From contractor to inspector?

I did ride-alongs with an inspector in a neighboring state. I paid him per trip I think I gave him $40/per trip and did maybe 15, we mutually agreed I’d stay in RI and not cross over into MA and he’d stay in MA and not cross into RI for a period of 7 years. Valuable experience. Plus great tips on here as well…

I speak from experience when I say it is extremely difficult to be “on your tools” at a job site and effectively marketing at the same time. My first year (technically 7 months due to the licensing dates) inspecting I did only about a dozen inspections a whole lot of marketing and a whole lot of training/ certifications. I did it part time for 4 yrs with the last 2 full time and having a ful ltime job as a PM for a large construction company

My first year to year and a half was also slow…

Thanks for all the replies, great information here. I like the idea of a ride along with an inspector in another town.

Nick, I will check out the links, thanks. I was debating eliminating the word “moderately” but was being honest. I could double my income if I wanted to, I choose to be where I am. This is a decision that I make for my family with my family. I don’t need marketing, I turn work away consistently and have done so for years. I did marketing early, but my work and reputation is enough now. I worked extremely hard for this reputation. I had employees and a growing company, but I hated the management side of it. I am happy with my business now. I also know that I will have to spend a considerable amount of time marketing this new business.

I am not planning this change to make more money. I can’t remember the last time I received a paycheck from a company. I have determined my own income for many, many years. I prefer this, because I determine my own fate.

Disclaimer - please don’t read this the wrong way and I hope to not be perceived as arrogant. I am simply trying to relay my thoughts and be as honest about my current situation to gain any insight into a successful transition.

As my mentor ( My Son ) said to me when I asked him what I should charge he said Dad you have more knowledge then most Inspectors so you should charge more .
Took his advice and we where always the highest charging Company in our area .
Worked great for us.

I moved from contractor to inspector and found it easy. I built the business over the years and did not do any construction the second year. Contact me if I can help or answer any questions.

Then you aren’t charging enough. The ultimate goal of marketing is not to just be busy. If you simply wanted to be busy, take a cement block, carry it on your head, and run round and round your house all day. There, you were busy working all day. You didn’t make any money but you were busy. The ultimate goal of marketing is to be so busy that you can raise prices.

You should never consistently turn down work. If you are doing that, you need to raise prices so that the days you have too much work to do… are fewer than the days you don’t have enough work to do. That’s the most profitable zone to operate within.

If you don’t hear this coming out of your potential clients’ mouths from time to time… raise your prices: “Dan, I’d love to hire you and I know you do great work, but your prices are just a little too steep for me.” If you hear that every now and then… you’re in the sweet spot in terms of fee structure.

I’m a licensed General Contractor myself and I try to lose at least 20% of my bids because of price.

Nick, with all due respect, I did not come here for advice on my current business. I know my business.

Just out of curiosity, from a prospective new member, does this mean as you increase members you will increase your price structure here? Based on your comments I would find this inline with that.

Yes. We don’t raise dues on existing members but every few years we raise dues on future members.

More importantly though, my advice to you is really meant for my inspector members. Your comments just happen to be the perfect comments to point to when offering that advice. We have inspectors who say the same things as you did: They “consistently turn down work,” they “don’t need marketing,” they “do zero marketing,” they are only “moderately successful from an income standpoint,” etc.

They think the purpose of marketing is to get them more work and so they make bat shi-t crazy statements like “I don’t need any more marketing as I already turn down work.”

They have it backwards. The inspection industry, especially in licensed states, limits the amount of work you can do with your own two hands (there are only so many hours in the day). And so the purpose of marketing isn’t to get more projects to do… but rather to turn down more projects.

Nick, thanks for the clarification. As stated earlier, I fully expect to spend time and money on marketing for the inspection business. The what, where, and why of marketing it still too early for me to know. I do know that I will approach it as I did with my construction business. I am hoping to get started down the right path here and look forward to the feedback from other members along with all the resources available on the website. There is a lot information available and I am simply digesting what I can to develop a plan.

Hi Dan,

I made the transition from GC to HI about 5 years ago and while I started out at the bottom of the market I’m extremely happy I did.
I found being a GC to be rather tiresome after 22 years.
Did a lot of great projects but didn’t like having to be constantly planning for the next day, next job, ordering materials, making sure the crew was doing what they should, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Don’t get me wrong those years gave me a great start to becoming an HI and I have to say I am so glad I made the jump. It took time to build up a referral network of agents and to develop my website so it generated business as well. Have enjoyed it all and business just keeps getting better and I just keep marketing and making connections.

Just don’t expect it to happen in a matter of months. Most small businesses fail because they underestimate the start up time.

Where are you located again?


Thanks Tom, I am located near Harrisburg, PA. I will go update my profile now.

Dan what state are you in?

I cannot agree more with Nick.

If even considering this as a career. The above mentioned book will save you hundreds of headaches and thousands of dollars.

If you are not willing to buy and read that book first then you likely do not have the drive to enter this industry.

You can learn from thousands of others mistakes and successes just from that one book alone.

Just by reading it you will get a feeling of what it takes to be really successful.

Good Luck :slight_smile:

By the way make sure if you do take this on as a full time job you factor in the best insurance with full dissability coverage and set up a retirement plan. Without those things you will end up broke and poor as a old man.

Consider starting working for a established inspector befor jumping in with both feet to see if you really like dealing with all the jerks this industry has in it.

The hours will suck and you will have to bend to meet everyone elses needs. Your desires will become the least important to all involved and if you are used to making your own schedule and doing things as you see fit you are in for a rude awakening.

I am a Florida Licensed General Contractor, Florida Licensed Home Inspector and Certified Master Inspector. Feel free to contact me any time to discuss anything on your mind.

This is the best Org in the world and I highly recommend becoming a member if you wish to become a Home Inspector.

Don’t mind Mike, he has a bitter view point, but I think he means well!

Thanks Mike. I am in PA and have updated my profile. I appreciate the feedback and a little insight into some of the not so good about the business. I plan to join in the near future and start the learning process. I have also reached out to an inspector I met a few years ago and am coordinating a ride along. I started reading the book by Wally Conway that I saw referenced in another post.

I am really impressed by all the offers of assistance to a complete newbie on the forum. It really shows the type of people who frequent this board.

I already have all the insurance, retirement, and a college saving plan in place.

Dan, I lived in PA for 40 years and ran a successful home inspection company in Philly.

That book is not for home inspectors. It is targeted toward his local real estate agents. It’s a high-end marketing piece in other words. It is not advice for inspectors.

You also have to join InterNACHI by regulation in PA.

Dan, you’re in Harrisburg!
If you want to come down to Baltimore for a ride along I’d be happy to play host. The transition from GC to HI is pretty easy in some ways and perhaps hard in others but well worth it imho.


Thanks Tom, that is a really kind offer.

Ty Nick, but it’s nothing, I just like meeting new people!


Nick, I will be joining. I also quickly found out the purpose of the book.

Tom, thank you, I plan to take you up on your offer. I will be in touch next year to coordinate a time.