I hope this gets easier!

Working on my first practice report. Did the inspection Thursday afternoon, worked on it in Web Writer first for hours (big mistake) Now, I’ve been pulling all of my pictures out of Web Writer and recreating the Report in Desk Writer. Worked on it Friday (8+ hours) until my head was ready to explode. Got up bright and early to get at it again today. At this rate, I should be able to handle 1 or 2 inspections per week. LOL

Please tell me as I get the hang of it, it’s going to get much, much better. I’m also wondering if I should have just gone back and redone the inspection with the Companion vs. the way I’m doing it now. The next inspection will definitely be through the Companion and tweaking at home.

I’m open to any tips or tricks the old hats at this software can throw out. Otheriwse, I’ll just keep plugging away.

Cody

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Cody, as you get the hang of it, it’s going to get much, much better.

Have you tried any other report programs?

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I would go back and do the inspection with the companion to help you get the feel of how it works. Or at least do that from now on. Also don’t plan on being able to complete all your inspections entirely on the companion. It takes time to get the hang of it.
When I first started what I found that worked best for me was taking photos of All defects and insert them in the proper place, such as roof. Maybe type in a small note to remind you what the defect was, if the photo didn’t show you enough.
If there are no defects in an area just tap inspected. Then when you get home and download it to desk writer fill in a narrative at the defective photos.

Also using the best template, system by system, is recommended.
It will take time to get used to your narratives. And remove narratives you won’t use will save you time sifting through all of them.

It it took me several hours to complete a report at the beginning also. Then become much faster overtime.

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Does your state have an SOP? If not use the NACHI SOP, organize your sections the way your inspection flows. Exterior (arrive early and do most exterior before your client or agent arrive) to interior, with stops along the way to fit in the other systems. The words you need to pay attention to in any SOP are: inspect, describe, and report. The last two always require a narrative, the first only if it is a defect (indicate it was inspected if it is in the SOP to show compliance).

Decide beforehand what you want to photograph. Some systems get photographed to show compliance with SOP (Electrical panel with cover off if required), some get photos to show location (main water valve, etc.) defects get photographed to illustrate the problem. You might want to photograph appliance serial numbers to look up later. Don’t waste your time duplicating listing photos.

Always look up the listing before the inspection. Often you will be able to identify systems from the photos. Gas furnace, heat pump, etc. Read the listing carefully if it says “new” to anything put that in the report. Verify at the inspection.

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I use Homegauge and stopped using Companion long ago. (You can use it, I am only telling you what my preference is currently).

You can use an app (Companion), a digital camera, or no camera at all, just a narrative report.
Try creating a report using a basic template and your previous inspection, to feel the work flow without inserting photos. Edit a template to fit your needs, change the order, etc.

In time you’ll gain efficiency, but you need to collect data in a memorable and predictable manner. That takes time and experience, so be patient.

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I take photos with a digital camera in the field with an SOP checklist and written notes. All report writing done on the desk top.

I’m considering using the companion to drop in photos only and write narratives at my desk.

After all these years, I still prefer writing at my desk. It never fails, when at my desk I either see something new or I have an ah-ha moment. I’m hesitant to let that go.

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That’s how I used to do it also. Take camera, notes, and finish it at home on the desktop. Now I substituted the camera with phone using Companion. That way I can put the photos in the report without having to waste time going through them, Or taking notes. Saves me a Lot of time

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You can practice by inspecting your own house, one section at a time, to get comfortable with the software. I wouldn’t wait until you get to a customer’s house to practice home inspections. That just adds to the stress.

Yes it gets easier and faster. Eventually you might even have fun. Stick with it, but practice when you have any free time until you are comfortable with your template.

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With today’s phones and software, I honestly can’t believe inspectors are still taking pictures with a regular camera and transferring it to the report later.

Here is how my software works… When I come upon an item, let’s say it’s double-lugged neutrals, I hit the search button. The keypad comes up and I hit the microphone button. I say “double neutral” into the phone and all my narratives that contain that statement come up, which is only one. I click on it and some options come up. Two of these options are take a single picture, or take multiple pictures. I click on the picture option I want, take the picture and hit done. Then a screen comes up with the picture I just took and I can put an arrow on and add the location. Hit done and it saves to the report.

The total time spent is literally less than 20 seconds. That said, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to put key words into your narratives and memorize them for easy searching. I am over a year in and still tweaking and adjusting after every inspection. The first 30 or so inspections were very time consuming but I wasn’t real busy so spent my free time improving my template to make the next ones faster.

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I agree 100%. I figure some are slow to learn a different inspection method or they think this is the only way to write a report.

I can’t even imagine this has been someone’s routine for years!

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Nice, Ryan!

I used to just look at the defect and say “double lugged neutrals”, or whatever, and look at the 4 corners of the picture I want in the report and it went there automatically.

Then I would narrate anything else for that slot or annotate the picture and it would appear in my report…DONE. :roll_eyes: :wink:

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How many pictures overall, on average, do you take during an inspection Ryan?

Sound advice Bob, I would add give these “NEW” items extra attention when possible. “Handy Homeowners” that do their own installs will mess it up more often than not. It could also be a bandaid that’s hiding something, like new floors and paint for example.

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These aren’t customers, they are friend’s houses. I need to get 4 practice inspections done.

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I fall into the former. Old habits hard to break. Plus, a sizable percentage of my inspections are commercial which are not conducive to mobile reporting for many reasons.

Two trains running down separate tracks. But, if I can take a breath and focus on my mobile app, I think it will pay off.

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Now multiply that by 10-15-20+ years, (yes, one never “gets done” tweaking their software), and let’s see how quick you are to change your ways!!

Curious… what’s your “backup plan” for when the Cloud crashes, which it does, and will continue to do??

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The software doesn’t require an internet connection except to publish the report to the client.

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I would say 100 give or take. Not all are in the report. I also wear a body cam.

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My camera takes better pictures where your phone can’t get and gives me more flexibility with picture size.

Honestly, not much experience.

JJ is right on. What is your backup plan for when your phone battery dies or you drop it or it rings and you miss a photo or lose your report.

I honestly can’t believe inspectors pay extra money to have a third party store their report for them. Not very self-reliant.

My software does not require the cloud either. However I can update and save while on the job or at home on Wi-Fi. If my phone malfunctions I always have a back up camera in my toolbox. I even keep my previous phone charged and ready to go in my toolbox. I’ve never ran across a defect where my iPhone couldn’t zoom in with great detail. I have never ran into a malfunction with my iPhone. I keep all of my tools fresh and get a new phone every year. I like to keep it simple. You can be as professional as you want on the job site.

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I have 2 extra phones in the truck in addition to my main phone. I also have a Canon Powershot 620 in the truck in case I need a better zoom than the phone. Why do you guys think using modern software means that people don’t have a back-up plan?

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