Hello, my name is Nate McKenna and I am currently trying to get my business up and running “All In” Certified Home Inspections. I have held numerous positions in the Log Home Industry over the past 15 years and have been very successful but welcomed a change with the down turn in the housing market.
I am looking for advice on what you as seasoned professional inspectors would suggest for start-up marketing and tool selections, trying to keep the budget to a minimum. I am looking to keep my service offerings simple in the beginning while I continue to educate myself on additional extra services.
To get back to the question asked, I would first start by seeing what other home inspectors in your area are doing. The home inspectors that have been around for a while have gone through some of the “what works and what doesn’t work”. When I started in this area the phone book was great (priced right also) and the websites wasn’t doing much. As time went on, the website became dominate and the phone book add went from a business card size to a one liner. Many home inspectors had business card size adds then and now only a few business side card adds are left (In my opinion, word of mouth is the best way to go. But that takes time especially in this economy.)
When it comes to tools, keep it simple. A basic moisture meter, screw driver, flashlight, voltage tester for outlets are some of the basics. I have a $120 flashlight that I love but no client is going to care what you carry. You will need at least two ladders so you can get into the attic and on a roof (largest ladder is for a two story house).
Once you get started, then go for the tools that will benefit you and/or will impress your clients.
I would recommend updating you profile (control panel) and then reposting you questions in the main MB section. This section is primarily “consumer” related, and open to the public. You will receive much broader responses in the members only section. I will respond with an “idea” for you over there.
The “downturn in the housing market” has been more a downturn in price, rather than number of sales. # of sales (extrapolated) is actually up from last year (from about 4.5 million in 2009 to about 5 million in 2010 in the U.S.).
Divide that by about 15,000 home inspectors in the U.S., subtract 10% for those homes that don’t get a home inspection, and you get about 300 home inspections/year/inspector on average… or about a home inspection/work day/inspector on average.