View Full Version : Considering Starting HI Business

Jerry Jackman
02-25-2008, 05:58 PM
Hello, my name is Jerry Jackman and I live in Spokane, WA. I am considering a new career in HI and I was wondering if you guys have any advice. I am signing up for training with ASHI.



Jerry McCarthy
02-25-2008, 06:06 PM
My advice, don't. Bad timing and unless you have enough reserve stashed away to live for at least 3+ years without any income from performing inspections I'd pass. This is not a good time to get into the home inspection business. Negative yes, but also an honest opinion and as I'm long retired from the trenches I've no dog in this race.

Rick Hurst
02-25-2008, 06:09 PM
Welcome Jerry,

Any advice?

Now thats opening a big can of worms.

I would suggest that you do some research on the board. As members of this board, we have had numerous people with the same question and there has been plenty of advice on the subject given.

My honest opinion for you.

This is the worst time in the real estate industry to jump in. Take it for what its worth.

In a few years, it may be a different answer.


Gunnar Alquist
02-25-2008, 06:25 PM

Check the real estate industry in Spokane. It is pretty lousy around here and I expect it will be essentially the same there. If you have cash reserves or can keep your day job, then this would be a good time to get started. While other HIs are bailing, (see http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_inspection/inspectionblues-home-inspectors-commercial-inspectors/5950-jumping-ship.html) you might be able to start carving out your niche. But, like Jerry Mc and Rick said, don't expect to make any money until the RE market comes back.

Jim Luttrall
02-25-2008, 07:28 PM
Jerry J., in my opinion, now would be a good time to START getting into business. What I mean by that is to start researching the business, get training, set up your business model, accounting, marketing, etc.
BUT as others have said, it is a terrible time to BE in business and rely on it for income, and I am in one of the best areas of the country for real estate sales and values.
There is much to do BEFORE your first paying customer and in normal times about 3 years is the oft quoted time to begin turning a profit.

BTW, there is no better place to start learning than right here on this board.
Good Luck.

Patrick Norton
02-27-2008, 10:44 PM
Hello Jerry,

You are a brave man! Starting in this business now would be very difficult and expensive but not impossible. If you educate yourself well, have the money to purchase the right equipment (I would recommend getting an infrared camera and becoming certified to use it as most inspectors do not have one), market yourself agressively (well ranked website, direct mail, presentations, etc), are a people person that can communicate well and have a lot of patience as well as a source of income to live off for quite a while, then I say go for it! I love the business!

I don't know what youre background is but when I started in 1990 I did home improvements and repairs along with home inspections for a couple years to barely pay the bills until I was getting enough inspections to be full time inspecting.

Hope that helps whether you go for it or say no way.

Good luck.

Kevin Luce
02-28-2008, 06:54 AM
Hello, my name is Jerry Jackman and I live in Spokane, WA. I am considering a new career in HI and I was wondering if you guys have any advice. I am signing up for training with ASHI.



When it comes to training, go with a reputable school. Even though this is minor compared to other training that can be taken, it is a good first step. After taking the class and passing the test, I liked the option of being able to go back to that class at no extra charge (important in the areas you are weak in). Second, find somebody to do ride along or work for somebody. For the cost, this is the best way to learn and get an understanding of doing home inspections. As mentioned by other people, before doing anything I just written, find out what you market is like, determine what your goals are and try to find something that separates you from all the other home inspectors in your area.

If you try to start you own business, the odds of you making after 5 years is low unless you are working someplace else or your wife has a good job. If you can find a home inspection business that will hire you, your chances of making will be much better.

Lastly, get E&O insurance. Yes it sucks paying for it, but you will get sued (your fault or not).

Jack Feldmann
02-28-2008, 07:04 AM
I echo what most of the others have said.

I do have to disagree with Patrick though on the IR camera. IT would involve a huge investment for a start up. IN fact, that one tool is probably 3 -4 times the total cost of everything else you need to open shop.

I also think that to use such a tool without some experience actually doing inspections is kind of like going from a beach cruiser bike to a $30K Tour de France racing bike. You have this fantastic tool, but really don't know how or when to use all the features it has.

If I were in your shoes, I would probably call the inspectors in your area and have a frank discussion with them. Attend the local ASHI chapter meeting and get to know the members. Get your hands on old phone books and see how many new ones have started, and how many have dropped out.

I for one get calls like this all the time. I will spend some time with the caller, others may not, so don't get upset if some hang up on you, or show little patience with your questions.

If I was thinking of starting up here in the Knoxville area now, I probably would NOT do it. I have no idea what the market is like in your area.

I guess my parting thought is to NOT jump into this field thinking that you are going to offer something special, or have just graduated the "bestest ever" HI school and is going to offer something that people will be breaking your doors down to get. It's just not there. OH, and don't fall for that one Realtor friend that says they will give you ALL of their business.

Good luck

BY the way, I am willing to discuss this further if you wish by private e-mail.

Patrick Norton
02-28-2008, 09:50 AM

Do you have an IR camera? I feel the IR camera is key to success for new inspectors as well as existing inspectors. The $9,000+- for the camera and certification is well worth the investment. Once you are certified to use the camera the learning curve is short. The camera also allows you to offer services that are not related to the real estate market. The potential for business with an IR camera will only increase in the future.

Getting started in this business is not cheap like many think. If you are not willing to invest a substantial amount of money then you should not get in the business, especially now.

Jerry, I also would answer questions in a private email.

My two cents again.

Kevin Luce
02-28-2008, 11:52 AM
[quote=Patrick Norton;34174]Jack,

Do you have an IR camera? I feel the IR camera is key to success for new inspectors as well as existing inspectors.

Like anything else, it depends on the market.