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Thread: Price List?

  1. #1
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
    Terry Ewald Guest

    Default Price List?

    While marketing this weekend to open houses, some of the realtors wanted a copy of my prices. Is it a good idea or not to give one to them? I have created a base price list per Sq Ft.

    Also, is it best to price by Sq Ft or Sell price? I live in the DC metro area and this realtor asks me on the fly what would I charge for the home he was showing….sf was 12,000 @ 3.8 million. On the other hand a 3.8 million home closer to DC would be about 3-4000 sf.
    I told the realtor I would send him a price list.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I have prices listed on my website but I wouldn't send out a price list to someone generally. Only corporate clients get a price list, standard in that arena.
    A price list is always a catch 22. People want to hold you to it regardless of the variables for a particular home, the competition can try to undercut you, etc. A the same time though it can be helpful in giving potential customers an understanding of what prices are.
    If I were going to put out a price list for general consumption, I'd have it list 'ranges' rather than absolute numbers.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I don't publish a price list. There are too many variables, and someone may not look at all of them when deciding how much their inspection will cost.
    For instance, I charge by age and square footage.
    I have an up-charge if the house is older that 60 years old. If its over 100, then its even a little more.
    If the house is outside my normal service area, I charge more. There is an area that is not that far in miles from my house, but it is a major tourist area and the traffic is horrible. For that reason, I never schedule afternoon inspections there, and have an up-charge because I know I will spend an extra hour or two in traffic.
    If the house is very large and has more than 1 kitchen, a lot of bathrooms, or anything else that will add to the time, I charge more.
    I typically don't charge more for a crawlspace unless the house is older, or in an area I know to have very difficult crawls.
    I always ask a lot of questions when someone wants a quote, then give it to them. If someone just wants a rough idea for something out of the ordinary (like a Realtor), I ask the age, size and where it is, then give them a range that may have $50 - 100 spread.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Price List?

    Price lists are a bad idea. My experience is that it will find a way to your competitors who will now undercut you by $10-$25 just to have an advantage. Old price list hang around even if they are dated. I have also seen that a realtor find the lowest price on the list and quote that to the client disregarding age, the now finished basement or the distance you have to drive.

    Boy I would love to inspect a 12,000 sq ft. home. Is the a beltway bandit's mansion?

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  5. #5
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
    Terry Ewald Guest

    Default Re: Price List?

    Not too far off the beltway full furnished basement


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I think someone is fudging on the figures a little. It does not look any larger than 11956 sq ft. plus or minus a couple hundred.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I publish my prices on my website and charge by the list price of the home.

    I really don't care if my competitors are undercutting me by $20-$50, they are already offering cheap prices to begin with.

    If the caller is looking for a discount they have called the wrong inspector. I don't lower my prices and I don't solicit Realtor business, like my competition.

    Why not put your pricing on your website, fail to see the difference whether its on a letterhead or your site.


  8. #8
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Price List?

    I agree too much information can do more harm than good. Hard numbers can prematurely screen out clients before you get to talk to them, possibly because they have miss-inturpreted the data. There are times that some dialogue can let you know this is a client for another inspector. Quote a typical inspection price or a minimum and mention how variables effect it. If you like, some detail on how the variables slide the pricing scale, ( S/F, age, big crawl vs no crawl, aux structures, pool/hot-tubs/saunnas, travel, etc )


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I price by the square foot. Mostly because I don't want to get stuck doing a 4,000 square foot $40,000 foreclosure for my cheapest price. The larger the houses the more heating systems, water heaters, etc so my price schedule rises accordingly.

    I don't list the prices on my website. I've found I get more calls and more work without listing the prices. I don't give out price lists to anyone, especially agents. 5 years later they want you to honor the price list you gave them.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Price List?

    We had little stand up boxes that we put all around the world. Banks, Realtors, law offices, etc. Once a year we went around and refilled or replaced as needed. I always had a printed public price list. We based our prices on selling price. I had no problems with my competition cutting my prices. I let people know why I charged more.


  11. #11
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price List?

    Thanks....I've gotten a lot of info here.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Price List?

    So now that we know all the reasons why we don't publish our price lists,
    How about a pole on what you would charge for this 12,000 sf house.

    FYI - I would charge $1,500.00

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Price List?

    $0.12 - $0.15 a square foot. $1440-$1800

    Figure at least one day to inspect and another to report.

    2 "normal" inspections a day for 2 days at $400 each = $1600.

    Your opportunity cost is 4 normal inspections at about $1600. So your price has to be at least $1600 to break even. If they are spending 3.8 mil, $1400-$1800 is pocket change. They will likely throw out the lowest bidders due to inexperience on homes that size. I would likely bid on the upper end and not worry if I didn't get the job.

    Scott P. does homes this size on a regular basis. He probably has a better idea of dealing with similar clients.

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

  14. #14
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Price List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    $0.12 - $0.15 a square foot. $1440-$1800

    Figure at least one day to inspect and another to report.

    2 "normal" inspections a day for 2 days at $400 each = $1600.

    Your opportunity cost is 4 normal inspections at about $1600. So your price has to be at least $1600 to break even. If they are spending 3.8 mil, $1400-$1800 is pocket change. They will likely throw out the lowest bidders due to inexperience on homes that size. I would likely bid on the upper end and not worry if I didn't get the job.

    Scott P. does homes this size on a regular basis. He probably has a better idea of dealing with similar clients.
    Thank you Bruce. The opportunity cost is a slant not considered by me at least and a really valid means of measurement to have in one's pricing bag. Can't speak for others, but it's easy for me to miss opportunity by having my "routine" / git-r-done / right to left blinders on. Aside from how long, how much, etc; it's important to start w/ how much it's worth to just show up. When contracting I had a $ 300.00 service call minimum that saved a lot of hassles and wasted overhead. A vehicle loaded w/ tools, a skilled tech, work orders, invoices, office time, travel time, insurance, office, GOA ? ), all make it impossible to make any money at all by making $ 100 service calls. Admittedly different if no employees, but the principle remains.


  15. #15
    Terry Ewald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Price List?

    man is was thinking $2500 base...not counting +/- $300 for double HVAC/water heater...etc


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Price List?

    This house would defy my normal price based on sq ft. The upper end houses will likely have lots of things not found in a typical house but two days inspecting or one day teamed up with another inspector. Then there would be more time to do the paperwork. I'm thinking 2,000 for a start plus additional if crawl space, pool, acres of sprinkler systems, out buildings, landscape lighting, etc. etc.

    It would be too easy to under bid this and hard (for me) to charge enough to make it worthwhile. I tend to be my own worst enemy under bidding the unusual.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Price List?

    Good luck with the EIFS, hope you have a good Thermal Camera and lots of E&O insurance ! Wouldn't touch it for less than 25 cents a foot, that should just pay your deductable.


  18. #18
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Price List?

    The exterior of that home would be an inspection in itself. The client would have to understand that before any pricing was given for the rest of the inspection.

    As far as 12,000 sf? Thse are easier to inspect than a couple of 2000 sf homes with craewl spaces. 2000 sf feet on your belly and back adds up to a serious amount of open luxury space as in this home. Probably triple or more.

    These homes are no slouches or if they are you have to find that out up front in yoiur questioning. The home appears very wellmaintained and when you get to this size the folks have plenty of money to keep the maintenance up. They also have much larger rooms so it is not like inspecting smaller homes in comparisone to room size. Lots of open spaces

    Full basement? Lots of questions to ask there about that finished basement. Age. If that were an older or much older home then the price raises considerably. Was stucco the original cover?

    Anyway. There is no telling without lengthly conversation about the pricing of that inspection.

    No 2 homes are alike.

    The last larger home I did, 11,000 plus, was a cake walk. Almost nothing stopped me for deeper investigation. Per sf I went thru that quicker than multiple homes equaling in total its size.

    Then you have to ask yourself. The Beltway? Seriously expensive homes with money ooooozing out everywhere.

    Do I hear more bidding?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Price List?

    I realize that I retired from home inspection 6 years ago (it's been that long?), but ... no one ... no one mentioned anything near what I would have charged even back then.

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

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Price List?

    Hi, ALL &

    Good input...

    * I don't list pricing - other than perpahps a min. starting point for many of the reasons others have mentioned, as I've been on a 'mission' for years to un-commoditize our services and educate them to ask lots & lots of questions before hiring, beyond just 'how much' - especially if they have never used such a service...

    All depends on where it is, what is included /how large the property is, if there is anything they DON'T want checked for us and that seems to open eyes and minds on the part of consumers to shop really carefully so they don't just go for the lowest price and even mention /caution them they may even be just wasting their $$$

    That helps to allow us all to charge more and fairly & not discount...


    CHEERS !

    -Glenn Duxbury, CHI

  21. #21

    Default Re: Price List?

    Just one more thought on the original price list question- well, one from me anyway- a lot of big inspection companies today and guys that have been around awhile used to do price lists and no longer do because it's no longer a selling point. If your prices are on the lower end, and you have a simple pricing structure that any buyer or agent could understand, throw it out there! That's how McDonalds sells millions of burgers every day and it's how dozens of Multi-inspector firms across the country got their volume up initially and were able to develop their reputation into referrals that no longer relied on low pricing.

    On the other hand, If your price isn't a good selling point, make them inquire so you have that opportunity to sell your service and why you're better than the "other guy." There is one other thing I picked up at a conference from Dominic Maricic- he has documented a website where the most exits off the site were from the pricing page and as soon as it was taken down, the inspector's business picked way up. If you ever get a chance to see his presentation on this don't miss it!


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