Home Inspection Business Part Time (Seeking Advice)


******I’ve long considered starting a part time home inspection business and have a few questions.

A little background:
In my current job I work 12 hours shifts rotating between days and nights. I usually work 2-3 days or nights followed by 2-3 days off. The days off are when I’d plan to do my home inspections. I do not work in a Real-Estate or Construction related field. I do work in a detail oriented field and consider myself fairly handy around the house. Before attempting to start a business I would complete a certification coarse and join NACHI. In the past I had somewhat ruled the idea out as it seemed like a pretty difficult business to start part time and be profitable or recoup my initial investment relatively fast. Mainly because of the errors and omissions insurance needed and cost of the initial training. Now I’ve read some insurance company’s offer a pay per inspection option that has me reconsidering.


  1. Is it possible to be profitable part-time?
  2. Is averaging one inspection per weak reasonable & obtainable?
  3. Is it fair to expect $300-$500 per inspection in Southern California for homes ranging between 1200-2000 sq./ft?
  4. Would a pay per inspection insurance option be a good idea?

What advice would you as experienced Home Inspectors give me? All / any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in Advance,

Generally, part-time inspectors in SoCal have a difficult time. It’s not impossible to “make it,” but it’s difficult. The most successful inspectors have very flexible schedules to accommodate both Clients and Agents.

What areas do you plan on servicing, if I may ask. . .

Area’s of interest would be Lakewood & Long Beach primarily and could probably include surrounding area’s. My schedule is pretty flexible.

[size=2]I realize the phase “make it” can be taken many ways. As a part time Inspector I wouldn’t be trying to make it rich, but rather subsidize my income and make good use of my time off.

It’s important, like Jeff said, to be very flexible with your schedule. I had an investor last week that needed the inspection that day. Fortunately I did not have anything scheduled later in the afternoon.

Are you able to take calls for inspections during your day job? That is crucial too. If you let it go to voicemail they may not leave a message and just go on to the next guy on their list.

This is a very good point I never really thought about. Thanks for the heads up.

Hey Shawn;

Welcome to NACHI!

The current real estate industry environment and or climate might be an even more important issue to consider. Various media reports, state that our industry is loosing professionals on a daily basis, (That would include realtors, mortgage lenders, appraisers, home inspectors and termite inspectors). From reading this message board I gather it is extremely difficult currently for even some very experienced inspection firms to survive the current slow down.

Good Luck with your decision…

I cant wait to be a home inspector and get rich quick.

Keep seeing ads in the paper “Become a Home Inspector” We have 6 in this county (had 7 but he got busted operating with out a license). The math says that is roughly 1 inspector for every 11667 people with I am sure only 100 of those have homes on the market. Not many homes moving around here but the inspectors keep coming. I am relatively sure 4 will not survive to their next renewal date. Risky business right now! But I wish you luck.

Thanks for the welcome.

I have considered the slow down and read the recent article in the Orange County Register. Sense I’m only looking to work as an Inspector part time I didn’t feel the slow down would effect me in the same way it will effect someone looking to Inspect full time. Never the less it will make things harder than during a boom.

As I said earlier I’m not looking to get rich but rather subsidize my current income while making good use of the time off that job offers me. Who know I may decide this is not for me. In the mean time I appreciate all the replies.

Sounds like a cop’s schedule to me. This can be both good and bad for you if you are. Good as in decision making skills, able to talk with people, helping people in time of need, calm and reassuring. Bad if you upset anyone with a ticket, a bust, or other activities

One thing to think of during your fact finding part is, doing this part time can be ammunition for a full time inspector. RR puts it this way in answering “shoppers” queries. He ask them, as do I, to ask these three questions of each HI they call: (1) Does the home inspector have insurance? You are going to get this so that is a good thing. (2) Does he/she belong to a trade association like NACHI? Good idea to join the worlds biggest and best! (3) Is the inspector part-time? Go with the full time inspector as that is all they do and do more inspections on average. See what I mean by having this used against you! Don’t want to make waves, but with all the other good advice on this post, these are questions you have to answer to “make it”.

Again, good luck in your decision!

I’m also interested in getting into this profession on a part-time basis. I’m hoping that when the real estate market turns around in the next 2-5 years, I should have enough business experience to go full time if I want. As for answering the phone, maybe an answering service would work. Or I could ask my wife to do scheduling.

How is doing this part-time a deterrent to a potential client? What is considered part-time? Also, what if the market doesn’t support a full time inspector right now? If a full-time inspector can only find 3 inspections a week how viable is that? Maybe it’s a good idea to start up part-time when the market is in a lull, and then be prepared for the upswing.

Shawn, if anything, one could argue that, because you have your main income, health insurance, and benefits from another source you would be less worried when performing inspections than someone who is worried about finding their next client. Heck, you can even walk away from some clients if you want.

There has to be some break-even point in the number of inspections it takes to recoup all your startup costs, insurance (car, liability, E&O), licensing fees (if any), taxes, national trade association fees, etc. Maybe somewhere around 30 per year, but that is just a guess. Anything after that is essentially profit.

Good luck.

Everybody and their mother seems to be wanting to be a home inspector. The problem at least in my area most will fail even if its part time. Insurance, fees, continuing education, marketing and materials, gas, tools, and putting some cash back in case you get sued (most are sued early on in their HI career), etc. The bottom line is do the research on if your market can support another HI (even part-time). Consider, the costs involved, expect for it to be a slow start, (maybe more slow now than in a long time). I say this because the dues, payments, and other costs will continue to come and you may be reaching into your own full time incomes pocket. DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST!

3 Years I have never had anybody ask those questions.

Main question-Price

I work 12 hour shift at a jail at night. You have to go without sleep. Unless you are doing 4 Inspections a week you are a part-timer. I am preparing to retire at the jail once the market improves. I have been there 23 years and will have retirement income.

I really do not want to rain on your parade and think you have every right to pursue happiness.

You may want to reconsider home inspection if your only experience is “fairly handy”. Experience really is a must in this industry.

Just stating my opinion.


Dennis McAuley](http://www.nachi.org/forum/member.php?u=10756)

I’ll try avoiding area’s I’ve worked in ; ). That could be a problem.
Quantity doesn’t mean quality. I’ll always do the best inspection I can, never rush (like to another job), and never schedule multiple inspections in the same day.
I appreciate the advice.

Don McCluskey](http://www.nachi.org/forum/member.php?u=15963)

Allot of great point many of which I’ve thought off myself. In California a certification in not required. That being said, I wouldn’t do inspections without getting one. I’d just like to cover all the basis.
I didn’t even think I would need 30 to break even, but I’ll have to do the math and get back to that one. I’m still looking into the “pay per inspection” E&O.
I appreciate the comments.

Randy D. Stufflebeem](http://www.nachi.org/forum/member.php?u=13404)

In California it doesn’t seem like everyone and their mother wants to become a home inspector. Maybe it’s different in IL. I’ve have heard that real estate agents have tried to take a piece of the inspections pie, but most (I’ve heard) do not get proper training.
Posting here is part of my homework.
I appreciate the advice

Gary L. Porter](http://www.nachi.org/forum/member.php?u=3902)

Good to know. I personally never asked my home inspector those questions. That being said I’m sure someone would ask though. If I was given the chance to answer that question I feel I could get around it.
I’ve been working 12 hour shifts for 18 yrs. I completely understand about going without sleep at times.
Good luck in your retirement.

Shawn join us. Go to school. Just think if everyone followed Mr. thompson’s advise. High School Grad : I love helping kids, I am going to school to be a doctor.

Bruce Thompson: Do not bother if you do not have any experience

I worked 12 hour shifts for 13 years, the last 3 years of that doing inspections on the side. For me it was a good way to get established locally. Just don’t get the big head and think your going to make millions. It was something I enjoyed doing. Last July I resigned from my job of 15 years and also moved out of the state that I made all my contacts with in TN. I moved to Atlanta and took on inspections full time.

It’s extremely difficult to go from having a steady paycheck every 2 weeks to literally having nothing. I’ve held my own even through the beginning of this slow down. But it has been the best learning experience in my life. I wouldn’t trade it. But I’d love to have that steady paycheck coming in. :slight_smile:

It’s hard work, it’s dedication, and most of all it has to be something you love to do. Background helps a lot too. :slight_smile:

Just as Brian stated. You had better eat, drink, and sleep the inspection field. The money really needs to take a back seat to a passion for the profession. While the money is nice, if you are not constantly seeking to learn, the learning is endless, you are going to get very frustrated. The confidence of doing inspections as a knowledgeable inspector educating your client is every bit as rewarding as the paycheck at the end.

The best advice I can give is to learn as much as you can from this board, have a MENTOR inspector (even if you have to pay him/her then do it), and have a WHOLE lot of patience building up your business.

Best to you Shawn!:smiley:

Ok so … modesty doesn’t always work. I should NOT have said “fairly handy”. That was a bad choice of words on my behalf. My mistake. I grew up in a house were we didn’t pay for anything to get done. So from an early age I was swinging a hammer (so to speak). I have a pretty solid background, just never employeed in the field.

In the last 3 years on my current home I have:
Roofed the house including re-sheathing.
Rewired the electrical
Added on a family room
Added on a bathroom
Tore the kitchen to the studs and rebuild it.
Replaced all baseboards, molding, and added some crown.
Installed new windows

In doing this I found things my inspector missed which included unsafe electrical junction boxes, exposed bare wire, a sagging ceiling due to a partially removed load baring wall that was hidden by a suspended ceiling, and a few other things. I corrected all this things myself.

I believe a good training / certification course added to the knowledge I already have would more than qualify me for this field.