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  1. #1
    Joe Cavasin's Avatar
    Joe Cavasin Guest

    Default Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Hi All - soon to be newbie to the industry. As I plan on starting my own llc to perform inspections, I have a few small business type questions-

    1) Are there any software programs for the industry to use for the reports, and if there are, which would you recommend?

    2) I know Michigan has yet to require state licensing, but I would like to know if and what type of insurance would be recommended/required for such a business? This business will be just myself to start with, with any potential growth outside of that far down the line....

    Thanks again all - you've been a great help so far already.

    Joe

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    [quote=Joe Cavasin;68210]
    1) Are there any software programs for the industry to use for the reports, and if there are, which would you recommend?...

    There are many. Many, many.

    There's a bunch of threads on this forum and the archive about the pros and cons of different reporting software.
    The archive is at
    InspectionNews.com - Home Inspection Home Inspector Inspection Report .

    I use Palm Tech. I'm not that happy with it, so ...

    From my somewhat limited experience, I'd recommend not trying to produce a final report on site, especially when you're just starting out.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
    Bob Jack's Avatar
    Bob Jack Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    I've been in business for two years and use the Home Gage software for my reports. I looked at a lot of reporting systems before I went with Home Gage. I recommend them highly, there support is top notch. The program is computed based MS or MAC. I am a member of InterNACHI. Excellent organization, I recommend you look into one the professional home inspection organizations. Welcome and good luck. Be patient it will take a little while to become established.


  4. #4
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    1) Are there any software programs for the industry to use for the reports, and if there are, which would you recommend?
    Best thing to do is give them a try and see which works best for you.
    2) I know Michigan has yet to require state licensing, but I would like to know if and what type of insurance would be recommended/required for such a business? This business will be just myself to start with, with any potential growth outside of that far down the line....
    1. General Liability Insurance: This is mainly needed if an accident, resulting from your action(s), happens while you're on the premises.
    2. Errors and Omissions Insurance: This protects your company from claims if your client holds you responsible for errors discovered at the house compaired to what is written or not written in the home inspection report.

    Last edited by Kevin Luce; 01-12-2009 at 07:12 AM. Reason: re-worded the last sentence but the thought is the same.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
    Find on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/B4UCloseInspections

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    In terms of building up your technical chops, you could do a whole lot worse than to read the posts on this board, including the archives, from front to back, taking copious notes as you go. The real challenge in this economy however is going to be to get enough work to make it worth your while - the most important thing to understand is that you can be the best inspector in your whole state, with the best tools, but if you can't get business, it makes no difference.

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  7. #7
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    In terms of building up your technical chops, you could do a whole lot worse than to read the posts on this board, including the archives, from front to back, taking copious notes as you go. The real challenge in this economy however is going to be to get enough work to make it worth your while - the most important thing to understand is that you can be the best inspector in your whole state, with the best tools, but if you can't get business, it makes no difference.
    Amen

    For one, I am getting a little nervous about the phone being so quiet. The song, Silence is Golden does not apply here.


  8. #8
    Mark Northrup's Avatar
    Mark Northrup Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Cavasin View Post
    Hi All - soon to be newbie to the industry. As I plan on starting my own llc to perform inspections, I have a few small business type questions-

    1) Are there any software programs for the industry to use for the reports, and if there are, which would you recommend?

    2) I know Michigan has yet to require state licensing, but I would like to know if and what type of insurance would be recommended/required for such a business? This business will be just myself to start with, with any potential growth outside of that far down the line....

    Thanks again all - you've been a great help so far already.

    Joe
    Hi joe welcome to the home inspection industry.
    There are many inspection software companys out there. if you look on line you will find most of the them by typing home inspection software. Alott of them have trial periods that you can use the software for free.
    I use Inspect pro it is very difficult to use but also very powerful in making a good report for any inspection. Home Gauge is good I feel that it is a little plain.
    If your state does not have licensing then Get into a Association for home inspectors. There are many NACHI, NAHI, ASHI, to name a few and most likley will be some others for your state that can help you out getting the biz started.

    As far as insurance I would get General liability insurance it is usually pretty cheep. And Errors & Omission Insurance. this protects your business if you make or the client assumes you made a mistake. For new home inspectors it can be pretty pricey. Make sure and shop around.

    In most cases there is no way to be a good inspector without getting alot of inspections under your belt. To do this you either work for someone else or bite the bullet and go forward. Do as many mock inspections as you can on friends houses and family houses. This will only help you inprove your skills and your ablity to inspect. Most home inspection software. has hints and help screens to remind you what to inspect. Use them they will help you. Most inspectors that i have taught i recommend that they form a way to inspect IE: Start on the outside and roof. Then the garage, furnace, water heater, attic etc. That way you get used to doing the same every time.
    NACHI does provide alot of free courses to help you understand what you are looking at. Besides the school that you hopefully went to.
    I hope this helps
    Good luck
    And remember The day you don't learn something new? Is the day you probably are not alive anymore.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Why in the world would a person want to get into this profession when folks are not buying homes? It has been a long time since I have seen this amount of folks wanting to get into the home inspection profession.

    Think about it for a moment.... I'm not trying to discourage anyone with a dream, but you need to be realistic. Do some research; contact the local board of Realtors and ask them how many homes were sold last month, last year, etc. Then take that number and divide it by half and that might be close to the number of folks that get a home inspection.

    Now, if you are preparing to become a home inspector and you have a "real" job and a steady paycheck that is good. Get your training, and have everything ready to go as a home inspector. I'm betting that it will be another 9 to 12 months before we see the market relax and folks are not scared to move up and buy a new home. At this time we will have fewer inspectors and it will be like it was six or seven years ago. This will be what you need to be ready for.

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

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Why in the world would a person want to get into this profession when folks are not buying homes? It has been a long time since I have seen this amount of folks wanting to get into the home inspection profession.

    Think about it for a moment.... I'm not trying to discourage anyone with a dream, but you need to be realistic. Do some research; contact the local board of Realtors and ask them how many homes were sold last month, last year, etc. Then take that number and divide it by half and that might be close to the number of folks that get a home inspection.

    Now, if you are preparing to become a home inspector and you have a "real" job and a steady paycheck that is good. Get your training, and have everything ready to go as a home inspector. I'm betting that it will be another 9 to 12 months before we see the market relax and folks are not scared to move up and buy a new home. At this time we will have fewer inspectors and it will be like it was six or seven years ago. This will be what you need to be ready for.
    Scott,

    I've been saying this to deaf ears now for a couple of years. I knew this type of market was going to show its ugly head just due to the amount of people buying homes that really had no cash in hand and was having to have the seller contribute funds at closing so they could get in the house.

    I think many jump into the HI business thinking it is easy money. Take in account the BS the HI schools tell these out of work, lost their jobs, type of people who think they can make it in this business.

    Many have no experience in any trade that is associated with homes and come into this field with just the knowledge they picked up off some blackboard or power point presentation at one of the HI mills (schools) I mean.

    Personally I know several HI's in just my immediate area that can't make a living at doing HI's so they got the bright idea that they'd now become Realtors. HELLO! If your quitting the HI business due to it being slow, why in the hades would you now chose being a Realtor?

    Off the soapbox,
    Rick


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    "If your quitting the HI business ..., why in the hades would you now chose being a Realtor?"


    I can think of at least 2 reasons.
    1 Realtors have no need to buy any tools
    2 Insurance for Realtors cost less than for HIs

    And, since Realtors and HIs will be/ are sitting at home, and not working
    It will cost you less to be a Realtor, therefore saving money.
    Makes perfect sense.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  12. #12
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Give the guy a break. Look at this board we have had I think 7 or 9 new guy say hello this last week. But so many are getting out of HI. That there is room for some new blood. A young guy need a little help and a place to start. I think a slow market is a great place for a new guy to get started as he gets on that first inspection he will go over and over and over it. Dude have some fun. And if you get short on cash ask Rick for few bucks. His pockets are full from what I've been told... L.O.L.

    Joe don't let these old dogs run you off

    I'm going to gets some flack for that I'm cool...

    Best

    Ron


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    "If your quitting the HI business ..., why in the hades would you now chose being a Realtor?"


    I can think of at least 2 reasons.
    1 Realtors have no need to buy any tools
    2 Insurance for Realtors cost less than for HIs

    And, since Realtors and HIs will be/ are sitting at home, and not working
    It will cost you less to be a Realtor, therefore saving money.
    Makes perfect sense.

    They (realtors) do incur quite a bit of cost also. They have the NAR (National Association of Realtor) dues, the dues at the office where their licensed is held by a broker, the cost of For Sale signs, advertisements, The hummer payment, MLS fees.....it all adds up.

    Personally, I think it probably costs much more overall to be a realtor than a HI.

    rick


  14. #14
    Rick Maday's Avatar
    Rick Maday Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Back to the OPs question...

    There are many types of software for you to try. I suggest downloading a few free trials, see what suits you best and then get it.

    FWIW, I use Home Inspector Pro for my software and web hosting.


  15. #15
    Joe Cavasin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    hey Ron (and all) - no dogs whether old or new, will run me off. I figure with my background in residential design/architecture and construction, as well as inspections for my current job - I know I have found my calling. Granted getting into the market while things are bad may seem crazy to some, but I am definitely not quitting the job I have to start a company without a base of customers. I just think that starting a company while things are bad, and growing my business, hopefully timed with a turn around in the market, will make for more solid good times, and solid underpinnings for the next slow time...
    Joe
    I also see a need in my area, which is relatively depressed, to get in touch with local banks and mortgage companies and potentially do foreclosure inspections for them...

    Sorry for my slow response on here, but my other job is running me ragged. And the rest is history...

    Thanks again for all the insight, this is a helpful resource.
    Joe


  16. #16
    Jeff Remas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Hello and welcome.

    SOFTWARE: I have tried several and love 3D Inspection Software.


    INSURANCE: You can debate this subject, but here is my take.

    1) Whatever you state requires is what you buy.
    2) If you state does not have requirements then at least get liability.
    3) Consult an attorney before you buy E&O if your state does not require it.

    My state required E&O so I have it.

    The overall short version of the E&O debate is this:

    Position 1) You are protecting yourself and your client if sued.

    Position 2) E&O puts a target on your head as attorneys these days only go after those with insurance and/or money.

    The choice is yours.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    For any Newbie:
    Start a code book library and spend the time to read the archives here as often as possible. It's a gold mine of critical education. Don't read the political stuff, waste of time, but there are many photos and diagrams that would be a great help educationally.

    Check in everyday and seek out as many older experienced inspectors that you can and tell them you will buy them lunch if they take you on a "ride-along. If they do, two important things: Keep your mouth shut when the inspector is working and the agents or clients are within earshot. Take copious notes and ask your questions when you get back in the inspectorís truck.

    This is the only profession I know of where its practitioners help train their competition. Why you ask? Because they would rather compete with qualified persons than two week schooled, agent ass-kissing, numb-nutted low bidders. It will take you at least 1,000 property inspections before you will become comfortable and have a clue to what itís all about. And finally, get ICC certified as fast as youíre able, join a reputable home inspector association, go to their monthly meetings and attend as many tool-boxes as you can afford.

    Finally, know that you will never know it all. This is a people business and if you donít have really good communication skills youíre wasting your time even trying. (my opinions all)


    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  18. #18
    Joe Cavasin's Avatar
    Joe Cavasin Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Ability to know when to keep my trap shut? Check.
    Desire to learn and apply what I learn? Check.
    Desire to work with people, and help them avoid potentially expensive or dangerous hidden problems? Check.

    I guess on the note of starting the business and gaining experience from those of you seasoned vets - I have read some info on NACHI and other accreditation sites - forgive me, I don't recall all the acronyms for the various groups. However, they all seem to follow the same format in regards to licensing - ride along with someone who has done this, perform many many many inspections for a fee, submit a stack of reports for review, and if I am lucky gain accreditation. I know I am oversimplifying this a tad, but if I follow this, it sounds as if I would be operating without any real liability/E&O insurance behind my name until I get accredited? That is the part that scares me the most... Does that make sense to anyone, or am I misreading the guidelines on how to become accredited - to my knowledge, my home state of Michigan still does not require statewide licensing...

    Thanks again
    Joe


  19. #19
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Joe,

    I am not sure what kind of accreditation you are looking for. If the state of Michigan does not license home inspectors it appears that anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves one! The home inspector organizations such as ASHI, NAHI and NACHI all have pros and cons. ASHI, for example, will grant you full "certification" after 200 inspections and after viewing some report samples. NACHI will sell you a full membership after taking an incredibly easy exam on the web. Within both you can get continuing ed courses. Many believe membership in an organization is a good marketing tool. If you are going to join an organization study each carefully - I do not belong to any except the International Code Council. The ICC will "certify" you if pass their exams. I think the best "accreditation" you can get is to do home inspections and have satisified clients. You can "buy" some more with an organization.

    Insurance - Definitely carry liability insurance in case you break something! E & O has been hotly contested among inspectors for years but not here in Texas as we are required by law to carry it. Some say you will be sued if you carry E & O because your insurance company will settle. Some say the would not work without it. Some say it opens the money door for lawyers. I think it depends on how well your asstes are protected! In Texas they cannot take my house, my truck or my retirement when they sue me. Many builders will not and cannot hire you if you do not have E & O. Research it and make your choice. E & O probably $1200 - $2000 a year depending on deductable and extent of coverage.

    Software - I believe you should try a few as most give you a free trial period. I also agree that you might want to complete the paperwork at your computer and email it to the client.

    Good training and doing some inspections with a good inspector will prove to be invaluable.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Dude asked me last month about getting into the business. In the recent past, you had to "apprentice" with a licensee. That's changed now in favor of extended classroom education. While I have my doubts about the benefits of NOT crawling 100 houses before you get a license, when he asked me what it took to get started, I said "A wife with a job."
    Ain't heard back from him yet.

    JLMathis


  21. #21
    Joe Cavasin's Avatar
    Joe Cavasin Guest

    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    Thanks Bob - I think I got the name right - on the second to last post talking about the different groups and accreditations. I kinda had a feeling that accreditation by any one group is more of a notch in the bedpost, so to speak, which makes it easier to get some business. But with my state not licensing inspectors or requiring accreditation, I was hesitant to jump at any single group. I had considered the ICC previously after my time in college and learning of the ICC. Does anyone know if liability insurance carriers require any accreditations? I am sure this may vary by carrier/location, but a for-instance is all I am asking.

    As to needing a wife with a job, well I definitely don't have a wife, but I won't let that scare me off..funny schnitt tho. I'll just plan on starting small and building slowly.

    Joe


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Inspection Reports, Insurance, and other newbie questions

    My liability carrier (American Family) required membership in a national organization. That was several years ago and I've since dropped the membership but the insurance co. hasn't asked again (I hope my agent isn't reading).

    The requirement seems pretty pointless since you can just buy a membership from some organizations.


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