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  1. #1
    Damon Thomas's Avatar
    Damon Thomas Guest

    Default New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Hello Everyone,

    I am hoping I can get some good advice on report writing software. Specifically, what do you use, what do you like about it, what do you dislike about it, and if you were buying new software today, what would you buy?

    Also, is anybody using a handheld type device for writing reports at the site? If so, what are the pros and cons?

    Thanks for any info you can offer..

    Damon

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  2. #2

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Welcome to the forum.
    I used to use Inspect Pro from AHIT and found it labor intensive. Inserting pictures takes a very long time, adding text was a process. Other than that, it is a acceptable entry level product. Support is good, you call AHIT and they talk you through how to fix most problems, if it is too complex they can log onto your system and fix it.

    I now use 3D software, easier to use, I am not spending most of my time editing reports, inserting and editing images is a lot easier. It is pretty labor intensive in the beginning as you set it up. Customer support is in the form of E mail which I don't care for because if you have a problem you need an answer ASAP. You can call 3D, but they will charge you a fee. I wish they would charge a set fee and you can call them to fix your problem.

    Report software companies have free trial versions and I would highly recommend using them to see which one you like best and find easier to use. I do not use a PDA for my inspections, hard time seeing the screen in the sun, etc. Some folks really love it, again personal preference. Once you decide on a program, go through it and ensure that it meets your states requirements. All have canned phrases, go through them, remove some, add some as many phrases do not make sense.

    Michael Carson
    Inspect It Right Home Inspections L.L.C.
    www.inspectitrighthomeinspection.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Mount Pleasant, SC
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    100

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Damon,

    I used two from differing companies (trial versions) before I decided on HomeGauge...

    Once it's 'seeded' with proper comments, it is the bomb (but so are most of them!)

    Personal Preference will hold as much sway as anything else and I just like the narrative style in HG...

    We know why you fly: because the bus is too expensive and the railroad has a dress code...
    www.atozinspector.com

  4. #4
    Bert de Haan's Avatar
    Bert de Haan Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    A tag on question: "Any of you use Horizon"?


  5. #5
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Bert de Haan View Post
    A tag on question: "Any of you use Horizon"?
    It is a good program from Carson Dunlop, I'm not sure how many use it in the States. I know of several inspectors in Canada that love it.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Montreal, QC, Canada
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Horizon is an excellent program for the beginner inspector.

    Sets up fast and is easy to use

    You can produce excellent narrative with awesome graphic impact. I do not do checklist reports.

    Only drawback is it is web based hence if u have not booked an inspection and synced it on your pda before going out for the day u r stuck using pen and paper.

    so a laptop with a wireless connection is needed.

    I have customized my texts and now I jam out a report in 90 minutes.

    All softwares are pretty good it is a question of your software savvy and time u want to use to set it up.

    Good Luck


  7. #7
    Charles Guinn's Avatar
    Charles Guinn Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Damon,
    I too am a new inspector in Arizona...I went through AHIT, and started with their software, but when I started doing my parallels, I saw that most of these guys were using Homegauge.
    I tried it, and really enjoyed how easy it was to set it up, change it around to what I needed it to say, add pictures, add drawings, etc.
    Their support line is great too!
    Rick


  8. #8
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    About the handheld.....
    I used a handheld for several years. I liked it a lot, and could not imagine NOT using it on an inspection. Then I had a problem and had to just use the laptop.

    BY the time I got the problem with the handheld worked out, I had gotten used to using only the laptop (set up in the kitchen), and will not go back using the handheld. It actually added time to my inspections.

    Probably the biggest downside for me was trying to use it outside in bright light.
    And one more piece of equipment to buy, maintain batteries, and have possible electronic malfunction.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    I have been using 3D for a number of years. Moved off for a year or so and used MS Word, but it seemed to take too long, so I went back to 3D. Haven't upgraded in a while, so I don't know how well the latest version works.

    I just ordered a tablet netbook. I used a PDA for years and found it difficult to do edits in the field. I ended up spending a lot of time editing on my desktop computer. I hope the netbook will allow me more flexibility. I will post an update as soon as I am up and running with it.

    Whatever software you use, I highly recommend NOT delivering onsite reports. Not sure how many people do, but editing the report at in my home office gives me time to ruminate on the inspection and I find that I will often remember something later in the afternoon that needs to go in the report. This gives me a chance to get it in the report before it goes out. I email out the PDF the first thing in the morning.

    Make sure that you use a software that will create a PDF. This will help to prevent someone from modifying the report. It is not perfect, but it certainly is better than sending out a word document that can be modified without your permission.

    There is a lot of information on this site from other people in past posts. I recommend that you take the time to peruse the archive.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  10. #10
    Bert de Haan's Avatar
    Bert de Haan Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    ... I highly recommend NOT delivering onsite reports. Not sure how many people do, but editing the report at in my home office gives me time to ruminate on the inspection and I find that I will often remember something later in the afternoon that needs to go in the report. This gives me a chance to get it in the report before it goes out. I email out the PDF the first thing in the morning.....
    Do you get paid at the end of the inspection or upon delivery of the report?

    Thanks


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Montreal, QC, Canada
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    63

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    I really like the PDA and have no trouble

    go home sync edit and send out report

    I have heard good things about homeguage - just wondering how it would work for ASHI inspectors here in QC.

    As for payment - fees are due up front before start of inspection.

    I QC it is common to have 3 days to deliver completed report - We get it done in 24 hrs max

    cheers


  12. #12
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I used a PDA for years and found it difficult to do edits in the field. I ended up spending a lot of time editing on my desktop computer. I hope the netbook will allow me more flexibility. I will post an update as soon as I am up and running with it.
    That's one of the complaints I have about 3D. The inablity to edit boilerplate comments in the field. I don't think the new version 11 has changed that, but I'm not sure.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    I guess I'm one of the rare ones that does reports on site. It is a very rare house I will do the report later. Been doing on-site reports for probably 18 of my 20 years in business.
    When I first started, I made up my own report using word processing program. Might have been MacWrite at that time.

    Started using ITA paper reports around 91 or 92 and got used to doing on-site reports. I think the paper forms kept me on track and it was very easy to make sure I had covered everything.

    Legal jobs I do at home.
    Difficult clients, seller, agents, or anything else that is not comfortable, I do it later at home.
    Commercial jobs I do at home.

    I just hate working AFTER I get home, so I have made it a point to excel at on site reporting. It's not for everyone, thats for sure. It has nothing to do with skill or experience, quality of inspections/reports, or what's the right or wrong way to do it. I think its just a comfort level thing.

    If I got a lot of calls about stuff I missed, or questions about the report (not understanding something), then I might re-think my process. But I get very few calls even asking questions about the report, much less complaints. I must be doing something OK.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    I guess I'm one of the rare ones that does reports on site.
    Jack,

    Don't feel all alone ... I did my reports on site from day one until about the last 3-4 years, when I got into almost all large and expensive homes. My inspections were growing in depth and detail and I found I simply could not spend all the time on site which was necessary for me to do the inspections I was doing and to do the reports I was doing, so I simply had to make some changes.

    I ended up doing about 50% or the report on site, and finishing the other 50% (which included inserting and captioning each photo I took) back at my office.

    It is a very rare house I will do the report later.

    Like those, that is what I mean.

    Only my "very rare house" where that was needed became my "every single house", and that was even after spending 1-2-3 or more days on site doing the inspection. Took another day (or two) for the report.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Todd Stevens's Avatar
    Todd Stevens Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    We have been using eInspections and the Inspection Support Network. It is an excellent program 'out of the box' with great support. When we need to customize our forms, it is flexible enough for us to make changes to fit our market. (e.g. add a line item). We use a hybrid-type report...part checklist part narrative.


  16. #16
    Chuck Lambert's Avatar
    Chuck Lambert Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    That's one of the complaints I have about 3D. The inablity to edit boilerplate comments in the field. I don't think the new version 11 has changed that, but I'm not sure.
    3D is completly customizable with the ability to edit anything from start to finish. If you are not sure how to do this drop me a note and I will be glad to help you out with it.

    Chuck


  17. #17
    Bill Emelander's Avatar
    Bill Emelander Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    I have been using Home Gauge now for 3 years and have no complaints. I have also heard good about Home Inspector Pro. Try the free trials from different companies.


  18. #18
    Bert de Haan's Avatar
    Bert de Haan Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Laurieri View Post
    Horizon is an excellent program for the beginner inspector.
    What makes this a good program for the beginner? I guess what I should be asking; would an experienced inspector feel the need to change to another program?

    Last edited by Bert de Haan; 01-04-2010 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Rephrased the question.

  19. #19
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software


  20. #20
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    Sep 2009
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    Twin Cities, Minnesota
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    I use 3D and have been pleased with it. One thing that really helped out was doing a bunch of 'practice' inspections with it, before using it on an actual inspection. This helped me figure out what verbiage I wanted in there, and what i could take out (it came with lots!). And i got used to the layout of the program.

    -Jon
    Errickson Home Inspections, LLC
    http://www.erricksonhomeinspections.com

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    3D for the past 8 plus years.
    A couple years ago I loaned my backup computer with 3D on it to another inspector that was switching from a check list, after a few weeks he gave up on 3D.
    A few weeks later he bought Home Gauge, after calling me several times telling me he was going to smash, and a few other things, the blankity, blank computer, he finnaly got it figured out after 30-40 inspections.
    Today he loves Home Gauge, and would never go back to the check lists.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  22. #22
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    The main problem every one has with these programs is you can't see what your doing...

    That why I use MSWORD. I can see the report as I'm building it. What you see is what you get. I can make a photo as big as I want or over lap photos Or put a word box over a photo with another photo over that.

    It just works for me and with the Dragon speak its very fast to put a report together.

    Best

    Ron


  23. #23
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    The main problem every one has with these programs is you can't see what your doing...

    That why I use MSWORD. I can see the report as I'm building it. What you see is what you get.

    Ron
    All this time I've been buying new laptops with bigger screens to fix that problem

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  24. #24
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
    Ron Bibler Guest

    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    All this time I've been buying new laptops with bigger screens to fix that problem
    L.O.L. Thats not what I was saying. But thats what I think you think I was saying I think?

    ( Wizzywig ) When you work with these programs 3D. Inspect-Vue or HIP. The problem they have is you only see the part of the report you are working on and it is not in the format the the final report is going to be in.

    This is why people have trouble with these programs. If you saw your mistake you you fix it.

    The reason these computer program guy do this is the the data base is set up...

    But working in MSWORD Is like typing a letter. You just type your letter/report.

    Best

    Ron


  25. #25
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    Default Re: New Guy Needs Help with Report Software

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    L.O.L. Thats not what I was saying. But thats what I think you think I was saying I think?

    ( Wizzywig ) When you work with these programs 3D. Inspect-Vue or HIP. The problem they have is you only see the part of the report you are working on and it is not in the format the the final report is going to be in.

    But working in MSWORD Is like typing a letter. You just type your letter/report.

    Best

    Ron
    I knew what you were saying.
    The larger screens do help my other problem

    Auctually with 3D you can review the full report prior to printing.

    When I started out the selection of reporting systems were a 1/3 of what outs there today. I only looked at one other program, Inspectview, before deciding on 3D.

    The deciding factor for me was, they have a required field.
    After entering items that you don't want to miss, SOP items, or any other item, the program will not print until you fill that item in.
    After doing over 3000 reports, if some one asks me a question, or I take a break, I still will occasionally miss an item that I was required to report on.

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 01-05-2010 at 10:45 AM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

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