Determining if home inspection the right career for you
A career as a home inspector can be very rewarding. If you hate waking up every morning and going to a 9-5 job to work for someone else then you will probably have the motivation it will take to succeed in the home inspection industry. It will take a lot of man hours, dedication, and hard work before you see a return on your investment.
The good news is that once you have your business established, make some connections, and get known in the community you can enjoy the benefits of being a home inspector. The Excellent pay, flexible hours, and thought of knowing you’re your own boss is all worth it. If you’re well organized, a technical thinker, have a desire to have your own business, and like figuring things out you’ll do just fine.
Getting started – training and certification
Training and certification requirements to become a home inspector vary from state to state. There are many states that you can simply go to the courthouse, pay $25 to get your business license, and you can immediately go out and do inspections. I highly advice against this approach because not only is it unethical, but it would put you in a position for huge liability if you’re inspecting homes without the proper education.
If you have the money to invest there are several schools across the US that teach how to perform inspections. If there are none in your area I would suggest searching google for “home inspection schools” online to see what type of online training there is available. Look for training from interNACHI or ASHI or at least institutions that have an affiliate membership with large organizations such as InterNACHI, ASHI, or NAHI.
Another option for training is to learn yourself and then find a local mentor that you can shadow for on the job training. There are many great books on how to inspect homes. I would suggest purchasing many and reading all of them to have a broad knowledge on the subject. It’s a very good idea to join an association that has a very active forum such as interNACHI. Their forum is packed with information and you can always ask other members if you’re unsure of something. You can find a complete list of state requirements at the Kaplain website:
How to get your home inspection business up and running
The first step to getting your business up and running is to make a list of everything you’ll need and everything you’ll need to do to get started. Include any costs on the lists. By creating a cost list and budgeting accordingly you will prevent any financial roadblocks from delaying your startup. Here is a list of a few things to help you get you started:
-Training, certification and licensing to meet local business requirements
-Errors and omissions insurance (if you decide to have it)
-Determine which organizations you’d like to join and get the accounts set up so you can become active on the forum
-Business cards, informational flyer, letterhead
-Professional website (this is an absolute must in today’s society). We offer great looking home inspection website templates and custom web design for new inspectors.
-Forms such as pre inspection agreements, standards of practice, home inspection checklists
-Report writing system such as EZ Home Inspection Software
-Clothes for inspecting
-Determine what marketing strategies you’ll implement and have it planned out
-Decide weather or not to accept credit card payments. If so you’ll need to set up a merchant account or paypal account.
-Determine how you will present results to your customer
-Check competition and determine your pricing
Home Inspection Tools
The topic of which home inspection tools to buy has always been up for debate. Some inspectors use only the minimum tools such as a ladder, outlet tester, flashlight, mirror, and a few others. Other inspectors spend thousands of dollars and have every kind of tool available.
A good rule of thumb is to determine what the local requirements are as far as scope of the inspection and then purchase whatever tools you need and can afford that at least meets the requirements so that you can do a complete and thorough inspection. Keep in mind that the amount of tools you have does not in any way determine the success of your business. You do not need to spend thousands of dollars on tools to be successful. The way you market your business plays a much bigger role in determining your success as a home inspector. A professional report is very important so make sure you have a great home inspection software.
How to market your business successfully
No matter how great an inspector you are or how many fancy tools you have, the success of your business will be determined by two things, your marketing efforts, and how well you work with people. The very minimal requirements that you’ll need for marketing are a business card and a simple website. When people are looking for a service they don’t go to the phone book anymore, they go online or ask a friend.
Once you have your business cards and website it’s time to get to work promoting your business. A good place to start is a networking group like BNI and chamber of commerce. Go out, network with people, visit real estate offices, offer classes, and try to get known in the community. If you’re not a people person become one. Read “How to win friends and influence people” . Study and put it into action every religiously.
The most important thing to remember is you need to be consistent with your home inspection marketing efforts. A few huge marketing blasts do not have the same effect as short consistent marketing over a long period of time. It’s much more effective to be consistent.
Now that you’ve read a little about becoming a home inspector hopefully you have a better idea of what it takes to get your business started. There is a lot of work to do but just know that once you get started and get your systems established it becomes easy like anything else. Before you start inspecting it’s a great idea to do as many practice runs as you can so you can get a feel for what it’s like to do an actual inspection. Call all your family and friends and inspect their homes for free from start to finish including a final report in printed of pdf format. It will be a learning experience for both of you.