Advice for a newcomer?

Hi everyone. As I near the end of my pre-licensure education, I was hoping to get some advice from some of you regarding a few things.

For a quick introduction on myself, my background is in civil engineering. I’ve been working in the business for 10 years, and it has grown stale. I’ve been job hunting for going on six months now because I am totally burned out with my current job. My degree is in Civil Engineering & Construction Technology, but I have a little bit of an architecture background as well. A good deal of the home inspector education thus far has been a big refresher on all the residential construction courses I took in college, so I have no doubt I can transition into this pretty easily.

What I’m really curious about is all the financial stuff.

Would you recommend getting a business loan to get started? I have some of the tools needed already, but there are some additional items I will need to acquire.

How long does it take to start earning a livable wage? What can I do, if anything, to accellerate that?

Any other advice for a newbie is also welcome. Thanks in advance.

Go through this MB and read, read, read! When you’ve had enough, read some more!!! Most any question you have will have already been answered 10 fold. Unfortunately, many don’t understand how to write a thread title to make it searchable, so you will waste many hours reading through useless and outdated threads with titles such as: What’s this? Need help! I retired the coffee can! I suggest you just skip over those threads as they’re usually poorly written and lacking details anyway. :wink:

or download the free version from our homepage at

I updated my profile. I live in Nashville, TN.

I know what you mean about the search function on message boards being difficult to use. It doesn’t deter me, though!

Thanks for the response.

^ This.

Even before I joined InterNACHI I read this board constantly. And once you dig through the members section, there are is so much good stuff on just about every topic.

I agree with everyone as far reading the message board. I’ve been in business for just over a year, and probably read through this board for close to a year before even becoming licensed. So it definitely helps. As far as a loan, I don’t think that’s all that good of an idea, just my opinion. What happens if you don’t get the work to pay it off, you get hurt not allowing you to work, go out of business, etc. as far as making a livable wage, I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m sure it will come, but in my first year, I’ve done 70 inspections. And I grew up in this area, have a ton of contacts, family that are realtors, friends that are lawyers and insurance agents, so on and so forth.

It sounds like you have a good background for this field, just know that it takes marketing, marketing, marketing, and some more marketing.

With all of that being said, go for it! I am so happy that I found this profession, and don’t plan on stopping, I LOVE IT!! Feel free to contact me if you want a newer but not brand new guys input. Good luck man.

Hi Brandon, you might want to consider joining a busy multi-inspectors firm at the beginning to gain the experience and have a fairly steady revenue flow. You can still try to get your own inspection jobs on the weekend and grow your business without the need of a loan.

I would also start planning your online marketing as it takes time to develop and time for search engines to give you a good placement in the search result.

Wish you great success.


If you took out a loan, what would you spend the money on? The home inspection business has low start up cost. You can basically buy the best that every vendor in our industry has to offer, plus InterNACHI membership which comes with all for less than the price of one pizza oven.

I have a little bit of an advantage there. I used to do a lot of internet marketing to make extra money on the side, mostly with Amazon’s affiliate program, so I have a lot of experience building websites and driving traffic. I actually just bought three domain names for my future business earlier today. I bought one with the business name and two for local SEO.

That’s awesome. I’ve looked through a lot of the benefits of being a member here, but I must have missed that one. Thanks.

Call me I started with $100. Today I make a great living and I support another family. Everything I own has been bought by the business.

Congrats on taking the risk to make a career change Brandon! I feel your pain on career burn out. I am currently a remodel contractor, scheduled to crawl under a pre-radon mitigation house tomorrow to install supplemental supports, along with small jobs on the house -touch-up painting, installing smoke detectors… Two years ago I was building six-figure additions. I felt the burn out a couple years ago and quit hustling my leads. I have been a subcontractor for other contractors and the stress of the business is still more than I can keep from effecting other important areas of my life.
Something inside me is beginning to light up again the more effort I put into becoming a Home Inspector. I am in the Nashville area as well. Hearing that the population here is supposedly going to double in the next 10 years… lots of home sales!!! If you want to grab a cup of coffee sometime let me know. Maybe one the ASHI or NACHI vets around could join us.

I don’t think a loan is necessary. There are a lot of things that can be figured out on a shoe string budget, which is what I’m starting with. I wish I had more to spend on marketing, but I don’t, which translates into pounding the pavement, both digitally and physically. My tech skills are lacking so I don’t have my head wrapped around web design and S.E.O. I have enough on my plate with trying to learn basic accounting along with cramming my head with as much inspection knowledge as possible. Maybe one day I’ll have time to figure out the web stuff, but hopefully not, I’d rather be able to make enough to pay someone to do that. I know where my strengths lay. Communication, psychology and knowledge will all be keys to success I believe. Good luck, don’t let fear get in your way and you can conquer this mountain.

Talk with Sean Fogarty, he just left that area.

Starting on a budget is a must but a shoestring budget is only adding stress and demands on you to perform.

Talk with lots of inspectors, visit meetings and conferences. What may work with one inspector/area may not work so well with another. Believe half of what you read here.

There’s no way in hell you can start this business with $100 if you live in a State that requires licensing. My application fee alone is $100, let alone schooling costs, NHIE cost, 30 parallels costs, etc. I’m $5K into it and waiting for my license in the mail and still have another $1K +/- to spend. Let’s give the guy some reality. Not trying to discourage, just being real.

When I say shoe string budget, I mean less than $5k, which is pretty low for business start-up standards. Granted, I already had an SUV and most of the tools. As I book more inspections, I plan on sinking the money into marketing.

Unfortunately for me, that $5K was just to get my license. Because I live in a rural area, I couldn’t find anyone within 100 miles, willing to do my 30 parallels. I had to go to Phoenix and stay there for a couple weeks and pay a company $2400 to get them completed. Fortunately for me, I was able to complete them in 12 days.

I do agree that the start-up costs are extremely low compared to other businesses. I just don’t want people to think they can get into this business for $100.

To determine if you can make a living, research your area. Find out home many homes were sold in your service area last year, last quater, last month, etc. What percentage of those transactions do you need to be a part of to earn the income level you need to survive. I believe the national average for realtors is 7 transactions a year. Using the above information you can gain insight into how many realtors that need to “use” you to survive. Market,market,market - don’t stop talking about inspecting to everyone you encounter. I thought the few people that I knew in real estate would be my keys to the kingdom. Found out it doesn’t work that way - you need to work your business to be successful… There are many great threads in the form with marketing ideas and tips.

I’m currently part time. As taking the total leap wasn’t feasible for me. Working on trying to build business to the point where full time is feasible.

Start up costs vary depending on your state requirements. But I would try to have money available for marketing; cards, brochures, etc. As far as tools go, I started basic and haven’t had anyone question the tools that I have or use. Focus your money on marketing would be my advise, without work all the tools in the world don’t matter…