An additional inspection industry benefit of IR cameras.

As we all know, our profession is too easy to enter. ASHI for instance dumps thousands of inspectors into our markets with nothing more than a valid credit card, no entrance requirements at all. Our profession is also too easy to exit. Inspectors coming and going like stray dogs.

IR cameras, with their high sticker price, make it appear to the wannabees with nothing more than a pencil in their ear, that our profession might take a bit of an investment… certainly a bit of a financial investment if they want to walk right into our markets with the claim that they are the cutting edge of our profession. In the past they could fake it with nothing more than a $100 digital camera, a website, and some pay-per-report software.

It also provides a greater financial incentive to hang in there longer. Right now the average inspection career is less than 3 years long, less than a real estate agent, less than an NFL running back.

When I was in the heavy equipment business, it was a rare event for a competitor to leave or enter our market. The tools were just too dang expensive.

Now regardless of your position on whether or not the tool is worth its price (I guess you could dig a ditch with a shovel instead of a backhoe too), you have to agree that anything that might help stabilize and consolidate our industry is a good thing. Yes?

Well said Nick…professionals use professional tools. Why do doctors command high fees for their services. Their level of training and investment in technology are a big part of why they command such high fees.

Our profession must do the same. Our clients demdand it. As the profile of our industry changes we will gain respect from clients. As we become more than paper pushers homeowners will see us as the go to rather than the contractor. All of this will lead to higher fees, greater independence from the real estate community, and better career satisfaction (longevity).

“wannabees”, maybe that’s the description I’m looking for!?

I’m running two parallel conversations here, one about HVAC and one about infrared thermology. Both threads are being bombarded by those that say “that’s just too much”. I’m not required to do that, and other such comments. There seems to be great resistance in even trying!

It’s interesting, the more you know about the concepts and technology, the less you have to use those tools! No one wants to learn HVAC, but they want to inspect it.

In trying to improve my SEO on my website I find home inspectors by the dozens discussing infrared thermology ranking higher than my site and they don’t even own a camera or are certified in the technology!
They want talk about it, but they don’t want to do the time or make the investment. Just like everything else they do.

When I arrived on the HVAC scene, I was armed with a bunch of education and a bunch of specialty tools to conduct the process as I was taught. I was met in the industry with a bunch of “old crusty farts” that had managed to work around the necessity of all this test equipment, after years of experience. I was the new whiz kid and they just couldn’t understand the need for all this new technology. Well, it all boils down to 30 years of experience versus the newbie. Neither one is better than the other, however a newbie cannot generate 30 years of experience and show up for work tomorrow!

The sensory receptors in your hand far exceeds the capacity and capabilities of thermal imaging equipment (regardless of price). We have the tools, from birth! But do we use them? After years of experience we tend to learn how to use them out of necessity.

Perspective: We all have a different perspective. Our perspective is formed from past experience and learned education. If you have more past experience you need less education. If you have more education you can do the job with less experience.

So those that say that this technology is a shortcut are correct. It’s a shortcut for what would otherwise take 30 years of experience.
A lot of us here don’t have that much time! A lot of you have already invested this much time!

The thing that we both can agree upon is that failure to comply with the process just to become a marketing tool is where things go astray. You can’t take a shortcut with the shortcut! The inspectors are out there trying to use this equipment without the proper training is the shortcut of the shortcut. A person using thermal imaging on homes without a solid background in home inspection is worthless. The use of infrared cameras on subject matter that you know nothing about is worthless

We all know who they are, just by the way they speak.

We have the “crusty old farts” that are never going to change.

We have people buying equipment “without a clue”.

We have people training for the mission. Extending their capabilities and knowledge base to perform the best services possible within the known limitations of technology.

Not resistance to trying but resistance to the growing perception of some that these additional services are “required” for a good Home Inspection.

Above all, these added services come with a price in equipment and expertise acquisition that cannot be minimized.

If these services are to become more widely used and eventually the norm, then those paying for our services need o understand that they will have to pay more because they are getting more.

That may be a tough sell in an industry plagued by lowballers and undereducated inspectors.

Yes, I definitely agree with you on that.

I tend to overlook this because I do not play the lowball game.

I don’t know if I could say that these additional services are not required for an “exceptional” home inspection. They are definitely not required for a “good” home inspection.

However, if you look at any marketed product, there are and always will be markets for KIA SUV’s and the Cadillac Escalade!

The choice is all about money. Some will pay, some will not. So, you must diversify your offerings.

The problem I foresee is that the home inspector that does thermal imaging during home inspections is very unlikely to leave the camera in the truck during a “standard inspection”. This type of practice will very quickly become the expected norm that you’re discussing.

I enthusiastically disagree with your comments, here…but I can certainly understand why those who profit from the sale of these particular tools, and the training associated with them, would want to promote such nonsense.

Very well said. I agree that experience is needed as well as proper training. I myself had 12 years in construction before I became a home inspector. I am now in my 3rd year on my own after working for somone for 2 years so I guess I could say I am in my 5th year but I don’t count the first 2. I was never really taught how to inspect a house when I worked for the person I spent 2 years with I was told " you have 12 years of construction experience you know what to look for". Well yes I did in some areas but not in others so I had to take it upon myself to learn and educate myself in my weak points of expertise. I learned from that experience that this industry is always changing and new technology in building science appears all the time. That is one reason I made the investment in my IR camera. I want to be ahead of the curve rather than in the middle or behind it. I have only had my camera a few days now and am learning so much from it. It scares me to think of the things I missed with the naked eye. I plan to begin charging fees for IR in 4 weeks time. That should give me approximately 35 inspections using the camera and learning about it. I also have been trained by John McKenna and ITC classes as well as iNachi. I try to learn something new every day and also spend several hours a week on the internet learning. It is all a new day every day for me and that’s what excites me and motivates me to get better. Well that and my wife and kids. I hope to have a well established business to pass down to them when it is my time to be the grumpy old fart on the golf course riding around telling others they need to speed up. LMAO. I hope this finds everone well, happy and busy. Enjoy every day you have.

Good luck Mark. You will find that your investment will pay off. :wink: :wink:

Any business that is ‘easy in’ will be plagued by ‘easy out’. For many years
the HI industry was something sold as an easy home study course and
anyone could make $800 a day…!

Those days are fading and many inspectors who approached it with that
mentality are waking up to the reality that this profession cannot be
treated casually. Advanced technology, methods and reporting are
becoming the norm and the competion is not slowing down.

Nick is correct. In businesses that require more investment, you find
less nomads moving into that sector and less give up and walk away from it
so easily. It cost too much to give up.

That sounds fine in the abstract but the HI business in particular is a long way from having a high entry bar or significant investment to get started.

That is still true in some areas, but not in others. Being able to compete in
some markets is becoming more difficult as those areas experiences an upgrade
in available services that clients can choose from. Some areas are requiring
more from inspectors to be licensed and insured as well.

Johnny, hide your TX regulation manual under your bed, your Mommy is coming up the stairs!:wink:

I wouldn’t feel too smug or too sorry for that matter for the guys that learned this business in a correspondence course. In the early days of Home inspections that was pretty much all there was outside of on the job training in the construction business. In the days before all the two week school popped up and you could get an 80 hour diploma for Home inspections a correspondence course (many were typically a year or longer) was pretty much the only way someone could get a balanced course of instruction in all the disciplines needed to do a competent inspection. Unlike the schools of today, those courses actually taught things that were valuable; like how to read a blueprint, or a plot plan, set a benchmark, how to advertise, do the accounting, marketing, how to write a variety of reports, how to really inspect an HVAC system without all the nonsense being taught today about splits in temperatures as well as other things too numerous to list here. Those were the guys that paved the way for those of us that followed, often having to build their business from the ground up, one client at a time, and learning all the tricks of the trade to pass along to the next generation if they would listen (which they usually don’t). They did not have an association to hold their hand or listen to them when they whined about business being bad or slow, they got off their asses and found other threads of income and that is why they were successful and lasted for 20 or more years.

It was a different kind of inspection, focusing on the “major” problems and not loose door handles and scuffed popcorn ceilings. Technology is absolutely great to have and makes things easier but like so many other things it becomes a crutch for many who are unwilling to get the necessary education to go along with the shiny new gadget. I see posts in here constantly from people who do not know what they are doing and are trying to get a crash course in a couple of hours in a message board. “What is a well point and how does one inspect it?” was one recent one. I may be out of line here but if you don’t even know what the hell something is, you got no business fiddling with it let alone taking someone’s money for “inspecting” it, because you are not adequately trained to be doing it and if anything was out of the ordinary you would not know it and that is dangerous! Someone may get injured or worse due to your negligence or ignorance. Someone could have all the money they needed to get set up in this business and still not know anything. I do not think owning or not owning a IR imager is going to keep someone out of the business. As someone has already indicated and stated, every new wave or gadget that comes down the pike is being pushed as the “thing” to have in order to be a “superior” home inspector. BS!

I need someone to help me be a good boy…:mrgreen:

It’s a good technology in the right hands but look at some of the ads… Next to God, I’m the only entity that can see through walls!! **ONCE MORE: AN IR SCAN OF A HOUSE IS NOT AN ENERGY AUDIT!!! **

I’m waiting for some more of the second hand stuff to come online at better prices from those that don’t make it.