Originally Posted By: jgallant
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
Since you asked, let me explain the philosphy of ReportHost. And yes, there are lots of software solutions for inspectors out there, and a zillion more web developers willing to build websites. :-)
Before becoming a home inspector, I was a software engineer for 18 years, specializing in web development since the mid-1990s (ASP, VB, Perl-CGI, Java, Oracle, SQL, MySQL, XML, XSL, blah blah blah). My specialty became front end stuff (user interface) after a while and I became focused on concise, effective communication of information via the web. Upon becoming an inspector, it made a lot of sense for me to leverage this skill, and ReportHost was born. I personally hate PDF files and consider it a travesty that so many agencies randomly and routinely publish documents that should be standard web pages as PDF files, just because they have a PDF converter. PDF files print nicely, but they're _awful_ to read on-line. It takes forever for the PDF reader program to load, then you're faced with bizarre scrolling and zooming that makes it virtually impossible to meaningfully absorb information. But that's just my opinion, and I know lots of inspectors give these things to their clients. I wouldn't. Web pages, in my opinion, are a vastly better way of delivering reports. They render almost instantly, scrolling and searching are entriely predictable. Advantages of reports being hosted on-line, specifically on ReportHost, include:
1. Easy delivery, just include a link in an email. No attachments necessary. No chance of viruses being included in the attachement. (viruses can indeed be attached to PDF files) No worries about clients trying to remember where they saved their downloaded attachment.
2. No need for your clients to download software to read their report. The acrobat PDF reader is over 8 megabytes in size to download. Lots of clients won't know where to get it if they don't have it, or how to install it once downloaded. PDF files are version specific too, so if you client has an older PDF reader than the converter you used to write your report, they may be seeing something different than the report you intended them to see.
3. Reports are archived indefinately. You and your client can view the report in the future simply by retrieving it from ReportHost's website. You the inspector can easily find previously published reports with our search feature.
4. You can easily "republish" reports with ReportHost by "reloading" them, modifying them and publishing them again. If you don't change the title, no fee is incurred (it's free).
An early version of ReportHost used passwords, but we found that a small percentage of people actually had difficulties with the notion of entering a password, so we instead rely on "unguessable URLs" to reports, where inspectors devise unique names for their published reports that are unguessable. There are no links referencing the reports, so search engines can't find them.
As for being able to upload reports of varying formats, if that's what you need to do as an inspector, then ReportHost may not be for you. But understand that ReportHost is _very_ flexible, and that I'd challenge you to envision a scenario that ReportHost wouldn't work for, except TREC reports, which are on our list to implement. I personally do all my inspection reports in ReportHost. My reports include both structural pest (WDO/WDI) and the "normal" report. But you can do either separately if you want.
Regarding the inspection quiz on my home inspection website I think typically the quiz gets about 3 to 5 people visit it per day, so it's not a huge draw.
Owner, All Point Home Inspections - Poulsbo, WA www.allpointinspections.com
Co-founder, ReportHost (Web-based report writing service) www.reporthost.com