Ok, I have been reading your posts and you guys seem to know what is going on in the industry. I am investigating the possibility of purchasing a Housemaster franchise in the Chicago area. I have no experience in home inspections, and my understanding is that Housemaster will provide me with the required training for my state. I am a DIY’er so I have a little knowledge in electrical, plumbing, and such. I also have some business experience as well.
I would like to know just how reputable is the Housemaster company? Is this something that someone like me can really do?
If you are a Housemaster franchisee or a former franchisee I would love to hear about your experience, good or bad. If you do not want to answer here please contact me.
I also want to hear from the rest of the community here.
Not to be rude in any way, but I think your putting the cart in front of the horse.
When you call Joe, he might say the same thing to you, regardless of the franchise idea which has nothing to do with inspections in general as starting out in the business, knowing what your doing inspecting is the most important, and hands on experience is the only way to really learn in my opinion.
Personally I would learn all there is to learn at the moment being in the inspection profession before even anticipating buying a franchise.
They will tell him how glorious the home inspection business is and how he will make lots of money in this market with over 2500 home inspectors in Illinois. The current franchise owner is probably so busy he can’t handle it anymore and has to sell his business.
I guess I am a bit confused by your posts, ldapkus. In post #2 you said we need more home inspectors in the Chicago area. Now you are saying that there are too many inspectors in Illinois? The market is saturated? Am I Correct? I don’t want to get into a market that I can’t work in.
If I were to purchase a HouseMaster franchise I would not be purchasing from a current franchisee. The area I live in is already taken by an inspector and he has had it for 20 years. I would be purchasing in an area that HouseMaster does not have a franchise. I have thought, as you guys have, Why pay royalties? I could have my own business. I am working through all my options. I have not decided how I will do it.
Let me tell you guys about me and you tell me if you think I have what it takes to work in this industry.
I am recently unemployed. I worked in healthcare for 21 years, I am 42 years old married with 3 kids, 19, 9, and 7. I worked as a Cardiovascular Interventional Technologist, Basically I worked with Cardiologists. I peformed angioplasties and placed stents in patients who were having heart attacks. Very technical work with long hours, sometimes 16 hour days, I have been on call for the 21 years of my employment in healthcare for at least 3 days a week.
I have relatives in the trades and some are realtors. I pretty much do all my own home maintenance and upgrades. I have remodeled my own bathroom, took it down to the studs, and did a lot of the work myself and what I didn’t know I had someone with the knowledge show me how; basically I worked with them. I have run my own electrical, cable, computer and phone lines. I have done some roofing on my fathers house and built walls and the such.
I AM BY NO MEANS AN EXPERT. I get by on reading and research for my projects and help from friends and family. But I have wanted to get out of healthcare and start my own business for at least the last 5 years and have thought about home inspection for that long also. I also like to teach, which it seems to me, that is what you guys do everyday, you educate your customers, whether they be home buyers or realtors. I am not going into this blind.
I have very good customer service skills. I do not know any better customer service training than healthcare. Think about when your customer is unhappy, and compare that to a patient and a family who need you in a crisis situation. I have laughed and cried with my customers and have learned over the years how to comfort and empathize with them.
I have also managed the departments I worked. I think that gave me some business accumen in reagrds to budgets, staffing, inventory and the likes.
The Health Care field, ayyy? So you want to get into Hi’s after being in the Health Care Industry for 21 years. OK, great. I’ve got some long drawn out information that may help you with your career decision.
Getting started in the home inspection business will always be slow and gradual, especially with today’s R/E mess. Many newcomers to this profession get very frustrated during that first year and some finally throw in the towel and return to construction work or to their previous occupation (yours being Heath Care). Selling your HI services to R/E agents before you have actual field experience is not easy, but it has been performed by nearly everyone who is an experienced home inspector today.
Instead of worrying about your lack of inspection experience, your better off telling people about your related knowledge and experience – such as contracting or whatever it was you did previously that relates to Home Inspections. Tell them about your certifications and any other professional credentials that might apply to Home Inspections. Tell them about your commitment to do excellent work. But don’t say you are a “continual learner” because that infers that you have not yet sufficiently learned about Home Inspections. And don’t ever tell them that you’re an “overachiever” because many agents are afraid of home inspectors who might “kill the deal” by being overly zealous. But when someone asks you how many inspections you’ve performed, just tell them the truth and let the chips fall as they will. Most people, however, won’t even ask if you act professional enough to make them think you’re GOOD.
R/E Agents are used to newbie inspectors coming into this field all the time. At first, you may be dismissed as just another home inspector. But gradually, if you’re GOOD, you’ll get inspection orders – a few here, a few there. And if the R/E agents really like your work, they’ll call on you and refer you again, and again. And little by little, you’ll become an experienced Home Inspector.
But while you’re gaining that valuable experience, you’ll be missing property defects that would be discovered by a more experienced Home Inspector. These undisclosed conditions will result in callbacks, monetary claims and possibly a major lawsuit. So be sure to carry Errors-and-Omissions insurance, and do all you can to continually advance your HI education. The more you know and the more you practice, the more effectively you’ll serve your customers, the more protected you’ll be from liability, and the more often you’ll be recommended to home Buyers on a continuing basis.
If you make the wise decision of attending a professional home inspection school, you will see many ads that say you can make hundreds of dollars a day as a Home Inspector. The home inspection schools always print many of these ridiculous ads and what they claim is simply not true. They paint a bright rosy picture about the HI profession and how easy it will be for you to make a ton of money virtually overnight. Bullshi+… If you believe that story, I’ll tell you another, if your gullible enough to listen.
What these HI schools and the various companies’ (selling Home Inspection courses) won’t tell you is how difficult it is to be successful in this business, especially with today’s real slow R/E market. Some National HI schools make it sound so easy to get started overnight. They simply explain how easy it would be to start doing one or two home inspections a day with little or no effort. Don’t allow then to fool ya. The HI business is like any other professional business. It takes dedication, strong finances and a lot of time to become very successful.
Many HI schools do not tell you about the massive liability side of the home inspection industry. The home inspection industry is and always will be a very high liability profession. Every single home you inspect, is a potential lawsuit for you. It doesn’t matter that you may be the most thorough home inspector in your area. Home Inspectors are sued over things that the homeowners thought they should have found whether or not you could actually see the defect or not. There’s an old saying in this business. It’s not IF you get sued, but WHEN you get sued. So if you can’t live under this sort of pressure, you’d be best off looking elsewhere for a different profession.
All it takes is a ladder, a flashlight and pickup truck…right?
Well, guess what? Here’s more bad news, and I apologize but it’s the absolute truth. Like most legitimate businesses, it takes a little more than a few simple tools. A new home inspector is going to need about $5000 worth of tools just to get started in this business. Then there is the issue of insurance. Errors & Omissions Insurance will cost a new inspector (if you can even get it) anywhere from $3,000 to $4500 per year. Then there’s General Liability Insurance that will run you anywhere from $500 to $1500 per year. In some states, you can’t even get started without this insurance.
Do you have a rainy day fund?
I hope so, because it will absolutely rain on your parade! Just like any new business, the 1st year or two will be very rough. It may take you anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to even get to the point where you’re bringing in a hefty steady income. Many Home Inspectors came into this business by doing home inspections on the side or on a part time basis. That is the exact approach I would advise any new inspector to take. Don’t quit your day job just yet!
What about the Real Estate Agents?
The schools make it sound like there’s a R/E agent behind every tree just waiting for good ole’ you. Odds are that R/E agents have their favorite Home Inspector already and they’re not likely to use a newbie Home Inspector because they do not know what to expect from you as of yet. It will take you many months up to a year or more before you’ll be getting regular referrals from your favorite real estate agents. Don’t count on them to feed your family when you first start your HI business. This industry can be very rewarding in many ways, however it’s likely to leave a sour taste in your mouth if you enter thinking that it’s a pushover to get started in this industry. I’ve seen way to many good people go broke trying to get started in the HI business because home inspection schools and trainers left them unprepared for what they were about to face in the real world.
I really wish you all the Luck in your career decision and whatever your goals may be. After hearing me tell you the real truth about this industry and you are still truly thinking of dedicating yourself to become an HI, the first thing you should do is join iNACHI and then participate in this MB on a daily basis. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn in a single day.
Well, thanks for that info. I was prepared to hear something along those lines.
The way I see it, and correct me if I am wrong. I need to find a good hands on school, Join NACHI and other professional organizations, get licensed, not sure about the tools, I have about $20,000 worth of tools, but they may not be the particular tools needed for HI. I could then work for a HI company and get experience and learn the trade and then think about having my own business.
On the other hand, if I were to purchase the HouseMaster franchise, would having the franchise help me in any of the above areas or the areas that you discussed in the post? What do you guys think of this franchise? Is it BS? are they professional? Is this something I should only think about purchasing after I have worked in HI for a year or two? DON’T HOLD BACK, TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS COMPANY.
Also, I am in Oak Forest, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Any good HI schools?
Your best bet is to go it on your own. Research the need for home inspectors in the area you want to be in. Seems you have/know people in the real estate business, and that will get you further than a franchise. A franchise will limit you to a certain geographical area, usually by zip code, and along with the franchise fee, they will take a % of your gross.
If you still want to go with a franchise, research the hell out of the company.
I looked at several franchises, and for the up front money, and the continued % fees, decided that money would be better spent doing my own marketing.
That way, I get a 100% return on my efforts.It will still take YOUR OWN effort to make a go of it, why “share” the profits!!!
A franchise will give you a geographical area and some marketing help for that area, but they can not “gurantee” a customer base, as you will ALWAYS need to build the business on your own.
You can get a wealth of knowledge as you start your business from this web sight and the advice and experience of those that have gone before us, and it is free.
I have been in the construction business for 25 years, so did know much about marketing and advertising, and construction, but from this web sight, got all of the"nuts and bolts" of the HI business, and will be forever grateful and thankful to all of those who have contributed their experiences and advice, making my transation into HI a less frighting adventure.
I’ve worked for many people and foreman all my life and they always reaped the profits of my hard work. I got sick and tired of working very hard for these people and taking home less money than what I thought I was actually worth.
So, when I decided to open my HI business, I did it for myself. I wanted to reap all the profits. My plans worked but it took a lot of time. I don’t find myself paying anyone a portion of my pay except good ole UNCLE SAM.
Thanks for all the info, You guys have given me a lot to think about. I see that you guys all think that I do not need a franchise, and I am starting to agree. What about the rest of my questions? Anybody care to tackle them? Especially the school. I qouted myself in this post. Is that legal to qoute yourself? LOL:)
Your best approach is to do a home inspectors course now, which wll give you a lot of home inspection information/issues. INACHI a good source for on line schools/study guides. Another good source is Bestinspectors.net. They have a lot of information/tips, and put on some great free classes.
Being that you don’t have a lot of hands on all around construction experience, these schools can give you a good start, and most customers would like to know what HI “schooling” you have.
Search the web and NACHI for all the information you can get concerning issues in home inspections concerning all phases of the inspection concerns