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I haven’t expanded yet into thermal imaging. What is the best way to go about it? Notice that I said the best way and not necessarily the cheapest way.
What’s the best course or school? What’s the best equipment? What is the realistic income potential in a smaller market?
Thanks in advance!

Reece I am going to tell you how the cow ate the cabbage this has been hashed and rehashed a thousand times on this board. IMHO there are no shortcuts and no easy paths to follow. Someone once told me to be successful one should find a mentor that is successful and simply stated do what they do. Now finding that mentor may be your first problem.

One has to decide how far you want to take your IR program. Do you just want to stay within the residential circle. One must have a plan and do the plan. Base your training and equipment on the long term not the short term.
I can tell you a lot of things not to do in this business because I had no mentor I had to start from scratch and learn the hard way but I won’t go into all of that.

All said and done go here, http://www.thesnellgroup.com/irtalk/forums/default.aspx read EVERYTHING and learn, if you cannot go forward from what is here then do not go for IR.

FLIR and ITC are one of the most respected names in IR cameras and training in the world. Training starts at around $1800 (each) and a 320x240 camera will run you approx. $10K - $14K. You will have to add travel expenses and loss time at work for each class you take (there are several levels of training you can go into). It is not uncommon to spend 20K in overall expenses when going this route.

Marketing to a small market may limit your income. Marketing is always a wild card because I don’t know if your a wizard or an average guy.

A minimum level IR camera (120x120) and training package for home inspectors can start as low as $2295. Our webinar students get the lowest price for IR camera and training package in the USA. Hundreds are now operating their IR business from our class and camera package.

If you are looking for nationally accepted training that will be respected by industry peers, then I would start considering training with either Infraspection Institute, Snell, or ITC. Taking a Level 1 course will teach you the basic sciences behind thermal imaging principles and help you realize there are other opportunities out there to make money using IR than simple home inspections. Level 1 training will also help you understand what you should be looking for in a camera before you go out an make a purchase that may or may not suite your needs. Nothing worse than buying the wrong tool for the job and not knowing it until it’s too late.

If you are like most other home inspectors, time is money. Taking time off from doing inspections to go to a class for a week can cost some inspectors $5,000 - $10,000 in lost income. I took Infraspection Institutes online distance learning courses for Home & Building Inspectors and my Level 1 training and highly recommend them. The courses are the exact same material that you will receive in a classroom setting and their support is second to none if you ever have a question, regardless of how many.

If you are interested in going that route, you can purchase online training here at this link:http://www.nacbi.com/infrared-training-courses-distance-learning

Testing is conducted at the annual IR/INFO conference or you can pay an additional $350 to schedule a proctored exam with one of the staff via webcam.

As far as purchasing an imager, I would hold off on that until you get some education about the subject and you can make an informed decision based on what you think you will be using the camera for in the future, not just your immediate needs. You may find that for certain types of work, you will definitely need an imager that can produce the clarity that is needed to identify small temperature differentials. Obviously, they will be much more expensive that a low end toolbox camera that some of the companies are marketing now. If you just want to get into IR to find wet spots, then a $20,000 camera isn’t something you will likely need though.

Biggest piece of advice, plan ahead into the future and look past your immediate interests. There is a lot of money to be made with thermal imaging and you may find yourself using it in applications you never thought about initially. Good quality education will help you become aware of what is out there and the potential uses that may already be available to you.

InterNachi’s Infrared Certified Class is 100% the best place to start. it’s geared around getting started and the basics of the cameras potential. It’s 2 full days of nothing but Infrared Home Inspection discussions for $500(actually $250 after the InterNachi discount). Why pay $1800 or more dollars to learn the basics?

If your planning on buying a decent camera, the savings from taking the class will far exceed the class cost. Very few if any of the actual students who have taken the InterNachi class are the ones complaining about it.

The only people that are dogging the crap out of the InterNachi course are the people who feel they know more than the instructor and that their better suited to teach such a class. They can only criticize criticize criticize vs. instead actually designing a course of their own and making a success out of it. It doesn’t take a Level anything to teach an introductory course. John is plenty qualified to teach you all you could possibly learn in 2 days.

I’d make ultimate plans towards getting on board with United Infrared. They are growing at a quick pace, have a vast amount of professionals to help you with everything from marketing to how to set up a spray rack, and they don’t belittle you when you seek out professional advice.

You have to have your Level 1 to become a United Infrared member. You can do the InfraSpection Online Level 1 training, then test at your first United Infrared Class since they are authorized to proctor the exam. It saves a flight and a few days of missed work.

I’d be glad to talk with you and tell you what things helped me in a HUGE way(the difference in me making it an not), but not on this public forum. I don’t want to offend anyone.

Please feel free to contact me if I may can be of any help.