5 Tricks to Getting Home Inspection Reports Done at the Inspection

When I talk to other home inspectors they seemed amazed that I can finish my reports while at the job. My clients and agents love having the home inspection report immediately so they can get on with the transaction. I love spending time with my family when I get home instead of working on reports. I simply can not imagine doing it any other way.

After doing thousands of home inspections I think it really comes down to confidence and mindset. With the right process and confidence in yourself anyone should be able to finish the inspection and the report in a few hours. Here is how I do it.

Get to the job early

I do my best to get to my jobs 15-20 minutes before the appointment. This gives me a chance to get an idea of what I am getting into. It has rarely been a problem for me to check the exterior and take a bunch of inspection photos with my iPhone. Then I spend a few minutes doing the checklist items for what I have seen and to add the photos and comments for the outside. When the client gets there I am almost 1/3 of the way done with the report and can spend my time talking with them and showing them what I have seen.

Let the client know the plan and hold them to it

One of the first things I tell a new home inspection client is a quick overview of the plan. “I will be using my iPhone to take photos and make comments while I am doing the home inspection. Once we have gone through the house we will go over the whole report on my iPad and I will email you a PDF before we leave.”

There are always clients that want to pull you this way and that. Always clients that have a million questions. That’s OK. Just remind them of the plan. I may say, “Give me just a minute. I need to record what we have just seen so we can go over this and make sure we didn’t miss anything at the end.”

Use your saved comments

We see the same things over and over. Probably half of the comments in any of my reports are from my library. I have entered them into a past report and saved them to my comment library so I can use them again.

Use the search bar in the comment editor to search for ‘GFCI’, ‘humidifier’, or whatever other terms you have added to your comment. It gives you a short list to select from. You can also use the ‘Saved Comments’ screen which lists our most used comment in that section.

Remember that comments are there not just for problems. I use comments to record information as well. It is so much easier to take a photo of some equipment and it’s data plate and use a saved comment saying that it operates as expected.

Keep your comments short and to the point

As a general rule I only record one thing per comment. That makes it easy to search for a saved comment that fits the situation and it also makes it quick to record if I have to type or voice dictate.

For example, if I run across a furnace that is missing a filter, has a humidifier that is not working, and has a condensation line that is leaking I make three different comments. Not one big long comment.

If I were to put all that into one comment I would likely never be able to use it again. I would be able to reuse a comment about a missing filter, a comment about a humidifier that doesn’t work, and a comment about a leaking condensation drain. It would also only take as long to type or dictate each comment as it takes for a text message.

Take photos and add them when inspecting

The one biggest time saver in the Tap Inspect application is the ability to take a home inspection photo and add it to a comment while you are inspecting it. At a close second is the ability to add several photos to a comment from the camera roll while inspecting it. This is such a huge time saver for a few reasons.

When you use a digital camera you have to pull the SD card and copy the photos to your device.  There are wifi cameras but you are then using multiple devices. These extra steps take time and complicate things. If you take photos with your device that are already on the device and ready to add to your report.

If you wait until the end of the home inspection to add photos you will likely have to go through dozens of photos to find the one or two that you need right then. That takes time to review each one and to remember what you were thinking when you took it.

 

Branding Your Home Inspection Business: Top 5 Ways

Happy New Year, home inspectors, from Tap Inspect!

Okay grant it, folks make New Years Resolutions all the time and by mid-March, the self promises are broken. However, this year, as a business owner, try to keep one promise: Better business in 2015. The best way to achieve better business this year is to brand your business even better than before. Here’s how:

1.  Attend MORE events in the home inspection industry: Despite your lack of time, try your best this year to attend more home inspection conferences, expos, meetings, etc. These type of events will help expose your home inspection business and help you brand yourself as a more involved entity in your industry. The more you show up, the more opportunities you have to mingle and discuss what your business is up to this year.

2. Recreate your home inspection business for the times: Despite how long your business has been around, it’s seriously important to keep up with new, fresh ideas to keep your business afloat. Look into creative ideas to help brand your business for the new year. See what other businesses are up to and work hard this year to refresh your brand.

3. Use your social networks to your advantage: This year, make a promise to use your online platforms to not just get followers, but engage them. Engaging your Facebook followers and responding to their questions and offering feedback will help brand your business. People don’t just want to know who you are, they want to know why you matter. Show them! Use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks to communicate with more people this year.

4. Set higher goals and meet them: If you were below average meeting your goals in 2014, try harder to meet them in 2015. Work harder to show your home inspection clients that you are striving as time progresses.

5. Create time to thank and acknowledge your home inspection clients: Keep in mind why you are still in business-it’s because of your clients. Brand your business as one that acknowledges those who support you. Send thank you letters, make thank you calls and be sure to show your appreciation even more this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tips for Keeping A Successful Company Blog

2014-10-28 13.49.30In the day of social media and connecting to people online, a company blog is always an asset to your home inspection business. It’s a great platform to educate and inform your readers. You can also keep dialog going among like-minded business people. Here are 10 tips on how to keep a successful company blog:

1. Make your posts relevant to your home inspection business: People will find your posts interesting as they do the type of business you run. Make your posts relevant to the services you offer clients.

2. Keep your blog posts short and sweet: Keep in mind that your blog visitors are typically reading your posts from their phones or pads. As sure as your posts are relevant,  if they are too long, people may not read them. Keeping them short and sweet keeps your readers coming back.

3. Update your blog often: Your blog visitors will become more dedicated to your blog if they find that you are keeping it updated. Try to posts at least two to three times a month to keep readers engaged.

4. Have a section for comments on your blog: It’s always good to allow dialog between your readers and even you! Make sure to add a comment section to your blog and readers will surprise you with how much they actually engage about your blog posts.

5. Advertise on your blog: Allowing advertisements on your company blog is a smart way to attract other business. Advertisers also have the option of paying your business to advert and this brings in extra revenue.

6. Include other websites and blog links on your blog: As a way to generate traffic on your blog, it’s very smart and strategic to include other similar websites and blog links. These links can be very helpful to your clients.

7. Keep your design unique, yet simple: A blog’s design is meant to be special and one of a kind. From the colors to the text, it’s important to have a special identity for your company’s blog. However,  complicated designs can draw visitors away as well as too many words on your blog.

8. Have different voices to contribute: Your blog visitors will appreciate seeing different writers for different posts. This will show that there are a variety of opinions and insights for a variety of topics.

9. Keep your blog in order: Make sure you maintain the look of your blog as well as keep things carefully monitored internally. It’s a part of your brand so it’s your company’s priority to keep the blog intact.

10. Make your blog easy to access: Offer your link on your company’s website and on your business cards. If you want visitors,  you must make your blog accessible.

Blogs are new age but with great benefits to your home inspection company. If you haven’t stated a company blog, get started! There are several free platforms that can help you create and maintain your company’s blog. Happy blogging!

5 Winter Tips for Home Inspectors

Winter is here! For some, that means an increase in morning coffee and sweaters at their cubicles. For home inspectors, that means dressing warm for the field and still managing to play it safe. A home inspector can’t be effective if he/she doesn’t dress warm enough to be comfortable for work. However, your winter gear may cause safety hazards. Here are 5 tips on how to stay warm and still play it safe in the field this winter while completing your home inspections:

1. Thermals underneath instead of layers on top: Even though thermals may remind you of grade school when your parents forced you to wear them, if you work outside in the element, thermals are an asset. Adding extra jackets and sweaters and snow suits can weigh you down. You don’t want to be warm but can’t do your job efficiently. Thermals underneath your work clothes is warm and safe.

2. Gloves, gloves, gloves: Your hands are important as you work with them out in the field all day long. Find a pair of gloves that will allow your hands to stay warm but not cause you to slow down in work. Some gloves may be too bulky to work with causing issues of perhaps dropping things or making it harder for you to climb. A pair of gloves that are insulated are the smart way to go as long as they fit your hands correctly.

3. Find the right boot: Some boots are too heavy to walk around with all day while in the field. Despite how warm they may be, your safety is on the line with boots that are extremely too bulky and heavy on your feet. Find a pair that suits your comfort and maintains your safety. You want to avoid tripping over things and be able to climb up your ladders with warm, yet comfortable boots.

4. Socks are just as important: Just as important as it is to find the right pair of working boots for the cold, it is just as important to find the right pair of socks! Find thermal socks that keep you warm. In order to stay safe, your foot gear is extremely crucial while climbing and walking around in the field.

5. Top it off with a good hat: While working in the field, your choice of hats are not all about fashion. Keep in mind that as important as it is to stay warm, you want to also maintain safety by wearing a hat that doesn’t obstruct your vision or hearing. A classic skull cap is always the way to go.

Stay warm out there, home inspectors! Just as important as it is to be comfortable during the cold season, it is even more important to stay safe!

Handling Bad Reviews of Your Home Inspection Business

Check_BadFace it, all reviews of your home inspection business may not be great reviews. Some former home inspection clients may have been unsatisfied with your services and may spread the word about that. Be it a bad review posted on your website or a bad review via word of mouth, there are positive ways to handle negative news about your inspection business. Here’s how:

1. Find the source of the review: Do some backtracking and investigate the source of any bad review. Discovering the source of a bad review helps you understand what may have went wrong and how the client could have been justified for their complaint.

2. Address bad reviews: Once you find the source of your bad review, be brave enough to confront the issue. There are several ways in doing this. You can actually respond to that client directly or you can post a general statement online regarding the complaints. This will show a great sense of professionalism.

3. Track your reviews and document them: Depending on how you receive reviews, will be a great determinant of how you track and document them. Keep in mind that most people with bad reviews look to post their complaints online. This is a quick and convenient way to review any business, especially those with a website. Track online responses and document them as a way to measure future success based off of bad reviews.

4. This is business, don’t take it personal: Accept and respect bad reviews. Always reach to make your inspection clients satisfied but understand that every single client may not be satisfied. Use any bad reviews to strengthen your business and don’t take them as personal attacks.

Winners sometimes lose. And in business,  a loss can be a potential win. Understand that a bad review of your home inspection business does not equal a loss in your business. Take bad reviews and be cognizant of how they can benefit your business.