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Thread: Need Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Need Advice

    I want to start a home inspection business, I have had home medical equipment, accessibility businesses for 25+ years, doing remodels, bathrooms, elevators etc, I need a change and have recently moved to a new city. It has always been a dream to be a home inspector, some of you are thinking this dude is nuts I am sure. I have already been studying hard, and am going to training soon.

    My question's are mostly, as home inspectors, would you start into the business today all over again if you could, I fear lawsuits and I see some of that here, is it a concern, I know I will be a good inspector and do a good job, ethics is a word I live by every moment of every day.

    Running a business is the easy part for me, being accountable and all that I have no problem with, just looking for advice from some of you seasoned guys, before I get in too deep, and my wife kills me!

    Thanks in Advance, Gary from Montana.

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Don Burbach's Avatar
    Don Burbach Guest

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Colella View Post
    I want to start a home inspection business, I have had home medical equipment, accessibility businesses for 25+ years, doing remodels, bathrooms, elevators etc, I need a change and have recently moved to a new city.

    Running a business is the easy part for me, being accountable and all that I have no problem with, just looking for advice from some of you seasoned guys, before I get in too deep, and my wife kills me!

    Thanks in Advance, Gary from Montana.
    Hi Gary,

    Welcome. Things to consider are.... health benefits, need to be computer savvy, and retirement benefits. What happens if you break a leg? Also, a friend of mine who moved out of state and tried to start an inspection business, felt that 'Not being a local good'ole boy' was a huge drawback.

    Finishing up my ninth year when starting in my mid-50's ...... I love what I do, but also realize that having other sources of income relieved a lot of pressure, having a wife with medical benefits and a low mortgage, all helped a lot. Would I do it again...... probably not, especially if you want to work 9-5, be off on weekends, and not be doing reports at 11PM at night on a Sunday night.

    Good Luck!


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Welcome to the forum.

    One sentence caught my eye.

    I know I will be a good inspector and do a good job, ethics is a word I live by every moment of every day.
    We all think like that, but in this biz it only takes a disgruntled client who feels they were wronged to rock the boat. However you could obtain errors and omissions insurance to protect your assets, but in my view you would be foolish to advertise you have coverage, lest it be seen by clients as a warranty program.


  4. #4
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    nc
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Gary, I have been doing it about 5 years with only about 3 or 4 callbacks in over 1300 inspections. Also, have an iron-clad inspection contract that is signed every time. I recommend using homegauge software or similar so you can do electronic signatures for every contract. Just do a thorough job every time. Since you are a detail guy, you will do fine. I run my business in the hours of 7am to 5:30pm weekdays only. No report writing at night for me. You just have so set your schedule to have time for reports. Good luck!


  5. #5
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    mt, clemens Mi.
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    Smile Re: Need Advice

    Gary, be prepared for a slow start,plan your business and market hard.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Gary,
    To answer your question, No I would probably not go into home inspections.

    That said, I've been inspecting since 1989 and really enjoy what I do. I can also say that I have never had to write a report at 11pm on a Sunday night. Being self employed has its own requirements (such as retirement, insurance, etc) regardless of the profession.

    Be very sure that you are comfortable with the work involved, such as crawling around in dark damp places with lots of bugs and critters, and high places such as roofs.

    I do live in constant fear of a lawsuit. That's why I try to be as diligent as I can when I do an inspection, and write a report. While its very important to get good HI technique education, the most important part is learning how to write a report. Get a copy of a Standards of Practice, such as ASHI, or NACHI, or your State (if they have one). Learn the Standards inside and out, knowing what you MUST inspect and report on, and the things that you are not required to inspect or report on.

    Try to get some ride along experience and see first hand how inspectors work and how they report. Nothing beats hands on practice.
    Good luck with your quest.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Jack says
    Gary,
    To answer your question, No I would probably not go into home inspections.
    I agree with Jack. I'll repeat something I hear my boss Nick say on the phone every day. "If you want my help in becoming a home inspector, let me first start by trying to talk you out of it."

    The two juggernauts to success are education and marketing. I'll address them in that order.

    For education, I recommend that you take a breather and go through a couple dozen of our online inspection courses first. They will reveal to you that there is a lot to know. Email me at fastreply@nachi.org and I will give you a free student membership for 6 months so that you can access all of them.

    For marketing, I recommend that you read this book. It is the bible of home inspector marketing and business success. If you don't want to pay $30 for the hard copy, email me at fastreply@nachi.org and I will give you a coupon code to download the pdf version for free.

    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Before spending precious time reading all sorts of "How To" books, doing pointless on-line training, or $$ on useless stuff (believe me, most of it is!), get to the heart of it; can you make home inspecting a business that you can live on. I can't recommend highly enough an Excel spreadsheet Brain used to offer on this forum called Cost Of Business that was geared specifically to the profession. A person could plug all their wants, needs and desires regarding being a home inspector and running the business into it and the end result would be the real dollars needed to be generated to attain those parameters/wishes. If the bottom line didn't look good enough they could go back and adjust things here and there in the spreadsheet to see if in the end it might be doable. Believe me, it's a real eye opener! It's also a very good business tool to revisit to keep things on an even keel. If after that you find home inspecting will not produce the income you need you can simply move on. Make your mistakes on paper, it's far cheaper. I highly recommend contacting Brain Hannagin to see if he still offers it. After that, scope out ALL the home inspection organizations, not just the ones who proclaim to "Certify" you or announce themselves as "The Best in The World". Best of luck!

    Last edited by Bob Knauff; 01-13-2014 at 08:43 PM.
    Beacon Inspection Services
    Proudly Serving the Greater Henderson and Las Vegas Valley Area in Southern Nevada!
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  9. #9
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    May 2013
    Location
    Iowa
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    I was an inspector for 5 years and completed roughly 1800 inspections. I would love to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of the industry.

    I now help guys determine if the home inspection industry is a good fit for them.

    I look forward to starting a dialogue and helping you.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Need Advice

    I'm very new to the business, just started last year. The income was very slow at first and even still I have other sources of income or I couldn't maintain my lifestyle (which is not luxury). Other than that I love the job and I love being independent and not having a boss everyday.

    While I have heard horror stories about lawsuits, I have never encountered a single complaint and every customer has been friendly and understanding even of things I didn't know off hand and had to go back to the office and research, so I think that kind of encounter is the exception and not rule.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Brian Knauff wisely advises
    After that, scope out ALL the home inspection organizations, not just the ones who proclaim to "Certify" you or announce themselves as "The Best in The World".
    Brian's advice is very good. Perhaps open up separate windows on your computer showing the member benefits page from each association. Of course with InterNACHI, you'll need to scroll and click and scroll and click and scroll and click and scroll and click.

    InterNACHI member benefits.... don't forget to scroll down and click!

    Last edited by Lisa Endza; 01-14-2014 at 04:01 PM.
    Lisa Endza
    Director of Communication
    InterNACHI

  12. #12
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    One way to make it easier to stay tight on the ethics track is never market yourself to realtors. It's a conflict of interest. Market yourself with a good website and all other methods of internet presence.

    It will be slow going at first but you will gradually grow and grow. Don't let others make you, otherwise, they will break you. Make yourself and nobody can take it from you.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Montana
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Don,

    Thanks so much for the advice, every bit helps!

    Gary

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Burbach View Post
    Hi Gary,

    Welcome. Things to consider are.... health benefits, need to be computer savvy, and retirement benefits. What happens if you break a leg? Also, a friend of mine who moved out of state and tried to start an inspection business, felt that 'Not being a local good'ole boy' was a huge drawback.

    Finishing up my ninth year when starting in my mid-50's ...... I love what I do, but also realize that having other sources of income relieved a lot of pressure, having a wife with medical benefits and a low mortgage, all helped a lot. Would I do it again...... probably not, especially if you want to work 9-5, be off on weekends, and not be doing reports at 11PM at night on a Sunday night.

    Good Luck!



  14. #14
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Las Vegas, NV
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    222

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Endza View Post
    Brian Knauff wisely advises Brian's advice is very good. Perhaps open up separate windows on your computer showing the member benefits page from each association. Of course with InterNACHI, you'll need to scroll and click and scroll and click and scroll and click and scroll and click.

    InterNACHI member benefits.... don't forget to scroll down and click!
    Doesn't bode well for a one's accuracy if they can't even get a persons name correct. Embarrassing.

    Forget about all the scrolling and messing around and just do a search of the various organizations mentioned in threads on this forum, it's far more impartial and realistic!

    Beacon Inspection Services
    Proudly Serving the Greater Henderson and Las Vegas Valley Area in Southern Nevada!
    Like Beacon On Facebook

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Montana
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    I can say this, I am impressed by the amount of help and support I have been offered, Home Inspectors on this site are awesome, thanks so much, and I will be asking more questions as I learn!


    Gary

    Quote Originally Posted by Damon Crandall View Post
    I was an inspector for 5 years and completed roughly 1800 inspections. I would love to have a conversation about the positives and negatives of the industry.

    I now help guys determine if the home inspection industry is a good fit for them.

    I look forward to starting a dialogue and helping you.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    It's been great for me. I would definitely do it again. I am starting my 12th year now. Good luck. One thing to consider is how may properties are sold in your area, and how many other inspectors are already present. Some simple math can tell you if there is enough to go around, or if you are going to be fighting it out with existing inspectors for every house.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

  17. #17

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    One way to make it easier to stay tight on the ethics track is never market yourself to realtors. It's a conflict of interest. Market yourself with a good website and all other methods of internet presence.

    It will be slow going at first but you will gradually grow and grow. Don't let others make you, otherwise, they will break you. Make yourself and nobody can take it from you.
    John
    That is some great advice that everyone needs to be reminded of that
    Thanks

    Mark Parlee
    The Building Consultant www.thebuildingconsultant.com
    “Real Solutions for Real Problems” EDI EIFS and Building Envelope

  18. #18
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    Mar 2007
    Location
    Washington State
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    579

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Hey Gary,

    I sent you a private message with my contact info. Feel free to call if you want some free advise.


  19. #19
    Paul Schwartz's Avatar
    Paul Schwartz Guest

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post
    One way to make it easier to stay tight on the ethics track is never market yourself to realtors. It's a conflict of interest. Market yourself with a good website and all other methods of internet presence.

    It will be slow going at first but you will gradually grow and grow. Don't let others make you, otherwise, they will break you. Make yourself and nobody can take it from you.
    Hey John. You have a strong opinion on not using realtors, but rather internet etc. How do you suggest that be done? You still have to let the home buyer know you are out there. Just curious. Thanks Paul


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Circle, MT
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Gary, where are you located - Montana is a little vague I might be able to help you get started.


  21. #21
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    Jul 2010
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    Wisconsin
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    Default Re: Need Advice

    Just a marketing idea:

    How about putting up a booth in a local home products and/or builders show with a sign that reads "I inspect their work" and see what happens.

    Not sure about the beating in the parking lot afterwards...

    We have yearly shows with the local builder’s assoc., the remodeler’s assoc., and the annual parade of homes. The parade around here gets over 20,000 people. You could set up shop in a garage and hand out cards and answer questions, if you have something similar in your area. You can join the associations and get the newsletter to see when events pop up.

    It's just an idea...



  22. #22

    Default Re: Need Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    Just a marketing idea:

    How about putting up a booth in a local home products and/or builders show with a sign that reads "I inspect their work" and see what happens.

    Not sure about the beating in the parking lot afterwards...

    We have yearly shows with the local builder’s assoc., the remodeler’s assoc., and the annual parade of homes. The parade around here gets over 20,000 people. You could set up shop in a garage and hand out cards and answer questions, if you have something similar in your area. You can join the associations and get the newsletter to see when events pop up.

    It's just an idea...
    All I can say to Mikes suggestion is....I am considering it!!!

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
    http://www.jjeffzehnder.com/
    http://carolinahomeinspections.com/

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