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  1. #1
    Ramsay Hall's Avatar
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    Arrow Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    I've been unfortunate to mostly read negative responses to newbies with interest. Many such posts attempt to denigrate & invalidate a new person's initiative, momentum, and specific efforts. In a nutshell the naysayers say that anyone new to HI is a fool for even considering it and much more of a fool if they waste effort pursuing it unless they can be independently wealthy for the several years required to start making a living at HI. Further, it feels like they resent a new guy aspiring to "join the club".

    If there is another wing of the profession ... people who encourage new blood in the ranks and have some positive, encouraging things to say, I'd sure like to hear from you.

    I am another aspiring HI in Atlanta. I have great aptitude and really helpful background - that is not directly trade or GC stuff. Enough to make me dedicated and optimistic. I am now about answering the question of what marketable distinctions a newbie has to sell when he does NOT have "I've been in Home Inspection for 27 years" or, "I've done more then 1800 inspectons", or "I'm a professional engineer". I have reason to believe that I will demonstrate the nut can be cracked. I will compete without any of those things early on.

    I'd like to discuss and further develop ways to do that rather than collect columns of assertions about my foolishness for considering it.

    Anyone game?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsay,

    Seems to me that you have predetermined that you do not want to hear reality, that you want to hear fantasy.

    The positive stuff happens and you will not need anyone to tell you about how to avoid it (why would you want to avoid it?).

    It is the negative stuff which the new inspector SHOULD WANT TO KNOW AND LEARN about - THAT is the stuff which may help the new inspector become an established inspector.

    If you want to bury your head in the sand and ignore reality, and if you just hear 'attaboy' all the time, well, I guess you can join Mike Crow (or whatever his name is) who you pay for those feel good promises of making a million dollars the first year ...

    Give us a break, and quit whining about the bad stuff ... THE BAD STUFF is what you NEED TO KNOW to survive and eventually prosper.

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

  3. #3
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Hmm, Hm, Hmm is all I have to say ad that is saying a lot.

    Adding to that. Find every possible item that you need to overcome and figure a way to do it.

    As Jerry said. It is the slap in the face you want to know about. It is the slow market tht you want to know about. It is the tremendous amount of money you will need to have on hand to survive the start up. It is the fact that inspectors keep falling out of the home inspection schools and then try to figure out the "over coming". Every one needs an electrician multiple trimes thru life, a plumber, a roofer, a window man etc etc etc. Most folks will only need or use a home inspector a couple times in their lives ....lf that. That is the need you need to overcome. You also have to know that the field is overcrowded and those mentioned new inspectors falling out of school trying to get an inspection form this inspector and that inspector and that other inspector. You are not and will not be picking up the overflow. You will literally need to take that inspection from those other inspectors.

    Once you figure it all out then step out there. Start spending money. Got get that equity loan from your home. Spend that savings you worked so hard to save. Just remember this. It willl be a long, long time to pay back ther savings you spent and then even longer to pay more into it. It will take years to pay off that home equity loan that you won't be making enough to pay on for a long time.

    Still want to do it. Go for it but YOU NEED TO KNOW THOSE THINGS. Momma, I am sure, never promised you a rose garden. Expect to have a tough time growing those roses until you figure out the best way to not only plant but to take care of them.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Welcome to the home inspection profession. Hope you do well and prove all the naysayers wrong.

    Just curious why of all the professions in the world, you would choose to enter a profession in a significant downturn where experienced practitioners with established referral bases are leaving because they can't pay the bills?

    What draws you to this profession instead of any other possible job?

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    Hope you do well and prove all the naysayers wrong.
    Bruce,

    No one has said he will not do well, only that it is going to be hard row to hoe.

    In fact, I gave advice to help him succeed (underlining and bold added): "It is the negative stuff which the new inspector SHOULD WANT TO KNOW AND LEARN about - THAT is the stuff which may help the new inspector become an established inspector."

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    I'll tell you how to get a start that will make you stand out. Set up a good website and deliver a message that you do not market to realtors and think that realtor / inspector working relationships can cause ethics issues.

    Deliver the notion that you work for clients and clients best interest only. It may be a slower start but it will gradually grow.

    There's a certain segment of the population that will read that message and call you first.

    It's how I started. I've never looked back. I'm in my 5th year and still gradually growing.


  7. #7
    David McGuire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsay, I'll give you my input on this.

    I am a disabled cop, came into this as a way to earn a part time income. A year and a half in, and it is just that, a part time income. Rarely turned down an inspection, but I have turned down a few.

    Starting out it is hard. it takes money. It takes patience. But, steadily, calls become more numerous and eventually more inspections. Being a home inspector isn't a millionaire maker, thats for sure. But what professions are millionaire makers over night? Just because the economy is in a downturn and this profession is slow right now, does not make it a bad time to enter, of course, it doesn't make it a good time to enter either.

    I have a lot of other experience to go with this. I was a maintenance man at an apartment complex before I was ever a cop. I learned the wrong way and right way of doing maintenance and repair. Being a cop taught me the patience and investigative skills and not have tunnel vision when looking at a scene, it taught me to keep my eyes, ears and nose open, soak everything up and then let the brain process and ask questions about something that doesn't look right. Being a home inspector you have to look at the entire envelope sometimes to determine what is going on with a wall, foundation or roof.

    In the end, no one hear can determine if it is the right time for you to invest your time and money into this. You have to decide. You are the one responsible for your life and bills. I don't think I caught what part of the country you are from, not sure how many inspectors you have with in 75 miles, but that is something to consider.

    if you choose to enter this field, good luck to you. Take a class at a good reputable school. Pay attention, no matter how much you think you know about the subject being taught. It never hurts to hear what you think you know, from someone else. If the subject matter at hand isn't something you aren't 100% comfortable with, ASK questions. Because if you don't know it in class, you won't know it when it comes to taking the big test. Too many people don't ask questions in class, then they go take their state certification test, and they are stuck. They just wasted thousands of dollars and over a 100 hours and can't pass the test the first time. Most people who don't pass the first time, rarely go back for a second try.

    I have a lot to learn about this business.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsay,
    You will be a part time inspector for quite some time, regardless of previous experience, training or Realtor connections you have. Educating yourself on past and present building standards is never ending. As other have said, a good website may land you your first inspection. Going a good job is key to getting referrals for your future jobs. Good luck!

    James Bohac

  9. #9
    Bob Spermo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsey,

    There are two parts to being an inspector: (1) Knowledge and ability to conduct thorough inspections and (2) ability to run a business. I believe the first can be learned through on the job experience, education and mentoring. The second the ability to sell your business and get clients is more difficult and where many inspectors fail.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    "If there is another wing of the profession ... people who encourage new blood in the ranks and have some positive, encouraging things to say, I'd sure like to hear from you. "
    YES THERE IS!!!! Its the schools that are selling education for people wanting to become home inspectors.

    I'm with Bruce on wanting to know WHY you picked this profession to get into. I'm in the third year of down business. 2011 will probably end a little less than 50% of normal. Dozens of home inspectors in my area have gone out of business in the past year or so. If someone told me they wanted to start a home inspection business in Knoxville, I would tell them they were crazy.

    While I admire your dedication and optimistic attitude, I have to question your research into the profession. What makes you think you will succeed where others are failing by the droves?

    Please don't take my blunt answer as me trying to keep you "out of the club". I couldn't care less how many inspectors are working in Atlanta. I don't have the slightest resentment for someone stating up a HI business. To be honest, you are not even a blip on my radar.

    The negative comments you feel are designed to keep you out of the club, are really just the opposite. Someone with experience is giving you a heads up, or reality check, on what you should expect. Since we all have had a rough couple of years, and each of us (with very few exceptions) is working a lot less than normal (making less money), we are shaking our collective heads wondering why the hell someone wants to jump into the pool.

    To think that you: 1. are smarter than everyone else, 2. have a better background/experience, 3. have several friends that are realtors that tell you they can keep you busy, and 4. have the better mouse trap, is very short sighted.
    Because: 1. you're not, 2. you don't, 3. they won't come through, and 4. you don't.

    To prove to you that I'm not trying to keep you out of the club, feel free to e-mail or call me and I will spend time with you discussing your plans. If you want to come up to Knoxville, I'll even take you on a ride along. I'm not trying to keep you out of "our club", I'm just trying to give you some good advice, and so are the others here.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramsay Hall View Post

    I am another aspiring HI in Atlanta.

    I'd like to discuss and further develop ways to do that rather than collect columns of assertions about my foolishness for considering it.

    Anyone game?
    There is no licensing in Georgia for Home Inspectors. You can be one right now. All you have to do is say you are one. Print some business cards, build a website, and start visiting real estate offices. Da Tah!

    GAHI (GAHI.com) is a Home Inspector association that offers ICC training in NorthWest Atlanta. I believe Marietta. Caution, they believe if you are not ICC certified then you are not a real home inspector. That is a local place you could start your training as well as hang out with inspectors doing the job.

    There are a number of ASHI certified inspectors that list Atlanta as their area of operation. Go to the local ASHI website. They even have a blurb on their home page about becomeing a home inspector. http://www.ashigeorgia.com/inspect/ Great place to find people that will allow you to do a ride-along or just chit chat about your market place.

    You sound like you want to be a home inspector regardless of what anyone tells you. The doom and gloom you read about is because those of us who are doing it, are not doing it as much. Seasoned professionals who have tried any number of ways of marketing are struggling. Apparently you have not turned on a TV, read a newspaper or listened to the radio in the last 3 years. The housing market is a bust. Sales are at an all time low. Almost no one can get financing so no one is buying. Since no one is buying, no one can sell. Home inspections basically only occur when people are buying houses. They is very little work to be had.

    In 2010 28% of the licensed inspectors in North Carolina let their license expire or put it inactive. Renewal was 2 weeks ago. Guess what? An additional 20% let their license expire or put it inactive. It costs roughly $600-$1000 a year between continuing education, license fees, priviledge fees, etc. just to pay for the miniums to be allowed to perform inspections in NC. 20% of all the licensed inspectors felt it was not worth $1000 to keep their license. 3 inspections in a year would cover their costs. 20% of all inspectors in the state felt is was not likely they would even get 3 inspections in a year.

    Lucky you, in Georgia there is no licensing so it costs you nothing to get started and nothing to stay in business. I hereby declare by the power vested in me by the internet that Ramsay Hall is a Home Inspector. Go forth and Inspect with great aptitude and a really helpful background.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Hi Ramsey and welcome to the board and the profession.

    I have been at this gig full time since 1995, I have made a good living over the years. Some years the profit has been lean and I was very thankful that my wife had a good job.

    Over the years I learned to become diversified in my inspection work. This became a life saver after I moved to another state back in July 2006 and had to start my business from scratch in an new area that I had no contacts. I would say that pure home inspections make up about 50% of my business, the rest of the business is litigation work and construction consulting.

    This past summer I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and my business finally picked up to the point that I now feel comfortable. So five years down the road I have again built a home inspection business from scratch. It took me five years and I knew what to do and what not to do, so as you can see it is not an easy process.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Scott, I was reading your post and you mentioned that you had diversified with around 50% of your work coming from pure Home Inspections. I was curious if you also did Mold Inspections, Radon Inspections, Home Energy Audits, and Lead Testing and how much of your business is generated in these areas. I, too, feel that I need to diversify but I also don't want to throw good money after bad. Are these profitable areas that would generate business or would it only be a "White Elephant" that I would be carrying?

    Anyone else can chime in, just wanting to hear some feedback.

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsey,

    Without reiterating what other have said lets just say that this is a challenging time to be going into the inspection business. Normally the Small Business Administration talks the high mortality rates of new business and home inspection is no different. When I started in 2001, my HI class had 14 people in it. Out of those 14, at least 7 never opened a business, at the end of year 1 there were 4 of us in business. At the end of year 2 only 2 of us were still in business. Let me remind you this was in the boom years of real estate. Today the transactions are fewer and the competition is fierce for those buyer out there.

    My advice is take the good with the bad but read and digest everything you can about starting an HI business on this board. Be prepared for a long road to success but you can be successful. Have a plan and work it!

    //Rick

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

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Ramsey View Post
    There is no licensing in Georgia for Home Inspectors. You can be one right now. All you have to do is say you are one. Print some business cards, build a website, and start visiting real estate offices. Da Tah!
    My friend Bruce knows GA very well. Here's the legal requirement:

    Georgia Trade practice act (Chapter 3, Title 8) enacted in 1994. Georgia law requires home inspectors to provide written documents containing certain information with regard to inspections. This written document must include the scope of the inspection, including the structural elements and systems to be inspected, that the inspection is a visual inspection, and that the home inspector will notify, in writing, the person on whose behalf such inspection is being made of any defects noted during the inspection.
    For more information, contact the Secretary of State, Construction Industry License Board.
    (478) 207-1300 phone
    (478) 207-1363 fax


  16. #16
    Ramsay Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Thanks - each of you - for providing very interesting new information, and for reminding me of some I'll do well to keep in mind.

    Jerry: "the negative … you should want to know". You are right of course.

    Ted: It's a zero sum game - "the field is overcrowded" and it's no "rose" garden.

    Bruce: Thanks for using "welcome" and for being curious. I'll answer your questions.

    John: What a creative idea from the "un-common sense" department!! Thank you!

    David: I so appreciate your start up story. Its unsurprising to either Jerry or Ted I"m sure. At the same time it is inspirational to me because you took on reality and you are still today pursuing something you're good at, something that fits you.

    James: I get that I should plan on necessarily being "part time" for quite a while. Thanks for the well wishes.

    Bob: Of course you're right on target. I'm particularly interested in the mentoring you advise. I want to start a new thread aimed at that very point!

    Jack: Very generous to comment so substantially AND offer to accept a call or even a rider! I'l like to do both!

    Bruce: Great pointer to ASHI. Very interesting metrics on licensing in NC.

    Scott: Another great story - inspirational and relevant to where I am. Congratulations on accomplishing this extraordinarily difficult task … starting … TWICE!

    Dub: Your message wasn't so much addressing me but I'm really glad you addressed your question to Scott because I was wondering the very same thing!! I look forward to his answer!

    Rick: The case study of surviving new entrants from your class is certainly a cautionary tale that bears out the truth of others' comments. From that one case history, yours, your chances were clearly not good. So… should you not have tried? Maybe, maybe not. Nonetheless, what you DID was choose to take "the good with the bad", travel "a long road", and you too are still standing!

    Hank: On your advice I've noted that "Bruce know GA very well". Good to know. I've much to do and, rich as this thread is, it's no closer to the end of my education than it is to the beginning. So I'm gonna need more input and more connections *in GA*.

    Everyone: I regret the tone of my original post. ALL of what I got back is very useful to me. I very much appreciate your thoughtful comments and your generosity in giving time to writing them.

    Ramsay


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Ramsey,
    As soon as you get your website up and running, be sure and post the address. You'll get plenty of critiques on this site.... all useful! Good Luck

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dub Smith View Post
    Scott, I was reading your post and you mentioned that you had diversified with around 50% of your work coming from pure Home Inspections. I was curious if you also did Mold Inspections, Radon Inspections, Home Energy Audits, and Lead Testing and how much of your business is generated in these areas. I, too, feel that I need to diversify but I also don't want to throw good money after bad. Are these profitable areas that would generate business or would it only be a "White Elephant" that I would be carrying?

    Anyone else can chime in, just wanting to hear some feedback.
    Hi Dub, visit my website it will tell you more than I can Nashville, Franklin, Brentwood & Middle Tennessee Home Inspections
    If it is not profitable I will not do it!

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

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Anyone have a positive perspective on beginning in HI?

    Thanks Scott, I really appreciate your info!

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
    Jubilee Home Inspections

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