I just switched from onsite paper reports to HIP in the last three months. I did not raise my prices, but I have always been $10-$30 cheaper than the average, so I could bump it up $10-20, make a few extra thousand a year and not lose business from it. Around here my HIP reports are frankly the best reports I know of, and that's from the mouth of clients and Realtors after only 2 months of producing them. Maybe I should charge more!
The time is definitely longer to produce the report. I originally wanted to produce the report onsite since that is what I was use to, but Dom is right, that is not the industry standard, at least around Illinois. I haven't noticed any drop whatsoever in the agents who I typically work with. They are all very pleased with the report and photos especially.
I do take the computer with me because I load my photos three times during the inspection.(that way they are backed up before I leave the property) I focus a lot on interaction with the client so lately I have started reviewing the photos with the clients each time I load them: after the exterior, after the major systems and after the interior. As I click through them I rotate and delete unusable ones(another benefit, I can get replacements if I don't like one since I'm still there). It saves me a little time later, my clients have seen the issues THREE times once they read the report and they really appreciate the slide show. My photos are really my notes. I build the inspection report from them.
At the end of the inspection I review one page of a sample report to explain how the report is laid out and the conventions they can expect to see. All the reporting is done at the home office. It take about 90 minutes if I just go start to finish(but with 3 kids under 6 that never happens). I would encourage you to...
1. Play around with the demo to begin building a template and figuring out your layout.
2. When you buy the full version, take the time to write out your most used comments in each section BEFORE you start “field trials”. You're always going to add comments, but having the basics already fleshed out will save you time when first using the program.
3. Also play around with the photo features and decide on how you will annotate your photos for the report.
Bringing the laptop isn't a hassle at all. I think it looks really professional and having the larger screen to show a client a photo from the roof or a back corner of the attic comes in really handy while doing the verbal reporting you spoke of. Hope this helps, you'll figure out really quickly what methods work best for you, and believe me HIP is worth every penny.