Larry Stamp AD, BS, RREI, has over 4000 inspections under his belt, is a published author and education instructor, and other credentials too many to mention. With a strong contracting and construction background, but limited computer experience, a personal "game of seconds" has helped him create top shelf reports that speak to the market, while preventing his success from dwindling away spare and leisure time.
Larry Stamp
When I started my inspection company just over nine years ago, the first and most important thing I learned was how critically important the written report was. Not only must it address standards of practice, but disclosures, exclusions, barriers to the inspection, findings and more. And of course the report must look absolutely top shelf if one hopes to carve out their place in the market and the prime inspection fees that go with it. In essence, the report is the critical and physical byproduct of the inspection. It literally, "walks the walk", after the inspector has "talked the talk".

My next lesson took a bit longer to sink in and occurred after I had come to realize how many times I had said and written the same thing over and over again. As my business was experiencing success, I now began to see my spare time dwindling away at the computer writing reports. There simply had to be a better way; an easier way, a quicker way to create a professional report. This is when I started with 3-D. I often refer to reporting as a, "game of seconds". Shave a few seconds off my reporting time and before long I've saved a minute, then five, then 10. It all adds up. The things I used to hand write are now just a click of the mouse. Changes and additions to my report take only moments before they become a click of the mouse as well. Time is money, but time is also leisure and relaxation, perhaps the greatest unspoken benefit of using 3-D.

I will tell you that in high school and college, we were still using slide rules, so needless to say I don't have a strong computer background. Virtually everything computer related has been a struggle for me, everything except 3-D. In fact, to my amazement, I needed very little help as I created my own form sets and designed the look of my reports. However, on those occasions when I did need some assistance, I found 3-D users to be widespread and there was always someone right at hand to bounce things off of. This is important because the last thing an inspector needs is to waste valuable time trying to de-bug a problem, or figure out how to make something work. I cannot recall ever having to make my clients wait for their report while I problem solved an issue.

By my own admission, I don't use all the options 3-D has to offer, but that's alright. I use what makes sense to me and I routinely and quickly produce reports which consistently receive rave reviews. Reporting is a very dynamic process which must be amenable to constant change and improvement. Therefore, having a multitude of program options is important. One can keep it simple, like I do, or one can get quite sophisticated - either way 3-D will produce a great report. Every market is a little bit different and these program options really allow an inspector to tailor make a report that not only works for them, but speaks to their market. For example, I use just one summary report for all my findings and I e-mail that out same day. While I have the option of creating more summaries, this single summary process works well in my market. If I practiced where the common expectation was to have a summary for critical findings and one for maintenance issues, 3-D would easily meet the need. And if I ever need to add more bells and whistles, they are there at my command.

I just wrote an article about a rather unique inspection experience involving a large, new apartment complex where 3-D really came to my rescue. (See the ASHI Reporter, February 2009). As I mentioned in the article, I had to devise a way of documenting the inspection process, specifically addressing what was inspected and what was not. It literally took me about an hour to create a specific form set utilizing parts of my residential report format. The end result was a great looking report that took me about 15 minutes to complete for each apartment building. I simply cannot imagine being able to do something like that any more quickly or efficiently.

Thank you for a great product!

Larry Stamp, AD, BS, RREI
Cameo Home Inspections