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  1. #1
    Mike Owens's Avatar
    Mike Owens Guest

    Default Radon Testing Business

    Hello Everyone. I'm a real esate agent and I've been thinking lately about doing radon testing only, (no other home inspection) as a means of generating extra income. I plan on using some online and traditional marketing ideas to hopefully get people interested. In my area in SC noone I talk to really has heard of this unless they are buying a house or an agent,inspector, etc. I think the relative surprise that someone's home may be high in potentially cancerous gas will get people interested. I plan on using one of the electronic devices, not the cannisters (an important marketing angle). I don't know all of the lingo, but will after I get schooled, licensed. I'm bascially wondering a couple of things.

    Is there something I'm not thinking about, as to why this isn't a decent business idea. I don't really plan on going after traditionl business of the real estate sales angle, as mentioned above.

    2. I'm reading around, but what are good electronic radon detectors that can print out results via computer, etc. I don't want to spend over $1000.

    3. What about insurance, bonding, etc.

    Again I'm new, but reading and getting info together so I'm sure some of these questions' answers are in the forum somewhere. If so , forgive me. Thanks

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Connecticut
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    it could be a conflict of interest in a home sale if you are the selling agent.
    Think about it.
    Check with your state RE laws and regs
    Have you ever met a home inspector/realtor?
    In Ct it is not allowed to have both liscenses


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Check the law out first in your state.

    You will need a minimum of 2 CRM's and 4 would be good if you are planing on making any money off them.

    You will need to figure out a marketing plan. How are you going to get business by offering only one service? Most home inspectors use radon testing as a ancillary service.

    Sun Nuclear 1027 are good machines and one of the lower costing. You can get new ones for around $600.

    Many use Femtotech and Radalink machines.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    The last I heard, Femto tech offers $100 towards your radon training when you lease or buy one of their units. They are the Cadillac in the industry but Sun Nuclear is very good too. See ads on this site for both products.

    Training is paramount. It limits liability and allows one to understand the problems with radon and how to convey that to the client as well as explains proper testing protocols. Plus, after getting certified you can get your name listed on your states Health Department web site as a radon measurement company for free!

    Last edited by Bob Knauff; 06-22-2010 at 11:05 AM. Reason: .
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  5. #5
    Mike Owens's Avatar
    Mike Owens Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Thanks so far!

    I'm not planning on offering radon tests to my clients, and probably not even for anyone out of my brokerage.

    I know most people have no idea of radon and I'm wanting to use the surprise of the ignorance of it as my marketing advantage and help people understand it and test their homes for it. I'm not looking to get rich, I don't guess. I mean a few tests a month would be nice. I'd like to get more though and i think its possible with some of the marketing ideas I have in mind. Online, facebook, health stores, street signs, etc.

    I've looked at the Sun Nuclear stuff and I like it. Fem seems nice but beyond my scope of investment for what I first saw. At a glimpse, we're talking 4grand or more?

    Thanks again


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Owens View Post

    I'm not planning on offering radon tests to my clients, and probably not even for anyone out of my brokerage. I know most people have no idea of radon and I'm wanting to use the surprise of the ignorance of it as my marketing advantage and help people understand it and test their homes for it.
    Educating the public is a noble goal. My intent is not to rain on your parade but, educating the public and then applying your expertise to solve that problem (real or perceived by them) is a tough row to hoe. It's far better that they already know and understand the problem and are already asking for help so that there is an existing void for you to fill. In the course of educating them they will find out that they can obtain radon test kits for free by contacting the South Carolina Dept. of Helath and Environmental Control at S.C. DHEC: Radon in South Carolina. Their web site states in part, "Obtain a free test kit by contacting the S.C. Radon Hotline or write to the S.C. DHEC Radon e-mail address listed along the side of the page". So the question is, why would they want to pay you and I to test for them and have to charge a big fee? A very big obstacle to overcome for your venture.

    Also, as seen in the attached map, according to the South Carolina | Radon | US EPA the vast majority of the state of SC can expect to find radon levels below 4 pCi/L (orange color) or even 2 pC/l (yellow color) in most places. I don't know where you live but unless you are located in the red part of the map, your problem is compounded yet again.

    I'm not looking to get rich, I don't guess.
    Everyone on this board will tell you that that's easily achieved! We've all been there and done that at one point or another!

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    Last edited by Bob Knauff; 06-22-2010 at 08:24 PM. Reason: .
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  7. #7
    mathew stouffer's Avatar
    mathew stouffer Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    I don't want to be a party pooper but make sure you do your homework and create a business plan. Radon testing outside of a real estate deal is typically a tough sell. I offer radon testing and do about 100 a year at 150 dollars a test, very few are performed outside of a sale. The good thing is your overhead is pretty min.


  8. #8
    Mike Owens's Avatar
    Mike Owens Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Knauff View Post
    Educating the public is a noble goal. My intent is not to rain on your parade but, educating the public and then applying your expertise to solve that problem (real or perceived by them) is a tough row to hoe. It's far better that they already know and understand the problem and are already asking for help so that there is an existing void for you to fill. In the course of educating them they will find out that they can obtain radon test kits for free by contacting the South Carolina Dept. of Helath and Environmental Control at S.C. DHEC: Radon in South Carolina. Their web site states in part, "Obtain a free test kit by contacting the S.C. Radon Hotline or write to the S.C. DHEC Radon e-mail address listed along the side of the page". So the question is, why would they want to pay you and I to test for them and have to charge a big fee? A very big obstacle to overcome for your venture.

    Also, as seen in the attached map, according to the South Carolina | Radon | US EPA the vast majority of the state of SC can expect to find radon levels below 4 pCi/L (orange color) or even 2 pC/l (yellow color) in most places. I don't know where you live but unless you are located in the red part of the map, your problem is compounded yet again.



    Everyone on this board will tell you that that's easily achieved! We've all been there and done that at one point or another!
    Thanks Bob. I do happen to be in that one higher county, Greenville. And the area that I'm in within it is known by many as being higher. I live in this area, and my home actually tested higher and has a mitigation system in it. I almost didn't buy the home. The concern is real with me.

    solving the problem "whether real or perceived" is something I've read too. I know some are still sceptical about radon and its effects. I'll let the epa reports and other accounts, etc, speak to that concern. I myself don't want to take any chances. If the possiblity of radioactive equivalence of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day (something I've read before for some level of radon, and which I'll have to find again) exists then I'd like to know about it. I don't smoke, and don't want to do anything similar, if there's a chance I might be doing it, or who knows a family member, a friend, someone elderly with other problems. I think the small cost would be worth it to know. That's one of my marketing angles I plan on pursuing. Radon is real as far as I'm concerned and there are tons of people who flat out haven't heard of it.

    My education will be skewed towards sales. i sure won't be disclosing any free test possibilities unless I find out through licensing that I must do this. I highly doubt this is the case, and I haven't heard of it from any other inspectors or inspections.

    My goal is to market this as a "professional, licensed, high tech, "more than a bag of coal" etc. etc. venture. I didn't know about the free test availability and I hope to surpass some of that with the aforementioned ideas. I still think I'm going to pursue the idea. I do appreciate the responses so far though. I welcome any others. I had entertained the idea of some type of air quality testing business, but I see quickly that that is a whole different animal. I also suffer from bad allergies at times, so this had really crossed my mind, as I think there is something in my relatively new house that is bothering me, allergy wise, and don't know what. But again, I don't plan on pursuing this, but might contact a few companies to set up a referral agreement, if legal and possible.

    Thanks again.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Owens View Post
    i sure won't be disclosing any free test possibilities unless I find out through licensing that I must do this.
    There is no requirement that I know of that says one must disclose the fact that people can obtain free test kits however I guarantee it WILL pop up in the form of, "Hey, I paid you $xxxx for a test and then find out I can get a free kit from the State! What's up with THAT?" I have had it happen and suggest to you to have a very good answer ready in advance.

    To help offset this possibility as well as good customer service, I stay in touch with clients via email asking them if they have had a mitigation system installed or can I help them in any way yet and so on. This elevated level of service is yet another reason to hire and pay me to do the job.

    Another tact I have adopted is to attempt to close them on having me test for them at first contact but if that fails, suggest the free test kit from the State. They will then perk up their ears which gives me a chance to explain the vast difference between hiring me using a CRM and the "bag of coal" as you put it. If they still resist hiring me I urge them to at least get the free kit and if levels test high, then hire me to double check for them, just to be sure, as well as make recommendations for what to do next.

    Finally, I also tell them that the bottom line is, for their health and safety, at least they need to test for the stuff be it a free test kit or through me. It's simply faster, more accurate and more easily done through me!

    Last edited by Bob Knauff; 06-23-2010 at 10:37 AM. Reason: .
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  10. #10
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    Ludlow, Maine - Aroostook County, near Houlton
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    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Some things that you may not have figured into your plan: It's a good idea to have a written Quality Assurance Plan, whether or not your state requires it. "EPA's Required Elements of a Quality Assurance Plan for Analytical and Residential Service Providers" is available for free download. Read that through. If you use CRMs you will be "analytical" as well as "residential" Look at the part about reference (spiked) exposures, and field blanks, and about getting your CRMs calibrated. You should also look into liability insurance, which can sometimes be expensive and difficult to find for radon testing. Look into getting some recognized credentials such as from NEHA/NRPP. ...... And don't knock the "bags of coal"... It's not the type of measuring device you use; it's how you use it!
    The other people have already given some excellent advice concerning possible conflict of interest, business plan ......
    Now, after all these discouraging words - I think you've got a good idea, which requires more research, and that's exactly what you are doing right now. I wish you well.


  11. #11
    Ken Kuly's Avatar
    Ken Kuly Guest

    Default Re: Radon Testing Business

    Hi Mike,

    It's been over a year since you started this thread. No comments outside the week when you made your first post. Question: So how are things going with your addition of Radon Testing with doing Real Estate?

    I actually have started down that same path and wonder what you learned. I started my own thread about this issue: Radon Testing Business + Research - NW Chicago Suburbs

    I'm sure that it can be a tough addition to doing real estate what with conflict of interest issues. Besides restrictions on doing testing for your own clients during a RE transaction, your broker likely would also restrict your activities for any of the company's listings or buyers. If that's the case, then how do you generate business?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    --Ken


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