If anyone needs help building a multi-inspector firm...

If you need assistance in launching your inspection business or wanting to grow your current inspection business to a multi-inspector firm, I can help. I’m Sheilenna Woods. I have been working full-time for InterNACHI since January. Prior to this, I started and grew my own multi-inspection firm in Northern California. If you would like to bounce around any ideas; email me at sheilenna@internachi.org.

You can also call me at (720) 506-2223.

Sheilenna started her own inspection company in California during the real estate crash and within 3 years, she had 4 full-time inspectors working for her.

I got a question. I have a hard time finding anybody that knows about inspecting. Most of the time, I take them out and then tell them they need to go back to school. How do you find good help?

Hi James,

For me, it worked best to hire general contractors, not that it was a necessity; it just seemed to turn out they way. Then I educated them through the InterNACHI certification program as CPI’s. In addition, personality plays a role as well; you can always improve one’s education level, but you can’t fix personality. Getting the right people on the bus and inline with your company’s mission statement is critical.

That what seems to work the best for me. Just lacking the talent in my area. You would not think it would be that hard to find somebody wanting to make $20 a hour in a low cost of living state such as Missouri.

Retired home builders, or retired HVAC contractors are also good prospects as they may not want to work full-time, but certainly have the expertise to follow through with what is required in a home inspection.

What kind of deal was worked out with your inspectors?

Rather over pay than under pay…the ratio was 60/40. (probably should be more like 70/30); however, you want quality help and a knowing that your CPI’s are as dedicated to their work as you would be.

What are the benifits of adding someone to your staff and providing vehicle/tools/insurance/training and Giving them a 70/30 split vs hiring them as sub contractors and they provide all that themselves?

I understand non-compete clauses are ussually a waste of time and only really deter the honest people.What kind of safeguards can you deploy beside being an amazing employer to keep someone from taking all your time and effort into training them and starting a competing buisness? (I know this is a problem in any buisness, but I would like to hear how you dealt with it)


Excellent question. Each CPI was considered an independent contractor (vehicle, tools, etc). The ratio of 60/40 (with 60% being paid out to the inspector); was paid that way for many reasons and one being the non-compete. They’re quality conscious inspectors who desire to work, but don’t want the hassles of owning their own business. Everything was handled for each inspector, all they had to do, was perform the inspection and prepare the report. (obviously all were InterNACHI certified and all marketing material paid by the company).

There is a certain level of trust that goes along with it as well. Again, having the right people of the bus, develops a win-win for all parties. If they know they are making good money, they won’t be tempted to go it alone and take your clientele.

Ok. So if I understand right. All of your inspectors were treated as sub contractors. Technically they had their own buisness but you provided all leads and scheduling etc while they provided all tools.

You did not take any deductions or anything off their pay?

As independent contractors they deal with that themselves.
This may be a difference between what canada and USA consider an employee but if someone as a “Independent Contractor” or “Sub Contractor” only work for one company and the company provide or look after everything except tools and transportation, The canadian government at least sees you as an employee of that company.
Most “Subs” ( regardless of trade) will take 95% of their work from one company but get the other 5% independently. (to get around this- otherwise they can not take any deductions for gas/veh. Insurance/tools, etc at tax time) If you had a non compete in place this would prevent them from any other work from anywhere else.

I am just curious how a multi-inspector business is structured to keep you the business owner happy and making money- the employee happy and making money- and the goverments happy with the structuring and making money haha. I hate having those guys on my back. They weigh me down to much.

Yes, technically they were treated as independent/sub contractors and each were responsible for paying their own income taxes and issued a 1099. It was a thought earlier on to bring them in as employees (which some inspection companies do), in my opinion, it was too much liability. Obviously you cover the E&O, and must have non-compete agreements.

I understand your comments in the last paragraph perfectly and it’s all about getting the right people on the bus. If you treat the inspectors with respect, they will in turn be respectful back; that’s been my experience.

Gotcha. Thanks for the insights Sheilenna!

My pleasure.

As a new inspector I am already thinking building a multi inspector company as soon as I can. I had a construction company that if it were not a partnership I would still be working in. I am also a former franchise owner so I’ve been down the franchisee road also. I enjoy inspecting but enjoy being an entrepreneur even more.

Its not technically proficient people that are hard to find, its super hard to UNTRAIN them.

Once you get a guy who can learn it your way,they are typically computer illiterate.

In my experience it is better to find a person who knows nothing with a great personality and has a ton of computer knowledge and a grasp of the English language and then teach them your way.

But that is just me.

I am presently trying to obtain the best inspector in my area as an employee. He is so damn knowledgeable and just an overall super guy. We shall see how this plays out and hopefully we become the SW Florida powerhouse that cannot be stopped!

I haven’t seen this addressed. Here in TN they require to be licensed. Have to go thru 90+ hour training, testing and license before you can even be an assistant.

We have been a multi-inspector firm for several years. Have found it very difficult to expand past 3 inspectors. Personality is A#1, you can’t teach that. Everything else you can teach - except the $$ up front for a person that wants to be (and is qualified in other areas to be) an inspector and isn’t.

I thought you already were, Russ? :smiley:

If you do a lot of ancillary inspections or have 3 or more inspectors, a simple 60/40 doesn’t incentivize inspectors to help each other in that a simple formula limits them to only caring about their sub-business they are operating inside yours. Here is a slightly more complicated formula that I used that makes your inspectors care about overall revenue based on their portion of contribution to it. It also eliminates complaints that you aren’t dispatching the inspections fairly between your inspectors:

Let’s say you are paying them 40%. At the end of the two-week pay cycle each inspector gets paid this:
.40 X (# of hours he worked) / (total # of hours all inspectors worked) X (total gross revenue for the period) = inspector’s pay.**

The formula instills a team feeling between your inspectors where they all care about your total revenue, not just the revenue from the inspections they performed.