I believe this question requires some attention… Insurance inspection companies like Mueller Reports, Castle, and the like are slowly getting closer to doing the work we do at a fraction of the pay… I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t soon see lots of competition from Home Shield and the ones mentioned above in the home inspection realm in states with no standards. These large and somewhat sloppy inspection clearing houses will lower the standard of inspections, and also lower the prices we can charge. I’m afraid that average everyday home sellers may fall for this big box less expensive approach…Especially in unregulated states… Here’s what I know about Mueller Reports (aka Mueller Services)
I was both in the field for them and a manager. I can tell you they are a legit company. After expenses ,etc, a field rep can make up to $10 or so an hour profit… and a manager a bit more, though as a salaried employee, managers are expected to work 60 or so hours per week in a very high stress, high pressure environment (from home mostly). Some managers have “better” territories. These managers are able to make even more than the $12 or so an hour the 80 employees under them make because they’re able to do a days work in less than 10 hours. An average field representative can see up to 3 to 4 new managers per year, as turnover is VERY high.
Mueller itself uses a number system for each new field representative. When I started about 5 years ago my number was in the 7 thousands… they are currently over 19000 now… with only about 1,000 in the field at any given time, the math shows that they’ve gone through about 12,000 field representatives since I started. Some of those of course washed out during the online training process.
Mueller has now come out with a new product that is in essence an entire home inspection. They charge about the going rate that you or I would charge to the client. The good news is, they’re willing to share about $12- 20 with the "inspector" that does the work, PLUS .40 cents per mile. That means, the field rep doing the job will only lose about 10 cents per mile (assuming it costs about $.50 per mile to operate and maintain your vehicle), plus a full days pay doing the inspection for Mueller instead of themselves…
Mueller inspectors are expected to walk roofs, go in basements and crawl spaces (when required), open electric panels, measure all components of the risk including decks, porches, patios, pools, homes divided into components by floor level and build date, look up build dates in tax records, find nearest fire departments and hydrants, cite additional water sources to the risk, evaluate the roof condition and life left, count windows and doors, measure all baseboards and crown trims, get date of installation of plumbing, heating, roof and electrical. Cite type of wiring in risk. Cite amperage of panel, cite type of heating fuel and if tank, identify materials used in tank and age, also measure and inspect all out buildings and measure and identify fence type.
Mueller is a good “stepping stone” company for someone with no experience to get their feet wet in the inspection world. it is VERY much like an internship when you consider the pay and lack of benefits… (for salaried full time workers it’s 5 days off a year period and a very high cost health insurance plan that will take most of your paycheck. My Director informed me that the managers under him “chose to volunteer” to work holidays, weekends and “scheduled days off” in order to help contribute to his team.
Field Reps are of course part time employees and enjoy no benefits whatsoever.
Mueller used to pay per inspection, but since then have gone to a “guaranteed” minimum wage of around $12 per hour (pending on location.).
If you live in a very urban area, you won’t have to drive too many miles and may make a bit of cash… for those in non urban areas like myself, I averaged about 200 miles per day for them. about 80% of my “paycheck” was actually mileage reimbursements… if you have a car payment, you’ll be completely upside down… if you’re able to “borrow” grandma’s car, and not have to repair it when needed, this may be just the job for you. Mueller is kind of like the lottery… you know with the lottery, if you buy a $2 scratch off ticket and “win” 2, the game sees you as a winner... even though you just broke even. Mueller is that way too. When you point out the fact that you're losing money, they direct your attention to the mileage reimbursement they pay at .40 per mile as income… not realizing I guess that most of their pay to the field representative is purely a partial reimbursement for his/her costs…
Specialists, are folks who’ve worked for Mueller for about a year or more with outstanding statistics… meaning, you’re able to do the job in less miles and times than others with a low error rate… Those folks have earned the privilege to do high value homes, commercial inspections, and Farm surveys. The pay is the same, though the company makes substantially more. As I said, they see you’re ability to make the company more while making the same for yourself as a privilege. Then, from there, you can be appointed as a trainer, where you’ll make a few dollars more to audit and train the new folks coming out of on-line training.
The training is a 40-50 hour on-line program. Lots of reading, a few webinars and tests. If you make a 90% or better on each test, you pass and can be a Mueller inspector. If not, you get two more tries. In my estimation, the training provides almost 60% of what you need to learn as a field representative. You can’t possibly teach all there is to know about home inspections in 40 - 50 hours of reading and webinars. The remaining 40% is learned by trial and error… A QA team reviews each submitted case, and rejects any that require additional information, for instance: your measurements don’t match Google Maps measurements of the home, or a question regarding whether a porch is 3 feet or higher with no railing. These require the field representative to go back to the home on his or her own dime to correct the error or to prove their data.
The real pressure with Mueller is to find the hazards that the client is paying for, and not to take time to find anything else. A thorough exterior inspection as per Mueller should take 12 minutes… this includes measuring the risk or home, taking pictures, citing and documenting all hazards required by the insurance company that hired Mueller for the inspection, conducting the phone and or in person interview with the policyholder, and then to take that info home and create a report in the same time and submit. For inspections requiring interior access, they allow about 6 minutes more in total. For “high value” homes, (ones about $1 million or more) they’d like it to be done within 45 minutes… the same for farms and commercial inspections. This type of inspection includes cutting and pasting portions of the report and also a long narrative.
Basically, field reps are “advertised” to the insurance company after their two week or so training as “expert surveyors” and the insurance companies pay accordingly. The Field representative is of course only paid just above minimum wage for his/her efforts. The rest of the revenues are assumed to be used for upper level management, etc.