Inspecting three, 4-Plex apartments buildings with central boiler

Hello everyone. I recently added home inspection services to my list of services. I have been “active” for approximately 1 week. I received a call from a gentleman approx. 1 1/2 hours away from my location. He is requested an inspection of three 4-plex apartments. He thinks at least 1 of them has a central boiler, but it could be all 3. My question to all of you is, how do you charge for mileage and how would you price these inspections? I really don’t think I can get all of them done in 1 trip. This being my first paid inspection I would hate to loose it. I typically charge federal rates for mileage (0.58/mile). For 1 round trip the mileage would cost $107.88. I feel like I should charge per unit rather that total square footage of the building even though there could potentially be central units supplying the residences. He guessed at 800ft2 for the units and 3000ft2 for the building. The 800ft2 would fall under my minimum 2000ft2 charge. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

You mentioned you just listed home inspections to your list of other services. What might those be?

This is a pretty large project for a new inspector. Do you feel confident you can perform the task and produce a concise complete report?

If the answer is yes, then mileage really is not a huge issue.

With experience or a helper, this could be done in one day. But, I would build in extra time for yourself. And, I would not charge too much extra if you want the job because you’re experienced competitor who is efficient will beat you out.

Back to price, age of the building, occupancy status, scope of work, mileage all play a part.

In my neck of the woods, this project would come in at around $2,000-2,800 mileage included.

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The interior units 800 sq. Ft units only take a few minutes to inspect. You would want to know if they have a shared attic, basement or crawl. These can be sort of a hybrid between a free standing home or more independent units. I would definitely want more info. Why is the client so in the dark?

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Thanks for the quick reply Brian.
To your first reply. I started a sUAS business last year and conduct flights for exterior inspections, real estate photography, project monitoring, etc. Before I started this company I was surveyor at an engineering and architecture firm for 22+ years. That had me on all types of projects. I split with that company a little under 2 years ago a took a position at a forensic engineering and animation firm in Colorado. There I performed surveys, aerial inspections and structural inspections of a high end community consisting of 15, 5 plex townhomes. While I was there I had a thought I could create something different to help my community back home. So here I am. I am about the only inspector in my area. I have had Real Estate agents, Insurance agents and other people tell me how great it is I am doing this. It was always very hard to find, then get an inspector here. One of the Real Estate agents actually told me there is no point to hiring a licensed inspector. They were not impressed with any of them. They said they would refer me without question. When doing my research, the first firm I looked at online is 2 1/2 hours away, and the sample inspection they had was a home in my City. Anyway, I may be rambling a little bit.
This gentleman contacted me since I am closest. He found me on one of the sites InterNACHI puts us on. I am the only inspector at my firm right now. I have a part time employee acting as a Visual Observer for the sUAS portion of my company. I agree this is a large project for my first inspection. I was not expecting this right out of the gate. The only thing I am a little concerned with is if it is a central boiler system. I know I can inspect up to a 4-unit dwelling, but am unsure if I can legally inspect a commercial boiler. I am digging into that now. I came across something stating the Fire Marshall has something to do with boiler inspections. I have not read enough to know yet. We do not have many boilers around here. Natural gas and electric are the main fuels for Heating around here. I did ask him to provide basically a MSL type sheet for me. On average, around here last year home inspections ranged from $350-$400 for 2000ft2 and under. To help me stand out I am offering a free thermal inspection with every home inspection. I also incorporate one of my UAV if need be. I want to give the most thorough inspection around. I may take a little longer than others but it will be worth it in the end. With prices on everything getting driven up, and my inspection practices I am charging $400 for a home under 2000ft2. I knew I did not want to charge $4800, so I really appreciate your estimate!
To your second reply. They are working on a sale and I am not sure this gentleman has actually seen the place. I believe that is why he wants it inspected. We have a lot of people from out of State that are buying up things unseen. It’s pretty crazy.

Do you have any input on the boiler system? If it actually exists.

Thanks again for your help!

The following is from a 16-unit apartment building last week.
Boiler on left is for baseboard Heat in the entire building.
Boiler on the right is for Water Heater.

Don’t stress over what you don’t know, until you know it, because you never know!!



Thanks Jeffrey.
I can only hope they are that new. I am expecting something much older. But like you said… :grinning:

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Refer to the SOP for hot water production, heating and cooling. You’re fine there if you stay in your lane. See below.

It’s a non invasive visual inspection and is not technically exhaustive if you use InterNACHI SOP.

Not sure what your state requires, so you’ll have to perform your own research there regarding SOP.

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