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  1. #1
    Jim Kiffel's Avatar
    Jim Kiffel Guest

    Default Rates for Out Buildings

    Recently I bid an inspection that included an out building. I was expecting this structure to be more like a garage sized building. When I pull the listing I find the building to be 2300 sq ft with 864 sqft of living/office space Which includes heat, electrical, Plumbing (3/4 bath). I charged an additional $25.00 before I found this out. Would it be ethical to contact my client prior to doing the inspection and revising my bid to reflect the additional work on the out building or do I just consider it a lesson learned and develop a better pricing book for out buildings?

    Any suggestions

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Considering you were given the impression it was a small out building I don't think you would be out of step in contacting the purchaser and informing him of an up charge. If he declines you might have to bite the bullet.

    My concern would be the liability you incur for only $25.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kiffel View Post
    Recently I bid an inspection that included an out building. I was expecting this structure to be more like a garage sized building. When I pull the listing I find the building to be 2300 sq ft with 864 sqft of living/office space Which includes heat, electrical, Plumbing (3/4 bath). I charged an additional $25.00 before I found this out. Would it be ethical to contact my client prior to doing the inspection and revising my bid to reflect the additional work on the out building or do I just consider it a lesson learned and develop a better pricing book for out buildings?

    Any suggestions
    I see no reason you should not revise the quote based on the information you had at hand when you first gave it. I would price the outbuilding like a condo or small house as it will take you an additional hour or longer to do it.

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

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Considering that you quoted your price BEFORE you pulled the listing, you need to honor your price.

    Provided you gave us all the information you had, you gave us limited information.

    During your discussion, did you ask how large the outbuilding was, or just make an assumption that it was small like a garage?

    How do you price your inspections? By square footage, by selling price, or by the hour?

    If by square footage and the square footage was not included when they told you the square footage, then add that square footage in and call your client back and explain why you asked about the square footage and advise them of the new price now, before the inspection.

    If by selling price you already have it included.

    If by the hour, you already have it included.

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

  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kiffel View Post
    Recently I bid an inspection that included an out building. I was expecting this structure to be more like a garage sized building. When I pull the listing I find the building to be 2300 sq ft with 864 sqft of living/office space Which includes heat, electrical, Plumbing (3/4 bath). I charged an additional $25.00 before I found this out. Would it be ethical to contact my client prior to doing the inspection and revising my bid to reflect the additional work on the out building or do I just consider it a lesson learned and develop a better pricing book for out buildings?

    Any suggestions
    The highlighted red part tell me you assumed. You know what happens when you assume. You bought it, you eat it. As far as your statement above I would say that you did not ask any questions or you would have known.



    Every inspection I do I ask about if there is an outbuliding that they want or need inspected. I ask full details about the structure.


  6. #6
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    "When I pull the listing I find the building to be 2300 sq ft with 864 sqft of living/office space Which includes heat, electrical, Plumbing (3/4 bath)."

    This is an out building? I would class this as a separate structure.What size is the main building?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    This is not an outbuilding, it is a living unit. If you were not given that information, then it is acceptable to contact them and update their price.

    By the way, I believe your price on an outbuilding is way too low. I charge quite a bit more.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  8. #8
    Jim Kiffel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Thank you all for your advice.

    I hadn't built a pricing structure for out buildings into my business yet. My business is three months old and it was something I overlooked. The home is 1994 sgft above ground with a half finished basement not included in that number and is on a rural lot. I am charging $300 for that. The customer mentioned it had out building. I've done two other out buildings but they were more like glorified sheds. I've decided to add the square footage of the office/living space to the bid and have notified the client I added $100 for the out building. this price is still a good deal in this area.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Jim,

    One more thought. I find it easier to reduce the price at the inspection rather than increase it. If I find that the building is not going to take $100 to inspect and report, I will discount the price. It never fails to have a positive effect. I doubt that raising the price at the inspection would result in the same response.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Jim,

    When pricing based on square footage, ALWAYS ask the square footage of ALL structures on the property you will be inspecting, and that TOTAL square footage will be what your price will be based on.

    In this case, as it was your error for not asking (not yet knowing to ask) I would (did) suggest just eating the difference and doing the inspection for what you originally quoted. Especially since you are a new inspector and are trying to build your business, better to eat it and get any referrals than to make the extra $100 and not get any referrals because you raised the price.

    It would be okay, once on the inspection, to tell your client that you did not realize the "out building" was that large, you were expecting the outbuilding to be a shed, but that it was your fault for not asking and clarifying and you will not charge extra, that you realize it was your error in not asking for all the information. Your client will appreciate your honesty.

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

  11. #11

    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    When I am told there are additional structures such as shops, outbuildings, etc., I request the RMLS listing so I can see exactly what I am dealing with prior to quoting the fee. If I can't get enough info. on the outbuilding, I tell them that the base fee is X, with an additional hourly fee.


  12. #12
    Jim Kiffel's Avatar
    Jim Kiffel Guest

    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    Great feedback! Thanks for your input. Earlier today I e-mailed my client to explain the situation. the response was "No Problem, I'll see you tomorrow" Lesson learned and now I have a pricing plan for out buildings. I like the idea of not quoting on the structure untill I have a listing in my hands. This is a really good forum, expect to see more of me here.

    Thanks guys


  13. #13
    Michael Garrity's Avatar
    Michael Garrity Guest

    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    good luck


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    An evil of our business is having to take people's word for what we're inspecting. Sure, I could get an MLS page for each house but it's really not practical for my company in that I schedule for several inspectors and just don't have the time.

    Luckily, it comes up fairly seldom and I usually just eat it. But, I don't think you're out of line at all in changing it once you're there. As for liability, I'd inform them of the change in price and if they don't want to go for it don't inspect it..... no liability there. In reality, I'd work something out with the people. Most people are reasonable and would understand all the different systems to look at once you explain it to them.

    In general, we charge $50 for a basic outbuilding shop/garage/etc. Once it has a bathroom and kitchen it's more of a separate residence and would be in the 100-200 range.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    The advantage of charging by the square footage or based on sales price is that is "already figured into the inspection cost", then all you need is to charge slightly extra for the extra roof, i.e, not "for the roof" but for "having to set your ladder up at an another roof and get on it too", or about $95 for the outbuilding, regardless of size (that is already figured into your inspection fee price).

    I used to charge by the hour, so whatever extra they threw my way for me to inspect was fine with me.

    Those types of problems start when you try to make your fee structure WAY TOO COMPLICATED.

    KISS should be a key for setting up your fee structure.

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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Rates for Out Buildings

    I now charge by the purchase price, and any out buildings as described in the initial post are charged out at $275 as these buildings still require my time and expertise to inspect and report just as the primary house does.

    Simple ancillary buildings such as a garage and shed are not charged and I only inspect them if requested.


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