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  1. #1
    Herb Scott's Avatar
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    Question Is IR making any money for anyone

    I've been investigating Infrared for more than a year. I understand the additional liability etc, etc. What I would like to know is if anyone is actually making money with these cameras. I'm considering purchasing one of the cameras to separate myself from the pack and provide additional services. Not just home inspections. Stucco, EIFS, structural, moisture, mold , energy evaluations, and all the other uses the camera offers. Is there any one out there who was in my shoes at one
    time (seriously considering getting into it), and is now in a position where they have increased their income , expanded their services, etc. Has it helped at all. Or , is it just an expensive gimmick. I would like to hear both sides.
    Thanks, Herb Scott

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Owning a camera as such may set you apart from your competition.

    If the thing comes out from behind the seat of your truck and makes you a dollar is another story.

    I personally think for the associated cost, I'd put my money into marketing myself instead of the bragging rights of owning one.

    JMHO

    rick


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Even the use of a moisture meter puts you far ahead of what the contractors use and they therefore can't confirm what you have pointed out. An IR camera is only going to separate you even more from what the contractor can verify. This is not to say that these cameras are not useful but I question whether they can actually benefit us.

    As for now, I already bust butt to get through a home in a reasonable amount of time and that seems to be more and more difficult as the experience and continuing ed piles up over the years. Another point, an IR camera would take me far beyond a visual inspection, you know, the type that our contract says we're doing. Just how much would a client expect of us with such equipment?

    I tend to think that IR cameras are better suited for inspections outside of the home inspection parameters.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I was at a seminar recently with a presentation by an inspector who had been using IR for 5 years. In essence he said that he was not making any money on residential only on commercial surveys. The last camera he purchased was $30K and most of the cheaper >$10K did not have the features that are needed for a comprehensive survey.

    He spent quite a bit of time on how the 'camera companies are really pushing these cameras into the hands of inspectors with minimal training and the really expertise was reading the images. Reminds of a doctor reading the shadows on an X-ray. Not all shadows are bad....

    At some point I will get a camera but with the low production rates it may be awhile before these cameras get below $3K and small enough to go into my bag.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    Owning a camera as such may set you apart from your competition.
    That alone makes money for you indirectly from having the IR camera. My IR probably made an additional $40K simply because I had it and used it, without that camera I would not have gotten those inspections.

    If the thing comes out from behind the seat of your truck and makes you a dollar is another story.
    It should come out of your truck on *every* inspection, otherwise it is just a waste.

    In "direct" income earned from doing IR surveys, I made about half the price of my camera back - it was the consistent use of it on regular inspections which lead to all the referrals *because* I had it and used it.

    If you are not going to use it, don't bother with it. If you are going to use it - use it consistently, that alone will produce more than that same $$ spent on your marketing will produce. At least until 'everyone' has one.

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

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    For a typical home inspection, its questionable if you would be able to make enough additional money to pay for the camera. Sure people like the "gosh" aspect of it, but the reality is you are competing with other individuals, and as much as we all hate to say so, price.

    If you have a real burning desire to get an IR camera, I would try to market energy surveys. Even then, its questionable if you will get enough work to justify the cost. It all depends where you are using it and how educated the consumer is about the benefits.

    Its just another tool we can put on our belts. A great tool for sure, but so are sewer pipe borescopes, blower doors, moisture meters, HVAC gauges, electricians tools, etc......
    You have to get return on investment to justify the cost.

    As far as commercial applications. In my neck of the woods, that business is already pretty much been staked out.


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Recently I attended a seminar put on by FLIR, a manufacturer of infrared cameras. The seminar was specifically for home inspectors and building inspectors, and focused (no pun intended) on how to market additional services utilizing the IR camera. Steve Ramos of The House Detective, a TV show, was the presenter.
    Steve claimed to have increased his average inspection fee by $125. He said that after some trial and error, he settled on a menu of choices:
    Mold inspection $250
    IR moisture scan $100
    IR electrical scan $100
    IR energy audit $250
    IR structural scan $300
    The approach to selling the services that he suggested was to ask the client if they have done a walk through, and ask them what they like about the home, and what are their areas of concern. Then he can hopefully sell an additional service or two.
    The other two approaches he talked about were integrating the IR camera into every home inspection, or offering packaged deals, i.e., a general home inspection for around $350, a general home inspection plus an IR moisture scan for $500, or a general home inspection plus an energy audit or mold inspection for $750.
    The cheapest camera can be leased for $99/month, but it takes more than a bit of training to learn how to use it properly and interpret the results. FLIR offers courses, but they are not cheap.
    I think they have great potential, and at some point they will be part of our standard toolkit, but I know I'm not ready to spend that kind of money just yet.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Reference to the cheapest camera is similar to all other things cheap. It may work, but it wont do what you really want or need it to do, and it will likely be obsolete very quick. I know from personal experience that things I have bought cheap turned out to be more expensive. I once bought some hand tools (china) that either broke, or rounded off bolts and nuts.

    I bought a Palm several years ago. It wasnt their best model, but at the time I thought it did what I wanted it to. After 2 years, it was pretty much toast.
    So I then bought an IPAQ (in 2004). It was the absolute most expensive one they made. I am still using it, and it does more than I ever hoped for. I have GPS moving map installed on it, it has blue tooth, WiFi, slot for SD card,plays MP3s and movies, easily removable batter pack, etc. It is a fantastic tool, that as the years go by, the price of it seems like even more of a bargain.

    Part of business is knowing what tools to buy and how to make money with them.

    Of course, the TV home inspector is going to do nothing but praise his IR equipment when FLIR is paying him to speak at one of their sales seminars.
    The seasoned guys on this list that have tried them are your best resource. Surely Jerry can explain his thoughts. I recall he was trying to sell one a while back.


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Jerry,

    I am surprised at your comment that "you should pull out your IR camera at every inspection". That flies in the face of doing a visual inspection. Even though I live in one of the wettest parts of the country, I rarely get clients asking for moisture intrusion inspections. My inspection fees are already at the high end of the market and doubt that customers would pay an extra fee for a IR scan. In fact I only know of one inspector doing IR which I mentioned above.

    I am on the outlook for leaks but only pull out my moisture meter to verify leaks. This is done to manage our liability as using advance tools could raise the bar and expose us to liability from latent issues. The tools only come out to verify a visual finding.

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by imported_John Smith View Post
    Reference to the cheapest camera is similar to all other things cheap.
    "Cheap" as in less costly. They are not "cheap" as in poorly made. At least not the ones I've seen.

    It may work, but it wont do what you really want or need it to do,
    Depends. It did what I wanted it to and what I expected it to.

    and it will likely be obsolete very quick.
    Well, I would not say "obsolete", they are not that much different now than a few years ago, except in ... the cost. (See below.)

    Surely Jerry can explain his thoughts. I recall he was trying to sell one a while back.
    I paid about $13,000 for mine, and sold it for $3,500. That was a big loss, but, being as I am retired and basically the only thing I've used it for the last 2 years was as a "stud finder" in the house were we are now. A rather *EXPENSIVE* "stud finder" - so I sold it to someone who will be able to make use of it. It should help his inspections and his business, and his up front investment cost was 1/4 what mine was.

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

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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bunzel View Post
    Jerry,

    I am surprised at your comment that "you should pull out your IR camera at every inspection". That flies in the face of doing a visual inspection.
    This "visual inspection" things rears its ugly head whenever something new comes up.

    Let me see, don't you ...
    - use a moisture meter?
    - a voltmeter?
    - a receptacle/circuit tester?
    - a tic tracer for finding ungrounded things?
    - and the list could go on and on.

    Even though I live in one of the wettest parts of the country, I rarely get clients asking for moisture intrusion inspections.
    I'm not saying to do a "moisture intrusion inspection", I'm saying to use it to scan the exterior and interior of the structure for anything which "looks out of place or not normal".

    My inspection fees are already at the high end of the market and doubt that customers would pay an extra fee for a IR scan.
    Then do it for the same fee, and watch your business pick up and your client's interest pick up. Then you will see, you can raise you prices, and still get the business, you might even be able to raise your fee and get to do fewer inspections, making the same (or more) money, and have less liability (because you are doing fewer inspections) ... of keep doing more inspections and stay busier.

    I am on the outlook for leaks but only pull out my moisture meter to verify leaks.
    See, there is what I am talking about - you are not really doing a "visual inspection" even now.

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

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I've said this before and got blasted but here I go again. I am a HI who does a visual inspection per the NCHILB SOP.

    I get out of my truck with a 4x1 screwdriver, circuit tester, and a flashlight. This is all I use unless I make a mess and need to get a towel out of the truck. Jerry I do have a ladder...you asked last time!

    When I want to provide a IR service I will change the name of my company. I have been a CEM for over 20 years so I have the background to use the IR technology when it becomes affordable.

    Home inspections are simple unless you are not sure what you are doing.


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    .....
    ..

    I get out of my truck with a 4x1 screwdriver, circuit tester, and a flashlight. This is all I use .....
    .

    NO MATCHES TO CHECK FOR GAS LEAKS ?
    ,

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    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 12-13-2007 at 07:53 PM.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    If I am hired for a HVAC service call I will use a flame to test for leaks if it is appropriate. What do you use when you check for leaks on a HVAC service call?


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    If I am hired for a HVAC service call I will use a flame to test for leaks if it is appropriate. What do you use when you check for leaks on a HVAC service call?
    James,

    I don't do HVAC Service calls only Home Inspection.

    In the 2 States I'm Licensed in we must check HVAC unless it will damage the equipment or can't operate/access.

    I uses a TIFF 8800 to check for a gas leak. It has a flexible neck for those hard to get to places. And a carbon monoxide tester if I suspect it's present.

    No matches! .

    In a pinch I have used Soapy Water in a Spray Bottle.


    James ,

    Is the attachment what you work from? Are you a Home Inspector? I don't see you as licensed or associate.Welcome to NC Office of State Fire Marshal

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 12-13-2007 at 10:37 PM. Reason: PDF SOP/CHECK LIST
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    James,

    I don't do HVAC Service calls only Home Inspection.

    In the 2 States I'm Licensed in we must check HVAC unless it will damage the equipment or can't operate/access.

    I uses a TIFF 8800 to check for a gas leak. It has a flexible neck for those hard to get to places. And a carbon monoxide tester if I suspect it's present.

    No matches! .

    In a pinch I have used Soapy Water in a Spray Bottle.


    James ,

    Is the attachment what you work from? Are you a Home Inspector? I don't see you as licensed or associate.Welcome to NC Office of State Fire Marshal


    James?

    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Billy Stephens; 12-13-2007 at 10:47 PM.
    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  17. #17
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I personally invite anyone who can prove to me that spending $10-15K on another gimmick tool is a wise business decision.

    My tack is to let the unwashed, who bear no credentials, experience or credibility, purchase these wonderful little things until the price goes down to the point that they are worth the expense.

    Aaron


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Like Ken Meyer, I attended a similar seminar earlier this year that was put on by FLIR and the presenter was Steve Ramos.

    He gives a very interesting and somewhat compelling presentation but he admits that he is in a different market and has the financial backing of the manufacturer.

    One of the FLIR guys told me that he made most of his money doing leak inspections of commercial properties (flat roofs). Most of the work was done at night with a minimum of a $1,000 fee (for starters).

    I'm not crazy enough to be climbing on roofs at night (well, at least not yet). I've been waiting for HGTV to call me about my own TV show, but so far, no call.

    I think I'll hold off on the acquisition of an IR camera for a while and invest in more tangible marketing activities.

    Jeff Beck
    Foresight Home Inspection


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Jerry,

    Especially when it comes to water leaks I don't want to add to my liability by using an IR Camera. Imagine a lawyer in a deposition asking you why you didn't find the water leak during the inspection? Can you defend yourself by saying I only sample areas with the IR? Or saying that the pictures you were interpreting didn't show the symptoms? I could say that I was doing a visual inspection and no visual signs were apparent. Apples and Oranges in my book. If they ask about a circuit tester I will explain that it can't be used to find leaks :-))

    Rick Bunzel
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I also attended a Steve Ramos FLIR presentation just last week in Boston.
    In my opinion the equipment is fantastic, state of the art, super cool - but I just can't see how it fits in the Home Inpsection Business. It is just way toooo costly!!!

    Anyone who has seen it demonstatrated knows that resolution is critical to analysis (and customer presentation). The higher resolution units range from $13.0K - $19.0K. Then you NEED to take classes to learn how to use it for home inspection application. In my opinion you will need at least 3 classes, (Buliding sciences, class 1 and class 2 certification) These classes cost $1,500 EACH (plus travel). Then the unit requires calibration each year. This costs $3,000.00/yr. You may also want to consider a wide angle lense for interior wall and ceiling scanning. Not sure but I think this is also $thousands more. This is a serious investment and commitment in time and marketing.

    If you think this can add to your income, ask yourself this question - Why is Steve Ramos on the road so much making presentations??? He should be back in CA. Selling time on his FLIR. (he is a one man inspection business)

    Check out his home page to get a better perspective. It is a must - very neat! and Very creative -http://www.envirovue.com/

    With this kind of investment $150 extra for an inspection will require more than 250 inspection using the FLIR before you even pay it off. Then another 25 inspections (using the FLIR) for the calibration each year. By the time you start making money it may be outdated and you may want to trade it in for a new model.

    What percentage of your clients will want to spring for the extra to use the FLIR. Also how many inspections will you do a year if you use it on every inspection and you are consistantly higher (significantly) than the competition???

    Don't forget about the extra time needed to report your findings and analysis using the FLIR. It adds a significant amount of time, possible double. (my guess).

    Bottom Line - Think Long and hard about this major investment in time and money. Do the research and DO THE MATH!


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Ken:

    Amen.

    Aaron


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Good post Ken. Thanks for the information. There are certainly variables in there that I would have never thought of.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    It is a good post.
    Now as long as every body in my market listens to his advice, the few with cameras will continue having the marketing edge.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    It is a good post.
    Now as long as every body in my market listens to his advice, the few with cameras will continue having the marketing edge.
    Dan:

    Nothing blows like smoke . . .

    Maybe we should all also consider investing in ground penetrating radar, portable x-ray machines, ultrasonic velocity meters and the like. If one cannot market his knowledge and experience above the gimmicks being wielded by the newbies, then perhaps one is not as knowledgable or experienced as one thinks.

    Aaron


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I personally invite anyone who can prove to me that spending $10-15K on another gimmick tool is a wise business decision.
    I can personally attest that it was wise for me.

    My tack is to let the unwashed, who bear no credentials, experience or credibility,
    And I was not one of those either.

    Some home inspectors are just to entrenched in their ways to see the light.

    Is buying an IR camera a "BIG DEAL"? You betcha. But so is buying that new vehicle ... because I want one of those like that - and that happens all the time ... and that new vehicle is NOT going to add one penny to your business, and believe me, it will cost more than an IR camera, so don't go using those lame excuses for keeping ones head buried.

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

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Jerry:

    "Unwashed" would be a compliment after having seen the back of your work van in another active thread here. I seem to remember you recently trying to pawn off your old IR camera on this site. How about showing some of that x-mas spirit and regifting it?

    Seriously though, Jerry, I do see some future for the gizmos. But, by the time they become an economically sound choice for my business, I plan to be in another business. That would be in about ten years or so. In the meantime I am happy to let all of the early adopters build up the public's interest and spend all of their hard earned cash doing it.

    Aaron


  27. #27
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Dan:

    Nothing blows like smoke . . .

    Maybe we should all also consider investing in ground penetrating radar, portable x-ray machines, ultrasonic velocity meters and the like. If one cannot market his knowledge and experience above the gimmicks being wielded by the newbies, then perhaps one is not as knowledgable or experienced as one thinks.

    Aaron
    Gotta admit with all the marketing gimmicks out there, it's tough being a newbie.
    I tried the mail order certified club route, that backfired on me, and got me thrown out from that club, thought about [for 10sec.] becoming a certified master inspector, gave that thought up since the leader of that club was the same as the one I got banned from.
    Got any other ideas or gimmicks to help other newbys, with little knowledge and experience like me.


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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I seem to remember you recently trying to pawn off your old IR camera on this site. How about showing some of that x-mas spirit and regifting it?
    Sorry, you missed that opportunity, it's been found a good home by someone who will make good use of it, not by someone who just tries to trash everything they don't happen to have themselves.

    Seriously though, Jerry, I do see some future for the gizmos. But, by the time ...
    ... you realize what you could have done with them, you will have missed the boat and have to make up a lot of lost time.

    Oh well, so be it.

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Dan, (and even Jerry for that matter):

    This business is not immune to the same old endless number of "picks and shovels" snake oil salesmen that plagues every other profession. Attend all the seminars if you must, but understand that they are, for the most part, sponsored by the snake oil salesmen who want to ply their wares. Some of their products are actually useful - like IR cameras. Some are even priced so that you can afford to buy them and make money using them - unlike IR cameras.

    Bottom line, in my opinion, if you cannot pay for the equipment inside of six months without raising your fees substantially in order to do so, don't buy it. Or, if you just have to have one of the whatchamcallits 'cause it will make you feel like a hot shot inspector, then by all means buy it. Just know that the tools don't make the man.

    Too many of the folks who buy into methane gas detectors (termite fart sniffers), Cougar Paws (shoes that make you think you're Spider Man), etc., etc. ad infinitum, just don't get it . . . their being suckered into paying for the snake oil boys' vacations . . .

    Aaron


  30. #30
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Bottom line, in my opinion, if you cannot pay for the equipment inside of six months without raising your fees substantially in order to do so, don't buy it. Or, if you just have to have one of the whatchamcallits 'cause it will make you feel like a hot shot inspector, then by all means buy it. Just know that the tools don't make the man.


    I look at it as , it takes money to make money, and go from there with what ever your confort level is.
    I had the same mindset when I first started my last bus, manunfacturing cultured marble bath products.
    I figured that I would just do vanities and showers.
    After a short time I soon learned if I didn't spend an additional $15,000 for tub molds my competion was getting the full job from the customers that only wanted to deal with one company when they wanted matching tubs .

    Agreed, Tools don't make the man, they sure help feed the man

    When the competition came out with a new product or a new product design that the mold or chemical companys sales reps. pushed, it started all over..


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    Just know that the tools don't make the man.

    Aaron

    While that is true, tools can help make the man better at what he does. Without tools, the man is left to his basic senses ...

    Which, by the way, are the man's *best* tools.

    Would you work *without* a moisture meter? Same difference with the IR camera.

    Did you buy a moisture meter when they first became available for HIs, or wait until *everyone* already had one and the price came down? Same difference with the IR camera - I took a beating on my IR camera, but only because I sold it. Like stock, you really have not lost anything on a stock which is dropping until you sell it - hold it long enough and it may - *may - come back, making you look like a smart man. Same with the IR camera, the 'cost' is not coming back, but the payoff is.

    I bought mine thinking I would directly and indirectly re-coup the purchase price within one year (that was my goal and what I based my purchase of my IR camera on) - I did better than that, I made about half the price of my camera back in "direct" IR scans, and made double the other half of it's cost back in 'indirect' increased business from having the IR camera.

    For me, it worked out well.

    For you - if you don't think it will work, believe me, it *won't*. Quite simply because you won't use it to the extent needed to make it work. Having brains, skills and knowledge is one thing, 'using them' is something totally different. "Having them" is great, but accomplishes nothing. "Using them", well, one can accomplish many things when using brains, skills and knowledge.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Jerry:

    Though I understand your position, I have not seen, with very few exceptions, how this sort of expenditure would increase my business from a a profitability point of view. I already have more calls for inspections than I can handle and regularly refer other inspectors who do not harass me as much as you do :} . The market will only bear what it will, and I would rather spend by time and my clients' money on inspections looking for what I know about than playing with new toys that have limited uses.

    I do see how, along with the other tools I already own, that an IR gizmo would be helpful in EIFS and similar inspections. But, that market is quickly dwindling in my service area. Most folks, if they even consider buying a home with EIFS cladding, are opting for complete siding replacement.

    Speaking of EIFS, I have followed behind a couple of local HIs (who shall remain unnamed to protect the stupid) on EIFS inspections. They used their IR ray guns to no avail. Half of the areas they indicated as having elevated moisture readings did not. Half of the ones I identified they did not.

    So much for technology . . .

    Aaron


  33. #33
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    I do see how, along with the other tools I already own, that an IR gizmo would be helpful in EIFS
    I 'see' problems trying to use an IR camera for EIFS inspections.

    Speaking of EIFS, I have followed behind a couple of local HIs (who shall remain unnamed to protect the stupid) on EIFS inspections. They used their IR ray guns to no avail. Half of the areas they indicated as having elevated moisture readings did not. Half of the ones I identified they did not.
    Just what I would expect with using a *surface temperature* reading instrument.

    So much for technology . . .
    Aaron,

    It's not 'so much for technology', it's more like 'so much for mis-use of technology' which causes the problems. Like trying to use a moisture meter to measure voltage ... she ain't a gonna work for dat.

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

  34. #34
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    It's not 'so much for technology', it's more like 'so much for mis-use of technology' which causes the problems. Like trying to use a moisture meter to measure voltage ... she ain't a gonna work for dat.[/quote]

    My point exactly.

    Aaron


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    This is off topic in a fashion. But Mr. James Duffin of NC posted here. Mr. Stephens of Memphis responded concerning Mr. Duffin's credentials. If Mr. Duffin is duely licensed, he just is. He certainly is not in the most recent roster of inspectors as put out by the licensure board. As a board member of NCLHIA, and someone who jumped through the proper hoops, I do hope Mr. Duffin will adjust that discrepancy.
    JLMathis


  36. #36

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    This is off topic in a fashion. But Mr. James Duffin of NC posted here. Mr. Stephens of Memphis responded concerning Mr. Duffin's credentials. If Mr. Duffin is duely licensed, he just is. He certainly is not in the most recent roster of inspectors as put out by the licensure board. As a board member of NCLHIA, and someone who jumped through the proper hoops, I do hope Mr. Duffin will adjust that discrepancy.
    JLMathis
    Wow, in one thread he stated he's been inspecting for 3 years, interesting.

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  37. #37
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    Thumbs up Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Hi Guys,

    It's my first time here. Hello to all.

    Inspecting EIFS is my passion. An IR... the correct one, is the way to go.
    I lost a confirmed inspection today because I didn't have a cam.

    I'll have one soon.

    Ditto: Jerry

    Steve Turetsky, UID #16000002314


  38. #38
    Herb Scott's Avatar
    Herb Scott Guest

    Smile Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Thanks, Steven and all those who responded previously.
    I was EDI certified to do EIF's inspections so I under stand where your are coming from.
    I took the plunge and purchased a Fluke IR camera. I'm currently in the process of marketing it and getting the necessary education. So far, I think my biggest problem is realtor resistance to the information it can provide. I'll be glad to share my investigations with any who are interested. I believe IR is the future of home inspections but I also believe that for now it should be an additional service to the home inspection. Not included in the HI price.
    Herb Scott Owner / inspector Scott Home Inspections.


  39. #39
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Hey Herb,

    How do you like the Fluke? Have you used other cams?

    It's new so I'm a bit leery.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  40. #40
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Hi Guys - I normally read with interest everyone's input to the various things you guys find during your inspections. This time I had to chime in and wish only the best for everyone. I'm not in the real estate home inspection business although I do get calls from agents and referrals from other inspectors. I have two service companies "Pacific Mold Assessment" and "National ThermoGraphic Inspections". I do make money at both of these endevors. I have been an insurance adjuster for 30+ years and got into the mold business as a result of that exposure, heck used to recommend "whipe it with bleach and paint it with "Kills", not any more. Bought my IR camera for about $17k, was worth more than the car I drove to pick it up and had to write a check for it. Heck was still making monthly payments on the car. Anyway I suspect due to my insurance connections I paid for the camera with one commercial flood job. What I do is way different than what you all are doing based on my understanding and experiance. Can you make money well yes in the correct markets but in my opinion not for your normal clients or the type of work your being asked to do.

    I do not do any advertising or real marketing. I have been lucky to make the contacts I have and they keep me fairly busy. I do use my camera on mold inspections when I am looking for moister but my meters are truly the tool. The camera helps me find suspicious locations.

    I do commercial roof inspections help out property owners providing them information that they can give to their roofing contractors so that surgical repairs can be made rather than complete roofing replacements. I can inspect holding tanks for sludge build-up, check for insulation placement and effectivness and even show where CMU blocks have not been solid grouted. I get called in to help remediatiors find wet building materials for removal or drying and follow the jobs to total drydown and then certify that the building is dry and can be "put-back". The mold business is just in Southern California but my Thermographic work takes me all over the country.

    If any of you need my help or if I can point you in the proper direction please let me know. email is gddames@earthlink.net or give me a call 805-390-4442
    Would be happy to help any way I can.
    Regards to all
    Greg

    Last edited by Greg D. Dames; 02-22-2008 at 09:26 AM.

  41. #41
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    National ThermoGraphic Inspections, LLC

    He forgot to add this.

    Nice pics. What camera do you use??


  42. #42
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    For those really interested in calculating the probability of profitability for IR whizzbangs (that, confidentially, would make the operator a whizzbangographer) in the HI industry the following simple formula should be of great assistance:

    Aaron

    Last edited by Aaron Miller; 05-17-2008 at 12:14 PM.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    A bit off topic but have you seen the new slow motion camera clarity?

    Just don't what use they might be for a HI.

    Check out this you tube video.

    The video with the gal and water balloon is not so bad either. That water dropping from the balloon is awsome.

    rick

    YouTube - Bumble Bee in Slo motion Flight like you have never seen


  44. #44
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Rick:

    You can use that new slo-mo technology to clearly see the lack of speed with which you recoup your IR investment . . .

    Aaron


  45. #45
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I've visited some IR forums and have been seeing some postings of IR cameras for sale with notices like 'seldom or little use'. 'IR not catching on in my market' ... etc.

    I don't know if they are HIs or just what, but maybe some folks are simply trying to recoup what they thought was going to be a windfall ??

    One IR forum strongly suggested against using thermography for a normal home inspection ... these were not HIs on the forum. They were national IR specialists.

    Main problem they commented on was that folks were jumping on the bandwagon without proper training/understanding of what they were doing or trying to descern from the images.

    I'm sticking to basics ... I get on enough thin ice as it is.


  46. #46
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Richard Stanley - I use a FlexCam that was made by Infrared Solutions. They were I believe purchased by FLUKE who now makes one with a built in digital camera I think they call it the Fusion but will stand corrected. It takes both an IR and regular color digital which really makes it easy to complete a report showing where the problem is in both worlds. I have to carry my other camera around with my digital if I find something to report on.

    I'am certified as a Level I (there are levels I II & III) The higher levels lend themselves to electrical and mechanical applications. Snell is now offering a Building Science Course which I am going to take and would suggest for anyone in our lines of work.

    The problems I've seen is that the folks getting some of the cheeper camera do not understand what the camera is telling them. Just like anything else this is dangerous.


  47. #47
    Richard Stanley's Avatar
    Richard Stanley Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Snell and Flir both offer building courses - as do some upstarts. Some of the courses are available online. Snell has webinar courses. Flir also now has a fusion camera - as do others. Seems like the training, technology, equipment and pricing is changing daily. I've heard that there are some Chinese infrared products coming to our markets - just don't lick the paint!!


  48. #48
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Nolan Kienitz View Post
    I'm sticking to basics ... I get on enough thin ice as it is.
    Nolan:

    If you had an IR whizzbang whilst skating upon that ice so thin
    You'd be able to see your thermal footprint
    Right before you fell in . . .

    Aaron


  49. #49
    Michael Boeger's Avatar
    Michael Boeger Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I purchased my FlexCam IR camera about a year ago for $14k. I think it paid for itself in about three months. There are a number of ways it did this. First I paid for 40% of it on one job. It was a company who wanted to verify CMU walls for proper grouting. It took me about two days total and I got $5500 for the job. Then I also did an inspection of 22 electrical sub panels which only took about 6 hours of work and was a $3400 job. The clients in both of these did not even blink at the price. More and more insurance companies are demanding that their clients have IR scans of their electrical panels on a regular basis. This is easy work and great money.

    Also, I have booked many more inspections due to the fact that I have the camera. Most times I don't even bring it out but when asked, the clients say that one of the reasons they choose me is because I have the camera.

    I have done dozens of moisture inspections at $350 a pop. I have also aligned myself with a remediation company who uses me to help with mold. There is also a huge market for roof inspections. I've just been too lazy to go after it.

    I suggest using it as a marketing point which helps separate you from your competition. After 17 years of inspections, I'm always looking for something to help do that.


  50. #50
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Michael Boeger - Where are you located? Who did you get with to get you on the electrical panels? I've tried to market to the larger building management companies but have not gotten anywhere. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Wished my FlexCam was the newer version with the digital built in. Life would be wonderful.

    Appreciate any suggestions you might have.

    Thanks
    Greg Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections


  51. #51
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    This is off topic in a fashion. But Mr. James Duffin of NC posted here. Mr. Stephens of Memphis responded concerning Mr. Duffin's credentials. If Mr. Duffin is duely licensed, he just is. He certainly is not in the most recent roster of inspectors as put out by the licensure board. As a board member of NCLHIA, and someone who jumped through the proper hoops, I do hope Mr. Duffin will adjust that discrepancy.
    JLMathis
    JL, It be nice if you and other posters fill in there Profile and location.
    I do hope Mr. Mathis and others will adjust that discrepancy.

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  52. #52
    Michael Boeger's Avatar
    Michael Boeger Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Greg, I am in the Redondo Beach area. The calls I have received so far are from my web site. I'm not sure how they got to my web site. A few say they were referred to me.

    I too would like to get a mailing list of the "facility managers" of bigger industrial buildings and maybe do a mailer to them. Have you tried this?

    Thanks,

    Michael Boeger
    Equity Building Inspection


  53. #53
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
    Greg D. Dames Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Michael - Your close we should do lunch some time. Are you a member of IAQA Irvine? I go to their meetings and if you do as well we have likley seen one another. The next meeting is in March and I plan on going maybe will see you there.

    Any way in Simi Valley I have driven and walked around the commercial areas and found about 3 of the building management companies that have lease signs out on display. I did a Google Earth view of the roof areas and then added the address info so I could tell where I was. But then I got otherwise distracted and did not take it any further. After this rain I should really get it going again. Folks are just not thinking about the roofs in the middle of summer.

    I'd like to pick your brain on the electrical panel inspections and how you got that going. Did you go to the insurance agents or underwriters? I think a face to face meeting is more effective than an e-mail or cold letter.

    Working on a commercial property in Santa Monica - had new and old water damages to west facing units. Also will be doing a roof survey in a few days.

    Hope things are going well for you, I could stand to be a lot more busy.

    Greg D. Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections
    Pacific Mold Assessment
    805.390.4442 gddames@earthlink.net


  54. #54
    Patrick Norton's Avatar
    Patrick Norton Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    All,

    I have had my camera for one year. I get a lot of inspections because I have the IR camera (makes me money). I use my camera at almost every inspection in high risk or suspect areas (full scans cost additional) and I find a lot of probelms (leaking plumbing/shower pans, basement leaking in finished basements, electrical overheating, missing insulation, etc.) that you visual only inspectors will not find (clients and realtors alike are impressed). I also perform many infrared defect inspections for homeowners (not just homebuyers - makes me money). Within the next 3+- years I believe people wil not hire you unless you have an IR camera.

    My two cents.


  55. #55
    William Galbraith's Avatar
    William Galbraith Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    I am a new member and have enjoyed all of your comments on IR cameras and applications. Lots of excellent responses, pro and con.

    I live in Edmond, OK, and have been performing electrical and rotating equipment IR scans in hospitals and office buildings for three years. Most of my business is actually in South Texas due to the salesmanship of my business partner down there. I am considering getting into residential inspections but, as I read it, I need to be a licensed home inspector per the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Oklahoma Home Inspectors Association. I am not interested in becoming a licensed HI.

    Has anyone considered using a Certified Thermographer to support their inspection when called for? Would the thermographer need state licensing in this instance, I think not, but this would need investigation. You as the HI are signing your report. I would simply be providing IR images with some interpration. I already have the camera and training. I am a Level II with additional training in Building Envelope and Advanced Electrial IR Training by Snell.

    By the way, I upgraded my Flexcam with the digital camera/fusion attachment and software. It is excellent. No need to carry a separate digital camera. Also, FYI, I paid $23M for the camera and $2.5M for the upgrade.

    Thoughts?

    Bill Galbraith


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Quote Originally Posted by William Galbraith View Post
    FYI, I paid $23M for the camera and $2.5M for the upgrade.
    Dang Bill,

    That's got to be some camera for $23 million, and $2.5 million for the upgrade!

    Holy smokes, I bet that'll outperform anything even the US army has!

    Hand held or truck mounted?

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

  57. #57
    William Galbraith's Avatar
    William Galbraith Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Jerry,

    I was hoping you would be the first to respond. I enjoy reading your threads.

    Sorry, in this case M means thousand. I am sure you knew that.

    Or, I could have said it is mounted on an SR-71 that I just purchased from the Air Force. They are literally giving them away on eBay.

    Bill


  58. #58
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Hmm... just did my first inspection with my new cam (Fluke).

    My normal procedure is to check every suspect (for example, missing kickout flashing) roof/wall junction at the interior with a meter if accessible.

    This time I checked the wall with the cam first... and caught an intrusion (verified with the Tramex) at a location where I would probably not have caught it with the meter alone, about 5 feet out from the gutter above a window header and out of arm's reach of where I would normally have set up the ladder opposite the eave to meter the wall. Knowing it was there, it was possible to work out the logic of how water could have likely traveled along the header, but even knowing it was present there was no evidence of the problem at the wall's surface visible to the naked eye.

    If this is typical of the increase in the number of problems I'll be finding, I am going to have to think more carefully than I had supposed about marketing and price.

    As for liability, I can see some considerable upsides.

    For example last summer I (and every other inspector in the area) had clients complaining about water intrusions after very heavy rains following a long dry spell.

    There was no way I could have predicted the likelihood of subsequent problems at the time of the dry spell inspections, but in the future when I find (for example) questionable flashing over windows and doors I plan to image the areas and archive the pictures.

    If there is a subsequent water problem I will scan again, and hopefully not only be able to demonstrate based on the image's differences that excessive moisture was not present at the time of inspection, but also turn the client's perceptions around by being able in some cases to assist in diagnosing the immediate problem, and perhaps even pick up additional work checking the entire property.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 04-17-2008 at 09:00 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  59. #59
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
    Aaron Miller Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    (verified with the Tramex)
    But did you verify the Tramex Wet Wall with a probe reading?

    Aaron


  60. #60
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    No - though as it happens I ended up probing into the wall at another header at the same property with my Protimeter, which I seldom do.

    ---------

    This was a moisture intrusion inspection, and there were lots of spooky problems at this property.

    For example an improperly installed J channel above a storm door was sending water down the door casing, through the sill-floor junction, down the rim joist and 15' along the top of the foundation wall (this was verified with the aid of a high tech tool called a "garden hose") - the owner had received a big dollar basement waterproofing estimate to "solve" the problem. I have to admit to being shocked at how much water entered the building so fast - within seconds water was running down the interior of the foundation wall at a half dozen points along its length. I'm going to write it up for my site at some point, I'll post a link when I do.

    I do need to think carefully about my policy as regards "verification" of water problems detected on IR. The approach I currently taking is based on a modification of my standard contract, and in cases were all I can detect are" indications there may be a problem", I'm careful to state that in my report.

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

  61. #61
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    No - though as it happens I ended up probing into the wall cavity at another header at the same property with my Protimeter, which I seldom do.

    ---------

    This was a moisture intrusion inspection, and there were lots of spooky problems at this property.

    For example an improperly installed J channel above a storm door was sending water down the door casing, through the sill-floor junction, down the rim joist and 15' along the top of the foundation wall (this was verified with the aid of a high tech tool called a "garden hose") - the owner had received a big dollar basement waterproofing estimate to "solve" the problem. I have to admit to being shocked at how much water entered the building so fast - within seconds water was running down the interior of the foundation wall at a half dozen points along its length. I'm going to write it up for my site at some point, I'll post a link when I do.

    I do need to think carefully about my policy as regards "verification" of water problems detected on IR. The approach I currently taking is based on a modification of my standard contract, and in cases were all I can detect are" indications there may be a problem, I'm careful to state that in my report.

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

  62. #62
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Now after some 60 inspection with IR Iwill never look back.

    This is one of the best tools to come along for inspectors.

    And it is well worth the cost of the camera.

    don't drop it!!! That will cost you!

    Best

    Ron

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  63. #63
    William Galbraith's Avatar
    William Galbraith Guest

    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Ron,

    You have just reinforced my idea of supporting inspectors with IR. See my previous post. I have been discussing this with the local HI association and there is some interest. The past president recommended I become an associate member and prepare a presentation at a future meeting. Then each individual HI can decide to use me or not, or whether to purchase a camera.

    If you have any ideas for me drop me a line. Thanks.


  64. #64
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    William I think you are on the right path. Im working with another company as the shooter and they provide the report to there Building owners or Condo complex or commercial building. big help and they get the work for doing the repairs. In calif. we work under the License of a structural pest control branch # 3. this type of Lic. covers all moisture condiiton and the repairs necessary to correct the excessive moisture. one more aspect of IR work.

    You can contact me on my web site;
    Excellence Exterminating and Thermal Imaging

    Best

    Ron


  65. #65
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Is IR making any money for anyone

    Anyone in the D/FW market that doesn't have IR and gets requests I'm available.
    Meet you at your inspection or stand alone service.

    Will work today and Moday with mine exclusively.

    Paid for itself in the first 4 months and is not the end all and do all inspection tool. All of the tools we've used in the past are required to correctly verify what the imager may locate.

    It's much easier to misidentfy what the imager is seeing then to correctly follow inspection protocol to the end without proper training, other tools, understanding of how buildings and systems work and field experience (OJT), jmo.

    As far as being unwashed, tonight is bath night

    Last edited by BARRY ADAIR; 04-19-2008 at 02:54 AM.
    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

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