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  1. #1
    Brent Simmerman's Avatar
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    Default Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I've been offered a job with a multi-inspector firm. offering me $90 an inspection, average during the busy season is 12 a week. for those that are in a multi-inspector firm what are your feelings of working at one pros and cons. Thanks for any and all input.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Do you wanna become a reeltor toadie? I'm not sure I would want to be anyones B if you know what I mean. I don't know, maybe I'm to harsh with my opinion. If so, I'm sure someone will come along and slap me around.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    You need to consider these items.

    Will you be getting a large percentage of the crawlspace houses?
    Old houses?

    Willl the employer be tweaking your reports to keep realtors happy?
    Will he pressure you to be a driveby inspector?


    Are you physically able to do that many inspections properly?
    (figure at least 5+ hours per house to travel, do a decent inspection and the report.

    Sounds like $20 an hour minus taxes, minus vehicle costs, minus insurance etc.

    You would need at least $150 per inspection to even consider something like that.


  4. #4
    Brent Simmerman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Bruce
    they provide car and insurance. I'm not sure doing 12 a week! and John I understand!


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Sounds like a lotta work with not a lotta pay. $90 before taxes to spend around 3 hours on the inspection, 1+ hours on a report, and travel time????? Looking like $20+ dollars an hour.

    Are they at least including health benefits?


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Brent,
    let's say, very optimistically*, that you average 10 inspections a week for the whole year (not just the "busy season"). With a whole two weeks off for vacation, that would eqaul 500 inspections for which you would receive the princely sum of $45,000. And, if things, pick up next year, they will hire yet another inspector while your wages will stay the same... because you really can't do any more than that 500. You will probably have to sign a no-compete clause that will restrict your exit.

    *What happens during the slow months (December for example)? How do the fewer available jobs get distributed amongst the employees? Have you checked with other HI franchises to see if $90 is the norm? It seems like an awfully small percentage of the fee when you are the main "product" they are selling.

    I assume that you are fairly new and having a hard time getting jobs? Duh...why else would you be considering this? It takes a while to build up the referrals but, if you are doing a decent job, they will eventually come. If you can, I say hang in there. If you desperately need to put bread on the table now, then, you have to do what you have to do.

    Last edited by Richard Moore; 05-30-2009 at 11:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Unless I could be absolutely sure that my reports would be delivered unaltered, I would be extremely leery of such an arrangement from a liability standpoint.

    In most cases I'm aware of, inspectors typically receive around 50% of the cost of inspection under such arrangements. However in these cases the inspectors are typically receiving no benefits, if for example this organization was supplying good health benefits I suppose it might make more sense - my insurance agent drives a school bus three hours every weekday morning for $9/hr because it's the cheapest way that he can obtain health insurance!

    Speaking just for myself. I would find it absolutely infuriating to be paid $90 for five or six hours of highly skilled, high liability and occasionally dangerous work while the boss was collecting $240 or more as result of my efforts - I'd rather pay myself the $240, do my own marketing and scheduling, and at least be able to control when and where I worked.

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

  8. #8
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Wow, I guess I'm one of the few that thinks $90 a job is not bad especially if somebody hasn't been in this field for very long. I see that they will provide a vehicle (which takes gas, maintenance and will depreciate plus will eventually needing to be replaced). Pay for insurance (if that includes E&O and deductible when a lawsuit does happen) which is a lot off a home inspectors back. Not having to spend the time or money to advertise (internet, phone book, brochure and a lot more), answer call, plus a lot more that's required to run a business. Note: Not everyone is a business person and that's why I think a % of home inspectors don't make it in this field.

    Most trades people around here would love to make $20 an hour by their employer. Average wage around here $12 to $17 an hour depending on trade and experience, and in the part of Kentucky I lived in $9 to $15 an hour with no or bad insurance. I guess it depends on where you live on how far $20 an hour can take you.

    Like what some have wrote before, there are still too many unknown to say if this something that can be decided on, but that's not uncommon at this stage. If this is something you might be interested in, I would meet with him and find out more details. You might be surprised by what he says or what you can negotiate with him. Good home inspectors willing to work for somebody else is hard to find. It's also hard to find a home inspection company that is able to hire and keep a home inspector.

    Just the way I look at things. Take it or leave it.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    There are a lot of ways to look at this.

    First, there are a lot of people out there that just want to inspect homes, and NOT do marketing, answering phone, or paperwork. They just want to do the work.
    Second, since it is the companies liability at stake, it is not unreasonable to think that someone else may look at the reports, and maybe make changes, especially if the inspector is new. Now before you all start jumping around, i'm not talking about making changes to sugar coat, or alter the basic observation. I'm talking about correcting something in the wording, or correcting something that was incorrect. Example, a new inspector of mine once put that plastic pipe was not allowed to be used on HOT water. Well, it was CPVC.
    Third, a lot of inspectors have no idea what their true costs are to run the business, and only look at the inspection fee. Once you take the overhead out, pay the inspector a salary or percentage, there may not be a lot left as profit.
    Unless you have had employees, most of you have very little idea of the hidden costs involved with multi inspector firms. And there are a bunch of hidden costs. It's just not as simple as A-B= C. Its more like A - B - z- y - w - x = C.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I would hope for that split the employer would take most or all of the liability so that may be off the table.

    I'd be leery of anyone promising a given number of inspections a week. Even in a normal market nobody knows when the phone will ring. And this is anything but a normal market.

    You guys with such a chip on your shoulder against realtors are missing out on a great revenue stream. I get tons of referrals from agents. Occaisionally I'll get a hint to downplay or overplay an issue and I'll never see that agent again. But it's very rare that it comes up.

    The vast majority of agents are good honest folks who are very easy to work with. I won't let the occasional bad apple sour me on the whole bunch.

    Anyhow, back to the OP question... that sounds like a lot of work for little money. I'd be most worried about how much work they can actually deliver.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    At least in my state my license is on the line with ever report I write, and there is no way that status as an employee can shield me from that liability - if someone changed the report I wrote, and that report ended up in court, I would be in the extremely dicey position of having to demonstrate that what was reported was not what I had written.

    And while I don't want to sound too cynical about this, as for liability, medical and E&O insurance provided by a small business, how do you know your employer is paying the premiums?

    In this economy lots of businesses are stretched for cash, and when the choice is between between making payroll, making the tax deposit and paying the insurance premium, the insurance premium is often the first thing to go and the employees are often the last to know.

    I know people who were employees of small businesses and who discovered that insurance on which they were depending was not in force due to nonpayment of premiums by their employer - you can be faced for example with thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in uncovered medical bills, and no practical recourse.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 05-31-2009 at 08:42 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    At least in my state my license is on the line with ever report I write, and there is no way that status as an employee can shield me from that liability - if someone changed the report I wrote, and that report ended up in court, I would be in the extremely dicey position of having to demonstrate that what was reported was not what I had written.
    Has there been a problem with employers changing the wording of a report? I keep hearing people bring this up but don't know if that is a fear by assumption (heard enough of those over the years) or if this is a real problem.

    I know people who were employees of small businesses and who discovered that insurance on which they were depending was not in force due to nonpayment of premiums by their employer - you can be faced for example with thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in uncovered medical bills, and no practical recourse.
    This can be true for any business. I would hope that our profession wouldn't exceed the % compared to other companies in other trades when it comes to not paying. I would also hope that if he or anyone else was going to work for a company, they would look into who owns the company and try to determine what type of person he is. I've worked for some small heating companies before where they could have easily stopped paying for my health insurance. Because of the type of person they were, I was not worried and it never happened.

    Do you guys have anything good to say about working for a HI company? All I'm hearing is the worse scenarios. I don't know how you guys, that didn't work for a union, ever made it working for a company in whatever trade you were in.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Here's an observation.

    How often do you see these multi inspection firms representing themselves and discussing what they do (the way we do) on public forums like this one?

    I wonder why. At least, they don't identify themselves.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I have look at some of these type of fast food inspection company reports... Man O Man they cut the edges off of things. thats the way they work and you will need to get with there program.

    The very best of these companies hit the time frame of in and out and down the road...

    The Question is... Is this for you ?

    You can market your own company and make more and work less. its all in the marketing.

    Best

    Ron


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    Here's an observation.

    How often do you see these multi inspection firms representing themselves and discussing what they do (the way we do) on public forums like this one?

    I wonder why. At least, they don't identify themselves.
    Could be that they don't have the time to fiddle on the various boards because they are out doing inspections......

    I know several 2-5 inspector firms, all are comprised of good hardworking individuals who strive to produce a good inspection and to do their best job for the company they work for.

    Sure as with anything, you will have the good and the bad.

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

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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I'd rather be saying "Would you like to super-size those fries?" instead of working that hard for 90 bucks.

    rick


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Could be that they don't have the time to fiddle on the various boards because they are out doing inspections......

    I know several 2-5 inspector firms, all are comprised of good hardworking individuals who strive to produce a good inspection and to do their best job for the company they work for.

    Sure as with anything, you will have the good and the bad.
    I agree with Scott. I only know of one person that works for a company and I can say that I would not be able to tell the difference between his reports (only seen one) and other home inspectors reports around here. He goes to the local meetings and does some other things related to home inspections; but never seen him write anything here or on any other message board.

    Wow, they might have a life beyond thinking of home inspections.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    I've been offered a job with a multi-inspector firm. offering me $90 an inspection, average during the busy season is 12 a week. for those that are in a multi-inspector firm what are your feelings of working at one pros and cons. Thanks for any and all input.
    Brent,

    I worked for a franchise/multi-inspector firm for a while before I opened my own inspection firm. The plus was that I did get good training and feedback, I had other inspectors to talk to when I found something that I could not explain. The appointments and typing were taken care of, so I had to inspect, document and proofread the reports before they went out.

    The downside is the income. You can probably make more on your own, but it will take a couple of years. In addition, when you own your own business, you cannot turn it off and go home. When you work for someone, at the end of the day, you are done. I put in enough time there that I felt that they got teir money's worth and I was not unhappy with the arrangement. I did not market the agents that had referred me when I worked there. While a few did seek me out, the majority I networked with my own.

    If you do choose to work for someone else, make sure that you do not sign a non-compete document. You may decide to go out on your own after a year or two. A non-compete will prevent you from working in the same area

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Wow, they might have a life beyond thinking of home inspections.
    Kevin,

    I think that you have something there. I work a lot more now that I have my own company. Pay is better, but the work is more as well.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    There's nothing wrong learning a trade on someone elseís nickel, but itís not going to make you very much money and the future is quite limited. However, if you're using them to gain experiences I say go for it. Plus you will learn all the stuff not to do, and that's priceless. Please pay attention what is discussed here, take building code classes where ever you can find them, build a code library, and take a course in public speaking. Toastmasters of American are an excellent resource. It will normally take about 1,000 inspections before you gain sufficient confidence and an acceptable skill level in a very complex profession, especially if you have not had a construction background.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    I've been offered a job with a multi-inspector firm. offering me $90 an inspection, average during the busy season is 12 a week.
    What would you have made working for them LAST WEEK? The week before that?

    That is likely how much you will be making during the "not busy" season - it is real nice for them to tell you what you could make "best case", but what about "right now"? Would you have done 2 inspections last week? That would have been $180.00 GROSS, before taxes, insurance, etc.

    They would need to provide:
    - a vehicle (you say they are)
    - insurance (you say they are, but ... what type of insurance? for the car? E&O? GL? Health?
    - marketing (are you expected to do marketing, if so, you might as well market yourself instead of them)
    - full assumption of liability (you are THEIR *employee* doing inspections THEIR WAY - they should assume all the risk)
    - a minimum salary of $280 ($7 minimum wage x 40 hours = $280 - as you are being paid "piece work" they are required to make sure you earn minimum wage, so if you are available 40 hours per week for them, they need to pay you minimum wage for that time - which means they would need to give you at least 3 inspections and raise the pay to $93.33 ... whatever minimum wage works out to for the hours you are expected to be available, divide the hours by minimum wage - in Florida minimum wage is $7.21 hour - and base the inspection fee on that or keep the $90 inspection pay and they kick in the extra $10 to make sure you meet minimum wage - based on my example)

    Everyone how has posted above has also brought up good points which need to be considered.

    Instead of $90, you should make it a percentage, that way larger houses which take longer and earn a higher inspection fee will give you more money also. Would you want to earn $90 off a $150 fee, and then earn $90 off a $500 fee?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I thought I was being pretty clear that I have had inspectors working for me. Sorry John if you didn't get that. Never a huge company like some, mostly 1 or two besides me.

    I'm not comfortable going into specifics about my business, just like most everyone else here. It's really no ones business what I pay for my phone, or pay my office staff, or insurance or anything else.

    I paid my guys a percentage of the inspection fee with a minimum. There were lots of minor tweaks when it came to re-inspections, placing or picking up radon tests, partial inspections, etc.

    I'm not sure where this changing a report part came up, but I just can't see it happening very much. As far as getting hauled into court, they are going to come after the company first, then the inspector second.

    Some of you guys try to paint a company owner as some dishonest shyster that is only out to screw his slave and cuddle up to Realtors to make the huge bucks.

    How do you know they are actually paying the insurance??? Like working for anyone, you have to trust people. Here's how it worked for me Michael. I paid the premium, My insurance company was under an obligation to notify the State that I was insured as well as my employee. Since they had his name, address, and phone number, I would guess that they would let him, and the State know if I didn't pay the premium. But since I run an honest business, I have never found out for sure what they do if I don't pay. I just know they notify the State, and the insureds.

    I had a guy that worked for me that hated talking on the phone. He was horrible at marketing, and just wanted to do inspections. He started out working for an inspection company in Utah, moved to TN and went to work for me. He was very happy, just doing the inspections.

    I'm not sure how a lot of you do it, but I just don't have time to do marketing, and answer the phones and schedule jobs. That's why I have my wife run the office. It's a full time job. When I have to have my cell phone forwarded, and answer calls while doing inspections, I just hate it. I think it is unprofessional to my clients, and to the people calling. However, there is a cost involved. More power to you guys that can handle it all that way. I just hate that part.

    Another overlooked cost is the computer and software for the other inspectors. There is a cost there too. AND, it's a cost the employee does not have to deal with. Lets just say it's $500/year (probably a low figure). While $500 is not a huge sum, it's still a cost, and one of many that needs to be in the equation. Just the internet card alone costs $60/month not including replacement costs when they wear out. I could go on and on.

    Like I said before, it's just not as simple as the inspector gets 50% of the fee and all the rest is profit. It's just not that simple.

    John Ghent has been on here many times talking about multi inspector firms. He owned one, with many inspectors for a very long time. He is probably one of the smartest inspection company owners (he's retired now) I know.


  23. #23

    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Brent: The pluses of working for someone are huge. If you want to be your own boss then the minuses are also huge. But Jack is correct.

    If any of you think being an owner of a multi firm is a breeze, think again. In my case my employees ALWAYS got paid first. In those lean winter months when I had to go to the bank for a few bucks, the employees got their pay, every week, on time.

    One comment above was that you could only make $45k. Wow! 45k, a car, gas, insurance paid for, deductible for any claim paid for, steady work schedule, two weeks off with pay - all sounds pretty good. Unless you have a burning desire to go it alone and try to build something bigger, and you have been at it for a few years without making it bigger, take the job. Be the best employee and over the years you will make more.

    For all of you who think about multi owners making a killing, only those that are good businessmen do that. Most home inspectors are not very good businessmen.

    Most of you do not know your true cost of doing business. Most of you limit what you think your business costs are to the obvious, gas, computer, etc. Well, sit down and put EVERYTHING - AND I MEAN EVERY CENT you spend a year for your business down on paper. (page 1) On page 2 you should list how many hours you put into your business every year, and at the top of page 2 you should put down how much per hour you were making at your previous job, as a start.(we all think we know how much an hour we are worth and that could also be your starting point.) At the bottom of page two you multiply the hours times your pay scale to get your labor cost. (Don't for get to include your wife's time and hourly wage as a cost.) Add page 1 and page 2 and then divide by the number of inspections you do/did and you have your TRUE cost per inspection of doing business. Remember now, I said your COST. On page three you need to decide what you consider to be an adequate profit for your investment. I always marked our cost up by 1/3. (33-1/3%). So now you have your total cost from the first two pages and you add 1/3 to those costs on page three and you get what you should be charging per inspection for your inspections to be profitable. I bet none of you come up with the low numbers many of you actually charge. Well, if you apply the rules above and come out with something like $350 or more per inspection, which you will if you are honest with yourself about your wage and time, and you normally charge $250 or so, then you are not profitable, and probably never will be. Can you make a living wage? Sure. Can you bank some big bucks for the future? Probably not.

    Somewhere on this site Brian offers a program for sale that will help you through this. Check it out, do your homework and then raise your fees.

    Meanwhile, I think the amount being offered for the job with benefits is a good start.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    John,

    I won't comment on all of what you wrote as you ran an exceptional company and did so the right way, but unlike what you are thinking and what you did ...

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ghent View Post
    One comment above was that you could only make $45k. Wow! 45k, a car, gas, insurance paid for, deductible for any claim paid for, steady work schedule, two weeks off with pay - all sounds pretty good.
    ... that $45k mentioned was during the busy months ONLY.

    YOU ran your company as one should. The information given does not sound like that company is doing what you did.

    Just wanted to clarify that part of it.

    I was a single inspector company, however, I previously ran my own construction company and had 8 employees at one time - yes, they are kept busy, and yes, they get paid - some way some how even when you (the owner) does not.

    The company in the original post is not offering an "annual salary of" $45k, they are only offering $90 PER INSPECTION, whether you 3 per week or 15 per week, which is A LOT different than how you ran your company.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Jerry, you can be completely correct but it seems too basic. We know the company offered "$90 an inspection, average during the busy season is 12 a week." We also know "they provide car and insurance." Besides that we are assuming the rest and in my opinion, coming up with nothing but bad scenarios. Maybe this guy does pay and a minimum of X amount per week no matter how many jobs there are. Maybe he pays auto insurance, E&O insurance, General Liability Insurance and health insurance. I just have a hard time believing that Brent sat down with this owner and all that was talked about was what was written by Brent.

    I can see some company that sent out some card in the mail to existing home inspectors saying their looking at hiring. That home inspector calls up and somebody on the other line informs that home inspector that we start at $90 per job, averaging 12 home inspections a week when we're busy and we will supply a car and insurance. If you would like to come in, we can talk more.

    All I'm saying is that there might be (I hope) more to it than what he told us.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    Besides that we are assuming the rest and in my opinion, coming up with nothing but bad scenarios.
    Kevin,

    You are correct, we are making a lot of assumptions.

    Maybe this guy does pay and a minimum of X amount per week no matter how many jobs there are.
    Maybe, but (again, an assumption) one would think he would have said "$90 per inspection or $xxx per week minimum" and he did not.

    Yes, all of us are making a lot of assumptions, and we all know what happens when you ass-u-me stuff.

    I look at things like that from a Publishers Clearing House perspective "YOU MAY HAVE WON 10 MILLION DOLLARS!" ... NOT!

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Unless you are to get excellent benefits and seniority status with the assurance of having steady work, and you have zero experience doing home inspections, only then would I recommend investing you efforts making someone else financially secure. What if you were to do a home inspection that costs $1,000? $90.00 an inspection would equate to about $10.00-$12.00 bucks an hour! It's your call. Good luck!


  28. #28
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Simmerman View Post
    I've been offered a job with a multi-inspector firm. offering me $90 an inspection, average during the busy season is 12 a week. for those that are in a multi-inspector firm what are your feelings of working at one pros and cons. Thanks for any and all input.
    You started this tread but haven't wrote anything since.

    What did you end up doing?


  29. #29
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Luce View Post
    You started this tread but haven't wrote anything since.

    What did you end up doing?
    Maybe 12 inspections and reports a week and has no time to get back here.


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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    I worked for a well known multi-inspector firm. It was a great experience and I learned alot being with them.

    I'm no longer with them but there are some aspects of being with a larger firm that I miss once in a while.

    Being on your own is a very personal decision and is not for everyone.

    You won't get rich that way but hey, you won't get rich being on your own if you price yourself too low as some inspector's do.

    Know thyself and good luck.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Offered job with multi-inspector firm

    Checking the original posters profile he has a website listed. The website is only about him and not a multi-inspector firm.

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

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