Finding Inspection Work

What exactly is the process for finding work after you get licensed? I have not taken the test as of yet, but there’s no doubt I’ll be licensed within the next month or two. I DO NOT have a construction background, I have 10 years working in life insurance claims. An industry that is VERY detail and state statute oriented. There’s not a doubt in my mind my skills can be shifted to home inspection and I’ll be very thorough as an inspector. For years I worked so much OT that a regular 40 work week felt like a vacation. I’m not afraid of long hours, putting in the work, or getting dirty.
The reason I asked the question above is because I have never seen an available position on any employment websites.
On my own, I have reached out to inspection companies in my state and I’ve asked their hiring process, if they offer any assistant positions or even internships. Out of several inquiries, I only received ONE honest answer. I was told by a business owner all his guys have construction backgrounds but it wasn’t needed. He then told me he’d consider hiring someone without that background, but they must have experience. Every other inquiry was answered with sarcasm and vagueness. I’m starting to get the feeling the industry club-like and resistant to any new blood working their way into the industry.
Am I fighting an uphill battle? Are there too many inspectors in my state (FL)? How does one get experience if you don’t have any?

William, contact some CMIs or CPIs within 40 to 50 miles, or further, to your area and communicate with them. Maybe one, or more, will help you. Some inspectors feel as though they are training their competition by ride-alongs or mentoring.

You may have to commute or stay in the new area and pay some fee for the assistance. But, maybe not. Offering is a nice way to get your sincerity/determination out there.

Here is the link: https://certifiedmasterinspector.org/members

And the link for CPIs: https://www.nachi.org/certified-inspectors

P.S. There are a LOT of inspectors in FL!

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Thank you Larry, I will do that.

Do you know anyone in your field that could get you started on Wind Mitigation and 4 Point Inspections?

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Question first?
Do you have any doubt in your mind that a home inspector could easily transition into life insurance claims without having any prior experience in an insurance or medical trade background. I am not doubting that people can transition and learn a new career. I would also venture to guess that if I were to do it, my error rate would be high for the first few months. These errors could be caught through checks and balances. Maybe they don’t, and you end up with a pissed of family member that appeals the decision. A new check is written and you get a bad review. However the learning curve for a home inspector is not as forgiving. You miss something on an inspection and the claim against you is quickly tens of thousands of dollars. This has put two different new inspection companies in my area out of business in their first year.

Over the past 12 years, I have had 5 different people do ride alongs. Three had construction experience, one was straight from college without any work experience at all, and the last one did web site development. It was night and day different between the three that came from a construction background compared to the other two. Some of the questions being asked left zero question that they had no business being a home inspector. An example would be asking how I was able to tell the difference between a gas and an electric water heater. Another would be not knowing what a GFCI receptacle was. I stopped at Menard to pick up batteries when one guy was with me. While walking around, I would pick up an item and ask him what it was or what it did. He ended up getting frustrated and though that I was mocking him. If you do not know the basics, your inexperience is going to quickly come out and make it nearly impossible to be successful.

No home inspector knows everything and you never stop learning. However, the biggest benefit from having a construction background is understanding not only what is visible in front of you, but also what you cannot see. Repeatedly seeing a home go from a stake in the ground to a finished product helps you understand how it all comes together. Being a plumber does not make you a framing or electrical expert. But it gives you enough knowledge to be able to form an educated decision based off of experience, or who to call or where to look for an answer. That goes for any trade.

If all of this makes you feel like I have a club-like or resistance to new blood, that is fine. I always welcome good competition. What I do not appreciate is the new guys that cannot sell their experience so they lowball their prices. They then perform a half-assed inspection. This lasts a few months until they fold and move on. Its a never ending cycle. All this does is give the home inspection profession a bad name and keeps the prices from progressing.

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I was in the same position as you, so I started my own business and hired an experienced home inspector who was semi-retired. We would do 2-man inspections and I would learn from him. We didn’t have much work to start, but I paid him per inspection, and that way he had an incentive to promote the business as well.

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Larry, Jeff and David gave you some good advise. Jeff had a great summary that should give you pause and think.

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Helpful hints for New Inspectors.pdf (230.1 KB)

Here’s some good advice, good luck!

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I’ll share my perspective William, as I’m in a similar boat as you. While I’ve always enjoyed building things and understanding how they’re built I’ve never worked in the trades. I probably should have because my career assessment tests in college told me that trade management was the best fit for me. Specifically, plumbing and electrical work. I even took several engineering courses while in school and found them interesting. Anyways, youth took me in a different direction and I ended up with a sociology degree and have spent the last 16 years working in government, homeland security specifically. Now that I’m approaching 40 years old I know that when I retire from this job I want to be involved in the trades. I’m also thirsty for education so when I learned about the home inspection field it felt like an immediate fit.

My goal now is to bridge the gap as much as possible between what I need to know and what I don’t know… Becoming a CPI is the first step. Then some more coursework for the FL license. Every occupation that I can think of requires significant on-the-job training to take a person from their knowledge base learned in school to real world applications. What I’m doing is making sure I score in the 90’s for every course exam, I’m planning to go to the House of Horrors for hands on training. After that I’m going to watch every InterNACHI YouTube video of real world Inspections, there are a lot. Then my first mission will be to find a willing mentor. I’ve always believed that you have to ‘pay to play’ so if that’s what it takes…so be it. Then I’ll probably offer to do some free Inspections in my neighborhood to get some solo experience. Then…with a little luck…open up shop.

We’ll see how it plays out. It’s a journey. I’m also in Florida so feel free to reach out. Good luck.

P.S. Almost forgot. I’ve been using my house as a construction traing site. So far I’ve remodeled 2 bathrooms, my kitchen, and currently have my master bathroom torn down to the studs. You could always try that…maybe. lol

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I’m a trainer and home inspector with over 36 yrs full time doing it.

Unlike going to school at the Vo-Tech to learn HVAC … Construction experience or not, this is NOT the type business you take training classes AND then expect to be hired and go to work for someone else.

Probably 80% or more of all home inspectors I’ve ever met are 1 man shops and work for themselves.

As for construction experience … Although it can help, 3 - 4 yrs ago I had a class of 9 people going thru a 2 week long class to enter the business. In the class I had an licensed engineer, a home builder, a remodeler, a real estate appraiser and a retired electrician (all in their upper 40’s to 60). Then a graphic artist and a lady who was an elementary school teacher (both in their early 30’s). I don’t remember what the others did.

The graphic artist and elementary school teacher had NO construction or related experience at all … SO knowing that, they devoured the training material, books, videos, etc. The graphic artist was used to looking for fine small details AND the teacher was like a sponge soaking up information. The other group had YEARS of experience so did NOT dig in and study as much. On tests the artist and teacher kicked butt over the others. NOW to fast forward 3-4 yrs, the builder, remodeler, electrician and engineer have all come and gone. The appraiser does a FEW inspections (mostly from his appraisal contacts). The graphic artist is doing quite nicely as a 1 man show AND the teacher called last week looking to hire a part-time 3rd inspector.

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Thanks, working for myself is the plan. There’s only so much I can learn from the curriculum and videos. I was hoping to get a mentor or at least shadow someone seasoned. You were fortunate to find someone like that. Thank you for the info.

No I don’t. And this is the first reaching out I’ve done. But I will look into those things. Thanks!

Thanks so much Brett. You have some great ideas and plans. Hands on training is what I’m really hoping for, but I can’t go wrong watching those videos and visiting the house of horrors may also be a good idea. Thanks for your input and advice, and offer of advice in the future. Good luck to you as well!

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Working for myself was the whole reason I got interested in the industry to begin with, so that is the plan. But I have a desire to learn for someone who is seasoned. I personally require hands on training, I just learn better that way. I’m willing to put in the work. Thank you for the insight. It’s good to read those without a construction background can still become successful.

Hey William.

I have an inspection business located in Ocoee, Fl and I am currently looking for an inspector to do wind mitigation and four point inspections. What part of Fl are you in? I do not mind training at all. Thanks

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Welcome to our forum, William!..Enjoy! :smile:

I hope you get your inspector needs met.

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I’m in Tampa. I’m not licensed as of yet. But plan on testing within the next couple of weeks. Would it be ok to reach out to you once I’m licensed? Thank you so much for responding. I know that doesn’t help you now, but maybe you may have a position in the not so distant future. I would like to learn wind mitigation and four point inspections. Thanks again!

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William it looks like you found a great partner to get started with. That’s an offer that just doesn’t fall into your lap often so take advantage if it and good luck!

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Absolutely! When you get everything squared away, give me a call. 352-460-6202

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First of all I’m sure you can do the job so don’t worry about that. Just wondering if Florida has some of the larger companies I.e Pillar to Post type companies. They would probably hire you and train you. You won’t make as much but at least your getting training???