Near Future Inspector with a questions

So, after busting my butt in the working world for the past 26 years and the last straw of “So long and thanks for all the fish” laid off, decided time to take things into my own hands. This is something I had been contemplating for quite some time. Between in-laws and my Dad’s side of the family, a strong home building back ground, plus my own research and work on my home as well as friends. So definitely no dummy. And about to sign up here for the classes that are offered. As for tools, from what I have researched, I do posses many that are recommended so in that regards, start up would be minimal (Thankfully). A few questions for the seasoned folks here:

Is there a better time of the year to get the business started or is it “anytime like the present”?

I’ve seen people boast or say that you need 3 or 4 inspections per day to make it work. How true is that? Personally, I would be kind of suspect on that many inspections a day and how thorough a job they are doing.

I know the economy has been shaky, yet you hear things about the home buying world is supposed to be picking up. How do you folks feel on that?

Anyone here in New Mexico that can give input on the market here?

I’ve also heard banks have hired people to inspect or look after homes that are in foreclosure, any truth to that?

I am also looking at making the business an LLC. Is that necessary or with insurance, will that be adequate with out being an LLC?

At present, I have designed my own business cards and looking at website hosting. Plus looked at belonging to two different associations. I figure the more knowledge, the better. So, any thoughts on the questions posed or something I haven’t thought of would be greatly appreciated!

Greg - as a new guy myself, I’ll volley my opinion on several of your questions, based on our market and my own research:

  1. Now is a good time to start - the real estate market is busier now than it will be in winter. Might as well wade in while there is work to be had.
  2. Three or four inspections a day? Our instructor indicated two a day is full stride. Much more and you’re going to miss things or wear out.
  3. Economy for home sales is recovering most places (other than the rust belt).
  4. I consulted an attorney and a CPA - LLC is a smart way to go unless you have no assets to lose personally. I don’t know anyone in that position. A single-proprietor LLC in some states allows you to operate as a sole person, but with a corporate veil of protection. You get corporate benefits without having to file a separate tax return - your expenses go on your Schedule C of your 1040. Ask a professional.

I hope that helps - good luck!

Ok Greg

There will never be a perfect time to get into the inspection business, If you wait for it to happen you may never start. There is more business available in the summer months than in the winter normally.

How many hours per day would you like to work, and what type of income do you require to maintain a lifestyle.
Average inspection of 3 hours with final report of 1.5 hours = 2 inspections per day 8 hours of work. (This time will decrease with experience)
Average cost of an inspection $350 time 2 per day = $700 Less cost (insurance, gas, tools, memberships, ect…)
I am satisfied at $1000 per week, and happy at $2000 per week.
Naturally working in your own business to start with you will be putting in alot more that 10 hours per day. After you are able to work on your business rather that in it you will be more successful.

The economy has been shaky it all depends on who’s spin you believe as to in the housing sales are going to increase or fall again. In my market with the way rental prices continue to increase. Home sales have to increase just to find an affordable place to live.

Banks do hire as well as mortgage companies and other industries. Some of these have their own inspection divisions, some use REALTORS to complete the property checks. I can show you how to get started in this send me a message.

I would start an LLC if I were you. However the correct answer is to contact a tax professional, Attorney to make an informed decision. I researched my own options and paid Legal Zoom to set up my LLC.

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I’ve been doing this for 4 years and it helps to do a bit of construction or something at first until you gain a reputation for excellence. Realtors need to trust that you are honest and unbiased. Clients need to know that you are knowledgeable and detailed. If you have a background in construction it will help. Getting some great software like Home Inspector Pro (Dom, you owe me LOL) will help keep you focused as well. I wish you all the best in your pursuits.

Don’t wait for the perfect time as there really isn’t one, start now as there are a lot of things that need to be done before you actually start inspections, tools, licenses, website, insurance, marketing materials, incorporation, legal review of contract, etc. All of these take time and usually more then you anticipate.

Expect the market to pick up in the spring, level off in the summer and pick up again before school starts. Nov-Jan are slow month around here.

The question is not if the market is up but is it a sustained growing market. In my area the market has improved but some are still gun shy and wonder if it will continue. We can’t control this so keep it in mind as you build your business but don’t let the uncertainty hold you back.

The time it takes to do an inspection is dependant on many factors, the size of the home, age, condition, driving distance. Also your knowledge, experinence, report type/style all come into play. I agree that 1-2 a day is a realistic expectation. However, don’t expect to be doing 5-10 a week right off. It takes time to build awarness and recognition of your business, how long that takes is dependent on your marketing skills, contacts and personality.

Banks, insurance,engineering and mortgage companies all use Home Inspectors however, note that they don’t all have the same inspection requirements and don’t always pay the average inspection rate. I’ve seen some on the MB indicate some drive by take a picture of the property for as low as $25 each. It can be a good way to get started and gain experience but temper your expectations on how much you can make doing these types of inspections.

As for the type of business, I think any layer of protection you can put in place is better then none. Some say an LLC won’t protect you but at least they will have a roadblock to get around. The best advice has been given consult a CPA or attorney. I was given the advice to have more then one member in my LLC.

Web Sites, Business Cards and Logos all depend on your skills, resources (money & time) and expectations. If you want to be treated as a professional then you need to look and act professional. In other words have a professionally designed logo, business card and website. In reality you’ll land somewhere in between.

Join InterNachi, and shadow the message boards, there is a lot to be gained. Use the search feature I’ve found a lot of good info from older posts. Beware some like to pounce on newbies and also try to avoid the ongoing drama and post hijackers which seem to be more then usual lately.

InterNachi has a free logo design and some good deals on business cards and marketing materials either pre printed or custom.

Greg, don’t underestimate the importance of your website. Before I joined HIP, my website was 100% ineffective. Only after getting help and designing my HIP website, my business started to take off and grow, and my Google rankings soared.There are probably others, but my experience was with HIP,which I would never consider switching away from. Aside from that, joining InterNACHI was probably one of the most important things I did to help my business. The training and support is extensive and awesome, and there are some great people with vast experience and knowledge here.

Don’t waste too much time reading or trying to make sense of some of the outspoken opinions. There are lots of inspectors, lots of personalities, and lots of negative input. You have to learn what is entertaining, and what is true knowledge, then judge for yourself.

In my 4th year, my business is still not where I want or need it to be, but marketing and location are huge factors. My state is just slow or non-growing, and always has been. I am averaging 3 per week. On busy weeks, I may do 2 in one day, trying to more, IMO, will be slighting your client(s).

Good luck!!!

Hello. I did post this thread before I signed up, which I have now done under a student account. Appreciating all the input so far

Thanks for all the info. I posted under that name at the time as I was still not sure about signing up. Needless to say, after seeing the response and the instructional course, I have made the plunge. Thanks to all the response so far guys

After reading this and searching around, I have actually started the process with Legal Zoom for an LLC. What I have researched here in the state of New Mexico, an LLC is a pretty good way to go about it compared to other states.

Don’t forget to fund your corporation or it means nothing.

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That I intend too! Got a little savings that we refuse to touch that will be going in to starting and funding things. Thankfully, I already have a Jeep Cherokee and a majority of tool needed already on hand so that will help keep the start up on the lower side. Plus, if needed, I do have several retirement accounts and a stock market brokerage account that I can borrow against with minimal fee’s to help out.

just pay shipping and handling at $xxx.xx. act now. lol

When are you going to do another book ?