How to start a home inspection business?

How to Run a Successful Home Inspection Business.

Where are you located?

Tempe (AZ)

Good you aren’t in my area. :wink:

Actually I sent potential clients to my iNACHI buddies, they will vouch for me.

Now to the serious side. If you are collection unemployment or a severance package dished out over time, don’t mess it up (you worked for it). Start the business in your spouses name, and volunteer your time towards it.

Get experience. Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity type of our that will teach you hands on how a house is built in your area.

Get education. You will find tips in the board.

Get a license. Even if your state doesn’t require it, get a license in something you can plug about your skills. Even certs for radon testing can help.

Be back, my daughter needs a nap.


------ Back ------

Get into networking. Tap into the local knowledge base by attending iNACHI chapter meetings.

Plan Yourself. I’ve told this advice to anyone I know that wanted to change their career. Write a make-believe resume of who you are/skills/experience for the job you want in a year. This case a Home Inspector, then work on filing your resume with reality, by using it as a check list for goals.

We/I can go on and on, but there is enough there to start, and you will be flooded with information soon in this thread and others.

BTW, take my advice with a grain of salt, like others. Not all things work for everything. However mins like education, license(s) and experiences seems to be very common among everyone as a recommendation I’ve seen in the past. Now experience might mean this will be a 5 year plan for you to work towards. :wink:




For AZ state lic. info. check out the BTR site.

You can also get unbiased info from local inspectors , by attending local nachi or ashi seminars.

Thanks for the good advice.

How long does it take, on average, to get completely up and running? I realize that everyone is different, but there must be some kind of rule of thumb?

By the time you complete the required HI class room and field training, BTR process and review, apx 6 months.

Bill what is your background.
If your background is corporate ,what in your background is leading you to think this is the right career choice?
I have had my license for three years and only now am trying to make a go full time.
I hope you have a background in building trades or this will turn into an expensive pipe dream.
Very few do more than make a passable living in this trade so I would suggest working on a second source of income while you deside if you love inspecting.
There is a lot more to it than hanging a shingle and collecting checks.

Thanks, Robert. Don’t the courses teach you what you need to know about the building trades? I’m not that handy, but I thought that these were supposed to give the background needed to be successful? :bug:

I learned some years ago: I ran an after school home work tutoring group. It was in a building where we were all squatters(the building was abandoned and I quickly learned how to do plumbing/electrical/etc. see background is experienced not taught) and many welfare families. In a short time, I showed how to do homework faster/efficiently based on how the text books were written. Soon I had kids passing with flying colors. One was even accused of cheating on a test. Soon my group was dissolved due to lack of interest by the children, heck they were now passing.

What I learned is, you can teach people to pass exams, but you can’t teach ambition, or success.


Bill… In the required min. 80 hr training you will learn very little, when comparing what you need to know.
If you proceed, be sure to look for 4 or 5 AZ inspectors with many yrs of exp, for your required 30 inspections with an AZ lic inspector, with them you will learn a lot more than any training out there.

Unfortunately too many here in AZ] look for the cheapest quickest route, opposed to spending a few extra $s and utilizing all the knowledge that you can obtain from seasoned inspectors.

HI boards, including this one, has good info. providing the information is provided by experienced inspectors, or professional trades men, opposed to new inspectors with little field experience, and big egos… are also a good source of info.

Bill the courses are designed to help you pass the tests.
The tests have nothing to do with the real world of the trades.
You seem like you are eanest and I have a hard time grasping the concept of a real person thinking they can jump into this with no prior knowledge in the trades.
The membership here is very helpful, but sometimes are so eager to help a new guy they forget that we also get people from other boards trying to discredit us by coming in here as moles.
I am not saying you ae so let me just say that if you have no background in electrical , plumbing,roofing,carpentry,heating,airconditioning, or any construction related field what so ever, this may be the wrong job for you.
You seem intelligent which makes me wonder if you are real.
Sorry if this is harsh but if you are legitimate then a time of crisis is not a time to fritter money away on an advertising campaign which will land you in court being sued for what ever you have left.
I suggest you get a job in one of the major trades and go from there .

A little info about AZ inspections in the summer.
Attics are 130-150 degrees, to do a through attic inspection on a 1500-2000’ home it will take apx 30-45 min.
Roofs, tile or shingle are so hot that you will burn your hands and knees when inspecting them, again for 30-45 min.

:smiley: Dan is that his first lesson?

It is:D :smiley:

Back in my younger days, I spent 3 summers installing ceiling fans,and crawling attics to wire and brace them.
Forgot all about that untill my 1st summer inspecting, 20 yrs latter.:slight_smile:

I’m sorry – I’m certainly not trying to discredit anyone! This board has been immensely helpful to me.

I really, truly am under the impression that I can attend training programs and learn what I need to know to do an effective job. Is it your position that you have to come from the trades to be a competent home inspector? I realize that it’s a path most people take, but just because you’re good a framing or worked as a plumber doesn’t necessarily mean you understand anything more about electric wiring, insulation, mold/radon, etc. than the average joe.

I will say that I do recognize that my best bet is probably going to be to team up with someone already in the business and learn the ropes. I don’t really want to “fly blind.”

Bill your last sentence makes the most sense.
Training class would be a good way to determine if it is for you also , but please do not bet the ranch.
When I attended class the Instructor whom is well known told us that out of each class only an average of one person will even persue the field.
I immediatly raised my hand and said here I am .
The other students gave me dirty looks but the instructor later came up to me and said , yeah I know.I can tell you will do well with this.
Three years later and I am still pushing it.
I will do well.

E-mail me at and I will send you some information on certifications in Arizona

Bill you can learn from training programs.
If you don’t have bld experience the learning curve will be a little longer, due to having to learn bld technology and identifying building component’s.

As a former contractor, and in the trades 30 yrs prior to becoming a HI, I will admit, that I thought I knew it all, everthing I knew I learned from Lic contractors, and builders] untill I hired a local inspector to do an inspection on my home , attended HI courses and talked to local inspectors, I soon learned that there were many things that I thought I knew, I was doing as a contractor were wrong.

As an inspector I soon learned, looking for, and being able to properly identify a defect, is far different than a contractor that contracts, does the work himself or hires employees to do the job, and collects payment when it is completed.

Far be it from me to pee on someone’s parade and am not going to try and discourage you. I for one, do not know enough about you to determine whether or not you will succeed in the HI business. You can spend a lot of money up front and find out that it isn’t for you. By your own admission you are not very handy. By that, I guess you mean you do not do your own home repairs, upgrades, etc. I think by nature those kinds of people are typically HI and that is what attracts many of us to this business coupled with desire to work for ourselves and be independent of any one else.

Historically, I believe most inspectors have worked for someone or something else for the majority of our lives and the appeal of being our own bosses is a large part of the attraction. If you are not very mechanically minded the HI business may not be for you because a very large part of doing this is knowing how things work, are put together and how the various and sundry systems work together inside a house. You are going to see things every day that you have never seen before and not know what it is or how it works. There are already far too many inspectors out there taking people’s money for an inspection when they really should be selling shoes or doing some other line of work. The bulletin board is NOT the place to come and have others write a report through a series of questions.

I went through a very extensive HI program (no longer available because of all the 80 hour courses that popped up when the HI business became popular) and when I was done I knew without a doubt that I knew enough to be dangerous to myself, my livelihood and my customers. I went and enrolled in schools in the building sciences. There are literally going to be days when you will have to recognize thousands of items and discrepancies, know what you are looking at, deal with a customer, deal with a Realtor, deal with a seller, deal with the cash flow, the bank, the credit card company, your family, the other trades, contractors, lawyers, mortgage companies and still manage to write a clear, consistent report, not miss any of the innumerable things that can go wrong on a house, put it into words your customer can understand yet still grasp the magnitude of it if necessary. Without a strong mechanical or construction background or some very serious training you are not doing your customers a favor.

You probably have heard about the diploma mills if you have read any of this board. Many HI schools are also diploma mills, promising untold wealth to the future Home inspectors. A lot depends on your market area, your business goals, your ability to sell yourself and your service. It took many of us years of hard work to finally get up and running in the beginning. When I started Realtors hated Home Inspectors (many still do). The good ones understand the value but many old timers have their horror stories and some times for good reasons. Some HI do a crappy job, snatch the money and head off to the next job. I guess it boils down to how committed are you to be a superb inspector or just get enough to get by and BS your way thru. We have both types in the business.

If you intend to join us, do us and yourself a favor…be the best damned inspector you can be and that money can buy. Hope you succeed in whatever you decide.