CMI requirements compared to other inspection association's in DORA Industry Review.

Texas is the hardest state to get a license in.

Florida is a little harder than average, but not by much: 120 hours of InterNACHI’s coursework which includes many quizzes and exams, pass InterNACHI’s proctored exam, criminal background check, fingerprints, GL insurance, licensing fee.

Licensing isn’t what keeps people from entering the business and becoming a strong competitor to you… marketing is. Most home inspection businesses don’t fail because they can’t get a license, they fail because they can’t get enough inspection work.

HI’s fail because they will not meet the prices of the competition. Licensing levels any playing field, creates minimal standards and reports, all by any licensed HI. The lowest cost will win the job. REA’s recommend the cheap HI’s, because they know they will do a basic job, so the home will sell.

Here in KC, many inspectors are $199 to $250. My minimum is $350, and my phone does not ring. I either have to lower my standards and prices soon, or get a second job and Home Depot or Lowes.

Texas is so tough because they must make sure that the new HI will stand by the regulations, use the rules and requirements and SOP’s that the REA’s create, which, IMO, makes the REA’s happy, happy, happy.

With any state licensing, the home buyer never gets a full, proper inspection, unless they pay a higher price for a CMI, or veteran inspector. But why should a home buyer pay a high price for a veteran inspector, when they can get the home inspected by a state licensed inspector, for half the price? What does licensing really solve?

Bingo! All it does is raise the minimum standard, slightly. That’s it. There’s still room for you to market and sell your value over price. I agree it makes “cheapo inspector” seem as good as you, that’s where marketing can help you.

The average home buyer doesn’t know what should or is inspected anyway, it’s our job to teach them why we are better. It’s no different than a crappy licensed plumber, the licensing authorities think the license will protect consumers by raising the bar and it does get the real low quality idiots out, but it lowers the expectations of consumers as they assume any licensed guy is the best, it’s our job to show license is only the minimum.

So I take you got your License Meeker;-)

Mike Auger writes:


This notion that licensing should cause the technically strongest inspectors to command higher fees without doing any serious marketing is ridiculous.

The adoption of licensing (anywhere)… creates an all out marketing race. On your mark, get set, go! Now that we all carry the same state-issued license… best marketer wins.

I fully agree with you Nick.
When we were licensed in 2011 it took out a lot of the part time guys and a few newbies that could not afford it. Now we are seeing a lot of new guys starting up with minimal credentials but a full license.

The consumer sees that you have a license so where is the difference. It’s like a Carpenter or a Plumber. You apprentice for four years and take your academic. Once you pass the exams you get to call yourself a journeyman.

A story I like to relate to people is when we hired a journeyman carpenter to run a crew. Before we let him out on his own I put him through a trial period where he worked with me. The man had no clue at all how to frame a building. We were installing trusses when he started with us on a 20,000 sq/ft building. He couldn’t get two feet off the ground without freaking out. he had no clue what he was doing but he was a journeyman carpenter. Later in the day I asked how he got his card. His response was that he worked in a factory building pre-fab walls.

Licensing has done one thing. It does set at least a minimum amount of training for a new inspector.

AlbertaACHI is trying hard to raise that bar with peer reviews and onsite training. We strive to make our inspectors better than the minimum.

Yep. And worse, the schools InterNACHI competes with are all teaching to the test (teaching people to pass home inspection exams)… they aren’t doing what InterNACHI does (provides actual courses to learn to be a good home inspector):

Without licensing a hair dresser can become a home inspector by changing the sign on his front door. The public does not who is real or not.

With licensing (Texas style) a hair dresser has to take hundreds of hours of education and do some ride along inspections. Then he has to pass a test that causes some Engineers to go home crying. I have seen this. Then they must carry insurance and be exposed to the punishment of a commission that will indeed punish someone who violates the SOP and COE. Your name will be published in public and you will pay a hefty fine, if they do not cancel your license. Most states make it too easy and do not enforce much regarding home inspection laws. Weak requirements produce weak results.

Yet with all of this, you cannot weed out the dishonest heart, immoral character and lazy unprincipled inspectors. The law can only punish them when they are finally caught.

CMI requires a lot of things that helps the consumer find a qualified inspector, but nothing can filter out the above mentioned character flaws 100% of the time.

If InterNACHI requirements or CMI requirements were ENFORCED BY LAW, then we would call that licensing. We all agree that these requirements are good, but many would not agree with it if we were to ENFORCE THEM BY LAW. If they became part of the licensing process in a state, some would say they were now bad.

Most inspectors, to be honest, hate licensing because it puts a burden on them. They don’t don’t like the idea of answering to the MAN, and being forced to obey. This same attitude makes them take short cuts in all that they do.

If someone is poor in their marketing skills then they will fail as an inspector in both the license and unlicensed state. We like to blame licensing for causing our failure or the problem with low prices. The problem exist in both licensed and unlicensed states so stop blaming it on some outward problem and start taking responsibility. Marketing and communication is HARD to learn. Those who have the gift make it look easy and those who do not have it may never know they are missing it. They have no idea they cannot communicate in such a way to win the hearts of consumers.

Watch this video 10 times. Nick is correct and this man is the perfect example of a novice who came into the market (during a slow economy) and prospered. Before long people were hiring this novice to do consulting for their home inspection companies. This guy could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo. Other inspectors were going out of business during the slow economy, but this guy was a raging success. You should be asking how he did it and stop making excuses that the low ballers and licensing is causing your failure. Shake your self and adapt or go extinct.

If you met this guy in the video, at an inspector’s convention, he is mild mannered and would not draw much attention to him self. Many would not see him as the answer to their problems, but when Nick met him… he saw his gift. His fruit proved he had a talent.

“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
Proverbs 18:16

Anyone can sell and market. But, can they do the job? That is the bottom line. Most cannot do the job because selling is all they know. I was in that business for over 12 years. Most of what I learned in that 12 years in the wholesale food industry cannot be applied to home inspections.

Licensing takes away the selling and marketing. All hairdressers have licenses, but how do you know if he/she provides you with the results that you want until you try them? Tough sell, when you only use an inspector once in your life. This results in a referral environment only. We all have driver’s licenses. How does anyone else know you are a good driver, unless you show him/her how you drive before the sale is closed?

It is up to the REA’s to suggest the best, but most all of them do not. They tell their clients that they know of a good, licensed inspector, at a good price. So, it is always the cheap, basic, licensed guys that REA’s suggest. Here in KC, it is always cheap that gets the job, even without licensing.

All good points.

If that is true… why do two inspectors with the same license produce dramatically different income?

One can communicate, market and sell him self more than the other. There is no other answer.

Like you said, “most” clients will try you one time, so they have no way of knowing who they like except for how one communicates above the other. I find those who complain about poor results have no idea that it is their own fault, but they just cannot admit it. They would rather blame everything on anything but therm selves.

You cannot fix a problem until you admit what it is. Communication skills are a rare talent. Those who have the gift make it look easy. Just talking is not communication that bears fruit. Some inspectors thrive while charging twice as much as their competition. Hmmmm

John, this is a good thread, and probably should be placed elsewhere, but your points are very valid.

In our industry, it is very hard to market and sell, and then do a great inspection. Most all are either good at one, but not the other. InterNACHI helps with both sides. IMO, licensing levels out both, and price then comes into play.

Myself, being a CMI and charging prices higher than Uncle Bob Inspection Company, is a challenge in this economy.

For me $2500 is way out of line for something like this. Out of the last 1000 inspections I have done, not one job came because of my affiliations. There isnt enough marketing value within this to justify the cost. I can go out and buy another commercial dehumidifier for that kind of money and get a great deal more in return. I think it is a great thing, but it seems that it is geared more toward those who want to pony up for it. The cost seemed more manageable when this was first offered. I would love to pursue it, but not at that price point.

It is just as easy to market against a CMI if the largest component is cost of the designation. Look, I have a degree in psychology and there are other guys here with really strong backgrounds in other things, other educational components. It doesn’t matter where my degree came from. It matters that I have it. I am half way to a master’s as well. It is about doing extra, extra requirements. Those requirements (classes) are what command the extra cost. In this scenario, we are getting credit for time served…great! But then, you are simply taking money from us for a designation without offering us a whole lot more. Sure, if I am here for 15 or 20 years, I will save money on dues. But you still are not offering me more. The marketing aspect will just not be enough. Specially, if more folks do it. It sort of negates the positive impact of any marketing. I am not putting it down, it just doesn’t seem to have the ability to impact my business more then I can by simply paying for a higher designation. By the way, you really should be taking into account other degrees earned. I use mine all of the time with clients and customer service. I think there is at least one engineer in the bunch here as well. Those areas should also be added to the criteria. Whether folks want to agree with it or not, it can and often does make a difference ( a secondary degree). It was hard work to earn. And if we are truly talking about higher education, advancement setting ourselves apart, then we should be adding a degree as an enhancement to the overall designation.

Regarding CMI and it’s marketing benefit…

Say it very slowly to your potential client…

“I am a CERTIFIED MASTER INSPECTOR”. It is powerful.

Not to us. The educational component has to be inspection-related.

I’m offering you the opportunity to join EVERY other CMI who have all explained CMI didn’t cost them any money, it made them money, and continues to make them money.

Every CMI disagrees. CMI makes them more money than it costs. I’ve offered every CMI all their money back and every one has turned me down. Why? Because they own calculators. It’s simple math. CMI makes inspectors money.

In the minds of consumers, there is no higher designation than “Certified Master Inspector.” All consumer tests have confirmed over and over that those three little words say more than ALL your marketing combined… all of it. Test it yourself on your Aunt Penny or Uncle Jack who know nothing of our industry.

Your psychology degree may be helping you with customer service, but the MICB will never give you any credit for it. It isn’t inspection-related enough.

So was winning a medal in the Olympics. We don’t count that either.

We do count the inspection-related courses you had to complete to earn that degree. Psychology classes don’t count. Sorry. I know earning a degree was hard work (I respect that you have earned one), I know it helps you with customer service (I get that), but MICB’s requirements have to remain solely inspection related.

Anyway Jeff, you are working on your second degree in psychology and like to think things out and dig deep. Stop. It’s like trying to understand a miracle. And for home inspectors trying to find something to help them make a lot of money… CMI is that miracle.

Nick, see the comment where in the last 1000 inspections, no one has hired me because of credentials? And people won’t In the future. They need an inspector. You will have to be certified in my state, granted. Their only question will be, are you certified and then…what do you charge? You are grossly over stating the efficacy of this. And putting my degree down?..and yes you did. Not a great way to treat a member. My degree shows a level of education and experience that does set me apart. I have it, others do not. So, looks slightly hypocritical to see it the way you do and then keep pumping how a CMI sets someone apart from others when it really doesn’t if a person has completed the coursework and has the experience of 1000 inspections. It really only does if you are will ing to pay for it. I am not over thinking this. It is an investment decision. And I need to get my investment back and then some. Not simply put money in my marketing sales persons pocket. It is no different then any other affiliation I have. Not one has produced a job in the last 1000 inspections. Again, what extra are you providing with this that cannot be gained by simply taking all of the courses and working each day? You didn’t really provided that in your answer. Look, I would like nothing more than to have it, I am all about education and advancing ones self, but it really does look like the cost of the thing is the only true part of that difference. It is too expensive for what it will provide now or in the future unless you make some changes to it. Is honest feedback. I can simply keep taking courses and working and be on equal footing with anyone. If someone says well that guy is a CMI I can easily say, well, they chose to pay extra for that. Think about it. It is not a put down…it really is how it shakes out to a lot of folks.

A few years ago, my brother-in-law called me to ask me if I knew where the gas cap was on the car he just purchased.

He is a VP at IBM, has a double master in business, and is an MIT grad.

My niece has degrees in education, a doctorate, and is an MBA. She calls me often to ask me about home repairs, and is currently unemployed.

You can have all the college degrees in the world, and they all will not make you any smarter. Our national educational system is in the toilet. Going to college is almost the same educational level as high school was back in the 60’s.

Paying and going to college is one of the largest US rip-offs in history. $2,500 for becoming a CMI is nothing compared to college tuition.

Jeff, I am not putting down your psychology degree. I’m sure it was very difficult to earn. But no one chooses a home inspector because they have a degree in psychology.

Consumers choose home inspectors (specifically) because they are “Certified Master Inspectors” all the time.

It’s just a fact. Don’t shoot the messenger.

You are correct when you say that CMI “is an investment decision.” That much is true.