing a half assed job, I invite you to visit Knoxville and come on an inspection with me.

    To Marc from Long Beach....I once did 4 houses in one day. They were all vacant, on the same street in Lakewood. In fact they were all the same basic floor plan.

    Just because some of you can't imagine how we do it, does not mean its impossible (or wrong), it just means you can't wrap your brain around the concept, or don't have the skills to pull it off.

    I've slept on a porta ledge a thousand feet up a rock face, yet some people are afraid to climb a 10' step ladder. Neither one is "wrong", its just different skill sets.

    OH, climb off that "I care about my clients more than you" high horse. It's crap.


  38. #38
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Another time saving tip!

    Have everyone out of the spa so you can inspect it!

    And yes I noted those lights suspended in the air.

    rick
    What lights?

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    What lights?

    It took me over an hour to spot them too but they are there. I had them jumping up and down to see if they could possibly touch the wiring. Gotta check for those clearances.

    rick


  40. #40
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Add me to the 3+ single family hour inspection, 4-5+ hours report group.

    The upside is that I almost never get a callback requesting clarification of a reported item, and that my reports (I send a follow-up color laser printed hard copy) are a very effective marketing tool.

    I'd also add that while I almost always enjoy the inspection and client interaction end of the the business, I hate report writing.
    I could have written that. (except the printing part)


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I started with the hand written 4 part carbon-less form and could easily do 3 per day. Then everyone started using those labor saving devices called computers and I could still get two inspections done in a day... Then I got one of those nifty little digital cameras (1.3 meg, fixed focus about twice the size and price of what I use today) and started putting photos in my report; only do one inspection per day unless they are really small and close-by.

    I tried the laptop and doing the report on site, tried the PDA and "I" could not use either one. They both took me more time than my current method.
    "I" write the report at the office. My method involves three distinct parts:
    Inspecting
    Communicating with the client
    Writing the report

    Other methods are not wrong, just not right for "me".
    Biggest time saver is to not checking in here before I start the report!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I started with the hand written 4 part carbon-less form and could easily do 3 per day. Then everyone started using those labor saving devices called computers and I could still get two inspections done in a day... Then I got one of those nifty little digital cameras (1.3 meg, fixed focus about twice the size and price of what I use today) and started putting photos in my report; only do one inspection per day unless they are really small and close-by.

    I tried the laptop and doing the report on site, tried the PDA and "I" could not use either one. They both took me more time than my current method.
    "I" write the report at the office. My method involves three distinct parts:
    Inspecting
    Communicating with the client
    Writing the report

    Other methods are not wrong, just not right for "me".
    Biggest time saver is to not checking in here before I start the report!
    And yet here I sit, with one small one and one not so small, still in the camera . (But I do have till Sunday)

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    And yet here I sit, with one small one and one not so small, still in the camera . (But I do have till Sunday)
    He he ,same here.


  44. #44
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    It took me over an hour to spot them too but they are there. I had them jumping up and down to see if they could possibly touch the wiring. Gotta check for those clearances.

    rick

    rick

    Thanks... the visual implied there helped... it really did!


  45. #45
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell Toelle View Post
    I can't believe any Inspector would say, "I have better things to do". This has always been about the Client's needs for me.
    Since I'm the one you misquoted I guess I'll respond. What I said was,
    I do it this way because I don't want to have to do them when I get home. I've got better things to do.
    Meaning I provide the report on site because when I leave the home the inspection and report is 100% complete. So when I get home I can spend time with my family. Sorry, but my family will come before any client. That's just the way I am.

    Nowhere did I state that I leave the house without finishing the report then have to rely on my memory and some photographs to fill out an inspection report. If I wanted to do that I'd just look up the house on the MLS and write the report.

    Nowhere did I state that I'm not sure what I'm looking at or how to report it in writing therefore I have to mull it over for a couple of hours. If I need to look it up I have everything I need to do so on my computer or in my pickup.

    Nowhere did I state that I neglect my clients needs. In fact, my clients get their reports right away. They don't have to wait for hours or days to receive them.

    A couple more suggestions for the original poster to help speed up inspections...if you do computer generated reports, learn how to type and know the software inside and out.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I do onsite reports, with pics on disc, here you go, Thanks. Be sure to call me if there are any questions.

    Questions are rare, so I guess I'm able to cover it, 1 or 2 a day, no homework.
    Occasionally, I see something in the pics I missed or more likely, I saw it, made a mental note, but failed to write it up. That is the shortcoming of onsite reports. And mental notes.
    In that case, I can call the clients and tell them, followed by an email addendum.

    My time saving tip is not for everybody - get access to the house 2 1/2 hours before the clients show up.
    Show up 1/2 hour early. That gives me 3 hours to inspect and write. The clients get a 40 min walkthrough and go home inside an hour if they want with a report in their hand. Not for everybody, but it works for me.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-10-2010 at 02:44 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    I do off-site report but usually deliver it within a couple hours of the inspection. It's partially just to get people their reports quickly but mainly because I have to finish up before I get home (3 kids in diapers.... no report writing once my truck's in the driveway)..... I sometimes remermber something from the inspection that I forgot to put in the report and send out an ammended report... if it's minor enough I'll just let it go.

    I find the things that slip my mind are maintenance tips that are nice but not necessary.... things like the gutters are dirty or the furnace filter needs changing.

    Personally, I start writing the report with the biggest items first... I'm not even sure why... I think it's just because it's the way I'd view the property if I were buying it. I've found myself getting to the end of "dump" reports and just stopping because all the stuff I have left is just meaningless compared to what I've already discussed.

    I say do things however you like and as long as the phone rings with new clients and not attorneys or angry clients you're doing it right.


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Funny thing is I am sitting here Sunday evening with a report I need to write but I am reading this long thread instead. Did I mention I hate report writing.

    If the home is vacant I will be done by the time the client shows up except for the written report. I have smarthone with HG software and input the basic information. Pictures and memory is what I rely on for report writing back home. I have done 3 a day several times and swear each time I'll never do it again. I could live off one inspection a day but like my toys to much so two is the norm. I book 9:30 to miss morning rush. I type that report up and then do one at 3 or later. Hopefully I'm done by 9 so i can watch a few shows to unwind like Dexter or Sons Of Anarchy

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  49. #49
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    Jun 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    My plan is get to the job early. Think water water water....water intrusion, water leaks, poor water drainage.... whatever. Never stop thinking about water and water damage.... ever.

    I get as much done on the outside as possible. I start with site, then exterior, then roof.... I love being on top of the roof peak when they pull up. Make sure you check out the outside AC/heat pump while you're doing the ext.

    When you meet the client, connect with them personally in the way you know best. The goal is to show them you work for them and them only. Share with them what you've already found and explain that you'll report to them periodically throughout the inspection.

    Do the garage since you now have access and then move to the foundation and basement/crawl or whatever. When in the basement/crawl, do the major systems such as WH, HVAC, electrical panel etc. Don't forget to walk/crawl around and look for structural-electrical-plumbing issues and the like. Turn the thermostat to run the HVAC in the appropriate mode for the season and make the fan run constant so you can check the distribution as you move through the house.

    Move to the attic and keep the same things in mind. Water water water....dont forget structural and electrical issues in the attic and a plumbing vent problem now and then.

    When you come out of the attic you're on the top floor. Spiral down room by room checking everything you can get you're hands on. Again, water water water....especially around windows, in and under bathrooms. Be ready to flip back and forth through your notes to list issues in various categories.

    When you get to the bottom, test the function of the furnace if applicable.

    Take pictures of all the problems as you go. Take pictures of stuff that limits your ability to inspect things.

    Talk to your clients at the end. I usually scroll through the photos and narrate the issues as I go.

    Boiler systems and other irregular things cause changes in my game plan.

    I take all the info and pictures home and write a report from the office. I promise it by the following evening but sometimes get it done the same day.

    Last edited by John Dirks Jr; 10-10-2010 at 08:11 PM.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    As for report delivery.... I personally can't "finish" my day until my work is done which means sending the report. I can't imagine sitting on a report over a weekend or even overnight. What happens if you get up to start the report and get a call for an inspection? Or, a past inspection you have to go check up on? Or any of the numerous things that demand immediate attention? I'm not saying you guys are doing it wrong.... just that I could never pull it off.

    Also, I know how anxious people are (afterall, buying a house is hanging in the balance) and I just feel some sense of urgency to get the report out. I just hate the feeling of work hanging over my head.

    In the end, as long as you're clear with your clients as to when the report will arrive there's really no problem. I've just found that reports get exponetially more difficult to write the more time that passes after the inspection... must be a memory thing


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    As for report delivery.... I personally can't "finish" my day until my work is done which means sending the report. I can't imagine sitting on a report over a weekend or even overnight. What happens if you get up to start the report and get a call for an inspection? Or, a past inspection you have to go check up on? Or any of the numerous things that demand immediate attention? I'm not saying you guys are doing it wrong.... just that I could never pull it off.

    Also, I know how anxious people are (afterall, buying a house is hanging in the balance) and I just feel some sense of urgency to get the report out. I just hate the feeling of work hanging over my head.

    In the end, as long as you're clear with your clients as to when the report will arrive there's really no problem. I've just found that reports get exponetially more difficult to write the more time that passes after the inspection... must be a memory thing
    How many times have you woke up and thought.....damn!!! I forgot that!!! Then what do you do?

    Time to put things into context is helpful now and then. You can say whatever you want on site; if you ever get into trouble, it will be because of what you wrote, or didn't write. Take the time and think about it. Thats my opinion.


  52. #52
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Matt,

    This was out of the norm, I normally finish reports the same day to start fresh the next. The client was buying a foreclosure and wasn't closing for a month from now and no repairs is in the contract. I was headed out of town from that inspection nd did not get back home to Sunday and took off Monday. So I am finishing the report and reading this forum at the same time.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  53. #53
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    How many times have you woke up and thought.....damn!!! I forgot that!!! Then what do you do?
    Never. Once I finish the report, I flush my mind and move on to the next issue in my life. That doesn't mean I might have overlooked a defect or forgotten to add defects into my notes but once the report is written, I trust myself that whatever I know about, is in the report.

    Over the years people who do onsite reporting have asked how much time to offsite reporters spend tweaking a word here or there. Does the additional 1/2 hour of tweaking really affect the content of the report? As I write my reports, I have been trying to "Write it Right" the first time. I proof read the entire report once before sending out. I am finding I am spending less time tweaking during my proof reads. I have also been keeping a mental tally of how important the tweaks really are and have to agree with the onsiters that the minor tweaks are not deal killers and could have been left alone most of the time with no real loss of comprehension or professionalism.

    I occasionally think of the slogan "If you dont have time to do it right the first time, where are you going to find time to redo it the second time?"

    I am also finding I am using less boilerplate defect statements. The time to modify a boilerplate defect is the same as just writing it new for this report.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  54. #54
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    How many times have you woke up and thought.....damn!!! I forgot that!!! Then what do you do?

    Time to put things into context is helpful now and then. You can say whatever you want on site; if you ever get into trouble, it will be because of what you wrote, or didn't write. Take the time and think about it. Thats my opinion.
    John I agree.
    I am married to my job because I love what I do.
    Friday I did a split block building and expressed concerns for improper flashing techniques.
    Sunday I remembered I had put together a good collection of articles on the subject and e mailed it to my client as a supplement.
    I am never done.


  55. #55
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    Mar 2007
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    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Inspection Time saving tips ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    I am also finding I am using less boilerplate defect statements. The time to modify a boilerplate defect is the same as just writing it new for this report.


    Me too, did a few really large old houses lately and used only one boilerplate for some PB pipe and a few for wiring issues. I typically record around 80 entries on my voice recorder but one of these houses had about 180 entries and the other 210. I am able to use very few of my saved wiriteups since most issues are unique and it takes time to wade through them. I have about eight different lengthy writeups for crawlspace moisture issues to choose from based on the exact conditions present but even these require tweaking.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

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