How long does it take to become a home inspector ? (salaries, and school near me)

Hey there,

So I’ve been speaking to a couple of you already on this forum, and I 100% understand I am not a member so maybe the importance of my posts may not be anyone’s priority. :frowning:

But since covid hit, and most my girlfriends are becoming real estate agents, I thought it would be a strategic career move to become a building inspector, but I wasn’t really able to find much information on salaries or any schools near me.

So here are my top 4 questions:

  • How long does it take to become a home inspector?
  • What kind of an annual income can we expect in Canada?
  • What schools near me (in Montreal Quebec) offer courses?

And the 4th, which petrifies me the most, is: do I actually need to invest in all of these tools?

You may want to take advantage of your Education Team at education@internachi.org for specific questions e.g. https://www.nachi.org/become-home-inspector.htm

Good studying!

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Wow @lkage, that is a mighty list.

Thank you!

So I guess I will HAVE to invest in all those things… right?

Talk to your Education Team at education@internachi.org

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Ok, will do.

Sorry. :frowning:

How long it takes depends on you. I actually did all my coursework online through Internachi in about 3 weeks, then spent the next 6 weeks or so re-enforcing it in my brain before I took and passed the state test. But I have 30+ years in the trades. A background in the trades isn’t required, but is the reason I was able to do it so fast. How long it takes you depends on you, how well you retain information and how well you take tests. General aptitude also comes into play, and you may not know that until you start getting into the coursework. You could be a natural or it might not be for you. I could never be a realtor because there is too much law involved, and legal terminology makes me feel dyslexic. I can read all the words but they make no sense as if they were jumbled up. Sign up for Internachi and start taking course and see how you do.

Take heart on the tool list. The 2 biggest price items on that list, the IR camera and the radon monitor, aren’t required, and you need special training to be able to use them. But there will be other expenses not on the list.

Good luck.

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Thank you @rarmstrong7, what other expenses are you talking about outside of this checklist I found?

And is the salary still worth it ? (what is the salary in Canada?)

I think answers to your questions are:

  1. It depends on your jurisdictional requirements. It took me about 7 months to be up and fully running with education, licensing, insurance, business startup, etc. Each jurisdiction varies slightly, so make sure you research your jurisdiction’s requirements really well to ensure you meet all the requirements. Here is a link to InterNACHI’s guide for Quebec: https://www.nachi.org/licensing-and-certification/ca/quebec

  2. I am not sure about Canada, but it is probably similar to US - it will depend on your local market and your drive and determination to be successful. Remember, doing the Home Inspections is maybe half of the full job - the business side of things is where a lot of Inspectors fail (marketing, etc.). Use NACHI’s resources to help you learn.

  3. Hopefully like Larry suggested, NACHI’s education team can help point you in the right direction.

  4. See below. :slight_smile:

Like Richard said, you do not need an Infrared camera or Radon CRM to get started. Yes, you will need many of those other tools, and yes it will require an investment up front, but like any business start-up, it does require some capital. Home Inspection businesses, however, are one of the few cottage industries left that you can start for under $10,000, and maybe even under $5,000 or less. You can start off with some cheaper tools, too, and then upgrade to better quality as you get revenue going. Things NOT to be cheap on would include your ladder(s) - your life depends on those! You can get by with some good quality rubber-soled tennis shoes for roofs, but pick and choose which roofs you mount. Again, your life depends on your decisions, too, so think seriously about getting an extendable camera pole and/or a drone/sUAS for the roofs you choose not to mount. Be sure to have several back-up rechargeable flashlights/headlamps as you will use these constantly. I would also recommend some Tyvek/disposable coveralls and some knee pads for crawlspaces. Respirator is very important for crawlspaces and especially attics - I learned the hard way with a bad respiratory infection my first year due to a mold-infested attic. You should have a good quality Electrician’s screwdriver, too, for inspecting panels. The gas and CO detectors can be added later, too - you do not really need those to get started. Keep at least a couple of receptacle/GFCI testers in your toolkit as you will undoubtedly leave one behind now and then. :smiley: You will also need a decent website and you may need to advertise (Google works well for me) for awhile until you get good organic SEO going. I started off with a less-expensive reporting software package, but looking back, I wish I would have just invested in the better software right from the beginning as it would have saved me money and time in the long run. Personally, I use Spectora, and it is much more than just a reporting software - it also manages contacts, Agreements, calendaring, automated emails/texts, and more including customer payments/invoices and it has a monthly payment option to make it affordable starting out.

Best of luck to you! Perseverance is your best ticket to success.

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The other Richard touched on a number of things, like the cost of starting the business. The requirements and fees vary depending on jurisdiction. Its possible you may need insurance before you can get your state/province license. You’ll want a second phone for business. Then there’s business cards, brochures, and other sales aids. When you start figuring all those little things, they add up. Early in my days in the trades, I was working, but it never seemed like I was making what I should. Then I realized all the little $10 and $20 bills (and sometimes fifties and hundreds) I was tossing out in “operating expenses,” that I wasn’t factoring into my price. It can be the same with setting up in a new business; there are just lots of little things.

Hey, Natalia… I can’t speak for the cost in Canada, but with schools, exam costs, licensing costs in Florida, Insurance, tools, etc. it adds up quick. And, of course, you have to fiqure in living expenses if you’re not currently working. I lost my job in May due to Covid layoffs and there wasn’t anything out there in my field of 30 years, so I feel you. When I decided to do this, I spent a week researching all the costs and created a business plan so I knew what I was getting into. I recommend doing the same.
As for time, I took the course with a different school in about 3 weeks and found they were nowhere near as good as the information provided with Internachi, so I spent another 3 weeks studying this course, before taking my exam. It then took another 4 weeks to get my paperwork back from the state after filing.
With absolutely zero experience in this field, it’s not easy… but it’s well worth it.
My best piece of advice, don’t spend the $400 USD or so for a different school. Pay the $49 here and you get everything you need and more to begin learning the trade and pass licensing requirements.
Best of luck!

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I truly appreciate the time you all took for these write-ups. It really helps me get a scope of this career pivot for me. And about nachi: seems like it was a good choice to join these forums.