cancel during an inspection?

Any of you ever, or would you ever, cancel/leave an inspection after you start but before you are done? When I take calls I may turn away a customer I feel will be difficult by quoting a high price putting them off. What if during the inspection you just KNOW these people are going to cause you problems down the road? Maybe even legal problems. Do you walk away?

I did once before the inspection.

Client misrepresented what I was to inspect and when I readjusted my fee at the inspection to reflect what was to be inspected, client refused to agree to pay for the added fee.

So, I packed up and left…

Has not happened but if I felt that way would walk.
You need to make an excuse rather than that of course.
Just do it as spidey sense is usually correct.

I have adjusted in the past and will continue to do so.

If it’s that bad, excuse yourself, head to the restroom and sit there reading a book for 15 minutes. Then come out and tell them you have taken sick.

Just leaving could damage your reputation.

I have, one or two times over the years, had that “spidey sense” go off. Each time I was able to find something wrong that by the time I was done describing the issue, the client was happy to cancel the inspection and I end up with a half fee and no report to write.

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I disagree it to me is like poor service or bad washrooms in a restaurant I can get up and leave.

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I agree with Nathan, but why not just get to the root of the problem, talk to your clients. Explain all of your limitations and expectations, read the SOP if you have to. Ask them if there is anything feel uncomfortable with and work through their issues(this is a customer service business). Then ask them if they would still like to proceed with you as the inspector. Most will tell you what the issue is and then you can work around it or you can not, then they can make a decision to move forward or not. Give them a choice to cancel if needed and tell them you will help find another inspector. Hiding it the bathroom is unprofessional and cowardly.

If they are really that bad you will likely cause an argument or they will get upset because they know you are aware of what they are doing. While you are painting them into the corner they will either fight or leave. Just let them do it as gracefully as possible.

I have never “fired” a client during an inspection, which I am gathering is your actual question.
I have had several clients who were “difficult” but all that does is give you the opportunity to show why they hired you in the first place.

I always ask my clients if they have any questions prior to starting. One lady had a three page list and wanted all of the model and serial numbers, it is why I may have to think about getting that recall check thing, so I answered all of her questions and helped her get the model and serial numbers off of everything. After the inspection, she remarked, “I know I can be a pain, and I interrupted her and said, it isn’t a pain, it is my job and what you hired me to do”.

She referred me to a friend…who was buying a five million dollar home…the friend was much easier to deal with! :wink:

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I have a rule for these situations… ‘When in doubt, write it down’ My best advice is nick pick the hell outa that home, CYA.

I have had a few I would of liked to to fire. But, this is a customer service industry and your reputation is everything. Walking off and leaving a client hanging is unacceptable.

Take a minute and discuss the situation with the client. Find out the nature of their concern. Start by telling them about your sop. I let them know from the start that if they are not satisfied with me or my inspection method, they are under no obligation. We can cancel right then and there, no fee, no report.

If you get the impression your being targeted or set up for a law suit, that’s another matter. If at any time the client becomes aggressive to you as the inspector, If they’re not rational in their demands, or threatening, then you have to return the fee and cancel the inspection.

One time I was placed in this kind of situation with an aggressive and irrational client. Following that experience, we instituted our 100% satisfaction policy. It is as much for the client as for us.

  • That wack job didn’t like the price he was paying for the house, didn’t like the wife and realtor wanting the home inspection. He did like me. When I pointed out the severe wood decay at the rear porch posts, he lost it. He started kicking the rotted post. His wife, Realtor, infant child and himself were all under the porch. Two kicks and post broke. Fortunately no one got hurt. Never again.

Thanks everyone!!

I’m not concerned with the little old lady with lots of questions, I’m concerned with the hipster who feel the house should be perfect and require no maintenance ever. Those people keep you up at night!

I’m planning to add a clause to my contract whereby I reserve the right to terminate the contract at any time prior to receiving payment (which I collect at the end). This way if I feel there is no hope the client understands the SOP (always carefully articulated in person before each inspection begins) then I can walk away. I would rather lose 1 fee/some reputation than spend two years in court!!

Expectations are high and it is our job to lower them to a reasonable level before we start. That being said it is not always possible to do so with all clients. You won’t know who these clients are until you tell them they should check their furnace filter monthly and replace when it becomes dirty, then they say something like “can you come back next month and check it for me?”

I would tell the judge “I don’t think the person had good character” if need be. I pay a lot for insurance, legal, etc. as we all do. I don’t need some dip stick costing me money because they can’t get their head around the fact that I can’t see through walls.

Smooth move we also collected our pay after the inspection …Roy

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If it limits my liability I will explain that the inspection cannot be completed due to the fact they have unrealistic expectations , I will not bill for the entire inspection but will for 50.00 per hour for the time that I have spent. before leaving I try to explain with contract in hand the clause concerning the liability of the visual inspection. then if that wont work I let them know they owe me and not the agreed fee but the hourly rate for my time spent.
THEN I MAKE OUT THE BILL ASK FOR PAYMENT AND THEN I LEAVE.I make a hand written statement on the statement why we ended the inspection and have them sign it and then apologize for the inconvience. you have the right to refuse service to these kind of customers , too many of them will cause you a bad reputation so dont do this too often.

Never left an inspection after starting, despite the overwhelming sense that I should. You do run into people with unrealistic expectations. I had one recently where the buyer’s dad attended the inspection and he was making a lot of mountains out of molehills. Sometimes I think buyers overstate or embellish their concerns to posture for negotiating a lower price with the seller. Then there are those who clearly do not know what they are talking about, but really think they do. It does make you want to pack up your stuff and walk away. I just document everything about the conditions of the home. I make sure my report and photos accurately detail the concerns. And try my best to educate the buyer, and/ or their excited family member, and most times it works out OK. Usually by the end of the inspection they are less excited and more willing to listen.

Just once Great client but Dad was supplying the money .
Great home for the client but dad left and they followed .
The agent was there and he said you did well to remain cool.
This dad has been like this in town forever .
We are both better of with out this sale.

In 10 years I’ve walked away from two, both thankfully prior to them signing the contract.

One was with a Realtor that had both sides of the sale who was working with a non-licensed contractor trying to fleece a 1st time buyer. The other was a buyer who had a design build contractor that constructed the home using the wrong plans. I told them both to use the money they were going to pay me on a lawyer.