THE REAL COST OF REPORT WRITING
It’s simple isn't it? Everyone knows the cost of the report writing system is the purchase price plus
any hidden costs for support, upgrades and so on.
We're going to suggest that perhaps it's not quite so simple, at least not if your time has a value.
We're going to assume that like most home inspectors, your time and expertise are the inventory
of your company. You may have additional inventory in the form of the time and expertise of
people who book inspections for you, perform inspections for you, etc. And the goal of a business
is to maximize the return on their investment in inventory – in this case, your time!
Let's look at a list of things that may affect the cost of your report writing system. Make sure that
your selection of a report writing system meets your needs maximizes your ROI – all at one low
Here’s why we feel Horizon delivers the best value for Home Inspectors.
1. Hardware: Do you need to buy a laptop, PDA, a portable printer and peripherals?
With Horizon, you can choose your approach to field data collection tools (Paper, PDA, tablet
or laptop) and report writing tools (PDA, laptop tablet or desktop computer). If you are going
to print on site with any software, you’ll need a printer you can take with you.
2. Software: Do you need any software other than what you are buying from the supplier?
With Horizon, you don’t need any software at all. The application lives on the web! And there
are no extra modules to buy for scheduling, work orders, posting and archiving reports,
ancillary reports, business management tools, and so on.
3. What are the extras? What do you pay for support, for updates, for report storage?
There are no extra costs associated with Horizon. We offer one low monthly or annual fee
with unlimited report writing!
4. Supplies: Do you need consumables such as letterhead, ink and paper?
If you choose to print reports, you will need these supplies. Horizon effectively removes the
need for a printed report – Horizon sends your client a link to a secure web page where their
5. Time to learn: How long will it take you to learn to use the software?
Our 30-minute “Getting Started” webinar will give the you essential knowledge and ability to
create your own Horizon reports. Beyond that, we offer a 30-minute “Advanced Features”
webinar. Now you’ll have most of the knowledge needed to write great reports. Of course we
offer ongoing training and support in many different forms – tutorials, help files, FAQ’s,
webianrs and so on.
6. Time to customize: How long will it take you to create the library of comments that you
Horizon is designed to offer you 90% of what you need at your fingertips. You should be able
to add the rest as you go. Add a comment for a report, then save it for future use. You’ll be
able to identify all your Must Remember items for each report. This should be a one-time-
only task and it should take about 15 minutes.
7. Time to write a report: How long will it take you to write a really good report? This is a
big one; since this is the work you do every day. Horizon offers important time savers
7.1. Simple navigation to move quickly
7.2. Search to find what you want fast
7.3. Templates to make several entries at once
7.4. Items that can be added automatically to every report (No clicks needed!)
7.5. Multiple photos added right beside the applicable text.
7.6. Completion check to make sure you included everything.
8. Report delivery: How long will it take you to produce and deliver the report?
An hour is plenty for a typical home. Although, if you love adding photos and captioning them,
you can spend longer. With horizon, you’ll find that publishing, archiving and delivery will take
less than 10 seconds in most cases. Horizon let’s you create and archive multiple versions of
reports, because clients want their report corrected if you spell their name wrong, or updated
if they have made some of the repairs you recommended.
9. Booking inspections: How long does it take and how good are the results? Do you
ever double book yourself, forget to collect important information, have a mix-up with
the client or agent about the date, time or location of the inspection? Do you ever find
out later that you have inspected that home before?
The booking process is an important element of your business for several reasons:
9.1. It is often the first contact with your client, and a positive impression gets you off to a
9.2. It is important to collect all the data you need, and to get it right.
9.3. Horizon will warn you if you are double booked or overlapping another inspection or
9.4. It will also tell you if you have inspected this home before, and take you to the old work
order in one click.
9.5. Horizon allows you to find any work order or report in your system in seconds, searching
by address, client name date, or report number.
9.6. Does someone else book inspections for you? If so, we think a really short training cycle
is critical. Also, scripts or prompts to make sure they ask the right questions and say the
right things, are very important.
10. Do your clients know the details before the inspection begins?
We think it reduces your liability to send your client the inspection agreement and Standards
of Practice or licensing details before the inspection. You should also be able to confirm the
date, time, location and fee ahead of time. You should have the option of copying this
information to more than one client, to real estate agents, to relocation companies or to any
third parties (termite company, alarm company, etc.) who will be meeting you on site. And we
believe your system should do all that for you in a few seconds. Because your time is money!
11. Do your reports ever lead to questions from clients because you left something out?
A Required Items feature that you can set up in minutes and customize in seconds is a
powerful way to protect you from looking foolish.
12. Do your reports ever lead to complaints from clients?
The more safety nets your report writing system provides, the fewer problems you are likely
to have. Any system has to have the flexibility to allow you to make a mistake, but if it is set
up to invite you to get it right, and to be able to check that you have included all elements you
need, your odds are much better.
13. Do you spend a lot of time filing your reports and then looking for one when a client
has a question?
Again, time is money, and we think you want to spend most of your working time inspecting
or marketing, and as little time working as necessary! So, we make it very easy to find old
work orders and old reports and respond quickly to clients. For example, you have gone
home for the day and a client from two months ago calls to ask a question about his report.
You can go to online, find the report in seconds, and go over it with your client. And the photo
of the house may help you remember the property! You provided great customer service,
quickly and spent very little time doing it! Dare we suggest you may also save a few
complaints over the years because of this quick and accurate response?
14. Does your report writing system get obsolete because you haven’t had a chance to
We think a good system keeps you up to date and looking good to your clients, without you
having to spend hours researching every month to make sure you are not falling behind.
We think the real cost of a reporting system includes all of the elements we have discussed. So,
when you are looking for a reporting system, consider the price by all means. But, also look at
how it will reduce your costs and liability while enhancing your professional image. As with any
business tool, the real cost is more than the basic price.
We view our customers as partners rather than as clients, and continue to listen to you and to
look for ways to save you time and money.
We would welcome your thoughts and comments. Please send us a note to