Is my fee too high?

A prospective client called me and asked about inspecting a warehouse space more than 20,000 sq. feet. I was surprised that she didn’t know much about the property. All she told me was it had a large parking lot, brick walls, leaky roof, no windows at the front and a basement, which no one has visited in some time:twisted:. She was a referral from someone that has been referring business to me for years so she expected a discount, which is ok. When I mentioned that it would be wise if I visited the site before I provide a quote, she refused.
So, I described what kind of inspection I do, how I do it and ASTM standards. She was stunned to find out that I was going to charge her $3000, which is about $0.15 per sq. foot! She told me her expectation was around $500. So, do you think my fees are too high or a client should be educated more about real estate transactions and why an inspection is important? What would you charge for it?

I went for my calculator when I read your post, and put in .18 cents a sq.ft.
my fee woulda been about 3500…Tell her to call me, and we can ping pong back to you being the better, closer bargain…:smiley:


I would want to look at the property also…I always do for anything over 10,000 sq. ft.

Being mostly warehouse if this is truly the case, I would of done the job cheaper inspecting the major components “Only” to the standards specified in my inspection agreement, specifying “Exactly” what will be inspected and what will not be.

A building that size if it is unconditioned warehouse space with a few offices I could do it myself in probably 4 hours from the information you provided.

But without knowing “Exactly” whats involved in the inspection it’s just a guess.

You may consider yourself lucky to NOT having gotten this job. The client sounds like a novice and someone is most likely to be nothing but problems. Your price is fair and in light of the circumstances was more than generous. She obviously hasn’t ever hired an inspector before particularly for a commercial property. I bet she will want at least $3000 worth of inspection performed for her money. I had a young lady who thought she was a real mover and shaker too. Brags on about how many properties she had and was going to have. Her check bounced higher than the street light. She claimed to be having a “cash flow” problem. She left town but I tracked her down and let her know if I did not get the money by the following Friday she would be hearing from the State’s attorney. I got my “new, good” check. Some folks you just want to go to your competitor.

Good question. Do those of you that have been doing commercial inspections differentiate between the building uses, ie… empty warehouse, office bldg, manufacturing, etc… ??? If so, what are your typical fee’s? What are your criteria for each (for pricing)?


Of course I differentiate, if you have four walls and a roof, naturally it’s going to be a fast job, regardless of the sq. ft-age.

I price all inspections according to what they want inspected in my agreement, everybody is different, some want full blown reports, 95% just want to know what is wrong with the major components, so all buyers are as different as the buildings.

So with that being said, do you charge per hour, sq ft, per major component…? See what I’m getting at? What would you have quoted, with the info that was provided? (obviously, a visit to the property is in order). How could he have improved his chances of getting the inspection?

Yes, I do and like the DuffMaster I always attempt to preview in person or at the very least by photos or they accept my bid or not

Middle of the road is sometimes better than no road at all

2G or close to it ain’t bad pocket change for a maximum of a days work no matter how you slice it
or we could just talk about it here
it’s too dark for me to be working

Yep----exactly Bear…:smiley:


I can usually figure people out by talking to them, if I think I can get 3 G’s for a building I know won’t take me more than a day w/report done also I will try for that…if they him-and-haw I have other options available.

Hey…you just want the major systems inspected “great” I’ll do it for $1999.00…as an example.

I don’t have any set figure for any building…to many variations involved…but I better be making close to a couple G’s a day for a 20,000 sq ft building doing a “just major component inspection”…and it better be mostly warehouse—wide open, other wise the price increases significately.

Thanks for your input guys! I just could not do it for $500. It’s rediculous! At least $2500 and I would exclude bunch of stuff. By the way, the warehouse is conditioned and has at least one heating system and a boiler. According to the buyer, all the HVAC is “practically new”.

Maxim…yes 500 bucks is completely out of the question of course…:lol:


Dale & Barry…thanks for the input…I was thinking what Maxim had asked…I lost out on my last three bids…last one @ $0.18 sq ft./6500 sq ft mixed use ($1200.). Found out other inspector did it for $550.

Now that’s crazy too Jeff…:shock: :shock: :shock:

It’s sometimes a bum deal when we lose a job…but “I only get the jobs I’m supposed to have”…the rest belong to someone else…it’s a Native American thing :wink:

Yup…this time of year around here, the residential market dies until about the end of March…now the price wars are going on for the commercial work. :frowning:

Dale and Barry are on the mark.

The most impressive part of what they states was their ATTITUDE. Dale wants to SEE it prior to bidding. This is what I preach.

These guys know their way around a commercial inspection, and the advice given here was both sound, and timely.

Healthy attitude…:wink:

OK… preparing a quote on two office buildings that house the Maine State Employees Association (state workers UNION)… they are trying to figure out if they want to keep the buildings, move to another or think about building…

Here are some stats:
-two buildings, 13000 sf of office space ("all small offices)
-connected together
-built in 1820
-two boilers, oldest 20 years (lic. boiler tech to look at each for $75 each)
-3 stories each, plus attic and basement

I have asked electrician for estimate on having him come in and do separate evaluation to accompany mine, similar to the boiler guy.

I suspect two days on site inspecting… another writing the report…
some formulas used…

24 hrs * 100/hr = 2400.00 minus expenses
0.18 * 13000 sf = 2340.00 minus expenses

I am thinking $2299.00 fee for doing both buildings… :smiley: minus expenses… (electrician and boiler tech fees=300.00+/-)

some photos attached… others were too large

Please please share your thoughs… RRay please chime in… :wink:

There’s a big, big difference between an office building, a warehouse, and a residence.

I would have had no problem doing a 20,000-SF warehouse for $500. In fact, I did so four years ago, except that it actually was 22,000 square feet. However, it was my first and last because I actually thought I had overcharged for it and I just found it boring, not near as interesting as doing an office building or a residence.

All it had was a small 50-SF office with four outlets, a lighting fixture, a fixed window, and a doorway, not even a door. There was one unisex restroom with a toilet, a sink, an outlet, and a light. The rest of it was four walls, a window on each wall, two overhead loading dock doors, a few more outlets, a few more lights and light switches, and an electric panel with a few gazillionbazillion amps coming in.

The inspection took an hour, and the report took 30 minutes, so $500 was overcharge at $333 per hour. I think they also thought I had overcharged, but I was the only one who would do it on Saturday (most of my major competition still doesn’t work on Saturdays!).