A bit of advice

Hi guys,
I am interested in expanding my knowledge and services into the IR arena.
I have watched a few of the free videos on Nachi TV and have been to the Infrared Certified website.

I think this could be a great way for me to separate myself from the pack in my area, provide a better service to clients and possibly expand my business into some other arena’s.
I have talked briefly with some folks who say that once they got their camera and incorporated it into their inspection process, they wouldn’t be without it.

I would like some advice as to how I should approach this. I don’t wish to waste time or money and am hoping that by drawing on your experiences I can avoid costly mistakes.

As for the cameras themselves. It seems that Flir and Fluke are the big competitors. I know this will open a can of worms, but which one is the one to get and how do I decide?

I appreciate your help.

Dear Michael:

Great questions!

With proper care and planning, infrared thermography provides several significant opportunities for home and building inspectors.

As a home inspector, infrared thermography can help you to expand your business and increase revenue. Adding thermography to your existing services can also be advantageous in competitive situations when you are seen as being on ‘the cutting edge’ of technology.

Should you choose to go beyond home inspections, thermographic inspections for commercial and industrial facilities can provide a cash flow in excess of $200,000 per year. Typical applications for these facilities include, but are not limited to, electrical and mechanical systems, HVAC systems, building envelopes, and flat roofs.

In order to maximize your chances for success, you will need to acquire an imager sufficient to the application(s) you intend to provide. You will also need to become certified to at least Level I.

The best advice I can offer is to take your training before you buy an imager. Doing so will allow you to see the many applications of thermography and enable you to make an informed decision regarding an imager purchase.

Should you care to learn more about the potential of thermography, I would invite you to check out our web-based short course, Infrared Thermography for Home and Building Inspectors. This 29 minute presentation is available 24/7 and is free to NACHI members.

If you are ready to start your infrared training now, I would recommend either Infraspection Institute’s 32 hour Level I course or our 16 hour course, Infrared Inspections for Home and Building Inspectors. Both are availble as open enrollment classes or via our web-based distance learning program.

Should you have further questions, you may also contact me directly. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to supporting your future endeavors.

Jim Seffrin, Director
Infraspection Institute

Infraspection Institute
IRINFO.ORG
SuccessIRies.com

425 Ellis Street
Burlington, NJ 08016
609-239-4788

Not bad 50 views and one reply…

Thanks for the info Jim.

I am guessing the lack of replies is due to Jim’s answer. If you are going to get in to infrared you should consider training before getting the camera. Infrared is much more than just one application. With training you will understand all the applications much better, and that will lead you to what type of camera you will eventually want.

Good luck,

Jason Kaylor – JJ
VP of Sales
877/207-1244
AC Tool Supply](http://www.aikencolon.com/)
Fluke Thermal Imagers
FLIR Thermal Imagers
HotShot Hi-Rez Infrared Cameras
Fluke TiR1 Resources](http://www.fluketir1.com/)
FLIR B60 Resources](http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b60-b-60-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_1564.html)
Retrotec Duct & Blower Door](http://www.aikencolon.com/Retrotec-Air-Blower-Door-Duct-Systems_c_1074.html)

That’s the plan. It sounds like the right thing to do

Follow Jim’s advice!

Contact me for the lowest price IR cameras in the USA…
only for my students.

john@infrared-certified.com
http://www.infrared-certified.com

I appreciate your time and the conversation John.
I will be taking your class here in early May.
I don’t know if the class you teach will preclude me from any other certifications but for what I am doing currently it appears to be a perfect fit.

Michael, if you are going to be using infrared in a home inspection business I normally recommend to guys to go with both John’s class and Level I. Then get some infrared experience in the field for a couple of months, then add on Level II. You can also consider equine training and pest related training. There is a company in FL, I do not know their name, but they specialize in just equine infrared training. Infraspection and Snell both have dedicated classes for pest related infrared.

Good luck,

Jason Kaylor – JJ
VP of Sales
877/207-1244
AC Tool Supply](http://www.aikencolon.com/)
Fluke Thermal Imagers
Fluke TiR Infrared Camera
HotShot Hi-Rez Infrared Cameras
Testo 880 1 Infrared Cameras](http://www.aikencolon.com/Testo-0563-0880-V1-880-1-Thermal-Imaging-IR-Camera_p_0-2455.html)
Testo 327 Combustion Analyzers](http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b60-b-60-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_1564.html)
Retrotec Duct & Blower Door](http://www.aikencolon.com/Retrotec-Air-Blower-Door-Duct-Systems_c_1074.html)

Gees Jason, by the time I get John’s training, level one, level two, field experience and the equipment it sounds like I’ll have about ten grand plus many months wrapped up in it before I get started. Do you foresee a good return on that investment? If so, please offer some detailed explanation.

I am a state certified termite inspector as well as NEHA certified in Radon testing.
Please explain the use of IR with horses???

I am not being sarcastic or anything. I realize that there will be some increased liability perhaps and IR is definitely not point and shoot. I also realize and subscribe to the mantra of being the best one can be at any endeavor undertaken.
That being said, the time line and level of expense is getting longer and larger respectively after each post…

It gets worse. Once you take Level I and II you will realize the earning potential of infrared and the camera that is needed for flat roof, commercial and industrial applications.

It is better you know all of this stuff now. I cannot tell you how many people buy cameras without training, then 6 months later say that infrared was a bad investment. Training is not only about infrared, potential liability, etc, but it will teach you most of the applications that can be marketed to.

Jason Kaylor – JJ
VP of Sales
877/207-1244
AC Tool Supply](http://www.aikencolon.com/)
Fluke Thermal Imagers
Fluke TiR Infrared Camera
HotShot Hi-Rez Infrared Cameras
Testo 880 3 Infrared Cameras](http://www.aikencolon.com/Testo-0563-0880-V4-880-3-Thermal-Imaging-IR-Pro-Set_p_0-2458.html)
Testo 327 Combustion Analyzers](http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b60-b-60-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_1564.html)
Retrotec Duct & Blower Door](http://www.aikencolon.com/Retrotec-Air-Blower-Door-Duct-Systems_c_1074.html)

I see you’re the VP of sales for AC tool supply. Do you have direct knowledge of individuals who are doing so well in IR that they have stopped doing home inspections or changed businesses altogether?

I don’t want to seem crass, but John is offering a good course so that IR can be incorporated into the home inspection process and what appear to be substantial discounts on IR cameras. You seem to be saying that the sky is the limit.
I’ll be frank with you. After almost 20 years in the residential and commercial construction industry I decided to become a inspector because of 1.The income potential based on performance and 2.The ability to work with people at a different level.

I am admittedly ignorant of IR and the potential revenue. I do not wish to end up as what you have described above as someone trying to sell his IR camera on ebay because it turned out to be a bad investment.
I did watch the video on Jim’s post and I watched the video on John’s website. When everyone wants you to open the wallet things become a bit harder to discern.

One more thing Jason,
Thanks for the Information! I will be starting with John’s class and taking it from there. If the interest peaks I’ll go farther. If not I’ll be able to utilize the skills he teaches in what I am already doing. I’m exited to learn this great technology.

Mike

4 years ago (or so) I purchased a Flir BCAM SD. One of (if not the) best investments a home inspector could ever make. Energy is a train coming down the tracks, and we’re all going to get run over whether we like it or not.

Energy is coming - in fact - in many ways - it’s already here. If you’re not carrying an infrared camera, I’d kill you in marketing (if I were an inspector in your area). In SE Pennsylvania, my inspection company dominated the market share (for several reasons). One being that I used infrared - and no one else within miles did. (the others included on-site reports and summaries, pictures, video of the inspection, diverse services, my good looks :), professionalism, 100-day warranty, etc.)

My problem back then was there wasn’t any affordable, accessible training. Now there is. There’s no excuse for not being trained by a professional/expert. I hosted a 2-day, hands-on “Building Science and Thermography” training course at NACHI.TV a couple months ago. I attended the class, and am still working on attaining my IR-Certified certificate. I chose to invest my time and money into a training course that was affordable and accessible. But most importantly, I wanted to be trained by the best, and learn the knowledge and attain the skills necessary to immediately apply infrared thermography in an inspection. I wanted to learn it all in one package. Not in levels. And I wanted to use a logo that speaks for itself. Home inspectors are not trainined in sales, and I wanted access to use a certification logo that spoke volumes for me.

Way back then I didn’t have professional training. I was not qualified to inspect using an infrared camera, but that did not stop me. I simply turned on my Flir camera, walked around and kinda guessed at things that seemed obvious to me. It was fantastic, because an IR camera has all the Wow marketing that you could ever imagine. Quietly I’d pull out my camera and start walking around. Agents and clients would whisper behind me for a while, looking over my shoulder, trying to see what I saw through my camera. And then, the sales of my services just came natural. The camera did all the sales, it did all the talking. For me back then, the camera was the marketing tool of choice to increase revenue.

To cover my butt, I did not report on anything that was apparently good/functional. I only put infrared pictures in my report when I felt capable of communicating something that was obviously wrong or was a defect. Like moisture (which was confirmed with a moisture meter; or missing/or lack of insulation in areas, typically at the attic scuttle or ceiling hatch.)

Now, today, after being trained by the best in the industry (and doing a lot of research and training myself), I realize and understand how foolish it is to use a camera without proper, professional training. Oh, how many things I probably overlooked or saw but did not understand. Without proper, professional training and education, it’s really just guessing.

(And in my opinion, I would never hire someone for an energy audit or thermography inspection who wasn’t also a certified home inspector (InterNACHI inspector). The best thermographer is a certified home inspector. My advice: Do not sub-out thermography work to a non-member of InterNACHI. It is equivalent to hiring a mold inspector who is not also an InterNACHI certified home inspector. Mycologists or certified hygenists should not do certified mold inspections. The best professional to hire for a certified mold inspection is a professionally trained, InterNACHI certified home inspector.)

That’s one of the core capabilities of InterNACHI and NACHI.TV. We strive to bring the best training and education to home inspectors who choose to invest in their personal and professional excellence.

If you want more help from me about this topic, I could go on (rambling on this thread). But I’ll stop now. Just email me, and I’ll do my best to give you information that could help. I’m a home inspector and certified instructor who uses infrared technology. I’ve been trained by the best. And I know a lot about marketing, and incorporating this new technology into your home inspection business, or using it as a stand-alone service.

(Aside: Don’t get trained by any one other than a certified home inspector and certified course instructor (InterNACHI preferrably). It is a waste to do otherwise. Iron sharpenth iron. It’s simply most effective use of my time to be taught by other inspectors. I like to know that my instructor has been in my shoes - so to speak.)

You either invest in an infrared camera and the right training - or - a bunch of tooth brushes. :slight_smile: Why? Because without investing in infrared - you may be eating the dust from your competition. (That’s a good one.)
My most recent training video with an infrared camera. This is what I would typically do at a residential home. Aside: There was hardly any preparation for this video. We simply pressed “record” and went for it. Nick, my brother, held the camera. And if you know Nick, you better get it in one take or forget it. Tell me what you think of it - should I do another?

I never said anything negative about John’s course. I always recommend home inspectors take it. John is a home inspector with an infrared background, he trains and teaches such. I also recommend they take Level I and eventually Level II.

Yes I know home inspectors that do more infrared now a days than they do home inspections. I know home inspectors that wish they never brought on infrared, normally that group is under trained. I also know thermographiers that do zero home inspections and make 200K+ a year just doing thermography, before hiring more thermographiers.

My point has always been the same for when a home inspector brings on infrared. Many bring it on to benefit, add services, or gain an competitive advantage in their home inspection business. There is nothing wrong with that, but infrared is its own stand alone business. When you bring on infrared you own a home inspection business and a thermography business. I have always felt that guys that have approached it that way do better in the long run.

A couple other considerations to keep in the back of your mind when considering infrared. Negative - Do realitors really want you to find more defects in a structure? Positive - Infrared is soon going to be adopted in to the Resnet standards for post thermal bypass checklists.

Jason Kaylor – JJ
VP of Sales
877/207-1244
AC Tool Supply](http://www.aikencolon.com/)
Fluke Thermal Imagers
Fluke TiR Infrared Camera
HotShot Hi-Rez Infrared Cameras
Testo 880 3 Infrared Cameras](http://www.aikencolon.com/Testo-0563-0880-V4-880-3-Thermal-Imaging-IR-Pro-Set_p_0-2458.html)
Testo 327 Combustion Analyzers](http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b60-b-60-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_1564.html)
Retrotec Duct & Blower Door](http://www.aikencolon.com/Retrotec-Air-Blower-Door-Duct-Systems_c_1074.html)

FLIR offered me the Level I course in my area for free. I never went
to the class because I felt it would be too boring. My class already covers
about 80% of what they teach and concentrates on what you really
need to do a home inspection. Sorry if that makes some people mad
at me, but that is how I feel about it. I originally took the building
science course from FLIR and even my teacher didn’t think much of
Level I when it comes to building inspectors. Level I was written over
10 years ago and does not deal with the subject matter that building
inspectors need on a daily basis. When I sat in class with Level II, and
Level III thermographers who said they could not do a home
inspection, I realized then that all those titles mean nothing in the
real world if it does not help me do my job. That is why FLIR created
a newer class tailored to building science… IMHO.

If you like it, that is cool with me.

I’m with you John. What lets me use IR effectively is my knowledge of building science not theoretical knowledge about thermography. Your class formalized what I already knew about IR. And included useful information on practical manipulation of the Delta T so an effective IR scan could be done. At an affordable price as well.

Don’t anyone think I’m saying you don’t need knowledge. But knowledge is available from many sources, not just proprietary classes which I believe have making a profit from training as their first priority. One of my complaints about the IR training available is cost versus actual utility. And the fact that the so called certifications are only available by taking their course. As if the knowledge offered is unique which it is not.

My own experience is that your class is sufficient for any reasonably intelligent person to add thermo to their home inspection business.

Jason,
You have a valid point about some Realtors not wanting inspectors to find more stuff. I have been slowly leading on about IR to Realtors and have received a mixed review. Some were really exited and others were, well not so exited. Ben also has valid points about the marketing aspect and most importantly better serving our clients by using IR in inspections.

I wont bring religion into this but I can bring some reality into it. Christ once said “cast the net on the right side of the ship and ye shall find.” If someone is not dedicated to their clients best interests are they really someone we want to do business with? Food for thought.

I would like to learn more about how to market this technology both in the arenas of home inspection and perhaps grow into other arenas as Jason has described.

I like Ben and believe he has our best interests at heart. I also believe that Jason sees a great potential for the technology.

Here is where the rubber meets the road. If I can get more inspections, make more money, and be a blessing to my family and others by including IR in my forte’, Then I am there!!!

Mike

Enough has been said from the extremes of both sides of the road so I will comment on a perspective which has not been addressed.

This is a new technology and being such the full capabilities are not understood by the general public or many thermal imaging camera owners. It appears that you are looking for a decisive return on your investment in a reasonable period of time. You may or may not find this. It depends on the unpredictable future ahead of us. You made a good point that purchasing equipment and training may cost thousands of dollars more than you intend. And you are correct in assuming that you are not going to recoup an immediate return on your investment.

You have invested a lot of time and resources in home inspection and other ancillary services. This is just another one of those. I got into radon testing because that is what the majority of my clients required conjunction with a home inspection 12 years ago. Today, I only do about 3% radon testing in the buildings I inspect. I purchased equipment, was EPA certified in measurement testing and then mitigation. Today homebuyers in my area are not afraid of radon so much. I’m getting very little return on my past investment at this point. But education is never wasted! Today we cannot turn on the television without hearing about energy efficiency and cost! There is a new paradigm on the horizon.

My point is that clients are not going to make your phone ring off the hook when they hear that you have thermal imaging camera. You are going to have to market to them and teach them the benefits of this technology. So if you’re not into marketing to make the phone ring you may reconsider. If you don’t have the time right now to invest, the timing may not be right. As Ben pointed out, eventually this technology will reach the lips of every home buyer in the United States (because of all of the current home inspector’s marketing their camera). When this happens, whoever is not on board will be left in the dust.

A couple other points.
Upsetting Realtors: You will only make realtors upset when you use this camera technology inappropriately. Meaning that you overwhelm everyone with what you’re seeing through the camera. Every house out there has significant deficiencies visible with a thermal imaging camera. Select your battles and don’t make too big a deal out of everything you see. All doors leak air. You need a source of ventilation from somewhere so it may as well be from under the front door. You can show them how much air is coming in but you don’t always have to make a big deal out of it.

Certified instructors: this is a self regulated industry. There is certified and then there is certified. Choose carefully.

Which equipment and training: all “training” is relevant. Any thermal camera will detect thermal anomalies. The extent of your desired professionalism will dictate which camera and training program you choose. The more professional “Certification” programs out there require continuing education and recertification and is a continuous “progression” in the industry. Some Certifications give you a piece of paper for your tuition and require nothing more.

If you are doing nothing more than a home inspection, and promise to never turn the camera on anything besides a house you can get into this program for $2500.

Mike,

Talk to Kevin Richardson, Bill Warner, Charley Bottger, and Will Decker on the NACHI board here. Those 3 and a ton of others on the board here are doing quite a few IR inspections. In fact I heard from several that when their home inspections died down, their IR is what held them over.