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What is a Home Inspection?
A lesson in data and systems independence for Home Inspectors  XML
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5219
Location: Carmel, IN
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Who here remembers “IMS”? A lesson in Software Independence and Data Backups.

For those that have been around awhile, you might recall some of the hilarious shenanigans circa 2009 at ASHI InspectionWorld at Bally’s Las Vegas when The Inspector Services Group started gaining in popularity (and getting larger booths). We had great intro deals, awesome promo items, shirts we’d give away to turn inspectors into walking billboards around the exhibit hall...even promotional models to make sure it wasn’t boring.

While all that excitement was quite evident, there was a much more interesting War brewing amongst some software providers that really started in 2009 and culminated in some of the most terrifying and damaging transitions in our industry. Dominic was keeping his nose clean while being your interesting “internet geek” friend and deploying a safe strategy, politically speaking. Russell and HomeGauge were rolling out features to ensure you had less options in your business and were in their “box” and they did it unapologetically (thumbs up for the honesty, which we respect). ISN was quietly gaining some market share. Carl from 3-D was just being Carl. Horizon was being so nice at their booth you didn’t even realize you were being sold some really great software with little interest in these U.S. software company wars (Canada tends to stay out of these sorts of things historically). PalmTech was having their last great show before their relevance became a thing of the past. A few others were there with single booths, some great ones, all largely unaware of the building turmoil.

Then there was “IMS” – Inspection Management Systems – from a guy named Russ Colliau.

Russ is a friend of over a decade and a half now and I think it’s about time we gave him credit for a feature he touted as crucial to any Home Inspection business at the time if they wanted to own their data and their independence...that feature was a business administration software integrated yet disconnected from your reporting software. To a large extent ISN was in this category as well, but IMS passionately prophesized a very difficult day coming to this industry and the home inspection businesses in it if this separation of systems wasn’t something that was a feature you subscribed to.

Likely most took this as just good salesmanship from Russ Colliau. His tongue is coated with 24K Gold but I would contend he wasn’t wrong and hindsight is on our side in realizing just how right he was, in fact.

At the time, HomeGauge was really the singular player with a two-headed Venus Fly Trap for home inspectors. To this day, their platform integrates with few. If it weren’t for the ISN connection, likely implemented due to ownership’s personal disdain for Russ Colliau (and his message and some of the things he would do like changing his logo to their orange...lol), it would be completely impossible to utilize for the vast majority of multi-inspector firms and market leaders that utilize services like those of PriorityLab, The Inspector Services Group, RecallChek, Warranties, and Breeze Products just to name a few. We’re talking 8500 of the industry’s 30,000 or so participants and those that tend to do the highest volume (not exactly a group you don’t want to serve abundantly well).

Today, with a slightly more open stance to client needs as it pertains to integrations, companies like Horizon have enhanced their office and administration features. Home Inspector Pro has seemingly devoted a year to nothing but launching these features to tie their users to both. Newcomers to the market like Spectora and Home Inspection Technology have launched with the feature- though all three of the aforementioned maintain fairly open API’s and most even integrate with NXT Inspekt, ISN, Inspector Services Group, and PriorityLab, the two leaders in office administrative software for inspectors in the marketplace of course included in the list. To what extent these platforms do so reluctantly in light of their relatively substantial investments (and the ability to charge more) in their own office operation platforms is debatable but I don’t think there’s an inspector in the know on this topic that doesn’t see it is there. Is it for ease of use or the ability to sell a platform at a high multiple? Perhaps a little of both and I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. It could lead to great, unexpected things in the future.

What does the future hold?

If Russ Colliau were here today and not leading teams at large real estate firms where his career has fortuitously led him, would his position be even stronger in light of the number of reporting platforms with “office features” tripling? I believe he would, but with a new twist...it’s no longer just about being “owned” by your report software and finding yourself in an uncomfortably inflexible position should you ever want to make a switch for whatever reason (if you can’t tell, I am a proponent of inspection businesses having this flexibility and independence). It’s about the very real possibility that in this age of crazy buyouts of relatively low profit companies in this industry becoming popular that there are uncomfortable changes outside of your control. We’re talking, in the software space, offers that are virtually irrefusable to someone that might have been your best friend yesterday. We’re happy for them of course when it happens, but the discomfort it causes to you as a business owner that now rely on a single source for both reporting and administrative services, with all of your data freely flowing to a new owner you don’t know, is a tough pill to swallow for most in this “old school” pond we swim in.

How to fix this, as an industry:

This is where this article might sound self-serving to some. If you’re in that category of inspector that will likely feel that way, feel free to stop reading right after you hear all about how PriorityLab is the leading environmental lab in the industry and offers literally every test there is cheaper, quicker, and more efficiently than any other lab you might be utilizing. Email me for a free trial so you can experience all of those things and realize they are indisputably true these statements are before you ever pay us a penny. Okay you can leave now ☺.

For the rest of you, my name is P. Nathan Thornberry and I’ve invested over $1.5 Million of my own money in a platform called NXT Inspekt. I’ve hardly billed anything for it with super long free trials and even after that the service starts at only $1 per inspection. It has triple the features of any administrative software for inspectors ever created and it runs at about twice the speed of any you’ve ever tried. The learning curve is about 10 minutes long and the upload of your entire history of your company’s administrative data is a free service we offer from every major platform in this industry. If you utilize it to its full capability, your business will grow as a result, but let’s put that aside for a moment and let’s pretend you have no interest in ever actually utilizing it to run your business. I’m fine with that! Here’s my offer to you:

Use it as a backup, a full backup with full functionality, for free.

Let’s imagine for a moment that your current provider has a shift in ownership. A loss of staff. A change in business model. A forced upgrade you don’t like. Experiences a hack that takes them down and all your data with them. None of these occurrences are out of the realm of possibility and in fact all have happened in this industry before. Some might even say there’s a decent likelihood that these occurrences will accelerate. Having a live, full featured, integrated, ready to utilize with no training backup is just smart business.

For those of you that were here between 2009-2013, the years that IMS saw it’s greatest growth (it was a favorite amongst industry groups) you might remember one horrible Thanksgiving Weekend when all of their data became inaccessible to users. This wasn’t even any of the events listed above – this was a programmer that got pissed and decided to mess with Russ and their users (a potentially actionable criminal issue that was later the focus of a court case). Russ Colliau, love him or hate him, was as devoted to his users as any vendor in this industry and even he stumbled. The damage, after that event, was done and enough clients moved on to other platforms to make maintaining the platform a challenge. It’s defunct today.

Now imagine being at that 2009 ASHI InspectionWorld but the software providers had office platforms at three times the frequency they did, some of them were being bought up in very well publicized overpriced deals, and Russ didn’t have to make a penny off of IMS to maintain it and he had the largest programming team in the industry’s history and the most reliable platforms as well. Let’s add to that instead of selling you a solution for your business for $3-$4 per inspection, he had invested over $1.5 million in a reliable & usable backup and was offering it to you for free for that purpose.

That’s essentially the situation right now at www.NXTinspekt.com, and I invite you to try it on me. I invite you to use it for free for so long you will have incredible confidence in its ability to grow your business and take your customer experience to the next level. Alternatively, you can just use it as a backup to ensure you can always avoid disaster or discomfort. Maybe it is just a bit of peace of mind, in a very real sense.

Welcome to the Future.



P. Nathan Thornberry is the CEO of Residential Warranty Services, Inc. and the Inspector Services Group as well as the founder of RWS Insurance, LLC and PriorityLab. Some of his other hobbies include delivering free continuing education to home inspectors through Home Inspection University, developing industry leading environmental testing devices and media known as Breeze, and programming the best in home inspection administrative software solutions with NXT Inspekt. The Inspector Services Group includes the Inspection Call Center, the largest call center in the industry, RecallChek, InspectorShop, Inspection Warranties, and the largest team of digital designers devoted to the Home Inspection Industry. When he isn’t at his desk stirring trouble, he’s playing drums, flying planes, and hanging out with the two coolest kids in the world, Ethan & Logan. His email address personally is NThornberry@RWSwarranty.com.

Learn more at http://www.InspectionSuccess.net
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P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
Take Your Career to the Next Level > https://youtu.be/hdBCJbl5byo
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.InspectionSuccess.net
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
Get your E&O Insurance at 20%+ off your current rates at www.RWSinsurance.com
[Email] [WWW]
homeprori
Cupcake
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Joined: 06/18/2014 10:10 PM EDT
Messages: 6
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As a single man operator for many years, the single best business move I made was when I started to utilize Russ's system. Literally gave me my life back.

Hank Richter
HomePro Inspections of RI
www.homeprori.com
https://www.facebook.com/HomeProRI/
(401) 821-5446
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Nathan
King
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Joined: 06/17/2014 09:32 PM EDT
Messages: 5219
Location: Carmel, IN
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homeprori wrote:As a single man operator for many years, the single best business move I made was when I started to utilize Russ's system. Literally gave me my life back.



He truly was perfect for the time.

P. Nathan Thornberry
www.Nathan.tv
Take Your Career to the Next Level > https://youtu.be/hdBCJbl5byo
The #1 Vendor in Real Estate & Home Inspection
www.InspectionSuccess.net
www.RWSwarranty.com
www.InspectorServicesGroup.com
www.RecallChek.com
www.InspectorLab.com
www.InspectionSuperConference.com

Find a Certified Inspection Expert exclusively at www.InspectionCentral.net
Get your E&O Insurance at 20%+ off your current rates at www.RWSinsurance.com
[Email] [WWW]
Chigginbotham
Alien
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Joined: 02/26/2021 10:11 PM EST
Messages: 1
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I throughly enjoyed the history lesson here. Thank you for posting.
 
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