HI start up costs, concerns...

Good morning gentlemen,

In the interest of keeping things on point, I’ll try and be as brief as possible with first post on here.

I’m not exactly happy with my current job and am considering starting up my own HI business. I have been working outside sales for the past 6 years for a mid sized manufacturer here in Dallas. I enjoy the job, but the pay and the management structure leaves a lot to be desired. After quite a bit of research and revised spreadsheets I think I have pretty good idea of the start up costs and monthly expenses, but I’d like to get that verified by the experts.

Best I can tell between equipment, education, websites, and all of the other miscellaneous costs, I’m projecting between 6-8k and 6-7 months before I would be ready to inspect my first home.

Monthly expenses are a bit harder to project, but I’ve budgeted around 700 for gas, cards, cell, website, and other marketing. This might be high, but I’m trying to budget on the conservative side.

My biggest concern is how quickly I can get to the point where I’m inspecting 20 homes a month. With aggressive cold calling and my prior experience of working and managing a territory I’m not too concerned about long term success, but the initial hit and reduction of income is a bit concerning for the wife and I. I know the housing market in dfw is strong to quite strong, so I know there’s plenty of contracts to go around.

Ok that’s enough for now, any insight or constructive (or otherwise) criticism would be appreciated.

John it takes long hours and hard work to be successful in this business as of tomorrow I start my 17th year. I started this business 5 years before I retired from my day job worked evening and weekends until I was sure the income was there and I highly recommend that for every newbie unless you are indenpendly wealthy;-)

I worked for my brother for 3 years while starting my inspection company. The number of inspections per month is only based on your market share and your reputation, both have to be earned equally. I do not average 20 a month based on a year, but I am almost there. I have a good piece of the market and I am happy with that.

Thanks for the insight. I think working nights and weekends till I’m ready to make the transition to full time will most likely be what happens, luckily the wife is a CPA/financial analysis so were not completely dependent on my income. That’s right guys, I married a sugar momma. The long hours may wear on her though, so the transition may happen before I’m completely ready.

What would y’all say is the most effective way of marketing, cold calling on the phone or dropping in to real estate agencies?

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Thanks Nathan, email sent


I see you live in Texas. You must be licensed as a home inspector in Texas. Look at the TREC web page to see the options allowed for the required training. Also after you receive the required training and pass the test you must also purchase E&O insurance before you get your license.

They require E&O insurance in Texas ?
Here in Florida all I need is general liability .

Thanks, I’ve been in contact with a school for the training, but I’d like to get some local feedback on them before I pull the trigger. For budgeting purposes would you give me a rough yearly/monthly estimate for E&O?

I’m still very green and what I don’t know could fill an encyclopedia. That being said, I’m willing to learn.

My advice: You need to quit your day job. Those who keep their day jobs often take years to get up to speed, when it should only take you a few months to be busy full time. If not… you are doing something wrong with regards to marketing.

Keeping your day job is like betting against yourself.

Ah Ah thank you sir but I had a bigger investment in my day job that I could not throw away to many years invested to just flush it.

Different strokes for different folks;-)

The day job pays pretty well, and we got bills to pay, but with dedicated saving and due diligence, we might be able to make that initial hit a lot less painful. Thanks everybody for you input.

I worked a day job and saved up my money to be able to purchase all the most important
tools and equipment including membership here,brochures,business cards and one years expenses.
I’m fortunate in have a wife that makes decent money .
However, My thoughts were that since the market is down that many HI’s gave it up which gave me a small advantage in my market area.
One thing for sure …Nothing great comes with out a calculated risk .
The first question I would/did ask myself is…
“Will I really love to be a Home Inspector” my answer was yes!
Remember no one ever does great at their vocation if they don’t love what they do .
You have to have stickablity to survive any great undertaking .
Is this for you ? Only you can answer that.

Good Luck
God Bless
Roy Lewis

Give us some example as to what he/we could do to be busy in just a few months.

Thanks you Sir.
Roy Lewis

I went all-in and started out full-time. I started by moving $10K seed money into a business account and worked from that. I never had to put any additional personal money into that account.

You will find many knowledgeable, experienced and helpful members throughout Texas.

If you want to start out as an independent, you will need to take the fast path training for your Professional Inspector’s license. You will also be required to have E&O insurance before you can obtain your license. I don’t have any insight into current tuition rates for TREC approved training providers as the hours / requirements have changed since I went through. The training will prepare you to pass the exam. There will still be much to learn in order to become a competent HI after you obtain your license. Look for a mentor or you may find that subcontracting or working for a multi-inspector firm will get you a jump start on building experience. If you go that route, make sure they they don’t restrict your ability to operate and build your own business.

4 years - with a full time job while doing inspections during all “my” off time for me

Not a horrible start up cost IMHO. Alternatively, $10K won’t buy 1/3 of a pizza shop oven.

I kept my day job and did some inspections for friends who were realtors or friends who were buying houses for free (they obviously got paid inspections as well) but allowed me to hone my craft for a few months to develop a routine, system, and get up to speed on things I needed to know. I also did some paid inspections at first on weekends and late afternoons until I felt comfortable. Keeping a day job is not betting against yourself, it’s doing whats best for your family and current situation, and everyone’s is different. Get a plan, work it, and you can always change direction or plans, but when you’re broke, it makes it alot harder.

Also, work a few 100+ hour weeks. It won’t kill you… or I’d be dead. Work like your life depends on it… because it actually does.