Deceptive business practice

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…

Steve Jorgenson
Peak To Valley Home Inspections
Bozeman, Montana

Well, with that being said I guess I’ll just keep this short…

Welcome to NACHI and Good Luck !!!


No ridicule…I’ll hold (#1) down while you guys boil the tar and get the feathers out of the pillow…

Welcome to the great world of inspection education called NACHI–you’ll love it here.

…and best of luck with your business.

Lets all be careful out there

Have we got an inspector out there that needs help or are we being fished in



$12,000 +/- with books is what it cost me to take the home inspection course at a local college.
If this school that you paid $12K to was legit I’m sure you would be O.K. with it.Unfortunately we have to keep our guards up all the time,you drop them once and you could get f…d,that’s the kind of world we {unfortunately } live in.

Don’t lose faith in your fellow human because of this,you sound sincere in your letter and care about what happens to others. We all welcome you to NACHI


Thanks for sharing, Steve. Your experiences are now a part of the every expanding NACHI data bank of knowledge and will help someone down the road.

It looks like you actually learned a lesson that you didn’t necessarily want, but one that will be valuable to you as you grow in your new career. Good luck and welcome to NACHI.


You have made me feel like I got a great deal at $4K - I won’t complain any more.
Good luck to you and your partner & welcome to the world of NACHI. This bulletin board is great!
Drop us a line if you come over this way! :smiley:


I saw this group awhile back and thought they looked like a bunch of hicks. It didn’t seem legit at all and now I know why.

I’m sorry you were taken advantage of. Fortunately you’ve found NACHI and a small investment here you will find has exponential returns.

Good luck and take care,

Welcome to NACHI… sounds like it was quite a journey getting
here, but at least you made it. Good to have you in the family.

Here in Texas I talk to guys wanting to get into the buisness
from time to time. They usually tell me about the neat home
study coarse they found on the internet. At that point I
always tell them to check with the Real Estate Commission…
because 95% of that stuff is not approved by the state of
Texas to begin with.

Many study hard and pay big bucks only to find out that Texas
does not recognise that home study coarse to begin with.
There are a lot of predetors making profits off of the home
inspection industry. So in that regard, I am glad that Texas
has some checks in place to stop the bogus stuff from getting
through the net.

It takes 488 hours of education in Texas just to become
licensed. Thats a lot of hours to spend at the wrong school.

The name of the school in Vermont is…??


I agree John. I took my 192 hour course (all that was required here in Texas when I got licensed 3 years ago) and paid $800 for the 3 month day time course at San Antonio College. That cost included tuition, books and a Starbucks latte most days as well. I just can’t for the life of me understand how folks can pay in the thousands much less tens of thousands to get training. Oops…sorry, that sounds like I’m bashing the original posters. That’s not the intent.

Not bashing anybody, but since I train I can throw out a little history. We’re middle of the line on fees. Most of the reasonably competent schools I know of will charge from about $1,595 to about $2,300 for a 50-70 hour class (books included). They usually charge $2,500 - $3,400 for a 90-120 hour class (books included).

I know nobody I consider highly competent charging under $1,500 for most anything. There are schools that are out of the main-stream that on top of their fees add on a tool kit, food or motel stay because they’re in boonies.

As far as walking away with PDA, etc - not very realistic.

Although some guys use them, most don’t. There are quite a few areas where the inspectors prefer a high quality checklist instead of computerized. Its all preference. Most of the better trainers show students whats on the market, the advantages of each then move back and let the student decide whats right for them. As far as walking out of a 2 week class being highly proficient on 1 computer software program - not likely unless in a franchise.

Same with realtors.


Writing an inspection report in Word is perfectly acceptable. I do it every day. You need Adobe Acrobat (or other .pdf generator) to convert the file.

I do not use report writing software. You can develop your own inspection reporting system in a stock program which comes with Microsoft Office Professional. Its called InfoPath.

I am a certified Radon Measurement Specialist. I do not use CRMs. I use charcoal cannisters, which are deemed to be extremely accurate and reliable. I started using a laptop about a year and a half ago. Previous to that, I used a paper notebook and typed the reports back at the office. I do not use an infared camera.

My tools include an awl, knife, flashlight, moisture meter, infared thermometer, circuit tester, mirror, slotted and phillips-head screwdrivers, tic tracer, and wire gauge. I carry a digital camera, and also have binoculars which include a digital camera. I own a combustible gas analyzer, a CO detector, and a laser level.

This is more than enough equipment needed to conduct a thorough inspection. I attended NIBIs on-site course, which wasnt close to $24k

The point is that you dont need to be high tech to be a competent inspector.

You can call me at any time of you have questions. I’d be happy to help.

Thanks Wendy,

I believe you were one of the people who responded to one of Nick’s postings re: this back in late Aug. Some people seem to have missed my point in posting here. I’m trying to keep others from getting ripped off by the outfit in Barre, VT by enlisting the aid of NACHI members to simply caution others who are looking into the industry. The outfit in Barre does have at least one good instructor/inspector and everyone in the class would like to have seen him teach the entire course. He was not at all rude, arrogant, or verbally abusive in class as was #1. I definitely got an education for my $12K. I learned who I DON"T want to be.

Just go to and see what we got for $24K. Tho I think you’ve already visited that site.



I don’t get it, the course was 10 days long,how many hours was it? 80 hrs,100 hrs?


Thank you for your comments and I agree with you 100%. The report I wrote in Word was a good report and looked very professional. I use the same tools that you use etc. The instructors we had in VT also used NCR forms and worked in Word. It may be that out there in the east those methods are acceptable to the real estate professionals. Here, they are not. Perhaps a difference in the market.

Real estate in Montana is in demand and the people who are buying it think nothing of paying $500K for the adjacent lot just so they can have their driveway the way they want it. The realtor’s clients demand digital everything because they don’t have the time or want to take the time to read anything but computer accessible reports and they want those reports in a certain format. These clients, for the most part, are out of state or out of country.

As for our school, all of the printed literature and training materials we were sent depicted classrooms with computers at every work station, a modern training facility and professional instructors. Even our attorney said it was certainly the impression that he got from the information. Everything we were told sounded professionally done…until we got there.

The trouble is, you’re required to sign a franchise agreement and put your money down before you learn the truth. Everything is operated on a shoe-string budget. The marketing support consists of two color copiers in the office. The materials we paid for contained literally hundreds of misspellings. There are no less than three misspellings and an incorrect email addy in the 1000 + brochures we paid for. I think they’ve never heard of Spell Check!

Our clients don’t know that our brochures are printed in Vermont and that we have nothing to do with their quality and professionalism yet those brochures represent us and our business. To quote something that I may have found right here at NACHI…, “If you are just starting your business, the cost of using something that is not professional looking might cost you your new business.”

In class, one of the students mentioned a misspelling and America’s #1 Home Inspector replied, “You know what Ed, I don’t give a s_ _t”! When we announced that we wanted out of the franchise and mentioned misspellings etc. he told us that they wanted us to bring those things to their attention so they could fix them. Quite a different attitude from the one he had in class.

So it’s not that you can’t do a quality inspection without high tech tools, it’s just that in my particular market I have to be able to compete for a share of that market or I may as well not be in business. The real estate professionals are fast moving and are used to having things a certain way for their high tech clients. It’s compete or disappear.

The sloppines and unprofessional attitudes I talked about above are other reasons I just want to warn people to be very vigilant when they get online in search of home inspection training. The one we attended may have trained us for a rual community in the east but it actually set us back about three months out here by leaving us almost totally unprepared.

They kept telling us that they want us to succeed because their success depends on our success yet they failed to even mention to us the home inspection expo in Las Vegas last month where we could have networked and learned what others are doing around the country to be better inspectors and better business people. This month, #1 is having his own conference in Sarasota, Florida for his own organization (ASPREI). Not exactly centrally located for those of us in the western states. Why do you suppose that is?

I apologize, I’m starting to vent…

I’m very happy that I finally got hooked up with NACHI and I look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with you fine and professional people.



The course went 9 am to 6 pm each day. A couple of times we started earlier and/or finished later. It was 10 days straight, no weekend break.


For your initial investment, you’ll receive . . .

go to previous >> next

Ten days of award-winning start-up training - Every franchisee attends our award winning start-up training program taught by Francis X. (Rich) Finigan, America’s #1 home inspector, and his team of industry experts. Our expert instructors will teach you how to masterfully perform every one of your home and environmental inspection responsibilities. You’ll also be trained to market your new business using AHI’s proprietary marketing system. The capstone of your initial training is a visit by one of our industry experts to tutor you in your territory. You’ll have the opportunity to watch your expert mentor in action and you’ll have the rare chance to have your training significantly impact your start-up as your mentor helps you market your business and perform your first inspections!>>>>

Could this be the Guy? and the Franchise begins with All_ _ _ _ _


That’s the one! The photo does NOT depict our basement classroom. Like this photo, everything was created to produce an image in our minds about what we could expect. After we signed and paid our $24K it was one disappointment after another.

They use alot of the same type of false graphics that IBSWOW does/did. They are for decoration only! :wink:

Fortunately we didn’t get taken for as much money with IBS, however there might be about that much in lost revenue.

I hope things get better for you.