Are Inspectors Dropping Off?

Has anyone noticed if any companies have called it quits? I had one inspector call and ask if we were hiring and I saw a franchise that had vacated their building. I know agents have quit and the ones that I am working with say that a few firms have gone under.

I know lots of inspectors who went out of business or have taken full time jobs near me. I stuck with it all winter long and am doing just fine.

Seems like they are breeding like rabbits up here.

the numbers in IL are about half from 2- years ago from 3200 (est) down to around 1760 (est)

The strong and smart will survive. I am down 50% from two years ago, down about 30% from last year. It is probably the same nationwide.

Fill the void. Take the market share they’ve abandoned.

Like having a good man on a football team, if there’s a fumble, he doesn’t just sit there and look at it…he picks it up and runs.

If not, someone else will.


New state licensing is coming into effect on Sept. 1 in Washington. The state based their initial license fee on 1300 inspectors statewide. As of this post, only 302 had applied to take the required test, statewide. 12 of the 39 counties in the state don’t have any inspector applications. Granted they are not major population centers but still, 12 counties.

There have been a number of inspectors that have pulled the plug due to the absolutely horrible housing market up here. While it is getting better the last couple months, there was at least 12-16 months where the normal 4 to 5 a week was down to 5 to 10 a month… if you were lucky.

Combine the bad market with the $300 test fee and $680 dollar initial license, and many have just said screw it.

Survivors could do well once the market rebounds.

Our area, Southwest Florida has gone from over 300 home inspectors to just over 130, with at least 15 new ones this year. We provide services to about 25 now compared to about 70 a couple years ago.
We recently advertised for a trainee and had dozens of home inspectors apply for the job. We did hire one EX HI from Michigan and we hired a CIE too.
In a couple weeks we are opening an office in Orlando and if things continue we will hire more.
Poor ancillary services, particularly mold has cost many home inspectors in our area jobs. We perform radon for some that do their own mold inspections and realtors have a bad experience with a “mold problem” the inspector “found” or didn’t find and they never recommend the inspector again.
I can think of a dozen realtors off the top of my head that switched to home inspectors that just do home inspections and sub out the environmental work. Most are high end realtors, 6,000 to 10,000 sq ft homes but the trend is spreading to the smaller homes and condos.

I understand a guy wanting to make more money but losing future jobs to make a couple hundred bucks now is poor business. Working with HI’s that do and don’t do mold has given us different perspective of the situation.
One inspector I have a job with today has “lost” 8 or 10 big homes this year because of a poor mold inspection last fall. Bad news travels fast as they say. The inspector is one of the best in the business, did my son’s home in fact, but he should leave the mold alone.

Just my view

Correct. Many home inspectors unfortunately offer a simple mold* test* instead of a mold inspection (which includes testing). A mold test is to a mold inspection as a drive-by is to a home inspection.

Anyway, the residential real estate market hit bottom and is coming back. Marketing works so much better when there is market to be had. Think of yourself as a race horse and gates are opening. Get out in front now.

I feel that those that survive this market will be much stronger when it rebounds. If you are new it is probably a good time to get in. As far as state licensing requirements I am all for them, it keeps the lazy dum dums at home. I am hanging on by my fingernails and have had to take a lot of second jobs but I know it will be well woth it. I have moved into a new territory and am working to win over some agents.

Licensing solves nothing. Just because you have a driver’s license does not mean that you are a good driver. Licensing levels the playing field. You abide by their (government) rules. Not yours. With licensing, everyone is on the same level. Not higher, not lower. Which level are you?

There are EPA levels of radon; none on mold. Stay away from mold testing of any kind. People are allergic to all levels, no matter what the results. Every home has mold of some sort. Mold inspections are intricate and invasive and is expensive and time consuming to do it correctly. You should test the outside of the home along with the inside areas to compare the two. Cut holes in sheet rock to see the back sides. In Kansas, mold is always higher outside than inside, even though you can see it on inside walls. Too much liability here in the midwest.

By the way, I am way up for this week; up to 12 already. Only 3 last week. Go figure. I think the realisation of the expiration of the $8K tax write-off is helping; lots of first timers.

I am still at maybe one a week.

Gary, I almost agree with you completely… If a test is required, at the very least, it would hopefully mean that the person has some kind of knowledge as far as the inner workings of a building. There are, as I stated in another thread, many out there with absoultely no business doing HI’S.

John, you reminded me of another issue. Why do the agents, local and national RE agencies want inspectors to be licensed anyway? Most want the newbies, because they will not find most defects that a seasoned inspector would. Most newbies have no business doing home inspections or testing of any kind, but they are in demand for the reason stated above. They get business because of their lack of knowledge. They also are the ones who face litigation.

So, why does the NAR and all lawmakers want licensing so bad? If I were an RE, I would be complaining against it, because the newbies would be gone, due to the educational and testing requirements. Thoughts to ponder. I know, I am off the topic of this thread.

You nailed it, they want inexperiance. I can’t figure the liscence thing out, it hopefully will get rid of the fly-by-night inspectors.

Eventually, the newbies will be gone, and the RE will be stuck with us experienced guys. Their heads will spin when we will have to write up detailed reports, to CYA due to the new rules, regulations, educational and insurance requirements. They will then have to negotiate every loose door knob and wall dent.

Since we will have to carry insurance, those who insure us will require very detailed reports, and add attorney language to keep any judge and attorney in business. I still cannot understand, and this is true in Kansas, why the home inspectors board members are all married to the “other” associations, special interest groups, and RE agencies. They should be complaining. But they are not, and are not on the side of home inspectors.

Off thread again.

Eventually, the newbies are always gone.

I believe Nick’s statistics since he is in the best position to track than any other single source, and he says that 90% of newbies are out of the business within 36 months of entering the business.

The problems we face as an industry is trying to establish a decent fee while newbies inundate the market with offers of $129 home inspections during their short visit with us.

Licensing makes it easier for a newby…and newbies love licensing…because it is an instant credential that makes them, in the eyes of the public, equally competent and qualified to perform a home inspection with every other licensed inspector in that state, creating the illusion that their lower price is the major difference.

Within a few years of licensing law comes the schools that pump newbies into the market like crap through a goose. Many are now jockeying themselves for these positions in Kansas as we speak.

I cruise the web for an hour every morning before my guys get here and I see this fellow more and more. Just showed up a few months ago in local searches.

**"I am a proud member of (NACHI) National Association of Certified Home Inspectors. **
**The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) is the world’s largest, most elite non-profit inspection association. **
**Inspections starting at $85.00 **
***Avaliable 7 days a week **
*Collier County resident for 30 years
*Performed over 4,000 termite and home inspections "
I support licensing,
Did a radon test for a new home inspector this week, he showed up on the job with a yellow note pad and a pencil. Not a pen but a pencil and NOTHING else.

Its been a topsy turvey year here in upstate NY also. One week I will get 7, the next week one or two. You sweat all week waiting for the phone to ring so you can pay the bills.
The $8000 tax credit has helped some. I am in it for the long haul though.