I wrote a program for cell phones that run java (works awesome on a treo) about a year ago for a company here in So Cal that does inspections for Farmers Insurance. The inspections were about 25 minute jobs, including answering their exact questions and taking a few photos. It was a broad overview, are there smoke detectors, what type of foundation, etc. The inspectors made about $65 on the job and the homeowner saved 10%-20% on their premiums (I believe it was a sliding scale each year after the inspection).
Anyways, I’m curious if anyone else is doing these inspections across the country? The program allowed you to answer all the options on the phone by checking a few boxes and answering a few questions, then uploaded the report via the cellular network where the pdf was created and emailed off to Farmers and the homeowner.
The program took me about 4 months to write so if anyone else out there is doing these inspections I’d like to know. I haven’t tried marketing it to anyone other than the few companies here in So. California.
Let me know if they go on elsewhere in the country.
This sounded like something I was doing for AFS, Advanced Field Services,
(they’re out of Coeur d’Alene, ID., http://www.afsweb.com)this past summer. We had a ton of “Farmers Insurance Surveys” come to us,
and the price was considerably less than that to the actual inspectors doing the work.
I had just signed on with them, at the time, and after about a month or two into it,
was beginning to regret my involvement with them. The volume was huge, (i.e. way too many, with short time constraints) but the money was too thin for me…
anyways, just when I was hoping for other types of inspections to pick up,
AFS told us they had not renewed their contract with Farmers, and that was the end of it. It was like a faucet shutting off, no more Farmers surveys, and only some High Value Surveys here and there…
I still do some work for AFS, but nothing to the extent of this past summer, and not for Farmers anymore.
They (AFS) use an all web-based format, with picture uploads, for their reports for USAA, and others…
I never did use a PDA for them though…
The companies out here were getting about $65 from Farmers and giving the inspectors $35-$40. I know many of them were doing up to 10 a day at one time. The questionaire you filled out didn’t require a full inspection by any means. The questions were like ‘how many bathrooms are there’ and ‘how many floors are there.’ Does that sound like what you were doing Steven?
Several inspectors found out at one point that they could do the work directly for farmers agents, you didn’t have to have a contract, you just needed to get onto their list by requesting it.
The cool thing is that this works on a PDA or a regular Cell Phone (if it allows external java programs to be installed). You never needed a normal computer, you’d take the picture with your phone or insert your camera card into it. I had a few of the inspectors ask me to make some updates due to a new form and haven’t decided if it would be worth all the effort. If some of you guys are still doing them, then it could be. With them I had an arrangement where the inspectors paid $20 for the program and then $1.50 per use.