Jim Radcliffe heads the business operations of The Medallion Services Group LLC, the leading provider of building inspection services in the greater Atlanta real estate market. He explains how his unique two-inspector team process of inspecting along with mobile software and on-site report delivery wows his customers and has kept him the #1 rated inspector in the area...

For the last 3 years, Medallion Inspections has earned more 5 star ratings FROM CUSTOMERS than any other home inspectors or home inspection company in Atlanta. We couldn’t do it without 3D.

We’re actually a team of 2 inspectors, and we inspect EVERY property together as a team. One of us concentrates on the mechanical systems of the house, along with the grounds, interior living spaces, kitchens and baths. The other focuses on the structure itself, including the roof, exterior veneer, decks, the framing, windows, doors, insulation, the attic, the foundation, slabs (including house, garage, and or basement). We carry our handhelds and record our findings using the menu items as we go. WE realized a long time ago that we see most of the items over and over, just in different combinations. WE still need to customize our findings, but we’ve become experts at stepping aside where we are at the moment and writing the new condition.

The structure of 3D which allows us to create an inspection group from a series of forms is tailor made for our business and keeps us moving. WE separated the areas we inspect individually into the corresponding forms. Then, as we inspect using our handhelds, we enter information into those forms assigned to our tasks or areas of expertise. Then, the first one of us who is finished inspecting gets the laptop... and sets up in the kitchen. Usually this is Jim, who concentrates on mechanicals, grounds and interior areas. This is when the magic starts to happen – and customers watch with amazement.
We merge the [mobile] inspection into the file we created at the time the inspection was booked – and used to generate a contract that was automatically filled in with the client details and attached to the report and emailed to them to read and sign well before inspection day. All of this takes about 2 minutes. Customers who are watching are always impressed. Often they start asking if they can expect to get the inspection the next day sometime, and they’re surprised that we tell them we’ll have it in the next 20 to 30 minutes or so.

When Joe comes down out of the attic, he hands over his [mobile devices] and merged into the master report on the laptop. Each of us takes a few minutes to load photos, annotate them with arrows or circles, and takes a few moments to do a sanity check on the items we marked using the SUMMARY functions. We know we’re getting close when Joe starts spell checking the entire document, then steps aside so Jim can do a few final steps. Using the ACTIONS features, Jim creates a COVER PAGE and SUMMARY LETTER. Then, using the PRINT TO SERVER feature, and using a SPRINT DATA CARD, Jim uploads the report and sends the email containing a link to the report with instructions to the client and anyone they authorize to receive it. Often the client is walking around with Joe looking at some of the items he found, and the email arrives in their [phone]. WE always include ourselves on the email distribution, and verify that the file made it by checking our own email, reviewing the addresses on the email, clicking on the link, and watching their eyes light up when they see the cover photo of their new house show up on the screen with their name on the report cover.

They are generally surprised, happy, and start paying close attention.

We spend about 30 minutes going over the entire report with the client onsite, made easier because 3D allows us to color code the text depending on the Summary level. We focus on the exceptions in the report (different colors than black) and generally have a digital photo with annotations right there for them to see. In a short time, the client is well versed and fully informed about the true condition of the home. Joe presents the structure and roof, and Jim presents the grounds, mechanicals and interior areas.

Our clients comment all the time that we do a good job of using technology to perform their inspection, and they appreciate it. 3D allows us to be consistent in what we say, yet gives us the flexibility to customize each inspection – which we have to do. The ability to merge multiple inspections into a single inspection report gives us the ability to deliver a single, well documented report to every client – and do it onsite.

When we leave a site, we are done. The report has been written; the client has a good understanding of what we found; the report has been loaded on the server and the emails sent to people the client wants to receive it. We even confirm the report was successfully loaded on the server by including one of our email addresses in the distribution of the upload email and checking it onsite. Like I said, when we leave the site, we’re done. No getting home and writing a report. No spending hours stumbling through repetitive tasks. We have the luxury of checking tomorrow’s schedule, confirming we have lock box codes, signed contracts, etc. And we generally get 2 inspections done and are ready for the next day – and finish between 4 and 5PM.

Using 3D we perform between 400 and 450 inspections every year. Most days we do just one in the morning and one in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. In 2007 we did a few less, coming in at 382, still a very respectable showing in one of the most difficult real estate markets ever – and in an extremely competitive inspector market.

Could we have done it without 3D? No way. Was 3D our only ‘secret weapon’? No, but it sure gave us a leg up. While our competitors routinely tell customers they’ll get the inspection the next day or later that evening, we’re delivering now. Once a buyer signs a contract, it’s a ‘now’ business. We refuse to lower our standards, and 3D helps us stand out above the crowd. We looked at many competitive programs, both before we bought 3D and since then, and none gives us the flexibility and advantage 3D does.  We wouldn’t survive without 3D….

Jim Radcliffe
Madallion Inspections