I don’t take into consideration the wealth of the individual because I’m not privy to that information. However, you remind me of a situation back in 2003 where a caller asked for a quote on a 360-SF studio condo in Point Loma, popular with airline pilots and flight attendants.
At the time, I charged $149 for those little things. It only took 30 minutes to inspect them. The guy argued with me for 30 minutes about the price. Finally, I said, “Well, the price now is $199.” “What?” he yelled. “I charge $100 an hour and you just used up 30 minutes of my time.” “No, no, let’s do it for $149.” We did.
Four years later a guy called, introduced himself, and asked me if I remembered him. I didn’t. He told me he was the guy who took 30 minutes of my time trying to get a lower inspection fee on a Point Loma condo. “Oh, yeah, I remember you!”
He was buying a house and wanted me to inspect it. The problem was that the house was on Santa Catalina Island. To do an inspection over there would require me to be gone all day, leaving at 6:00 a.m. to get to Los Angeles to catch a flight or boat to Santa Catalina Island. I would get home around 8:00 p.m.
Since I charge for my time, $100 an hour minimum, the fee would be a minimum of $1,400 just to even consider doing the inspection. I didn’t immediately say no, but I was pretty sure he wasn’t going to accept a minimum inspection fee of $1,400.
The house was a larger house with a commanding view of the Avalon harbor. If the house had been down the street, I would have charged $599. So I quoted him a fee of $1,999. He accepted. “Meet me at the Coronado Naval Station, side gate, tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.”
Turns out that his dad owned a military air shuttle service between San Diego and military bases in the West. Dad had died a couple of years earlier and my Client inherited the shuttle service. When I got to Coronado Naval Station, he was there at the side gate to let me in, took me to his private 23-seat jet, and flew me to Santa Catalina Island. He and I were the only two people on the plane, so I got to sit in the co-pilot’s chair.
It was by far the most interesting experience I’ve ever had as a home inspector. Second most interesting was finding a homeless person living in the crawl space under a canyon home.