‘Best’ is a subjective statement. When selecting software the ‘best’ is dependent upon many criteria.
The first rule of selecting software is to know what you need. In the case of Home Inspection software, the needs are very well defined.
- It must allow you to perform the basic functions of inspection reporting. Namely the IDEAL principal.
I – Identify the component you are inspecting
D – Explain what the Defect is and its severity
E – Provide and Explanation about what you think needs to be done about the defect
A – Provide Advice on what to do to prevent the defect from getting worse, or for referring a professional to fix.
L – Ensure, where there may be multiple components, or the component might be had to find, the Location of it.
- It must allow you to easily add photos and videos to your report and ensure the photos can be linked to a narrative.
- It should be useable on-site at the inspection, and not rely on you building the report after the fact.
- It should provide a concise, clear and easy to read report for the client
- It should work on the devices you already own and should not be dependent upon software releases (backwards compatibility)
Additional functions you might want it to do are:
- Provide secured online access to the report for your clients
- Allow the inclusion and manipulation of 360 and Infrared images
- Provide a workflow to ensure each inspection is performed the same way
- Maintain a record of each client and the report that was produced
- Allow you to modify the report capture and template to tailor the system to the way you want to do things
Having made all those decisions and found the software that meets your needs, you need to look at the price and way you will pay for the system.
- Is it a one-off cost?
- Are you charged for each inspection?
- Is it a combination of both?
- Can you upgrade/downgrade alter payment methods?
Remember when you start off you may only be getting one or two inspections a month. So choosing a “per inspection” payment option might seem the cheap way to go. This can get really expensive as your number of inspections increase.
Also, look at what other services you get with the software to help you run your business and support your clients you might want to look at things like:
- Does the system integrate with a small business accounting system?
- Are there support services for online booking, online contract management, report control, customer repair lists, 3rd party viewing options, customer relationship management?
Currently, there are a number of good software applications on the market for Inspectors. They are all designed specifically for the U.S. market, but many are tailorable to your market’s needs.
If you look at the websites for all of them, they all claim to be #1 or the best or the fastest, the most complete or the most advanced. Remember, it’s just software and updates will move one above the other in terms of functionality or options over time. The ones to look for are the ones that have been around a long time yet remained current.
They will all try to upsell you and all offer different ways of getting more money from you. Either more services, websites, CRM services, access to other systems (like HON or HIN). Remember every dollar you spend on “trivial” services is another dollar you are not earning. Look for the software that gives you the most upfront and not as an add-on.
Look for software that can integrate with your own web services. Remember, information is more valuable than oil. Make sure your information is yours, and not just another way for another company to tap into your hard work at your expense.
Here’s a list of the most popular ones, and a link to the websites for each. (In alphabetical order)
- 3D Inspection software
- EZ inspection Software
- Home Inspection Software
- Home Inspector Pro
- Inspection Manager
- Property Inspect
- Spectacular Home inspection system
The most widely used ones here in Canada are Homegauge, Home Inspector Pro and Horizon.
The way to find out what’s the “best” for you, is to download a free trial and run through a couple of scenarios. Don’t forget, while you might be focused on Home Inspections now, think about other types of inspections you might want to do in the future, such as Commercial or Indoor Air and see if they will accommodate you in that.