Home Inspectors who choose ScribeWare care about the transparency, thoroughness and the value of the service they provide. ScribeWare makes it easy to write reports that are informative and clear and not cluttered with checkboxes and boilerplate disclaimer.
The Business Model
How you present your findings to your client is likely the single biggest defining characteristic of a home inspectors business.
At ScribeWare, the business model we are eager to support is the one where your reports ARE your marketing, so the emphasis for us has always been about the quality and clarity of the finished product.
That was the business model I was after when I made the first generations of this product over 15-years ago. I did not enjoy marketing to Realtors and realized that if I just wrote superior, detailed and clear reports, that my business would stand out and my reports would become my marketing. My goal over time was to repel the agents I didn’t want to work with and attract the ones I did.
The ScribeWare business model has been wildly successful for me, but it is not suited to everyone. My goal every year for my inspection business was to charge more, do a better job and do fewer inspections. I was 100% about honesty and accuracy and working for my clients. I wanted my weekends for my family and I tried to make at least $100 / hour for my time as I believe this is what a professional should make to support a deeply technical and complex business, like home inspection.
ScribeWare was the foundation of this business model.
The Quality of The ScribeWare Report
For us, quality centers around a clear, professional presentation and superior sequencing of information. We feel the busy client should be able to glance at a report and within a minute, know and understand the major concerns or determine the condition of the roof with a click of a button. On the other side of the scale, the retired engineer client should be able to spend 12 hours reading the same report as deeper and richer information unfolds with the report. We employ several unique techniques for achieving this.
- Interactive reports. HTML docs allow for a truly interactive report, so the user can scroll through a report or bounce around from summary page to chapter and chapter to sections. Clients can stream videos right in the report and open hot links to allow for truly rich data presentation.
- Easy to read qualifiers. Every observation gets tagged with a qualifier: Major concern, repair, improvement item…. And these get sorted and placed into a summary page. The summary links back to the full observation with photos. The result is a detailed summary, that is sorted by the relative importance of the observations. Some inspectors avoid this type of clarity because it can be hard, “Is this a repair item or a Major Concern?” These decisions can be difficult, but this is what our clients are paying us for. We should be able to sift through our findings and create clear priorities for our clients.
- Minimal use of fear: The fine print boilerplate disclaimers are absent in our reports. Before I ever went in this direction I spoke with several insurance companies and lawyers. What keeps home inspectors out of court is a signed contract, a quality service, and a quality report. If someone is mad enough to take you to court, reams of boilerplate fine print disclaimers will not prevent this and they muddy the report where the real information is obscured behind fine print.
- Flexible formats. We have found that not everyone wants to read their ScribeWare report online as an HTML doc. So all of our reports come with simple buttons to save as PDF or Print to paper. This allows for a format for every type of client.
- Photos and videos appear with the observation. We have never believed that the narrative should be separated from the photos and videos. Pictures tell a thousand words and our reports are designed to make adding photos and videos simple, easy and effective.
- Strong and clear language. The library that comes with ScribeWare has been field tested and honed for well over a decade. It is easy to edit and customize to suit your style and no matter how much editing you do, it is a superior starting place and written by a published author.
The simple and intuitive interface
Paramount for us was simplicity. We believe software should be simple enough to use that you don’t need directions. This system is built from the ground up so it has a natural and intuitive user interface. Several of our first clients were older inspectors who were not comfortable with computers at all and they continue to love the product.
We have several unique features.
- Keyword library search. No other software employs a keyword search to speed up finding observations from your library.
- Drag and drop photos. Adding photos and videos from your camera roll simply could not be easier and every photo that is used gets a green check mark to let you know it has been inserted into the report
- Use of photo captions. Our photo captions have a separate library. This allows the user to use pre-made language for both main observations and captions.
- The simple technique for handling complex observations.
ScribeWare employs a unique feature that allows inspectors to make a general comment: “there is a lot wrong with the wiring system,” and then use their photo captions to make a detailed bulleted list of specific comments below that general statement. No other software is using this system. It allows for clear communication with the client AND easy report writing that avoids long complex sentences.
Protection for the home inspector
- Frees you to do an inspection and communicate with your client on-site. Client communication on-site is probably one of the best ways to reduce your liability as a home inspector. On-site communication allows you to bond with the client and show them how hard you are working for them. ScribeWare was designed to allow you to gather data with a camera and voice recorder, freeing you to communicate with your client on-site.
- Descriptive comments fade into the background and act as a checklist. One problem with full narrative reports – that we were trying to avoid – is long paragraphs of descriptive information. While this can be nice, it can also make it difficult to access critical information. Our descriptive pulldowns are easy and fast to fill in and they fade into the background, allowing access to more pressing information. These descriptive pulldowns help the home inspector ensure they are performing their inspections to meet their state and national standards and act as a valuable checklist.
- A customizable template that can suit any style and region. The template and library of pre-made observations that come with ScribeWare are well-suited to northern climates. However, both the template and library are easily customized to suit your style and your region. In fact, we view the template and library that comes with ScribeWare as just an advanced and well-considered starting place. Our goal is for each inspector to customize the software so it fits you like a glove. Even better, all of your saved changes are stored in the cloud to prevent devastating data loss.
- Secure Data. Your reports, library, and templates are constantly backed up in the cloud for unparalleled security. And all users get updates right from inside the application. ScribeWare does not sell or re-use your data!!
More to come!
Yes. Our focus has been a modern platform that will secure all data in the cloud and provide constant updates and allow our users to compete on the clarity and quality of their reports. We also wanted a platform that was almost infinitely customizable so our clients can tweak their templates to suit any style of report writing.
We continue to make minor tweaks to this platform, but now we are working on honing speed for the home inspector and rounding out our full business platform of payment processing, scheduling, and contract delivery.