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Thread: "Attempt" Fee

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Brea, Ca.
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    Default "Attempt" Fee

    Just wondering how others handle this? When scheduling inspections we make a point of confirming all the utilities are on and functional. If we get to the property, and if we do not have at least electricity and water, we will not perform the inspection due to many incomplete sections within the report. At this point we charge an "attempt fee" and expect to be paid when we come back and complete the inspection after all the utilities are activated. Do other inspection services expect the same or are you just writing off the time and cost you've spent on your initial visit to the property?

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  2. #2
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    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    When I schedule the inspection I always ask about the utilities and emphasize that the must be on. I also send an email with a list of items this need to be done to make the home ready to inspect and that includes the utilities being on.

    If I get to the home and the power is off, the water and or gas is off, I will do the inspection. I just note in my report that the power, water and or gas services were off and systems requiring those services could not be fully inspected. I do what I can and disclaim the rest..... I do not offer to come back for free or even mention returning in my report. If I'm asked to return I will do so at my normal hourly rate.

    Charging fees an "attempted inspection" is not going to work in my area. Sure it sounds good but realistically it is not a practical business decisssion and I could see it having a negative impact on referrals down the road. I look at cancellations due to the utilities not being on or for other reasons as just part of working in a service profession, it's going to happen.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    In spite of all the attempts we make trying to make sure the utilities are on, stuff happens. I either do what I can, or call it a day and go home early.
    It's almost never my clients fault, so no need to penalize them for someone else's screw up.


  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Agree with Jack.

    If it's only one utility, I'll ask what they want to do; abort or continue. If it's more than one utility than I'll decide (abort).

    Doing the partial inspection with utils Off and returning (once they're On) takes longer and requires more paperwork, and is more work than just returning and doing it all at once. Anyone that's had to return to do a full "plumbing" re-inspection because it was Off initially knows what I mean.

    Dom.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    When I schedule the inspection I always ask about the utilities and emphasize that the must be on. I also send an email with a list of items this need to be done to make the home ready to inspect and that includes the utilities being on.

    If I get to the home and the power is off, the water and or gas is off, I will do the inspection. I just note in my report that the power, water and or gas services were off and systems requiring those services could not be fully inspected. I do what I can and disclaim the rest..... I do not offer to come back for free or even mention returning in my report. If I'm asked to return I will do so at my normal hourly rate.

    Charging fees an "attempted inspection" is not going to work in my area. Sure it sounds good but realistically it is not a practical business decisssion and I could see it having a negative impact on referrals down the road. I look at cancellations due to the utilities not being on or for other reasons as just part of working in a service profession, it's going to happen.
    I did as Scott did.

    While not the client's fault it is also not the inspector's fault.

    Any 'fault' is the agent (both agents) and any resulting additional cost should be borne by the agents - have the agents share that cost one time and you will be surprised how quickly the agents learn to always verify that the utilities are actually on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I did as Scott did.

    While not the client's fault it is also not the inspector's fault.

    Any 'fault' is the agent (both agents) and any resulting additional cost should be borne by the agents - have the agents share that cost one time and you will be surprised how quickly the agents learn to always verify that the utilities are actually on.
    As you may forget the inspectors have the largest part of their work given to them by those same Realtors. No inspector who relies on those Realtors for work would ever send them a bill as they would lose far more in the future than they lost by their screw up.

    Basically it is a wash. You either do the inspection, which I won't, and then charge them for a come back fee or just reschedule a new complete inspection when the utilities are turned on (which I do).


  7. #7
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    As you may forget the inspectors have the largest part of their work given to them by those same Realtors. No inspector who relies on those Realtors for work would ever send them a bill as they would lose far more in the future than they lost by their screw up.

    Basically it is a wash. You either do the inspection, which I won't, and then charge them for a come back fee or just reschedule a new complete inspection when the utilities are turned on (which I do).
    Ted,

    Nope, I'm not forgetting ... that is the way I did it and it worked for me. The very few agents who called me dealt with it because they wanted me to inspect the house for them (them or their family) or their clients, otherwise I was there for my clients because my clients called me ... many times against the requests and wishes of their agents, and many times my clients ended up switching agents once they realized that their agent was not looking out for *them* - that's the way most of my clients were - the agents who lost the sale were the ones who tried to control everything. Those agents did not stay in the high end of the market long as those clients knew what the procedure was and who called the shots (they called the shots because it was their money which allowed the deal to go through).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    St Paul, MN
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    1,628

    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    We try our best to verify that utilities are on. Every now and then I'll find that the water, or gas is off when I arrive. I'll give the client their choice to either perform the inspection with the utilities off (at full price) or reschedule the inspection for another day (no charge for the day the utilities are off). I always advise them to reschedule when the utilities are on. 99.9% of the time they reschedule.

    This makes the clients and their agents happy and keeps the referrals from both coming in.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    We send email to the buyers agent, selling agent, and buyer prior to the inspection telling the utilities must be on. The email also states we charge a $200 reinspection fee if we need to come back out.

    If I show up onsite with missing utilities, I let the buyer know I can perform a partial inspection but it will be limited in scope. I also tell them again we sent emails to all the parties ahead of time letting them know the utilities must be on and there would be a charge to come back.

    I often suggest to the buyer to have the listing agent pay the return fee. It was their fault for not having the house ready. I have never had anyone cancel an inspection once we were all onsite regardless of condition of the utilites.

    Have had a few call the night before or that morning saying the utilties are not on and want to reschedule.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    I instruct the client to get water gas and electric confirmation from the seller's side - No "I think the water is on" or "the gas should be" answers. That way when I charge for a second trip due to something being off I tell the client to get reimbursed by the person who said things were good to go. So while it may not be the client's fault if something is off I have put a burden on their shoulders to see that everything is on.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    885

    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    ...
    I often suggest to the buyer to have the listing agent pay the return fee. It was their fault for not having the house ready. I have never had anyone cancel an inspection once we were all onsite regardless of condition of the utilites. ....
    I've done that. Gas was on according to the listing agent. Of course, it wasn't. The young man wanted to know if I could come back to check the gas furnace, range, and water heater. Sure - for a price and I would ask the listing agent for reimbursement of your cost. He got on the phone right then and raised holy heck with the agent who finally relented and agreed to pay the cost for me to return.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: "Attempt" Fee

    Charging a fee for lost time just won't fly in this business, unfortunately. As many others have said it's usually not our clients fault (of course, it's not ours either).

    You'll almost always meet resistance on this from agents since the basis for their life is running buyers around endlessly, often for no money.

    You just have to build it into your prices and assume it's going to happen. Like many things in this business it will happen a bunch in a short period of time and be really frustrating.


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