This is my first posting on this board. Nick has encouraged me to post here about an experience my business partner and I have had with an “inspection school” in Barre, Vermont. I first wrote to Nick on August 29, 2006 to seek guidance for my partner and myself as this was new ground to us. I had to wait until certain legalities were out of the way before I would consider posting.
My partner and I wanted to get into the home inspection business. On the internet we found a school in Vermont that sounded like what we were looking for. We did background on the school, talked with the marketing guy, the AG’s office in VT, and decided it was the way for us to go. Long story short, we paid over $24K to get shafted. At least, that’s the way we’re left feeling.
We spent 10 days in Barre, Vermont with seven other people in the basement of a modular home learning how to be home inspectors at the hands of “America’s #1 Home Inspector.” During the entire ten days we never once touched a computer key. Instead, we were taught how to fill in a complex and confusing NCR form called the URIR which was developed by #1. We never went through a complete home inspection from start to finish during our entire stay.
On July 13th our “teacher” (#1) came to Montana to help us with our “Grand Opening.” We sat in front of a group of realtors while he told them how highly trained we were and how we used state of the art technology as home inspectors.
I did my second inspection for one of those realtors and she told my partner that she couldn’t use my report in the format it was in. She needed a PDF file to send to her out of state clients. Then we found out that real inspectors (our competitors) really do use state of the art technology and that state of the art technology means PDA’s, notebooks, tablets, inspection software, continuous radon monitoring equipment, infrared cameras etc., not NCR paper and charcoal cannisters. We were writing our reports in Word! Apparently, “America’s #1 Home Inspector” has lost touch with the home inspection industry and the current technology.
It has taken nearly three months to get out of our “Franchise” and it has cost us several thousand additional dollars to retool, rethink, and relearn what we should have known coming out of class. Especially a class that cost us $12K each. For that kind of money we should have left with a new PDA, radon monitor, and a software package and been knowlegable in the use of each.
In our opinion, we were taken. One of our classmates is suing for a return of his $24K. At least six of the nine feel it was a ripoff. We’ve not been able to speak with the remaining three, one of whom has had his phone disconnected.
I’m writing this to tell a part of our story and to encourage others to steer clear of home inspection courses in Barre, Vermont. The educational material is a joke in our opinion, i.e. the cd’s we were sent as well as much of the printed material. We did 200 + hours of self-study prior to our arrival in Vermont. We feel were self-trained and give little if any credit to our “teacher” for what we know about this industry.
I believe there are many people like us who turn to the internet for information regarding the home inspection industry. We were led to join an organization called ASPREI (American Society of Professional Real Estate Inspectors). We found out, after seeing what NACHI was about, that ASPREI is like a frontier town on a movie lot, it’s just a stand-up front being supported by 2x4’s with no real substance behind it. There is no data base. After joining NACHI I find that a real school for home inspectors would have cost me $1,500 for 100 hours of instruction.
In closing, I’d like to figure out a way to intercept people who look to the internet for help and end up finding the type of “school” we found. Perhaps a website that lists the reputable franchises with an established track record. I’d like to share with them what has happened to us so they can know that there are other ways to get started. One man from Colorado called us after finding our name on the “school” website. I think he is still in possession of his $24K. At least I hope he is.
Open to comments, questions etc. but please keep the ridicule to a minimum, we’ve done enough of that to ourselves…
Peak To Valley Home Inspections