First Year Questions...

Hey Everyone,

I’m curious about becoming a home inspector (and have been for a while, it always seemed like an important job - if done right - to me)… I’ve been a teacher for the past 14 or so years and have been feeling like I need a change. One big reason is pay, which has pretty much stayed the same as I have never been able to crack into the public school system… I am also feeling stuck in a system that I no longer am passionate about (a big reason for becoming a teacher).

So, anyways… here’s my questions:

  1. Is it reasonable to think that an ex teacher with not too much building/construction experience could become an inspector? I love houses, have rehabbed and contracted out work on the five homes I’ve owned and sold. I do easier things (tiling, some plumbing, simple electric stuff, painting, helped redo a kitchen…) but for a lot of things I end up getting help on… That said, I feel like a lot of the skills necessary for teaching are transferable to HI.
  2. Let’s say I made just shy of 50K last year… How long on average will it take to get there doing Inspections full time?
  3. Does the market exist for more Home Inspectors? I live an our outside Philly, near Allentown, PA…
  4. What schools / training programs are recommended?

Thanks to anyone who has suggestions/thoughts. It’s very much appreciated!

Hi Jon,

You can make the transistion to HI from other professions and your remodeling experience should help but there will be lots of studying to do and hopefully inspection shadowing before you’re on your own.

Question 2 is impossible to answer as that hinges on so many factors including your motivation and skill at marketing.

If you live near a major metro area you’ll probably have an easier time getting your foot in the door than if you lived in a small town.

I can’t advise on schools but take every InterNachi online course you can.

  1. Sure. If you can memorize all the rules guidelines that go with the subjects you teach, you can memorize all the rules and guidelines required for inspecting.

2 and 3) Impossible to say with certainty. Keep in mind, per the National Association of Realtors, 40% of all agents don’t last 5 years, with an annual turn over rate of 15%. In my humble opinion, based on my experience, those same number can be applied to just about any Real Estate related job, be it home inspector, loan officer, etc. The market is, in general terms, flooded with people who think they’re going to make a lot of money quickly but get discouraged when it doesn’t happen right away. A good marketing plan with persistence and patience helps.

4)Take every InterNACHI class you can. I found the Ashi School helpful as there was in person training with going to real houses. Avoid all the “you too can become an inspector in 3 easy steps” you see online.

Keep in mind, whatever you do, it’s just a starting point in education. I find it’s helpful to make friends with electricians, HVAC techs, roofers, etc, because there is always more to know. Particularly since any training class is looking at thins from a national level, and there may be local state/county/city differences you might need to know about.

When I hear a question like that it makes me wonder.
Before going into business for yourself perhaps you should take some business classes at the local CC. One does not just make money by going into business. There are expenses, overhead fees, insurance, tools, training autos, advertising and internet stuff. So if you want to make 50,000 in income how much do you have yo GROSS in that year - 75,000 and how many inspections do you have to complete to get there? at 350.00 an inspection that’s 215 inspections or about 4 inspections a week from the get go. You may need to have enough money to live off of for years before you make any real income - this is why the failure rate is so high in this industry.

Well said thanks… Roy

The longer you expect to wait before you begin making a decent living… the greater chance that you’ll go out of business before you get there.

Plan on succeeding next month. Aside from becoming technically competent, what marketing do you have to do to fill your calendar with inspection jobs? There is no set time you have to wait… it’s simply however long it takes you to implement your marketing programs.

  • If you don’t do any marketing, it could take years, and so you need to have savings to live off of for those years.
  • If you implement all your marketing at once, you’ll need enough savings to keep you going until the jobs pour in which could be at least a week or 10 days.

Watch what Spock does at the end of The Galileo Seven, the sixteenth episode of the first season of the original series, Star Trek.

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Nick is truly a master at what he does and make the rest of us look feeble… Look at what he has put together here, how many of us could do that?..
“a week or ten days for the jobs to start pouring in” is not realistic for most of the mere mortals in the inspection world, it can happen but you would be a truly exceptional individual with a gift to sell yourself and the knowledge to back it up or pricing of $100.00 per inspection.
Nick is right though, if you don’t have a plan and marketing and go at it you will die a slow lonely death sitting by the phone.

I can only give you my personal example and your results will vary drastically. I have always marketed my business vary hard. When I moved to the market I am currently in, I had an inspection about 2 days after I opened my doors. Fast forward a year and I did 148 inspection in my first year. However after I paid all my overhead I pretty much dumped all the profits into more advertising. This year I am hopping to at least double what I did last year and I just just ran my numbers for the remainder of this month and I am on track to gross more than $10,000 by the end of the month and this is the first month to break the $10,000 mark.

As for advertising your business read the marketing section of this forum and every single thing that Russel Ray posts. He is a marketing god!

I am with the other posters with the first question. I am of the opinion that anybody can become a successful inspector. It just takes the ability to dedicate yourself to education and knowledge. Read Read Read. If you do not have a strong construction background it just may be harder or take a bit longer.

As far as will your market support you. You are the only one that can answer that. You need to do market analysis and figure out who your competition is and where they are at. You also need to know how strong your real estate market it. I am also of the belief that you can always carve yourself a place in the market. You just have to work at it and depending on your market size will depend on the level of difficulty.

As my wise old grandmother told me back in 1966 when she was helping me set up my first business (I was 11): “Anyone can do anything.” I have always taken that to heart, and I have been successful in many different industries because of that short sentence. So, as other posters have stated, “Create a plan to get you where you want to go.” Otherwise, as George Harrison sang (posthumously), “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

With that said, when I started in 2001, I needed to do 500 inspections my first year to be financially satisfied. ASHI and CREIA inspectors at the monthly dinner meetings and Fall conventions told me I was crazy. “You’ll be lucky if you do 200 your first year and hit 500 in your fifth year” they said. They were wrong, although I didn’t do 500 inspections my first year. I fell short at 493…

With proper marketing, it doesn’t matter where you live. If there are Realtors helping people buy and sell homes, there’s a market for home inspectors.

Schools and training? Everything you need is right here at InterNACHI because InterNACHI rocks, rolls, and rules. Read this message board and everything else. Leave no word unread, no graphic unseen, no question unanswered…