How do you enter data on site?

A discussion on another thread got me thinking that my throught processing may be wrong in this area, so I thought I’d ask all of you.

When you are on the job site, how do you collect data and how happy are you with it? If you use a tablet, how much of the time do you carry it around and how much do you leave it on the kitchen counter then walk around?

I allowed multiple answers as I realize that some guys do full commercial and residential inspetions and other types of inspections differently.

If you post a comment, please post what model of PDA or Tablet or Laptop you do use. Inspectors are always asking for good models of all 3 and this would be a good place to refer them to look up what others are using.

I was gonna say somebody is thinking, but you already said that.


Field notes (pad basically), working on preprinted field notes… and camera… Lots of photos… then relax at the office and write a clean report with no pressure. :wink:

tried printing in the field… took too long and too much pressure, JMO :roll:

I like to take plenty of pics which are enough to make me remember all the facts .
The only times I add are when I need serial numbers and do this by using a voice dictation on my cell phone which sends to my e-mail.
I try to stay fluid and found the pen and paper to be bothersome for me to carry around ,and the cell is always on me.
I own three voice recorders but gave up on them the day I accidently erased data.
I I cant remember the basic data I am in the wrong business.

I try every once in awhile. I’ve maintined for awhile that I wasn’t going to make a PDA version of Home Inspector Pro. I have yet to have a user who is using a tablet or desktop ask me to create a PDA version. I’ve had quite a few inspectors who are just starting out ask if we sell a PDA version and I explain why “I” believe a tablet is better and who they can purchase PDA software from if they want. A lot of the time they end up agreeing with what I have to say. Other times I get an email back that they went and purchased the PDA software.

I’m asking this here because it makes more sense to not limit it to my own users and instead see what all inspectors experiences have been. I’ve considered the iPhone as a platform since it runs java, or the new nokia tablets. But obviously there’s time involved in that and so I want to see if it would be worth it.

Plus I think this is just a really good poll for people to know about and seems to be a commonly asked question in one form or another.

Hi Dominic,

I just use my camera, and sometimes jot down a simple reason for the picture in case I cannot remember, but 99% of the time I can remember without looking at any notes.

If inspecting a house, using the standards of practice, I have the report already done when I open the software to start a report using the same template.

I made a report with nothing wrong with the house, then I simply change what is right, to what is wrong, generally there are much more items correct than items that need repair, so looking at the pictures I take of what is wrong, I simply go to that section of the report and add the picture(s), change OK to Not OK–:smiley: …and the report is done.

It’s easy in a city with slab on grade stucco homes, I’m sure this would not work for a house in Chicago for instance…:shock:

Commercial buildings require a lot of note taking (for me anyway) and I usually bring my laptop to add items every once in a while if the building is large with many things wrong, because the chance to forget something is much greater with a commercial building.

For standards of practice how much do you really need.
Roof is flat Roof is modified bitumen.
Heck most of my time is editing the pics with bells and whistles.
The rest as you say Dale is writting what is different or defective.
Those are the things I take pics of.
Not sure why I would need to take a whole lot of notes.
The other time is looking up info or research.
That being said I just can,t figure how some of the guys do it on site and give a good report.
That being said I am sure some do ,But I don’t know how.

I do it like Dale does. :wink: Except when I am done I print it onsite and call it a day. :slight_smile:

I think it comes with time Bob. Some of these guys have done 1000+ inspections. Their software is customized, they know EXACTLY where everything is. I actually went on an inspection recently with a local inspector. He flew through the program faster than I could keep up with (and I wrote the thing!) and was tapping on comments without even looking. He’s memorized the location of all his comments. He spent 5 minutes annotating his 20 photos and was done. I’m sure that’s what Brian and the other guys do with whatever program they use.

It really comes down to area too. It seems in some places of the country, printing on site becomes almost mandatory. I’ve noticed that a lot here around Los Angeles. It’s what’s expected, which I don’t think is really good as it forces guys who aren’t comfortable with inspecting yet to print on site (imagine if you had no choice).

Yeah I guess that makes sense.
I get enjoyment with making each inspection a little personal but suppose with increasing numbers it can be a strain.
That being said ,I do not like canned comments even if convienient.

Can you load photos on a PDA from a camera?

You’d have to have a camera card that is compatible with your pda. Jeff Knight noted in another thread you can load the photos, but you can’t annoate them.

I prefer the PDA and I use my tablet only as a backup. PDA is easy to carry around. Lots of pictures to help document. Will you ever consider a PDA version?

I did the PDA route. However, twice, after I got back to my PC to upload the report, it had crashed and lost everything I had entered (the whole report). BYE BYE PDA. Hello laptop.

While I’ve never tried it for real, HomeGauge’s PDA version automatically jumps the photos from your camera into the right place in the software based on time of picture versus time of note on PDA.
I’ve heard it works well as long as your camera clock and PDA clock are synced up.

I do my inspections verbally, only. I walk my clients through their prospective home and tell them what I see and I’m done. I collect my fee.

Do you think I should be using reporting software?

I offer two reports two choices to clients. Onsite or Online

  1. Voice record, pics and write the report onsite. (matrix) Come home and email the pics.

  2. I take notes, use a voice recorder and take pictures, come home and use HIP and email them the report.

Excellent! One other well known board contributor takes it even further…on one version of his inspections he doesn’t comment on anything unless the client asks about it. At the end he tells them there is more but to hear about it will cost extra. What a deal, huh?

I generally use field notes/pencil and camera, probably 95% of the time. Occassionally will bring my laptop, if the property is expected to be a complicated one. We have many turn of the century (late 1800’s) homes here that can get one’s mind out of focus in a hurry, with some really bizarre stuff. I never take a chance on forgetting something, or losing information. Had a PDA a couple of years ago. Hated it. Sold it on EBay :twisted:

Hey Brian… we really didn’t need to know this!!! :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

My reply was pun intended…